Anyone who knows me, knows how much I care about this planet, I’m pretty passionate about doing my bit to look after it. We try to not use disposable plastic and I’m always trying to shop zero waste. Getting to photograph a zero waste wedding would be a total dream of mine! I’m always inspired by the eco-friendly ideas my couples come up with, from re-purposed items to just doing away with unnecessary things that you’re meant to do. I know a lot of you out there care about this sort of stuff too so I thought I’d pull together some ideas. You might not be able to manage a complete zero waste wedding but with these tips you can certainly make your wedding a lot greener and more eco-friendly.
Going zero waste with your wedding just requires a little extra thought on your part. You’ll end up feeling great about having done something good for the world and what an inspiring example for all your guests. As an extra bonus it will often save you time and money in the process. I love these tips that I’ve picked up from my couples of the last few years.
Top tips for a zero waste wedding
Sending out online or email invites is often way easier for everyone involved. Lots of my couples have made their own wedding website or even just Facebook group, which is a great way to manage all those inevitable guest questions! Pop all the info. on there and away you go.
For anyone who’s not online, opt for recycled paper stationary that can be easily composted or recycled again (i.e no glitter or shiny elements!)
Wedding Dress and Clothing
Vintage dresses have got to be my all time favourites, they are so full of personality and chances are if they’ve stood the test of time they are never going to date. (I’m a bit obsessed with Hope and Harlequin‘s wedding range)
If you can’t find a vintage/second hand dress then two pieces can be a great way to allow you to wear your clothes in the future. The same goes for the suits and also try to encourage guests to wear something they already own rather than buying new. I adore these vintage gold shoes that Heather wore at her wedding.
Check with your venue and suppliers what their policy is on recycling and composting. It’s a bit shocking how some of the larger venues don’t have any recycling policies in place! Opting for a more DIY venue can often mean you’re more in control of how any waste is managed. Check with your local council what to do with food waste and other compostable items that are bound to be left over. Or find a venue run by a wildlife trust or environmental charity. Folly Farm near Bristol is a nature reserve that also does weddings and has a great environmental footprint.
Flowers and Bouquets
It often seems strange to think that flowers can have a huge negative environmental impact but the reality is most flowers come half way across the world from dubious growing conditions. Choosing flowers that are in season, grown locally and organically will make a huge difference and you can compost them after. Check with your florist on what their policies are. These flowers from the Country Garden Flower Company are all grown in a walled garden here in Essex.
Food and Drink
It’s easy to go overboard with food, try not to go crazy with it all. If there are leftovers have a plan to donate them to a local charity or make it easy for guests to take home leftovers. Think like your gran and make sure no-one leaves empty-handed!
When sourcing food stick with suppliers who source their food locally or better still seek out a company who use up food destined for landfill.
Hiring crockery and cutlery is super easy now but you could also buy up job lots from charity shops and donate them back when you’re done. One couple I met bought so much from car boot sales that they ended up setting up their own hire business in the process! Or if you really need disposables opt for bamboo, compostable options.
Also make sure you check with your bar that they are not using disposable plastic glasses. I love this idea from my couple, all the guests got a mason jar at the start of the day which they then had to use for the rest of the day. No waste, no excess washing up and totally reusable! You can hire these from Anthology Vintage hire along with lots of other great wedding decor, seating etc.
Try to stick to kegs of beer/wine/larger bottles of spirits for less waste too.
Favours and Decorations
Keep decorations minimal and compostable. Flowers have got to be one of the easiest ways to do this but remember most florists often source flowers from all over the world, definitely not very zero waste! Stick to florists who use home-grown flowers or a local cutting garden who can supply you with whatever is in season. When you’re done with them give them to your guests to take home and compost.
Most people hire furniture for their day, and I’ve even been to a wedding where they bought up a load of haybales for tables and chairs and then sold them on aftwerwards.
Use solar powered string lights where possible and again hire them if you don’t need them on a permenant basis.
Ditch the favours and presents – lets face it most guests don’t even really notice the favours by the time they’ve got drunk. I love that these two donated money to charity instead. You can take the same route for wedding gifts and ask people to donate money to a good cause instead of buying you a load of mugs you’ll never need!
If you’re really keen on table favors, I love the idea of food or drink that can be consumed straight away. Trust me shots always get polished off!
Lastly, don’t forget to let your guests know that you’re planning a zero waste wedding. You don’t need to get all preachy about it, but just encourage everyone to see it as a positive and to get involved in an inspiring way!
I hope those tips help, if you’ve got any of your own ideas, pop them in your comments. I’d love to hear more.
If you’re planning a zero waste wedding, get in touch and let me know your plans. I offer discounts for super-green or ethical weddings. I’d love to hear from you!