eco friendly weddings

A Guide to Planning an eco friendly Celebrant Led Wedding: Celebrate Love and the Planet

I live in the beautiful county of Dorset, and I am passionate about doing my bit to help protect our planet for future generations. When it comes to planning your dream wedding, I have found that there is a growing trend towards eco friendly weddings.  These weddings focus on reducing environmental impact and promoting sustainability whilst still creating a memorable and magical celebration of love.

If you are a couple who value both the planet and your special day, read on for a guide on how to plan an eco-friendly wedding that leaves a positive mark on the world as well as a lasting memory of your special day.

Choose a Sustainable Venue

My advice as your celebrant would be that the first step in planning an eco friendly wedding is selecting a sustainable venue. Look for locations that have eco-friendly practices, renewable energy sources, or on-site recycling programs. Outdoor venues in Dorset are in abundance, such as botanical gardens, farms, historic buildings or beaches/countryside and all can also provide a stunning backdrop while minimising energy consumption. Here in Dorset and the surrounding counties of Somerset and Hampshire, we have no end of beautiful outdoor venues to choose from.

So, you have the eco friendly venue.  Now to try and make all the other tasks of a wedding as eco-friendly as you can. 

Glass bottle with a cork on a wedding table

eco friendly Wedding suppliers

Do your research – check sustainable accreditations, read reviews, speak to suppliers directly about what they are doing to make them a sustainable supplier.  Check if they are an accredited member of The Green Initiative© which  is the UK’s No1 accreditation scheme rewarding businesses committed to being greener and more sustainable through efficient management of their waste & recycling.  

Mindful Invitations and Stationery

Opt for digital invitations to reduce paper waste. If physical invitations are a must, choose recycled paper and soy-based inks. Consider including RSVP cards with options for guests to indicate dietary preferences, reducing food waste.

Catering with a Conscience

A typical wedding in the UK produces 14.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide and around 400 to 700 pounds of solid waste, a large portion of which comes from catering. Opting for eco-friendly catering helps reduce the carbon footprint, food wastage, and adverse environmental impact of your special day on the planet. 

Choose a caterer who sources locally-produced, organic, and seasonal ingredients. This not only supports local businesses but also reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting food long distances. Minimise food waste by donating leftovers to local charities or composting.

Why not go all out vegetarian? According to statistics, a vegetarian diet has twice less carbon footprint than a meat diet. Indeed, intensive animal farming poses various environmental hazards and pollution. For instance, the need for more land for cattle ranches accounts for 70 percent of the Amazon deforestation.  

Reducing the amount of meat on your menu or offering an entirely vegetarian dining experience may interest your guests in trying more eco friendly and sustainable options. In addition, you are encouraging, albeit indirectly, family and friends to adopt healthier eating habits. 

If you decide to opt for a wholly vegetarian menu, make sure you pick seasonal, organic, and homegrown produce. In-season, locally sourced products taste amazing because they are at their peak freshness. But not only that. They are also better-quality, healthier and safer to consume because they are free from preservatives that keep imported food “fresh” during transportation. More importantly, you support local farmers and businesses whilst helping minimise the carbon footprint from long-distance shipping. 

You can take the farm-to-table concept a level higher by selecting local breweries and wineries for your beverage. Look for natural and biodynamic bottlings from eco-conscious winemakers. 

Lastly, go for a plated dinner instead of a buffet to avoid producing wasted leftovers. If the option is not available, be mindful of portion sizes and the number of courses you pick. But even with careful planning, having surplus food at weddings is inevitable. You can work with the venue manager or your caterer to donate the extra food to a local food bank. 

eco friendly weddings

eco friendly wedding Decorations

Embrace the “less is more” philosophy when it comes to decorations. Choose reusable and natural décor elements like potted plants, candles, or locally grown flowers. Avoid single-use items and plastic decorations that contribute to waste.  Delegate growing flowers for your wedding to green fingered friends!  Any  gardener will love the challenge…

confetti options

Creating an incredible confetti moment will not only fill you and your guests with pure joy on the day, but also create a lasting memory captured in a single snap. Paper or metallic confetti is old news, and many farmers are diversifying into growing flowers to make biodegradable petal confetti for weddings.

Farmers grow a variety of flowers during the summer months, including delphiniums, cornflowers, calendula, sunflowers, roses and more. The flowers provide food and a safe haven for insects and animals, boosting biodiversity in the area.

Once the flowers are in bloom, they are handpicked and dried onsite to keep their beautiful colour and shape for months and even years. Good eco friendly confetti is natural, dye-free and completely biodegradable, making them the perfect choice for an eco friendly wedding.

The best part of picking your wedding confetti is choosing what colours to have. You can match your confetti to your colour scheme or choose colours to make a statement. Wicker baskets can be filled with the colourful petals and handed round the guests to share, or alternative bio-degradable paper cones are also very attractive.

eco friendly wedding gifts

Consider requesting charitable donations in lieu of gifts. Choose organisations that align with your values and contribute to environmental conservation or other meaningful causes.

Sustainable Wedding Favours

Thank your guests with eco-friendly wedding favours such as small potted plants, seeds, or reusable items like bamboo utensil sets or cloth tote bags. Avoid plastic-wrapped or single-use favours. Guests will most definitely appreciate the effort in home-made favours.

Ethical & eco friendly Wedding Attire

Selecting eco-friendly attire is a crucial aspect of an environmentally conscious wedding. Opt for sustainable fabrics like organic cotton, hemp, or bamboo for the wedding gown and suits. Vintage or second-hand wedding attire is also a fantastic option, adding a touch of uniqueness to your big day. As your Celebrant I will be entirely supportive and endeavour to dress in ethical attire if requested.

Zero-Waste Ceremony and Reception

Implement a zero-waste policy by using compostable or reusable dinnerware, utensils, and glassware. Provide recycling stations and clearly label bins to make waste sorting easy for guests.

Green Transportation

Encourage guests to car share, use public transportation, or arrange minibuses/coaches to reduce emissions. If your ceremony and reception are at different locations, consider hosting them at nearby venues to minimise travel. I recently had a bride and groom in a local wedding in Dorset turn up on a tandem!  Now you can’t get more eco friendly than that.

the post wedding Clean-up

Ensure that all waste is sorted properly for recycling and composting after the event. Work with the venue and catering team to coordinate responsible cleanup efforts or get your guests to help (post hang over!).

my Final eco friendly wedding Thoughts

An eco-friendly Dorset, Somerset or Hampshire wedding is a beautiful way to celebrate love while caring for the planet. We are in a beautiful part of the world, so let’s celebrate natural beauty and keep it that way.  By making mindful choices throughout the planning process, from the venue to the decorations and everything in between, you can create a wedding day that reflects your values and leaves a positive impact on the environment. As you Celebrant I can support with suggestions and thoughts to ensure that you have your sustainable wedding, your way.

For further inspiration for an eco friendly wedding, check out these blogs Green Union Wedding Blog

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