Folks, it is officially less than six months until I get married! That’s wild! It feels just like yesterday that Rory, my fiancé, surprised me with a ring and I screamed the house down with “What? Yes, OH MY GOD YES!”.
Actually, it only feels like last year that I got butterflies in my stomach when I saw Rory playing the piano in the music rooms at university. In reality, that was over seven years ago. Blimey. Anyway, that’s enough of looking back and feeling sappy. Let’s chat about what you are here for – some sustainability goodness and some wedding goodness.
In the grand scheme of weddings, we are having quite a big event – but in the most laid back way we can.
Rory has a really big family and mine isn’t exactly tiny either. When you add our friends into the mix, that’s about 120 guests overall. We are having a church wedding in the town I grew up in followed by a reception at a fancy-pants hotel and golf resort. On paper, it sounds pretty typical. But underneath, we’ve worked hard to make this the most us wedding that it can be – and that involves making it as sustainable and eco-friendly as we can.
Did you know, in a typical wedding of 100 people, almost 20kg of single use plastic will be used?Sky Ocean Rescue
When you add all of the yearly UK weddings in a typical year up, over 4000 tonnes of plastic waste will be created. That’s not even including food waste, once-wear clothing, and travel! We’re not about that life, nuh uh. From the moment the ring landed on my finger and I DIY’d my own wedding planner, we made an effort to be more sustainable on the wedding front. Let’s dive into what we’ve got planned and what we’ve done so far –
Save the Dates & Invitations
The sending of save the dates, invitations, menu cards, and RSVPs are pretty vital to any wedding (how else are people meant to know about the biggest party in the land?). But that doesn’t mean they have to be wasteful bits of paper that are just thrown in a drawer after two weeks. We chose to send online save the dates and invitations and ended up saving over £400 on paper cost alone, as well as, you know, saving the planet. Now, we didn’t do this ourselves – we used the online wedding brand WithJoy! With WithJoy, we’ve set up a detailed and easy to use wedding website as well as being able to send out all communication to our guests directly. My favourite bit is that I can group guests together so I can contact my bridal party separately, or send hotel recommendations to our Scottish guests – or, more than likely, prod family members who haven’t RSVP’d but I know who are coming to the wedding. No awkwardness, direct contact, better for the planet, and easy to use.
Well, sugared almonds are the classic wedding favour but I don’t think my nut allergy would be too happy with that outcome. Speaking of classic wedding favours, I’ve noticed one popular trend and that is, to put it bluntly, themed junk. I’ve got unscented candles and unused kitchen gadgets cluttering up my house from weddings that took place almost a decade ago. It’s just unnecessary waste! Now, if you know me, you’ll know I am a houseplant stan and this is even seeping into our wedding. We are propagating off-cuts and babies from our main houseplants and giving them as wedding favours! I’m growing pileas, kalanchoes, cacti, spider plants, jade plants, and maybe even the occasional monstera in there. We’ll be getting our hands on small, biodegradable plant pots that folks can just plant in bigger pots or the garden, so they can let love grow! Yes, I know it’s cheesy but it’s damn cute. And hey, if anyone leaves them at the venue, I’ll take the plants home and add them to the wedding terrarium I’m creating. It’s a win for me and a win for the planet.
Bunting, lights, flowers, personalised signs, table décor – these all make a wedding so aesthetically pleasing but what on earth do you do with them after? Throw them away? Let them clutter up your home? Both are a big no-no for us, so each piece of décor we have will be reusable! For large pieces of décor such as the welcome sign and table plan, we are using mirrors – specifically gold gilded mirrors. We’ve been slowly collecting them from charity shops and Facebook Marketplace, and I’ve been practising calligraphy with my Posca pens, ready to get writing on the mirrors. When we are done with them, I’ll give them a clean and pop them around the house. Well, apart from the welcome sign – we want that up in our house as a memento. I’ve also been collecting bottles since the day I got engaged. Not just clear or green wine bottles, oh no – I’ve got cider jars, specialised gin bottles, colourful glass and more. We will be putting these on the tables to add a pop of colour and to hold candles and flowers in. Once the wedding is done, we’ll choose a few favourites to keep, a few to make into drinking glasses, and then I’ll sell the rest on to another like minded bride.
The church I am getting married in has banned confetti. Well, plastic confetti. That’s fine with us considering both the planet and the fact we’ve planned to use natural confetti! We love the idea of throwing dried flower petals, but to buy them in bulk from a local seller is quite expensive. Now, it is the more sustainable option so I can look beyond the price tag. However, I am a DIY-fanatic so you can bet I’ll be making my own confetti. From this point on, I plan to buy flowers each week to brighten up my home. I can then dry out the petals and make natural confetti that will keep until the wedding. Then, in the two weeks before the wedding, me and my bride tribe will go out for a walk in our local area and pick some leaves from trees (with permission, of course). When we get home, we’ll break out the wine, a film, and the hole punches, and get confetti punching.
With Rory being a Scotsman, you can guarantee there will be a lot of kilts at this wedding (including the Welsh variety, cilts). The only problem is, not all of the bridal party will have kilts as the English have infiltrated our lives. Buying a kilt set for each member of the party is out of the question, not only because of cost but because there’s no need. So, we’ll be hiring them! Not only does this cut out wasting an outfit for one wear but it supports a local business. If I had it my way, I would hire bridesmaids dresses too. But, alas, there’s zero market for that in the UK. Instead, we bought the bridesmaids dresses from Rewritten: a London based brand who focus on sustainability and re-wearability of their dresses. Each of the dresses is in a colour that suits my bridesmaids, in a fit they chose, and when the wedding is over and done with they can dye it, cut it, repurpose it; whatever they want.
In all honesty, however nice it is to open up gifts, we don’t need a traditional registry. Rory and I have lived together for five years, we’ve got good quality furniture and cutlery, we even own a house together. To ask for physical gifts feels incredibly wasteful. So, we’ve chosen to ride the wave of experience. We have booked a honeymoon for November and have asked for experiences for when we are away! The registry list includes dinner at special restaurants, boat trips, experiences like mini golf, and we’ve even included a home renovation fund for anyone who would rather contribute to that.
So, those are the things we have planned to make our wedding as sustainable (and cost-effective!) as we can! Now, our wedding will by no means be a perfect, eco-warrior, carbon-neutral event. Nor could it be, based on the wedding industry as a whole. But, we are just two young folks getting married, trying to leave less of a mark on the planet as we paaaaar-tay.