“We want the ultimate dream wedding day, but we don’t want to compromise on our green values. How can we make our wedding as eco-friendly as possible and what choices can we make that will reduce the carbon footprint of our day, while still creating plenty of wonderful wedding wow factor?”
It’s usually one of the first decisions a couple will make and your venue can have a big bearing on how green your wedding is. Check out what sustainable steps your venue is taking and how they are reducing their carbon footprint.
Talk to your venue about food. The farm-to-table ethos is becoming increasing popular and advocates home-grown, organic, seasonal food. Look for a venue which is growing their own produce. At South Farm we have our own organic small-holding and grow around 250 different varieties of fruit, vegetables and herbs. This all means zero food miles, less packaging and lower refrigeration time – all contributing significantly to reducing the carbon foot-print. In addition, menus are adapted seasonally to reflect what is growing on the Farm.
If your venue is not catering in-house or growing their own food, ask your venue or caterer where they source their produce and make sure they are offering you choices that are locally sourced and in season, guaranteeing you the freshest ingredients.
There are many other green choices your venue can make, including recycling, water management, wildlife conservation and community initiatives. The little things really do matter. At South Farm, our investment in wildlife planting creates a green wedding haven, encouraging birds, bees and other wildlife while providing an ever-growing, sustainable habitat which is also super pretty! We also food share with local organisations when we have surplus produce from our farm. Ask your venue what steps they are taking, and make sure you ask about single use plastics such as plastic straws, shopping bags and bottles. At South Farm, we only use bio-degradable paper straws, we do not use plastic shopping bags and all drinking water is provided in glass jugs, glass kilner jars or glass bottles. Little steps make a big difference when everyone is on board!
Other Sustainable Ways to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of your Wedding
Holding your nuptials and your reception all in the same place removes the need for any transport between the two. Find a venue which can offer your marriage ceremony and your reception all on one site, so there is no need for travel between the two.
For those who do need to drive, you could suggest car sharing to your guests which reduces transport costs per head and lowers fuel output and carbon emissions. Or consider putting on a coach to deliver your guests to and from your venue.
If you have overseas guests then think about offsetting the cost of their transportation by using a site such as www.carbonfund.org to calculate the carbon footprint of your day. The website has a handy calculator which allows you to input your guest numbers, transportation distances and methods and gives you a total carbon cost. You can then offset this by donating through a UK site such as www.carbonfootprint.com Your donation will be used in a range of global projects which assist carbon emission reduction, including tree planting and reforestation projects, alongside other projects that benefit local communities. You can feel good about literally offsetting the cost of your wedding!
Think about honeymooning in the UK. There are so many beautiful British destinations to choose from. You will benefit from lower transportation costs and our planet will benefit from your choice! However, if you are dreaming of faraway shores, we totally get it! Think about choosing an eco-friendly hotel, as there are lots to choose from with impressive sustainability credentials and initiatives even in the most far-flung of destinations. Plus, many airlines also offer a carbon-offsetting scheme, where you can voluntarily elect to offset the carbon footprint of your flight. In addition, check out if your airline is using a low emission fleet and investing in social and environmental projects.
The Dress & The Suits
Consider buying vintage! Vintage clothing is beautifully made and it’s unlikely you’ll ever see anyone else wearing your choice of wedding outfit. Or use a wedding designer who is committed to using sustainable fabric. For a personal wedding dress that’s an extra bit special, you could think about finding a designer who will rework a family members’ previously worn gown. Or consider hiring or buying outfits that are versatile enough to be worn again. It feels just like an extra gift to the special members of your bridal party if it can be re-worn!
Go online with your save the dates! Send them by email or use a wedding website with all the details you would normally send out to your guests, including maps, menu choices, dietary requirements and accommodation. You could also ask your guests to respond online. If you prefer to send the more traditional paper invitations, then find a stationery supplier that uses recycled paper.
Getting married outside means that your guests are warmed by the sun and your ceremony is lit by beautiful natural light alone! At South Farm, you can get married in the garden Summer House while your guests take their seats on the lawns to watch the ceremony. However, rest assured there is a choice of a further four indoor spaces just in case weather demands!
Use twinkly candles in your venue’s indoor spaces instead of extra lighting that uses extra power! Also ask your venue about green energy. At South Farm, we are committed to a fully green energy tariff and we are rolling out low energy appliances and lighting across the venue.
Choose biodegradable! A lot of churches and venues now insist on this, so make sure your guests know to only use the good stuff! At South Farm, we supply dried rose petals for all our couples so there is no need for guests to bring their own, in the summer months we even grow red roses especially to harvest their petals and make our own confetti so you know it really is home-grown!
Use local flowers that are in-season. Pick a florist that grows organically and doesn’t use chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Consider using blooms, topiaries or potted herbs to create beautiful centres and to add to the beauty of your garden after the event! You can also consider flower-sharing. Talk to your venue about whether there are other like-minded couples getting married the same week as you. You could share the expense and the beauty and half the waste! Or consider donating any leftover flowers to a local old people’s home after your big day.
Consider a potted succulent, tiny sapling or a pretty pack of seeds to treat your guests. They will love the idea of such a unique favour. Nurturing their own plants from your wedding day makes it a really special token, not to mention an enduring reminder of your day! Other lovely green options are mini jars of jam, honey or preserves or a charitable donation made on behalf of each of your guests, which really is the gift that keeps on giving!
Wherever possible, try to use local suppliers who have less miles to travel to your wedding. Local suppliers will also be more likely to know your wedding venue well, as most venues will have a list of preferred suppliers who they know well and are happy to recommend to couples.