Weddings are joyous celebrations, no doubt, but they often come with a hefty price tag when it comes to wastage and impact on the environment. Here are some simple ways that you can be kinder to the earth by making some smarter and greener choices for your big day.
The day you stand in front of your family and friends and profess your commitment to that special someone is one that often requires a lot of time, money and thought to put together. It’s a day to rejoice, of course, and the temptation to spare no expense can be pervasive. However, the costs of a wedding extend beyond the bank account. The environmental impact of the wedding industry is considerable, as such a resource-intensive occasion involves a huge amount of carbon emissions and general waste.
Australia, like much of the world, has become increasingly comfortable with throwaway culture, which is often exemplified in the huge amounts of food and decor stuffed into rubbish bins at the end of a wedding. Being cognisant of the waste associated with your wedding day does not need to be stressful. In fact, having a plan in place to address waste can be organised the same way as the various other details for the big day, and there are many straightforward ways to limit the environmental impact of the occasion. The 10 tips below outline some of the most accessible and effective strategies to have a greener wedding day:
While it is tempting to say that you must rent your wedding dress, the rental options available are often not size-inclusive and quite frankly, it is usually the personalised alterations that achieve that perfect fit. However, before going wedding dress shopping at traditional retail avenues, it might be worth exploring if that perfect outfit is out there to be rented or purchased second hand. You can always extend the longevity of your dress by onselling it as well!
When it comes to the bridal party, it is a great idea to allow each member to choose their own outfit. This can, of course, follow a colour scheme or general style in keeping with your vision, but having each member of the bridal party purchase the same suit or dress presents the likely reality that many of them may never wear it again. This is an incredible waste of resources when you consider the net impact of all this single-use fabric.
Avoid destination weddings. They can be incredibly beautiful and feel exceedingly luxurious, but if you are flying 100+ people somewhere to attend a six-hour function, there is no getting around the enormous amount of associated carbon emissions.
Consider having your ceremony and reception at the same venue, or within walking distance, to minimise the amount of driving your guests need to do to attend your special day.
Consider the environmental impact of how the venue itself operates and look into using a location that uses solar panels, LED lighting and takes measures to donate any leftover food to those in need.
If your wedding is small enough, or you have some extra wiggle room in the wedding budget, consider organising a carpool for your guests. Hiring a few shuttle busses is an excellent way to minimise emissions associated with transporting your guests to and from the function.
Fresh, beautiful flowers are often synonymous with weddings, but harvesting and transporting floral arrangements has a sizable environmental cost along with the hefty price tag. If you are set on having fresh blooming bouquets, consider opting for in-season and local varieties. Many venues also have their own supply of fake, but still aesthetically pleasing floral arrangements, which are re-used to minimise financial and environmental costs.
Deciding how to decorate your wedding venue in a style that suits you and your partner can be a very personal process. However, many of these decor items are often thrown away immediately after the event. There are plenty of ways to minimise this waste though – you can purchase items second hand for a vintage feel, opt for rental pieces or choose decor that you intend to take home and incorporate into your home design.
Food and drink
When it comes to wedding day waste, food and drink is a huge culprit. While donations to food banks can go a long way, most venues do not currently engage in this practice and will take some convincing to agree to go to this extra effort. As such, first and foremost, think about how you can source as much food and alcohol from local producers as possible, and then focus your attention on addressing leftovers.
This tip is unlikely to be a popular one – so feel free to ignore it and focus your efforts elsewhere. However, it would be imprudent not to mention that the number of people at your wedding is a significant factor in the emissions and waste associated. Quality over quantity can be a useful way to think of it – start with the people you wouldn’t want to have this day without and add to your guest list consciously, not just for the sake of it. Needless to say, this will also take a lot of financial pressure off whoever is paying for the function.