Creating an Eco-Wedding

When it comes to wedding planning, considering the environment does not have to be an arduous political choice.  Remember, there are many shades of green, and your carbon footprint can be as little or large as you choose.  Being “green” isn’t an all or nothing proposition. 

 

It is perfectly possible to have the traditional wedding you always dreamed of while also caring for the environment.

 

Venue

Location is a big factor for you, your guests and the environment.  A fairytale castle in Bavaria may seem an idyllic setting, however the further people have to travel, the more environmental damage they do.  There are many equally wonderful wedding locations closer to home. All it takes is a map and a little research.  Or, you can always employ an environmentally conscious wedding planner to help you locate the perfect setting.  If you ask, most wedding planners will take your environmental wishes into consideration.  However, for a true eco specialist, you might like to contact Louise at www.ecomoon.co.uk.

 

Stationery

Wedding’s use a lot of paper.  When it comes to stationery, you can certainly go as green as you like.  From partially recycled cards, to organic paper, or you can even go paper free.  Don’t forget that from your Member’s Area  at Just the Thing, you can do away with invitations altogether and send out e-vites to your wedding.


However, if you’re looking for beautiful recycled wedding invitations you might like to look at Cherry Gorgeous, www.cherrygorgeous.co.uk.  Not only are the cards here stunning, made from 80% recycled materials, but they also use materials from sustainable forests.


Forget placecards this year; we've found a fantastic alternative which combines the traditional placecard with a cute wedding favour.  Handmade from recycled and reused timber, these fab tags make the perfect keepsake for your guests.  Add guests names, your wedding date or a personal message, the bespoke service can be tailor made to suit your wedding.   Timber Tags are the brainchild of Charlie Artingsoll and we tip these cute table embellishments to be a hit at all stylish wedding tables this year.
 

 

Ask your guests to RSVP online to your Just the Thing website or by phone?  In making this little decision, you can eliminate a large amount of paper and postal waste.

 


Gift Lists

This is an area where you can really go green.  The best place to begin is with a Just the Thing Gift List.  This immediately eliminates all of the wrapping, transport and returns waste that you get with traditional wedding lists.

 

When selecting your gifts, you can go for wind-up radios, solar-powered garden lights or even ask guests to contribute toward an eco-makeover for your new home.  The sky is the limit.  Don’t forget to include ethical gifts, such as a charity contribution in your names.

 

Wedding & Engagement Rings


In a world where many high-street stores claim to sell conflict free diamonds and ethically mined gold, how can you be sure of what you’re really buying?  Ingle Rhode is a great place to start.  Their diamonds are conflict free, polishers and stone cutters work in good conditions and they donate 10% of their profit to causes including health, education and development for the communities with whom they trade.  You can also make use of the bespoke jewellery service to create unique pieces that match ethical standards with your personal sense of style.  Make an appointment at their Piccadilly studio and they can even tell you exactly where and how each piece of jewellery is created. www.ingleandrhode.com.

  
The Dress

When it comes to going green, perhaps the most difficult question is the wedding dress.  Few little girls dream of going down the aisle in hemp, however there are many options available for a modern bride.  With the current 50’s styled calf-length fashion, now is the perfect time to source a vintage dress.  You never know which great aunt might have the perfect frock lurking the back of her wardrobe.  

 

How about swapping something your already own for your wedding gear?  Judy Berger, fashion expert, stylist and personal shopper, set up www.whatsmineisyours.com in 2004.  You can find a range of wedding items on this site and resell/swap them once your wedding is over.

 

If you’re having a dress made, why not ask for an organic silk or insist that your fabric is produced ethically.  Gaia House specialise in ready-to-wear and made-measure dresses made from 100% organic silk and mixes www.gaiahouse.uk.com.


Getting There

Once you’ve got your venue sorted, why not consider how you and your guests can get there without damaging the environment?  Why not set up a carpool page on your Just the Thing website?   It will only take a few clicks and your guests will take care of the rest.  Carpooling is a great way to care for the environment and a good way for guests to meet before the event.  Organising mini-buses for shared travel from local train stations and hotels is another way you can reduce carbon emissions.

 

Food and Drink

The bridal party and guests are not the only ones who have to travel to get to your venue, don’t forget that your food and drink will cover a lot of miles to be there on the big day.  Is it possible to buy local produce rather than goods that have travelled thousands of miles?  Just speaking with your caterer can make a difference; most chefs will gladly source local, seasonal produce for you if you ask. 

 

Similarly, organic options and Fair Trade products are becoming very easy to locate nowadays so why not make a few small changes in this area.  If you can’t source organic everything, why not just make a few changes?  Fair Trade coffee at the end of the reception is a big step in the right direction.

 

Wedding Cake

Finding an organic wedding cake has become a real breeze.  We love the Organic Chocolate Cake Company, they specialise in beautifully indulgent organic chocolate cakes for any occasion.  www.toccc.co.uk.  Similarly, made with organic ingredients and locally sourced produce, you might like to check out Fancy Nancy Couture wedding cakes at www.fancynancy.info for a designer cake tailor made for your special day.

 

Throwing Stuff

When it comes to confetti, it can be a bit of a mine field.  Environmentalists agree that the traditional rice is hazardous for local wildlife.  Finding organic, bio-degradable confetti is becoming easier, but it is always a good idea to check what your venue allows.

 

Flower petals are usually a safe bet and can be easily sourced.  While most suppliers are very pricey, you have many alternatives.  Why not asked a few of your nearest and dearest to get involved with the planning?  Aunts and Grandmas with lovely gardens will be flattered to play their part in your big day.  Harvesting and drying flower petals can be a lengthy process though, so give people plenty of time and consider the seasons in advance.  A well planned out flower petal project can save you hundreds of pounds, however, as any bride can tell you.

 

While birdseed isn’t as pretty as rose petals, you certainly won’t have to worry about cleaning it up afterwards.

 

Don’t forget to ask someone to take responsibility for confetti on the day – having wicker baskets full of petals, or organza pouches ready for guests to grab will save confusion.


A Wedding less Ordinary

If you’re looking for that little something special to really make your day memorable, you can’t go wrong with these beautiful flying lanterns from www.wishesinthesky.com.  After the official toasts, why not ask your guests to release these stunning lanterns skyward, with a wish for happiness attached to each.  The stunning Chinese lanterns are made from bio-degradable paper and for each packet, Wishes in the Sky donates to Rainforest Concern.

 

The Honeymoon

Planning an ethical honeymoon can be a real treat.  Alternative destinations will often help you to see the world in a new way.  We love the ethical travel website; they have a constantly updating list of recommendations for honeymoons which make a positive impact on the environment.  www.responsibletravel.com .  Keep an eye on our honeymoon section for more ideas and tips on ethical honeymoons.

 

Wedding Planners

Louise Moon, at Eco Moon specialises in planning environmentally friendly weddings.  She can help you plan as little or as much of your big day as you need, including finding venues, flowers, photographers and cakes.  She can also help you find the perfect dress and manage your guests.  Contact her through her website www.ecomoon.co.uk for a tailor made service to suit your needs.

 

Green Directories

If you’re planning on doing the planning yourself, then there are also a number of directories and services which specialise in locating environmentally friendly and ethical suppliers.  We use www.greenfinder.co.uk for all our clean, green and ethical needs.