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Wedding Advice – Planning a Sustainable Wedding

Looking after our planet is something more and more of us are becoming educated on and taking responsibility for. With the devastation happening all over the world, you can’t deny we need to be better. There are so many things we can do in our day-to-day lives even if they are just small changes. Remembering your keep-cup for your coffee, avoiding single-use plastic and being a good example to those around us. No one is perfect but every little bit counts. Read more about climate change and how you can live a more sustainable lifestyle here.

Today, I want to specifically talk about weddings. This once-in-a-lifetime epic, exciting, extravaganza of a day that we pour so much time and money into and we don’t always consider the damage it can create for our earth. Now, I’m sure there has been some fully sustainable, zero-waste, completely composted down wedding days somewhere in the world but I know that is just not possible for everyone. This is not coming from a place of judgement or scare-mongering. Hopefully it will just inspire you to think about the impact on the planet during your wedding planning process and maybe a few ideas you can implement. In New Zealand, I believe many vendors are leading the way with sustainability and it’s great to see more people planning in an ethical way. Here are just a couple of tips/ideas, I hope they help…


– Choose your location wisely –

Where you get married can hugely impact the carbon footprint of your day. Is the location easy enough for your guests to access? Are you going to have 100 people flying on a plane to attend your day? I love a destination wedding as much as the next gal, but maybe if your dream location is a little further away, consider reducing the number of guests you invite, offsetting the carbon footprint with your airline, or being intentional to not be wasteful in other areas on your day. If you are getting married or having photos taken anywhere in nature, leave no trace. Don’t leave rubbish behind and be careful not to disturb protected ecological habitats.


– Have a conversation with your vendors –

Do your research and find out the important stuff. Is your dress made ethically? Does your florist use floral foam? (We’re going to get into that in a minute). Does your caterer source their food locally? What kind of products do your hair and makeup artists use? Does your photographer provide eco-friendly printing and albums? Try to seek out vendors with a non-wasteful ethos and figure out how they can help you in making your day as sustainable as possible.


– Let’s have a serious talk about flowers –

Flowers are one of my absolute favourite elements of a wedding day. They can transform a space, create mood, add pops of colour and bring together the entire look and feel of the day. However, there is a dark and largely unknown side to the floral industry. From chemical-ridden imported flowers, to unethical flower farms, overuse of plastic and not to mention floral foam. Floral foam (or oasis) is commonly used for flower installations. It never biodegrades and is made from toxic chemicals like formaldehyde and carbon black, so it’s also carcinogenic. It is not only bad for the environment but for our health!

I recommend listening to this podcast episode for a clearer insight into the floral industry.

There is an alternative way to create beautiful installations without using this nasty stuff. I’m excited to see it becoming a more popular way forward with the hashtag #nofloralfoam trending on social media. Please talk to you florist, find out about their practices, where they source their flowers from and the materials they use. I know a lot of floral designers and stylists that will source greenery and florals by foraging locally or around your venue. This can create a special and unique look and also save you money because they don’t have to source as much from a market or alternative supplier. If you have family or friends close-by with beautiful gardens, consider asking them if your florist can utilise them. I also recently discovered Green Room Plants, a wonderful NZ company that allows you to hire plants for your event. They have an amazing collection, definitely worth checking out!

– Use sustainable materials. Reuse and recycle –

Your wedding attire- It might be tempting to buy cheap suits, wedding or bridesmaids dresses from China but think about where the are coming from, the workers conditions and the quality. Polyester is basically plastic and in my experience going this route more often than not results in ill-fitting, imperfect quality and unflattering garments. Look for a local designer or even consider buying or renting second-hand, wedding dresses have usually only been worn once after all! Encourage your bridal party to sell their outfits after the day if they’re never going to wear them again.

Decorations & styling- If you’re doing a more DIY style wedding, considering hiring your furniture and styling essentials. Recycle or sell props and decorations you don’t need after the day. You could also let your guests take home flowers or organise for them to be donated to an old people’s home or charitable organisation the day after.

Confetti- It breaks my heart when I see plastic confetti thrown or cannoned into natural surroundings during a wedding day. There are so many alternatives. You can get biodegradable, dissolvable confetti so easily. I have also seen people use petals, herbs, lavender, olive leaves and bubbles which has worked wonderfully. Many venues will have rules on what you are allowed to use so make sure you chat to them about it first.

Glassware & Cutlery- Avoid plastic drink-bottles in favour of large, glass water dispensers. Avoid plastic cups, straws and dinnerware. It may seem easier and more convenient at the time but it’s not that hard to go reusable on this one.

Stationery and gifts- Consider using recyclable materials for your stationery or going digital with some save-the-dates or invitations leading up to the day. Try to find eco-friendly wedding favours or skip them all together!


There’s so much more I could get into on this topic. From planning an ethical honeymoon, specific vendors I recommend, going completely plastic free, shopping second-hand, creating an ethical gift registry, donating perishables and incorporating giving-back into your wedding day… but I didn’t want to make this too long!

Let me know if this blogpost was helpful for you, if you’d like me to go deeper with this topic in another post or would like more helpful tips! I think the wedding industry as a whole can be overlooked when it comes to sustainability and so much waste can be generated for just the “one day”. It doesn’t have to be like this.

Let me know any other ideas you have for planning a sustainable wedding or things you are implementing for your day! Check out my IGTV on this topic here.

Looking after our planet is something more and more of us are becoming educated on and taking responsibility for. With the devastation happening all over the world, you can’t deny we need to be better. There are so many things we can do in our day-to-day lives even if they are just small changes. Remembering your keep-cup for your coffee, avoiding single-use plastic and being a good example to those around us. No one is perfect but every little bit counts. Read more about climate change and how you can live a more sustainable lifestyle here.

Today, I want to specifically talk about weddings. This once-in-a-lifetime epic, exciting, extravaganza of a day that we pour so much time and money into and we don’t always consider the damage it can create for our earth. Now, I’m sure there has been some fully sustainable, zero-waste, completely composted down wedding days somewhere in the world but I know that is just not possible for everyone. This is not coming from a place of judgement or scare-mongering. Hopefully it will just inspire you to think about the impact on the planet during your wedding planning process and maybe a few ideas you can implement. In New Zealand, I believe many vendors are leading the way with sustainability and it’s great to see more people planning in an ethical way. Here are just a couple of tips/ideas, I hope they help…


– Choose your location wisely –

Where you get married can hugely impact the carbon footprint of your day. Is the location easy enough for your guests to access? Are you going to have 100 people flying on a plane to attend your day? I love a destination wedding as much as the next gal, but maybe if your dream location is a little further away, consider reducing the number of guests you invite, offsetting the carbon footprint with your airline, or being intentional to not be wasteful in other areas on your day. If you are getting married or having photos taken anywhere in nature, leave no trace. Don’t leave rubbish behind and be careful not to disturb protected ecological habitats.


– Have a conversation with your vendors –

Do your research and find out the important stuff. Is your dress made ethically? Does your florist use floral foam? (We’re going to get into that in a minute). Does your caterer source their food locally? What kind of products do your hair and makeup artists use? Does your photographer provide eco-friendly printing and albums? Try to seek out vendors with a non-wasteful ethos and figure out how they can help you in making your day as sustainable as possible.


– Let’s have a serious talk about flowers –

Flowers are one of my absolute favourite elements of a wedding day. They can transform a space, create mood, add pops of colour and bring together the entire look and feel of the day. However, there is a dark and largely unknown side to the floral industry. From chemical-ridden imported flowers, to unethical flower farms, overuse of plastic and not to mention floral foam. Floral foam (or oasis) is commonly used for flower installations. It never biodegrades and is made from toxic chemicals like formaldehyde and carbon black, so it’s also carcinogenic. It is not only bad for the environment but for our health!

I recommend listening to this podcast episode for a clearer insight into the floral industry.

There is an alternative way to create beautiful installations without using this nasty stuff. I’m excited to see it becoming a more popular way forward with the hashtag #nofloralfoam trending on social media. Please talk to you florist, find out about their practices, where they source their flowers from and the materials they use. I know a lot of floral designers and stylists that will source greenery and florals by foraging locally or around your venue. This can create a special and unique look and also save you money because they don’t have to source as much from a market or alternative supplier. If you have family or friends close-by with beautiful gardens, consider asking them if your florist can utilise them. I also recently discovered Green Room Plants, a wonderful NZ company that allows you to hire plants for your event. They have an amazing collection, definitely worth checking out!

– Use sustainable materials. Reuse and recycle –

Your wedding attire- It might be tempting to buy cheap suits, wedding or bridesmaids dresses from China but think about where the are coming from, the workers conditions and the quality. Polyester is basically plastic and in my experience going this route more often than not results in ill-fitting, imperfect quality and unflattering garments. Look for a local designer or even consider buying or renting second-hand, wedding dresses have usually only been worn once after all! Encourage your bridal party to sell their outfits after the day if they’re never going to wear them again.

Decorations & styling- If you’re doing a more DIY style wedding, considering hiring your furniture and styling essentials. Recycle or sell props and decorations you don’t need after the day. You could also let your guests take home flowers or organise for them to be donated to an old people’s home or charitable organisation the day after.

Confetti- It breaks my heart when I see plastic confetti thrown or cannoned into natural surroundings during a wedding day. There are so many alternatives. You can get biodegradable, dissolvable confetti so easily. I have also seen people use petals, herbs, lavender, olive leaves and bubbles which has worked wonderfully. Many venues will have rules on what you are allowed to use so make sure you chat to them about it first.

Glassware & Cutlery- Avoid plastic drink-bottles in favour of large, glass water dispensers. Avoid plastic cups, straws and dinnerware. It may seem easier and more convenient at the time but it’s not that hard to go reusable on this one.

Stationery and gifts- Consider using recyclable materials for your stationery or going digital with some save-the-dates or invitations leading up to the day. Try to find eco-friendly wedding favours or skip them all together!


There’s so much more I could get into on this topic. From planning an ethical honeymoon, specific vendors I recommend, going completely plastic free, shopping second-hand, creating an ethical gift registry, donating perishables and incorporating giving-back into your wedding day… but I didn’t want to make this too long!

Let me know if this blogpost was helpful for you, if you’d like me to go deeper with this topic in another post or would like more helpful tips! I think the wedding industry as a whole can be overlooked when it comes to sustainability and so much waste can be generated for just the “one day”. It doesn’t have to be like this.

Let me know any other ideas you have for planning a sustainable wedding or things you are implementing for your day! Check out my IGTV on this topic here.

Comments

  1. Wedding Advice - How to plan your dream wedding on any budget - Lydia

    February 12th, 2020 at 9:26 pm

    […] artist you want. Maybe you opt for seasonal and local flowers on the day. Read some of my tips on how to plan a sustainable wedding like choosing pre-loved or selling things after the day. Research wedding-budget hacks, there are […]

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