You might be thinking of having an eco friendly ‘green’ wedding as we are now expected to be conscious of our environmental impact as consumers, recycling more than ever and relearning old skills such as baking and sewing to generate less waste. A wedding can be seen as quite wasteful if a lot of money is spent on items that will only be used once. Hiring is a good way to keep costs within budget, as well as having less impact on the environment. Careful planning is key to ensure that you explore avenues for borrowing or hiring items, and being careful to keep an eye on the numbers of confirmed guests means less food wasted by over catering.
You can achieve stylish and eco-friendly wedding by keeping things simple. Choose seasonal blooms for your bouquet and any floral arrangements and ensure that they have not been flown in from abroad if possible. The floral arrangements can be moved from church to venue rather than having multiple displays, saving you money, and they can be sited with your Guest Book, gift table or wedding cake to decorate the reception venue. If you are having large displays of fresh flowers, consider giving them to a local nursing or residential home afterwards, the residents will probably be delighted and they can have the pleasure of the blooms while you are away on your honeymoon. You could also consider having potted plants or small trees for decoration, asking one of the guests to plant them out for you while you are away.
Try to source a caterer who uses organic produce and local ingredients, supporting local businesses and getting the best flavour for your chosen menu. A good caterer will be able to source sustainably caught fish and organically raised meat and should be willing to talk you through their choice of suppliers. Going organic is sometimes more expensive, but you will save by choosing things that are in season and being careful about how many portions you order.
It is common to hire the Groom’s outfit, but it is becoming more common to hire the Bride’s gown as well. This makes more sense than buying something that may never come out of the wardrobe again. On the other hand if you are not having a morning suit and top hat, you may want to invest in a good quality suit that you will wear again, or a dress and shoes that can be altered or dyed after the wedding to enable you to enjoy wearing them for other occasions. Weigh up all the pros and cons and work out the cost per wear including alterations costs and dry cleaning bills to help you come to a decision.
Wedding favours are often discarded if they are not edible so think carefully about your choices, it might be better to choose something a little more expensive if it means that it can be kept or used again by guests and not thrown away. It needs to be light enough for them to take home at the end of the day, not fragile so it can be put into a coat pocket or handbag, small enough to be found a space at home and a lovely memento of the day. Small Perspex blocks with your names and the date of the wedding on are sure to be kept, along with place cards (recycled of course), small pails filled with truffles, engraved tags or shot glasses and decorated pebbles – there are plenty of imaginative options.
Check with your venue if they have a policy about confetti, as some do not allow it and it would be a wasted purchase for your guests, and you can then advise them accordingly. If you are having photographs taken outside consider some wild bird seed as an alternative, harking back to the days when grain or small nuts were used as they represented fertility. There will be no wasted paper being blown around and this may also be suitable for a church wedding where paper confetti is not allowed, so double check with the vicar or priest about what can be used.
Recycled paper or card should be used for the wedding invitations and there are some high quality products available these days, printed with vegetable inks and using less harmful chemicals in the process. You might prefer to go completely digital for the invitations and send out e-invites instead with the option of an attachment that can be printed out as a keepsake of the day should guests wish to do so, but make sure that you keep on top of emailed RSVP’s as well as reply cards. Setting up a website for photo sharing is a good way to involve guests, give them a list of shots that you would like them to take and have them all uploaded in one place rather than having multiple copies printed.
Have a fabulous, glamorous and green wedding day!
[image courtesy of Tim Hill http://www.rgbstock.com/gallery/TimHill1]