How To Have A Sustainable Wedding
By Amy Powney
A wedding is about celebrating all that is free: friendships, family and partnerships. Whilst the event should be idyllic, romantic and decorated, the things I remember most myself were the people and the moments—the emotion, the food, the dancing, the drinking. Knowing that, perhaps we could all look at the day with a holistic mindset, knowing that the only things that are left the next morning are the photos and memories (along with fuzzy heads and full bellies). Now is the perfect time to go back to nature and throw a sustainable wedding, so here are my six tips:
Find a venue that you love as it is, and decorate it with natural florals that will biodegrade after. Man-made decorations are usually formed of from synthetic materials, are shipped in from across the world and end up in landfill. Our wedding venue was an old tram depot and the florals were the most discussed and photographed aspect of the event. We had Dutch floral chandeliers and real Dutch floral framed flowers on the wall. Get a local florist and buy flowers that are in season and from the U.K. where possible. The images will be stunning, the guests will look on with awe, and if you want keepsakes from the day you can dry them and press them.
If you want to be really sustainable then sourcing organic and pesticide-free florals would be the ultimate aim, but perhaps not the most accessible option.
Buy alcohol in refillable kegs from independent breweries and natural, organic and sulphate-free vineyards that can be used for the event and then returned to the suppliers. They look rustic and authentic, and there will be no recycling at the end. Don’t use any plastic cups or straws, and rent crockery and cutlery that again can be returned to the suppliers.
Get caterers that use local produce from local markets or have direct relationships with local farms. Use organic produce that hasn’t travelled a million miles. Meat is one of the main contributors to climate change after oil and gas (along with fashion, which also sits near the top) so vegetarian offerings are a way to really reduce your impact. If you choose meat then opt for vegetarian starters and canapés and buy local, organic, free-range meat. If you choose a supplier with the same sustainable morals as you they should already be equipped with these contacts.
Buy a dress with natural fibres, ideally organic and socially responsible. It seemed wrong for me to wear a dress that could have caused another woman to suffer whilst making it, which is why I launched my bridal line, Pearly Whites. Many women in cheap supply chains don’t get paid the living wage and don’t have maternity rights—this doesn't fit with a day that is about complete positivity. One hundred per cent silk is a great option of fibre: it looks luxurious and has minimal impact. Perhaps think of having one made by a local dressmaker too. The most sustainable option is a dress you can wear again!
Buy dresses for your bridesmaids that are sustainable. I am a firm believer in letting everyone express their own personality and style, and so I’d let them choose their own dresses; ones they will wear again. Alternatively, there are also great rental companies now that stock designer products: try Rent the Runway and Panoply.
All the above are suggestions on how to have a beautiful and sustainable wedding. But, at the same time, I am a firm believer in a 70/30 attitude. Don’t ruin your day and miss out on something you feel desperately passionate about, or feel guilty if you don’t meet one of the criteria. If we all did 70 per cent of the above the world would be in a much better place.