Want to Consider the Environment in Your Wedding? Us Too!
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that weddings can have a really big environmental impact. From the carbon footprint of your guests travelling, to your dress and the outfits for the bridal party, as well the potential waste of leftover food and florals… it all adds up.
More and more couples are finding they can’t ignore this and, here at Wonderlands, so are we. We are all becoming increasingly environmentally conscious and many people who work with me are passionate about taking steps to reduce their impact as much as they can.
Which I love doing too!
Showing love and respect for our magnificent planet runs through everything I do at Wonderlands. As so much of my work is inspired by the earthly beauty I see around me, a passion for creating more sustainable events is really woven into our core values.
If you want to create a wedding day which is a little kinder to our world, the happy news is that it’s getting easier and easier to do this, with more planet-friendly options and environmentally savvy suppliers.
Having worked on lots of eco-conscious weddings, I thought I’d share some of my tips and ideas with you, to help make your special day as sustainable as possible.
Don’t buy it if you can hire it!
The trick here is to use a stylist or hire company that has lots of items in stock and which are constantly being re-used in different ways. This dramatically reduces the footprint of your wedding, knowing that these lovely items will be used again and again and again.
When you work with Wonderlands, you get full access to my treasure trove of props and decor pieces - an easy and environmentally conscious way to make your wedding look amazing.
Sophie and Dean’s wedding, pictured in this blog, was a very sustainable wedding, especially in terms of the decor. We used reusable plates, cutlery, glassware, second hand hired candle holders and vases, reusable fabric napkins, locally grown flowers and potted plants and the taper candles I had left over from a photo shoot.
If you want to make or source decorations yourself, think about looking from second-hand stores and making decorations from paper, for example paper tassels and pom poms.
All of these efforts will certainly amount to your wedding decor being a lot more sustainable.
When it comes to your florals, think about whether you can get hold of locally sourced flowers. Working with seasonal blooms that haven’t been forced or grown out of season is a great choice, as it avoids flowers that have been flown half way around the world.
When we have so many amazing independent flower farmers in the UK and even Jersey, it seems tragic not to support this more sustainable option.
Speak to your florist about foam free florals too. Did you know the floral foam that some florists use as a base to hold flowers in place, is non-biodegradable and it crumbles into tiny micro-plastics that end up in the water. It also contains chemicals such as formaldehyde… Yikes!! Awful, right?
Luckily more and more florists are going foam free. You can do just as beautiful arrangements with foam free floristry and it can even give a more natural looking style so there really is no need to use foam in your wedding flowers.
Make sure to find a florist that can commit to going foam free to keep your wedding away from adding to the microplastics in our oceans.
You can also use potted plants as an alternative to fresh flowers, which is more environmentally friendly (or a combination of the two).
Sophie and Dean used a mix of potted plants and locally grown flowers, which we styled elegantly in macrame plant hangers and jars from the Wonderlands collection.
If you want to go all out on the florals (and I can’t blame you if you do!), but don’t want them to be wasted afterwards, you can always gift some to your guests to take home or gift them to a local care home or hospice. The lovely thing about this option is that it’ll spread the joy from your special day even further.
Natural confetti is another win-win for lowering the environmental impact of your wedding. Using lavender, rose petals, fresh herbs, and a mix of micro flowers means no extra waste and gives a cascade of stunning colors in the exit toss!
They're also so beautiful to look at, they can be displayed in pretty glass containers and become a decor piece in their own right. So much to love about that!
Think about hiring groom and ushers suits instead of buying new ones, or allow the ushers to wear suits they already own. It’s often possible to find matching suits, so all the ushers look the part, if you’re happy to spend a bit of time hunting!
If it’s important that your bridal party be fully coordinated with your theme and each other, then it’s certainly true that the easiest way to achieve this is to buy new outfits, especially when it comes to the bridesmaids dresses. If this is the case for you, make sure your bridal party get outfits they will want to wear again!
One great way to do this is to let them choose their own outfit, as long as it goes with your colorscheme. Choose a designer or shop that does a range of outfits in the colour(s) you want and let the bridal party choose the one they feel great in! If they feel fabulous in it, they will wear it again!
Now what to do about the wedding dress….
It’s no question that the idea of having a dress that will only be worn once is far from the ideal scenario when it comes to sustainability! However I’m certainly not going to judge you for wanting the perfect dress!
Buying a vintage wedding dress is a great solution to this conundrum and a source of guilt-free glamour! Or, if you can’t find what you want secondhand (not everyone can, I know), another answer can be to choose a dress that can be adapted for continued wear.
One bride I worked with chose a dress that she thought would look great dyed and shortened, giving her a beautiful summer dress she can wear again and again - reliving her wedding memories again and again at the same time!
Another of my recent clients, Sophie, went for a non-white dress she could also wear again. She’s a photographer and she now uses her wedding dress as part of her wardrobe collection for shoots. I thought this was an ingenious way to get lots of use out of this special dress! She also chose a floral headpiece that was dried so she can enjoy wearing it at other great occasions as well.
4. What to eat & drink
Delicious as it is, sadly food and drink can be an area which often has the highest carbon footprint at a wedding, so here are a few ways to reduce that...
Say no to disposable and instead hire reusable cutlery, plates and glassware, this can be achieved even with a food truck wedding.
Support local suppliers and find a caterer who uses locally sourced and/or ethically sourced produce. Look for lovely organic or local wines. One couple I worked with even chose to serve their guests beers, which was made by a social enterprise from surplus bread! I thought that was very cool.
Consider donating any leftover food to reduce food waste. Some community groups will gratefully receive it and be able to distribute it to people who are truly thankful!
5. Gifts & Favours
Lots of conscious couples like to suggest that guests can make a charitable donation instead of bringing them gifts, which is a lovely and generous idea as well as an environmentally-conscious one.
If you want to give your guests wedding favours, can you think of some reusable or edible options, rather than giving gifts that may end up never being used or in the bin.
Some of my friends gave their guests wildflower seeds, which I thought was superb! Again, it was a way for the wedding memories to live on as well.
I love working with couples who want to design a wedding that’s low on impact but doesn’t skimp on the dazzle factor.
If you’d like to have a chat about whether Wonderlands can help you design your dream day in a sustainable and conscious way, then please get in touch.
Images from Sophie & Dean's Wedding Day
Decor & styling : Wonderlands
Photography : Robbie Dark
Grazing board : Barrow at the Manor
Doughnuts : Holy Dough
Location : Samares Manor