07:06 Friday 12 October 2012

Planning with the environment in mind

Written byJulie Dawson

This week I thought I might give a little insight into planning your wedding from a 'greener' perspective. Check out some of the key areas where you can do your bit for the environment and to help local businesses.

Weddings cost a vast amount of money and I am finding that many couples are beginning to be more DIY orientated. Whether that is a conscious effort to be greener I am not sure. I have to admit that not many of my clients have had a large emphasis on being green. What I do think they are tending to do is to try and use local suppliers that can deliver reliable and quality services. This does help small businesses and in turn cut down on the delivery and importing of goods.

For couples planning a greener wedding, the most obvious thing might be transport. What are the options for couples and their guests when the venue isn’t quite within walking distance?

How about using the old-fashioned horse and carriage to take you in style to your reception? Check out this website.


If you want something more trendy how about a rickshaw! Information about them can be read by clicking here. It is a very unusual way to arrive and quite quirky if you want something different and do your bit for the environment. I would not advocate travelling very far with this but it is a great method if it is just out of walking distance.

If you have many guests who need to use their car how about organising a coach? In Brighton you can hire a coach that runs on waste cooking oil. A company called The Big Lemon will tell you all about it.

Eco-friendly catering?

As mentioned previously I think using local caterers who source food grown and produced locally is a big help. Many caterers try and source organic produce from local farmers. A company who tries hard at this is Fiona Herbert Catering Company. Their website clearly states that they want to produce food with top quality home grown produce and they have an excellent reputation.

If you are marrying on the coast then ensuring your menu has freshly caught fish from the area is a great idea. Try to use vegetables that are in season and don’t need to be imported. Years ago our mothers always cooked seasonal dishes that were just right for the time of year and used the ingredients that were available readily in the UK.

What about the smaller details of the wedding such as favours, confetti, stationery and flowers?

If you are organising a DIY wedding in the summer and like many couples are having a garden wedding, there are lots of things you can do to help the environment. I have seen re-usage of glass jam jars to hold wild flowers grouped in different sizes and shapes for table centrepieces. Your parents may be keen gardeners and growing your own flowers and even some vegetables can really contribute to the cause. What better way of saving on cost too. A cottage garden grows very fast so the flowers are not hard to yield.

You can make your own favours; things like homemade fudge and chocolate truffles using natural and fair trade ingredients will help you do your bit. If you are a little bit stuck on how to start with an eco-friendly wedding there is a great website you can go to which gives advice on how to be eco-friendly and also lists a supplier directory.

The company is called Eco Friendly Weddings. Their suppliers all use fair trade products. Stationery for instance is produced from trees that shed bark twice a year. You can also use companies that produce stationery from recycled paper.

Ethical tips for brides in other areas of the wedding. These could include beauty, attire, jewellery, venues, and honeymoons.

Regarding jewellery you can start right from the beginning. How about sourcing your engagement ring from a company that only produces jewellery that is conflict free and is producing their jewellery in a socially and environmentally responsible way. Try this website; you won’t compromise on style and the cost is still comparative with mainstream jewellers.

From a wedding dress perspective what better way than to wear a dress that has been worn before? It is a great way to recycle and save on costs. Most wedding dresses are undamaged and just need cleaning. Alternatively you can look for designers who use natural organic fair trade materials that have not been subjected to environmentally harmful chemicals.

Table décor can double up as favours. How about using lovely plants as centrepieces then let your guests take them home at the end of the night. Even better if you have grown them yourself or your dad is a keen gardener. I like the idea of having a tower of cup cakes in the middle of the table, made from organic ingredients of course, then giving them to your guests as desert, décor and favours!


Another lovely idea is to give tree seedlings as favours. Two companies that are very good are Arbour Day Foundation and Tree in a Box.

Using organic honey in recycled jam jars with homemade labels is another lovely touch depending on your theme. 

Regarding venues for holding your reception, you can think of using places like beaches, garden parks and your own garden of course. Thinking of the ceremony many churches have an eco policy and require little decoration reducing your footprint even more.

Having a honeymoon in the UK in a top-notch hideaway will reduce your carbon footprint/ Or you could go to Europe instead of long haul destinations.

Charity gift lists are a great option for newlyweds.

A good idea is to use a charity gift list. John Lewis and Debenhams do this. Your guests can donate what they like and the money is divided up into ten charities that your guests dictate.

I also think Oxfam do sterling work and recently I went to a Red Cross luncheon to speak and found out about the brilliant work they are doing in third world companies. Closer to home you can donate to Breast Cancer which is a very worthy cause.

I hope this has given you some insight into how you can plan a greener wedding.

Until next time, happy planning.

Written by Julie Dawson - The Wedding Genie

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