As consumers are becoming more and more aware off our natural environment’s plight, there is a massive shift towards more sustainable and responsible practices. And weddings are no exception. Stripes is so happy to hear this! All this wasting of natural resources and leaving the planet in a terrible state is playing with her lunch and you do not want a hangry zebra!
If you are getting married in 2020, consider incorporating a few (or all) of these ideas to help make your nuptials a bit more earth-conscious, and you a lot greener and happier.
- Say no to disposables and single-use items
Ditch the straws, umbrellas and other decors usually reserved for after-ceremony drinks and special cocktails. Decorate your glasses with bamboo-skewered fruit sticks or the rim with salt/sugar. Opt for ceramic plates and bowls, real glass glasses and metal cutlery. Frankly, you can use whatever you like as long as it ticks the “this can be used again and again” box. Say no to paper serviettes, choosing cloth napkins, table cloths and runners instead. And ditch the balloons! If you want to have a flower wall, why not make a make-shift one with potted plants or go for a vertical garden?
- Keep it local and seasonal
This applies to the food, the flowers, and even the drinks. Not only will you save money, you also help save the planet. Choose caterers and florists who support this honourable goal, and have the guts to say no when a suggestion does not prescribe to these requirements. It is your day after all.
- Be smart with your decor
Choose decor that can be borrowed or hired, or at the least re-used in your home after the wedding. That goes for everything from table cloths to charger plates, centrepieces and lighting. If you just have to have those lanterns, arrange beforehand that a few select guests may take them home as a thank you gift – nobody wants to be left with 30 lanterns to store!
- Consider the menu
Steering more towards a vegetarian menu will not only save you money but keep your earth impact a bit lower. If a vegetarian menu just won’t cut it, then at least keep the menu simple. Restrict it to a single starter, main course and wedding cake as dessert. This will keep your waste down. To further lower food waste, consider a plated meal with only one protein. Guests waste less food when plated versus having a buffet meal where they can dish as much as their eyes and plates will allow.
- Keep it close to home – choose your location with intent
By choosing a venue that is close for most of the guests you cut down on travel, which saves fuel-miles. You can also encourage guests who live close to each other to carpool. Further, pick a venue that has the ceremony and reception areas on the same property, which again means guests do not have to travel extensively.
- Rethink your florals and avoid floral foam (oasis)
When picking out your flowers, choose local and seasonal blooms and substitute with as much greenery and foliage as possible. Luckily for you, one of the floral trends for 2020 is using potted plants and dried grasses as part of your decor! If you do decide to go for fresh blooms, ask your florist to place them in glass bottles or vases and not the floral foam commonly used. These oases are single-use items that cannot be broken down in a landfill nor can they be recycled.
- Forego the gifts for a worthy cause
Instead of receiving wedding gifts (how many fondue pots can you have?) and setting up a gift registry, rather ask your guests to make a donation to a worthy cause, in your name. You can also do the reverse, where instead of you giving the guests favours you make a donation to a cause.
- Go plastic-free
Ask the venue if they use black plastic bin bags, your caterers if they use glad wrap, etc. and if they will be open to the idea of not using those items for your wedding. Give them viable alternatives. For the ceremony, leave the plastic containers of soap for bubbles, straws, or any other plastic item that either won’t be missed or can easily be substituted with something else.
- Re-use and repurpose
Incorporate things that you already have as part of your decor. This will make the day more special and more sentimental in any case. Furthermore, choose items that can be used afterwards, such as your wedding shoes – choose shoes that you can wear again. Even your dress – choose a dress that you can either sell afterwards (if you don’t hire it to begin with) or repurpose for something else. Some brides turn their wedding dress into scatter pillows or clothes for their first child.
- Vintage is a game-changer
Not only for dresses and other clothes, but even for things like table cloths, cutlery and crockery, decor, etc. By buying second hand and loving as if new, you keep these items out of the landfill. You give them new meaning and purpose by incorporating them into your love story.
- Recycle and dispose of smartly
Encourage the venue and your guests to recycle, even during the wedding. Place special bins for glass, tin, wet waste, etc. and make sure there are clear signs explaining the difference. Ask your caterer to not throw food waste away, but rather donate it to a worthy cause such as shelters, old-age homes or soup kitchens.
- Keep your numbers small
The fewer guests you have the less money you give out, the less environmental impact you have. So keep your guest list small, your pocket and planet will thank you.
- The bridal party
Firstly, keep your bridal party small. Secondly, allow them to choose their own clothes. You can give guidelines such as style and colour, but then leave it up to them. In this way they can choose things that they will wear again, meaning less waste. Keep the hair and makeup look natural and effort-free, meaning less makeup and product. And for the makeup and product – choose local, natural and organic as far as possible!
- Keep it digital
Your save-the-date, invite, thank you card, gift registry, and more. All can be done digitally, with even more bells and whistles than if you had your stationery printed. If you do want to print stationery, do so on recycled paper or even support companies such as Growing Paper who prints on paper containing seeds – so you can plant the paper and grow a garden!
- Hire instead of buying
Dresses, decor, cutlery, crockery, glassware. If you can hire it instead of buying then do so! Most often it will work out a fraction of the cost, and you don’t have to wonder what you will do with the items afterwards.
- Use candles instead of electricity
Opt for natural soy-based candles instead of harsh electrical lights. If you do go for conventional lighting, choose eco-friendly bulbs and only turn on the lights once it is dark.
- Rethink confetti
Choose more natural options such as dried veld flowers, local seeds or even small shapes cut out of dried leaves. Using things such as rice and popcorn can be detrimental to wildlife, so if you are getting married somewhere where birds or other wildlife will have access, stick to less harmful options.
- Don’t trash the dress
And Stripes last piece of green advice? Don’t do a trash the dress shoot. Rather sell/donate your dress to someone who will get just as much value out of it as you did.
Those are Stripes’ tips, hope you find them useful!