10 Top Tips & Tricks to Host a Zero-Waste Wedding

Published by Claire Gould on

A guest article by our friends at Truly Experiences with images by Damien Vickers Photography from Nicola & George’s DIY wedding at home

The average wedding emits the same amount of CO2 as 4-5 people would in an entire year. If you add to that the hundreds of pounds of waste produced, to say that most weddings are not eco-friendly is an understatement.

Luckily, there are ways to keep the carbon emissions and waste from your wedding at a bare minimum. If you follow these tips for an (almost) zero-waste wedding, you can get married in style without harming the planet.

Keep It Local

Destination weddings were once all the rage, but flying all your friends and family across the world to see you tie the knot is simply not feasible if you want your wedding to have a low ecological impact.

Instead, keep your wedding local – though exotic climes may be tempting, there are so many magical wedding venues right on your doorstep. You can even extend this idea to your honeymoon too.

Keep It Small

With more and more people embracing the micro wedding, you might just be waiting for an excuse to keep the guest list limited to your nearest and dearest.

Limiting attendees to only those who are really important to you can minimize stress and make the day into a really special one.

Something Old

The fashion industry accounts for approximately 10% of global carbon emissions. Instead of spending a fortune on a dress or outfit you will only wear once, why not go vintage? There is no better way to keep it sustainable while at the same time honoring the past and embracing the timeless elegance of “granny chic”. And you can always have outfits altered to be a better fit, both size and style-wise.

Embracing vintage chic can go beyond just your outfits and your bridesmaids’ dresses. The current trend for vintage-style maximalism is a great opportunity to go hunting in junk shops and antique stores for décor inspiration. Repurposing second-hand items in new ways will give your wedding the elegance of the past combined with a quirky edge. So bring out your grandmother’s old doilies for place settings and teacups for champagne.

Something Borrowed

Wherever you can, hire instead of buy. Often, things like tables, chairs and crockery come with a venue, but if not, there are lots of places where you can hire beautiful wedding goods. Note that hiring from many different places means more CO2 emissions in the form of transport vehicles, so the more you can get from the venue or from one place, the better.

These days, there are even lots of options for hiring beautiful wedding gowns and stylish suits. If you think about it, it doesn’t make much sense to buy something you will only wear once. Another more sustainable option when it comes to wardrobe is to go a more casual route and buy a cute and funky outfit you will easily wear again.

Paperless Wedding Invitations

In all likelihood, you were planning to get in contact with guests via email or other digital communication anyway, which renders paper invitations not strictly necessary. But you can still make your invites beautiful and special by using an E-invitations service.

If you are set on paper invites, go for recyclable/compostable paper or something more sustainable like bamboo. One way to make your invitations extra-special is to use seeded paper that will grow into flowers if planted! Just make sure your guests know what they are supposed to do with their invites.

Look Into Zero-Waste Beauty Products

These days, more and more cosmetic companies are committed to being zero waste. Researching which brands are legitimately sustainable will take some time, but voting with your wallet is an important way to let brands know that consumers care about sustainability.

If you are hiring a professional makeup artist or hairstylist, contact them beforehand and let them know you’d like to eliminate as much waste from the process as possible and only want to use sustainable brands. If they say it is impossible, they may not be the right fit for you.
But there are certainly lots of professionals out there who will take up the zero-waste challenge. Who knows, you may even change their practices long term.

Find A Venue That Shares Your Values

When looking into venues, make a commitment to sustainability one of your top priorities. Find a place with its recycling and composting system, and one that already has its own wedding goods and décor. Ask them about how they keep their energy use low and minimize waste.
You should be able to tell by how they respond whether they are truly committed to sustainability or just paying lip service. When it comes to venues, it is important to feel that the place you choose reflects your values and takes your concerns seriously.

Choose Reusable Or Compostable Goods

There are many little things at weddings that can add up to a mountain of rubbish. From programs to menus to serviettes to drinks bottles, it’s easy to see how those kilograms of waste add up.

Wherever you can, choose options that are recyclable or compostable, and make sure you have clearly marked bins, so your guests know what goes where. Also, skip the bottled water for jugs of filtered water at your hydration station.

Stay Local & In-Season

When designing your menu, go for ingredients that are grown locally and are in season. This way, you can minimize carbon emissions while supporting local farmers. In-season produce is always the most delicious anyway.

If you really want to keep emissions low, consider a plant-based or meat-free menu.

If you are using a caterer, try to find one committed to sustainability, or talk to them beforehand to get them on board. It’s also a good idea to do research into sustainable wines or talk to your drinks supplier to make sure you are supporting brands that share your zero-waste ambitions.

That Goes For Flowers Too

There is a wealth of gorgeous flora that grows naturally right here in the UK. Talk to your florist to make sure all your flowers are grown locally and sustainably. You could even go for dried flowers for an autumnal, cottage-core aesthetic.

Attempting a zero-waste wedding does take a little more effort, but it’s not as hard as you might think. Your guests will admire your commitment and you may even inspire others to pursue a zero-waste wedding and lifestyle!


Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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