Sustainability: Weddings & Planet

Published by Claire Gould on

We love weddings! We’re excited for all of you lovely people out there planning your weddings. Enjoy the adventure… and along the way, let’s do our very best to reduce weddings’ impact on the world around us.

As joyful as they are, weddings can be big, expensive, wasteful and stressful events. Much of the wedding media is focused on things to buy for weddings – and we want to change that.

A wedding is a happy celebration with origins as old as time: humans have been falling in love since we got here.

Weddings are a thing we invented.

They’re optional.

(You don’t have to have a wedding to get married.)

(You don’t have to get married to spend your life with the person you love.)

Weddings don’t have to cost a penny.

And weddings can be anything you want them to be: a celebration of love doesn’t need to follow traditions.

Let’s make some new, planet-loving wedding traditions!

Real Wedding in Norfolk by Damien Vickers Photography-1

Real Wedding in Norfolk by Damien Vickers Photographyfind out more

Weddings are an opportunity to consider love for the earth.

Modern day weddings don’t need to lean towards consumerism.

A wedding shouldn’t be all about ‘things’, but about focusing on what’s truly important.

  1. Weddings generate a huge carbon footprint
  2. They create waste with single-use purchases – check the facts at 77 Diamonds’ Full Guide to a Sustainable Wedding
  3. They’re portrayed as high-spending events (and we fall for the hype)

We’d love to see more plastic-free weddings.

There are little choices we can all make around wedding planning. Little swaps like plastic-free favours or choosing ethical suppliers.

There are even ways to offset the carbon footprint of your wedding.

We’re not here to dictate what you ‘should’ do, or to judge you. We’re all doing our best, and reading this is enough. Thank you.

If you can make your wedding more sustainable, we think you’re pretty amazing.

Some quick tips and amazing swaps for a planet-friendly wedding

  • instead of a big ‘do’, choose a cosy micro wedding
  • instead of long journeys, find a venue close to home
  • instead of imported flowers, use a local grower-florist or grow your own
  • look for ethical caterers
  • have a charity gift list
  • give back to your community

If you’d love to have a more sustainable wedding, the best starting point for your eco friendly plans is with a completely blank slate.

  1. venue hire
  2. photography
  3. food and drink
  4. new outfits
  5. decoration

We know this is almost revolutionary (at least in the world of the wedding media) – but it’s true. There is NOTHING you have to have, to have a wedding.

A brief history: weddings and consumerism

Weddings haven’t always been this expensive.

Oh, and by the way: this is an alternative history which you won’t find on Wikipedia.

Modern western society has changed astonishingly fast in the last century. People have changed: we own a LOT of stuff.

Imagine just before the First World War. People worked hard, on farms and in factories, and earned little. They had houses, but they didn’t have TVs or phones or department stores. They grew their own food, made their own clothes, made just enough money to get by and often went hungry.

It really wasn’t so long ago.

Now, we all have Netflix and laptops and iPhones. We buy new clothes all the time. We spend our money on scented candles and flavoured gin. We fly abroad. We visit restaurants. We have savings and spa days, and cars and more than two pairs of shoes each.

Many of us live a very privileged life, and our weddings have changed with the times to reflect that.

Brides in the early 20th century didn’t go to a boutique and choose a £1,000 dress. They’d make their own from what they could afford, or they’d borrow, or wear their Sunday best.

Grooms wouldn’t hire a suit for the day. They’d wear their best one, and that was fine.

No one spent hundreds of pounds on flowers or cakes. Driving out to a grand old country house was beyond aspirational for most people. They’d have a church ceremony and a couple of group photos outside, and a modest reception if they had one at all.

Ask yourself a question: was there anything ‘wrong’ with the way your great grandparents got married?

It actually all sounds really lovely, doesn’t it.

And the impact on the planet of the wedding I’ve just described? Tiny, beautiful – and so much better than the harm we create with weddings in the 2020s.

Take a step back from the wedding media today.

Ask yourself what your wedding needs to be, and why. Talk about it between the two of you.

Your wedding can be anything you want it to be, and you can choose to spend as much or as little as you can afford.

Focus on what’s important to you both.

Create something beautiful.

And think of all the big and little things you can do, to make the world a better place.


Making weddings sustainable is important to us at English Wedding.

We’ll be sharing a whole bunch of articles to help you make your wedding better for the planet.

Follow us on Instagram so you don’t miss a thing!

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 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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