How to Have an Eco-Friendly Destination Wedding

Published by Claire Gould on

A guest article by Cora Gold at Revivalist Magazine. Header image by French wedding photographer Joanne Rabenarisoa (inspiration shoot & full credits here)

Destination weddings can feel like a fairytale, but they can take a heavy toll on the environment. If you’ve always dreamed of getting married in a magical, faraway place, is it possible to achieve your vision without harming the planet? Here are some suggestions for planning an eco-friendly destination wedding. 

1. Keep Your Guest List Tiny

People often assume that weddings are large events, but small, intimate affairs have much less of an environmental impact. If your venue requires guests to travel, having few invitees will reduce the amount of carbon emissions produced through travel. You may even choose to have only your parents, or just one person to serve as a witness.

Martin Dabek Photography – real wedding in Portugal here

2. Stay Close to Home

While some couples choose to jetset across the globe for an extravagant wedding, it’s really not necessary. Choosing a no-fly destination wedding will keep your CO2 emissions to a minimum. The Lake District, Wales, Scotland and anywhere in the U.K. countryside will be a beautiful backdrop for your wedding – without needing to get on a plane. 

3. Find an Eco-Friendly Venue

Once you decide which region you want to have your wedding, look into finding an eco-friendly venue. There are many venues throughout the U.K. that prioritize sustainability, like Folly Farm Centre in Somerset or Borthwick Castle in Scotland. These venues, and more, have committed to reducing their carbon footprint and hosting events that produce less waste than the typical wedding venue.

4. If You Do Go Abroad, Find Sustainable Lodging

If you choose a venue that doesn’t have accommodation, you’ll also want to look for a sustainable hotel option. Your best options will be ones closest to your venue, to minimize travel between them. A sustainable hotel may also feature green architectural details like heat-resistant windows or rainwater recycling equipment, as well as renewable energy sources and low-waste practices. 

5. Connect With Local Vendors

For any extra elements, like catering or flowers, try to find local vendors in the region you choose. This will cut down on CO2 emission from transportation. For example, you might have a favourite bakery in London that you would love to have bake your wedding cake, but transporting that cake from the city to the countryside would create unnecessary waste. Instead, see what options your venue offers nearby, or simply skip the unnecessary elements if they’re going to cause too much harm. 

6. Break Unsustainable Wedding Traditions

Decorating with traditional flower arrangements or disposable table settings creates a lot of waste. Digital wedding invitations are better for the environment and a great way to save money. And while you might think of flowers, confetti or balloons as traditional wedding decor, none of it is essential to have the perfect wedding day. Consider creating new eco-friendly traditions for your wedding – like letting the beauty of your venue be all the decor you need. Instead of a typical wedding cake or a large catered meal, simply enjoy a small meal at a local restaurant to cut down on food waste. 

7. Remember Your Exit

At the end of the wedding ceremony, many couples like to have a dramatic exit. Whether it be confetti, balloons or a getaway car, this tradition often comes with waste. If you want to enjoy the tradition without the negative impact, choose an eco-friendly alternative. Flower petals or bird seed can replace confetti as biodegradable options. And instead of a getaway car, why not simply walk off into the sunset at your stunning destination as the perfect photo opp. 

8. Wear Eco-Conscious Wedding Clothes

Wedding clothes are another critical aspect to remember when planning a sustainable wedding. You can look for eco-friendly dress designers, and there are plenty of suit options with sustainable fabric. Couples on a budget could also buy from brands with eco-friendly mission statements or secondhand clothes to keep them out of landfills. You can even wear something you already own, which is the most sustainable option.  

Plan Your Eco-Friendly Destination Wedding

Traditional destination weddings can produce a lot of waste, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan the event you’ve been dreaming of without the environmental harm. There are plenty of options for couples to have an eco-friendly destination wedding. Celebrate your love for each other and the planet with these tips. 


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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