Weddings are fantastic – we love them! However, they are notoriously not very sustainable, mostly due to items being only used for one day or single use items. None of us can deny sustainability needs to be at the centre of our actions as we move forward, so we can slow down climate change and reduce damage to the planet – and weddings can be no exception.
Planning a wedding is daunting enough, let alone a sustainable wedding! We believe in small changes making a big difference. If we all make a few simple swaps in some aspects of our weddings, we can have a great impact.
Here are 7 achievable tips which will help the planet. And often, they will save you money!
The easiest change is to buy local – by reducing the carbon footprint of your suppliers and using local suppliers, your wedding will have a much smaller impact on the environment. All our recommended suppliers are local to Oxford, which means they know the area and venue really well, and they can easily travel to your venue.
Using local blooms & British flowers will not only provide you with a gorgeous variety of flowers for your wedding, but also reduces the carbon footprint of your florals massively! British flowers will be available seasonally, which means your flowers will perfectly match the spring/summer/autumnal vibe of your wedding. Green & Gorgeous, one of recommended suppliers, grows all their own flowers in their Oxfordshire fields – they are a great option for local British wedding flowers! Or you could use dried flowers, which can be reused at weddings again and again and again! Check out the photo of a beautiful dried flower arch in Convocation House, which creates a dramatic decoration without affecting the environment.
Confetti shots are a fabulous addition to your wedding, as it involves all your guests in a traditional and not-so-serious communal moment. Paper/single use confetti has been a well known offender have been on the eco-friendly hit list for years, but luckily there are so many beautiful sustainable options. Dried flower petals will biodegrade after they have added a stunning flush of natural colours to your confetti shots. Or why not think outside the box, like our ribbon arch in the photo below – no mess but still everyone is involved in your unforgettable photos!
Whilst there are obvious eco-friendly alternatives to stationery (emails, social media, wedding websites etc), nothing beats the beauty and satisfaction of wedding stationery. We asked Lucca Studios for her expert advice on sustainable stationery and she recommended:
1) Use cardstock made from recycled fibres and if you want foiling, use hot foil – Lucca Studios use compostable, biodegradable & vegan foiling in their designs.
2) For your signage, stay away from Foamex signage and use wood, linen or recycled acrylic. Choose words and designs which you will want to display not only on your wedding day but for years to come.
3) Turn your name cards into favours your guests will cherish – personalised coasters, candles, baubles, the list goes on. Or why not use natural items, such as shells or leaves, as your name cards – check out the below example from a gorgeous Bodleian autumnal wedding!
The wedding dress is the single most wasteful item of the day, as they are often worn once and require natural fabrics and transport to bring them to the wedding day. Second hand dresses (we recommend eBay or Etsy) are a fantastic alternative which has no environmental impact, and will help your wedding budget! Or perhaps you could consider hiring your wedding dress, so it doesn’t end up at the bottom of wardrobe after your wedding.
Consider where your guests are coming from – do most have to fly? Are there good rail connections near your venue? City centre venues like the Bodleian are perfect for reducing your guests carbon footprint, as the good public transport connections mean most guests don’t need to drive. Once you are in a city centre, everything is a short walk away – perfect for a multiple venue wedding!
Your wedding cake will be delicious, so you don’t want there to be forgotten slices at the end of the night – instead serve your cake as your dessert to reduce food waste and save you money! By using vegan ingredients in your wedding cake, you are reducing the environmental impact of your cake – Cakes by Anusha is our fantastic vegan cake recommended supplier. Also use local cake suppliers, to reduce the carbon footprint of your cake.
At the Bodleian, we are making small changes towards a big impact. All our lighting is rechargeable, all furniture and tableware is reusable, we keep paper use at a minimum and our team travel to work on foot or on public transport. We know we’re not perfect, but every year we will continue to work with our suppliers and couples to improve our sustainable practises. After all, we only have one planet!
If you want any more advice on how to reduce your wedding’s carbon footprint and plan a more sustainable day, please get in touch!