Eco-friendly confetti. Picture: Instagram.
Eco-friendly confetti. Picture: Instagram.

How to plan an eco-friendly wedding

By Sacha van Niekerk Time of article published Jul 27, 2021

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Weddings are beautiful events, but they can also be so wasteful when you consider the flowers tossed in the bin, wear-once outfits, and excess food and drink no one would ever be able to finish.

If you’re in the midst of your wedding plans, consider ways you can be more environmentally friendly.

From the invites right down to the decor, every element can be given some thought to helping prevent unnecessary waste.

8 tips for planning and eco-friendly wedding:

Sustainable bouquets

Flowers are a must at any celebration as they offer so much beauty and colour, not even the finest decor could compete.

However, as pretty as they are, these fragile plants require a lot of resources to grow into the beautiful blooms you see in bridal bouquets and centrepieces.

A lot of water, pesticides, constant refrigeration and special transportation is necessary to preserve their appearance which will still only last a few days.

Thus, many brides are choosing dried floral arrangements for their bouquets.

Dried flowers simply need a dark room to hang, thereafter they’ll look stunning for months to come.

Pre-loved wedding dress

Most wedding dresses are made with the finest materials and sewn together by talented seamstresses.

Nevertheless, they are a “wear once” purchase that will inevitably be resigned to the back of your closet only to be looked at on the odd occasion.

And for how much they cost, most people just do not seem to believe they’re worth it.

The solution is to buy a pre-loved wedding dress.

From online advertisements to shops that rent out exquisite dresses, there are so many resources available to help you pick a dress you’ll love.

Biodegradable confetti

Confetti is a lot of fun to throw and it makes for some of the most magical pictures at weddings.

But, it’s so messy and impossible to clean up, which is rather dangerous considering the bits and pieces are usually made out of coloured plastic or dyed paper, which are harmful to the environment and its animals.

As a substitute, dried rose petals upcycled from previous weddings and functions, rice, leaves and anything else that comes from the earth would do the trick.

Keep it local

While you may have always dreamt of having salmon imported from Norway and gelato shipped straight from Italy at your wedding, it is far more eco-friendly to keep things local.

Small farms and artisanal shops are oftentimes more ethically run, will require less transportation and refrigeration and will inevitably provide the freshest, most nutritious foods for your catering.

The idea of ‘farm to table’ also means that there will be no need for unnecessary plastic packaging that will end up in landfills.

Keep it seasonal

Keeping the season in mind when picking a wedding date is of utmost importance, particularly when it comes to choosing food and flowers for the big day.

Any food not in season at that time of year will have to be imported, and any flowers out of season will be grown using chemical aids or be refrigerated and transported.

To overcome this, choose local vendors and speak to your venue, caterers and florist about what products they would recommend for the time of year.

Wash up stations

According to Earth 911, beverage companies like Coca Cola, Nestle, and Pepsi Co are some of the largest plastic polluters in the world.

Soft drinks, mixers and alcoholic beverages come in aluminium cans and either plastic or glass bottles.

To combat this unnecessary waste, have drinks served on tap from beer and soda fountains, like the ones at the convenience store.

Otherwise, opt for glass bottles wherever possible.

The trend of having a rinse station for guests to use after each drink as well as their glass as a keepsake for the night is also very popular.

E-vites

Sending out wedding invites for 200 odd people is not only costly but it’s also wasteful.

Rather send out virtual invitations to your guests that will include all the necessary information.

If you’d still like to have a few invites to treasure as a keepsake, have a handful printed for special guests – like those in the wedding party – and send those out.

Donate

Leftover flowers and food should never go to waste.

After guests and staff on the premises have all been well fed, consider having them box us meals for guests to take home or donate to a shelter in need (arrange this beforehand).

Flowers can also be donated to local hospitals and children’s homes.

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