Gonzalo Villanueva

February 8, 2024

How to Plan a Sustainable and Ethical Wedding: A Top 10 Guide for Eco-Conscious Couples

My Journal

Weddings are a celebration of love, but they can also be a celebration of sustainability and ethics. As awareness grows about the environmental impact of events, many couples are seeking ways to reduce their wedding’s ecological footprint. Planning a sustainable and ethical wedding doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your vision. In fact, it can lead to a more meaningful and unique celebration. Here’s a guide to creating a beautiful, eco-friendly wedding that reflects your values.

1. Choose a Sustainable Venue

Selecting the right venue can significantly reduce your wedding’s environmental impact. Look for venues that prioritise green practices, such as using renewable energy sources, having a strict no-plastic policy, or responsible waste management. Outdoor venues like botanical gardens, beaches, parklands, and natural reserves are good choices for embracing a more natural setting, but careful planning needs to be developed and implemeneted to ensure proper waste management.

Warning: be wary of wedding venues that green-wash their business by claiming to be ‘environmentally-friendly’ and ‘sustainable’ without explaining how they are sustainable or having any credentials.

2. Eco-Friendly Stationery Choices

Consider the environmental impact of your stationery. For save-the-dates, invitations, and thank-you cards, think digital or choose paper made from alternative, sustainable materials like bamboo, hemp, or recycled post-consumer waste. There are numerous stylish and eco-conscious designs available that can set the tone for your sustainable wedding.

3. Ethical Rings and Jewellery

Your love story deserves to be symbolised by pieces that do no harm. Seek out wedding rings crafted from recycled metals and adorned with conflict-free or lab-grown diamonds. Many jewellers now focus on creating beautiful, sustainable pieces, so ethical rings are now fairly easy to seek out. Smaller jewellers working from their own studio can also custom make rings for you.

4. Have a Plant-Based Wedding

Opting for a plant-based, vegan wedding menu offers a plethora of benefits, serving as a testament to compassion, sustainability, and health. This the best way to minimise carbon emissions and avoid harming animals. Vegan cuisine can be incredibly diverse and flavourful, offering an opportunity to surprise and delight guests with creative, delicious dishes that may challenge preconceptions about vegan food. Health-wise, a plant-based menu can cater to a variety of dietary preferences and restrictions, ensuring that all guests can indulge freely and joyfully. There are a number of plant-based catering vendors in Melbourne, including: Vegilicious, Plant-Rich Catering, and Artizan Kitchen. Many other conventional wedding catering business will also make you a plant-based menu. Ask vendors to source local, seasonal fruits and vegetables for you. By choosing a vegan wedding, couples can align their special day with values of environmental stewardship, compassion, and inclusivity, making their celebration not only memorable but meaningful on multiple levels.

5. Use Native Flowers

Use Australian native flowers. By choosing native species from a local florist, you’re supporting the Australian flora and fauna, enhancing biodiversity. Australian native and wildflowers are grown in their natural habitat, which means they require less water, pesticides, and fertilisers than commercially grown flowers. Native flowers can offer unique and locally inspired themes for your wedding, making it stand out and feel more personalised.

6. Use Sustainable Wedding Attire

Explore op shops or vintage stores, which are treasure troves for wedding dresses and suits. If you’re looking to buy something new, explore the range of ethical dress designers. Brands like Pure Magnolia, Wear You Love, and Grace Loves Lace specialise in designing sustainable wedding gowns. Finally, renting attire for the wedding party can also be a chic and eco-friendly choice.

Image by Pure Magnolia

7. Promote Eco-Friendly Transportation

Encourage guests to carpool or provide eco-friendly group transportation options. Choosing a venue accessible by public transport can also significantly reduce the carbon footprint of your wedding. Consider hiring an electrical car as your wedding car.

8. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Plan your wedding with waste reduction in mind. From compostable dishware to recycling stations at your venue, every little bit helps in minimising waste. Be mindful of food waste as well, choosing a caterer who can provide accurate meal planning. Favour gifts that are useful, ethical, and environmentally friendly. Seed packets, small potted plants, or donations to a charity on behalf of your guests are meaningful options that reflect a commitment to sustainability.

9. Have a Smaller Wedding

Opting for a smaller wedding can be one of the most significant steps a couple can take toward minimising their celebration’s environmental footprint while maximising the meaning and warmth of their special day. Fewer guests mean less food, fewer decorations, and a smaller venue, all of which contribute to a significant decrease in the consumption of materials and energy. This not only lessens waste but also reduces the carbon emissions associated with food production, transportation, and the use of energy in larger spaces. The cost of weddings can be significant, and by reducing the guest list, couples can alleviate some of the financial pressures associated with their big day.

10. Offset Your Wedding’s Carbon Footprint

Finally, consider offsetting the carbon footprint of your wedding. This can be done by investing in carbon offset projects, such as tree planting or renewable energy initiatives. It’s a small but meaningful way to contribute positively to the environment.

Planning a sustainable wedding is a beautiful way to start your journey together on a positive note. By making mindful choices, you can celebrate your love and your commitment to the planet without sacrificing style or personal touch. Remember, every step towards sustainability makes a difference. Happy planning!

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