As wedding season picks up momentum, we consider the most effective ways to plan a day that’s special without the guilty conscience.
Sustainable wedding invitations
The invites are your first chance to make an impression on your guests and to set the tone for the day ahead so if sustainability is important to you, consider digital or biodegradable options to save on paper.
Seeded invites are a tangible alternative to email, a beautiful sentiment and a thoughtful gift, too. Look for companies who use recycled paper embedded with seeds that can be planted back in the earth. The ‘invites’ will continue to flower in the homes of your guests for years to come, acting as a reminder of your day and reducing your carbon footprint all at once.
Environmentally-friendly wedding dress
As we become ever-more aware of the fashion industry’s detrimental impact on the environment, designers – from emerging talent to established high-street retailers – are reacting. Veja’s vegan leather trainers, Monki’s sustainable denim collection and RILEY Studio’s activewear have our everyday wardrobes covered but when it comes to choosing the perfect wedding dress, there are sustainable ways to shop, too.
Vintage and second-hand gowns are a popular and cost-effective choice, as are trunk shows and sample sales, but if you don’t want to wear something pre-loved, Vogue-approved US label, Mimi Prober might be the designer for you. She works with the Isha Foundation and Sadhguru, which champions natural dyeing processes as well as ancient craft techniques. Her studio team also finds ways to use every single piece of fabric, applique and lace, if not as part of a wedding dress then to add texture to handmade gift cards.
For the more contemporary bride, eco-conscious ready-to-wear label, Mother of Pearl has launched a wedding collection, as has H&M Conscious. Extend the lifespan of the dress yourself – less traditional designs lend themselves well to alterations post-wedding and can work for more low-key events, too.
Farm-to-table eco-conscious wedding menus
The farm-to-table movement is gaining momentum and as such, venues and caterers are becoming better equipped to offer eco-conscious menus with many working with organic, local and Fairtrade farmers as part of their ethos. Look for businesses that source locally and choose seasonal ingredients to design dishes that don’t compromise on flavour or the environment.
Vegetarian and vegan dishes are always a more environmentally friendly choice but if a fully vegetarian food list is out of your comfort zone, consider making at least the starters and desert options meat-free.
Centrepieces don’t have to be based around flowers. Potted herbs make a nice addition to the décor and will encourage guests to add flavour to their plates while abiding by your farm-to-table approach.
The cake is an easy win – choose local bakers who source Fairtrade ingredients and add seasonal fruits to their recipes. When it comes to display, rustic log plinths are a striking, popular option. Not only are they easy to source but are much less damaging to the environment than plastic stands.
Planted flowers and wild gardens wedding party decor
Cut flowers are the go-to option for weddings but their life-span is short. Embrace the boho trend and opt for increasingly popular planted flowers and wild gardens to add an earthy feel to your day. As with food, home-grown produce is the most ethical option so try to source locally where possible. In spring, British stems include parrot tulips, bluebells and ranuculus while roses, hyacinths and gypsophila should be readily available during summer months.
Planted centre pieces are a great way to guarantee your arrangements stay looking fresh. When gifted to a guest or a member of the wedding party, they’ll also act as a reminder of your day when the season comes around each year.
Biodegradable confetti is commonplace now, but why not provide guests with real petals for a more authentic touch? You can make your own by drying out petals from bouquets and garden flowers throughout the year.
Other wedding styling ideas
It’s the details that make a wedding personal but instead of heading to affordable craft and homewares shops to invest in hurricane jars, candle holders and wooden crates that you won’t use again, look for small local businesses who hire them out for the day. It’s a great way of making your wedding styling ideas a reality and supporting start-ups and side projects in the process.
Failing that, invest wisely and start your own hire service post wedding, offering the essentials other brides might need and offering a radius-specific delivery service to see your props being put to good use for seasons to come.
Words: Sarah Leigh Bannerman