A green wedding

Published date: 12th March 2019

While most of the world’s population seems determined to waste the planets resources, a few brave souls make a stand for sustainability. Those who live their lives in this fashion will want their wedding to be as ecologically friendly as possible. A green wedding.

This requires a mindset from the start. Take engagement rings. Diamonds are notorious in green circles: even if you’re sure they aren’t blood diamonds, traded to finance conflicts in Africa, they may have been mined under conditions few would choose for themselves. Gold may be similar, though there are greener sources of the metal. Alternatives such as family heirlooms, or buying from an ethical jeweller sourcing diamonds from North America and Fairtrade gold, mean there’s a way forward for both the engagement and wedding ring.

Invitations are another area that requires thought. If you feel posting invites is a must, then recycled paper is a plus. But with nearly everyone on email these days avoid the energy needed to reprocess even that fibre (and deliver the end results) by mailing friends and family.

Unless you’d feel at ease webcasting your ceremony, a get-together is needed. To keep energy use and greenhouse gas emissions down, the green bride and groom look to somewhere as convenient as possible for those attending. A venue most can walk to is clearly helpful, and ceremony and celebration in the same spot means no cars shuttling between. If transportation cannot be avoided, why not hire a bus instead of cars? It’s greener, more sociable, and (as with much about the green wedding) cheaper – eco can mean economic as well as ecological.

Single use of items that can be re-used is definitely not green, so your clothing for the big day is another area to work on. Some green brides opt to buy vintage dresses and have them altered to fit; others use their mother’s or gran’s. A third option is to buy new – and preferably this should be organic and Fairtrade to know the route to your wardrobe leaves as little damage to the environment as feasible – and pass on for another to use; or wear an outfit that you can wear again afterwards (as was generally done until the mid-19th century even by the wealthy). The groom has it easier, perhaps, a good suit, shirt and tie the basis of office-wear later, or hiring his gear.

Food is maybe the easiest aspect of the wedding to keep green. Some simple rules: use nothing grown beyond your region (or grow it yourselves); buy organic to ensure as little damage as possible has been done to the soil; and control numbers and portions to minimise waste – composting any that does occur reduces its impact, and if untouched meals remain at the end see if you can give them to a good local cause. Keeping drink truly local is trickier – champagne comes from Champagne – unless you live near a vineyard, brewery or distillery. Bend the rules a tiny bit to use organic sparkling wine from the likes of Davenport in Kent, or Sedlescombe in East Sussex.

Flowers flown from the other side of the world clearly are not environmentally friendly. Some florists will cater for your needs with locally grown organic blooms; again you could grow your own; and you can minimise bouquet’s environmental impact by keeping it tiny, even a single perfect specimen.

A green honeymoon is one element where there’s plenty of help at hand, with lots of green travel companies fighting for your business. Greenest of all of course is to stay at home, and next to that to remain in Britain, perhaps finding an eco hotel nearby.

Just as bridezillas can become fixated on their super-expensive nuptials, so can the eco-bride develop a mania regarding hers. So remember it’s supposed to be about fun and celebration. One glass of champers (organic of course, Fleury is excellent) won’t signal the end of creation just yet, especially if you set an example of sustainability during the rest of the day.

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