When you think of your dream wedding, white lace, killer centrepieces and a triple-tier cake might be at the front of your mind.
But for many brides and grooms these days, the perfect wedding is also a chance to reaffirm and showcase shared values like ethical consumption, environmental awareness and sustainability. If these things are important to you (and in 2018, they should be) then chances are, you’ve already got the basics covered – a second-hand wedding dress and the perfect, ethically-sourced ring on your finger. But where do you go from there?
Here are 6 ethical, sustainable or environmentally friendly steps to take to make sure your big day is one you can look back on with pride.
1. Book a green venue
When it comes to booking an ethically and sustainably sound wedding venue, make sure you consider the venue itself – its energy use, waste output and what processes they have in place to minimise environmental impact – but also how your guests will get there.
If the venue is in a more remote or tricky to reach location, think about adding the cost of hiring a bus to your budget instead of people driving their cars. Better yet, aim for a venue easily accessible by public transport – that’s frugal and environmentally friendly.
2. Take meat off the menu
Vegan and vegetarian lifestyles are known for being a sustainable, ethical alternative – but have you considered switching out the traditional beef or chicken options for an entirely plant-based menu at your wedding reception?
How well this goes over may depend on your guests, but there’s a tonne of tasty vegan menu options out there that will keep even the most dedicated meat eater happy for one evening.
And when the end of the night comes, don’t forget to encourage guests to take leftovers home with them to reduce food wastage, or have a composting plot ready for any scraps.
3. Grow your own bouquet
Everyone knows flowers can quickly become one of the more expensive parts of a wedding. Opting for locally grown, in-season flowers for your arrangements is a big step in the right direction to reducing cost and environmental impact, but if you’re really serious about it, why not try DIYing your flowers, right through from seed to the bouquet toss?
Growing your own bouquet – and centrepieces, decorations and any other florals you may want – at home in the lead up to your big day is not only a sustainable, frugal alternative to commercial cut flowers, but it’s also a nice sentimental touch as well.
4. Choose reusable whenever you can
At Mozo.com.au, our research found that by switching to reusable products in your day-to-day-life, you can save around $1,000 a year. And it’s no different on your wedding day, when opting for reusable, eco-friendly options is simple and effective – go for cloth napkins over paper, reusable cutlery and plates over plastic, and when it comes to things like plastic straws, just don’t supply them at all.
It’s also worth keeping in mind disposable extras, like confetti, cameras, balloons or bunting that may just wind up in the trash at the end of the night and asking yourself if there are reusable alternatives, or if you need them at all. For example, there are plenty of options for biodegradable confetti that won’t wind up putting plastic into the environment.
5. Give your invites another life
If you hate the thought of all those wedding invitations winding up in the trash but an e-invite just feels way to impersonal, there is a third route to choose: plantable invites. Made from recycled paper pulp with a plant seed of your choice woven in, these invitations can be planted and used to grow a range of useful plants, like basil, parsley, lettuce or carrots. That way, the invitations don’t wind up in a landfill, and your guests will be reminded of your wedding each time they pick some fresh herbs for that night’s dinner.
6. Make your honeymoon count
Just because the big day is done and dusted doesn’t mean it’s all over – there’s still the honeymoon to consider.
If you’re of an ethical mindset, one up and coming trend you might like to consider getting on board with is ‘Honeyteering’ – the honeymoon version of voluntourism. As with any other kind of travel volunteering, it’s important to look into the program you sign up for to make sure it actually benefits the local community and doesn’t do more harm than good.
About the Author
Kirsty Lamont is a Director and money expert at financial comparison website mozo.com.au. She’s keen to share money tips with Aussies at all stages of their lives from newlyweds, to busy mums, to those planning their retirement and help Aussies whip their finances into shape by comparing financial products and finding a better deal.
How are you making your wedding day more sustainable and environmentally friendly?
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