Tips For A More Sustainable Wedding in 2023

Author: Charlotte Stavrou 

Although the best day of a lot of our lives, Weddings are known for creating a significant amount of waste, which can be detrimental to the environment. According to research, the average wedding in the UK produces over 14.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, which is close to the average person’s emissions for an entire year. However, it is possible to have a beautiful wedding while remaining environmentally conscious. Here are my top tips that can help reduce the carbon footprint of your special day based on my own wedding.

My wedding was in August 2022 and as much as it was a big celebration of love, my husband and I focused heavily on making sure it wasn’t over the top, for both our budget and our consciences. At the beginning of the planning process we decided together that we didn’t want to be wasteful or extravagant to look good on social media, we wanted a day that represented us as a couple and incorporated our friends, family and the beautiful surroundings we had access to. We chose to get married abroad, which comes with its own challenges and sustainability factors to consider. But we thought about our impact in everything we did – the impact on our guests as well as the planet. 

Credit: Yulia Longo

Rent Your Dress

According to By Rotation, there will be an estimated 2.3 million weddings in 2023 and if at just one of these weddings 25 guests wore rented dresses, they would save the same carbon emissions as taking a round-trip flight from London to Mykonos. I encouraged our guests to rent their outfits and then went a step further and rented my own! The wedding dress is usually one of the most significant purchases for the bride, but it’s often worn only once and then stored away. Purchasing a wedding dress can be expensive, and can feel wasteful. However, renting a wedding dress is a sustainable option that can also save you money. There are many rental options available, such as By Rotation, which offers a wide range of designer wedding dresses for a fraction of the price. Not only is this a sustainable option, but it’s also great for your wedding budget.

Conscious Jewellery Selection

When it comes to choosing jewellery for your wedding, it’s important to consider the environmental impact of the materials. One option is to choose jewellery made from recycled gold or other metals. By choosing recycled materials, you can help reduce the environmental impact of mining and processing new metals. Another option is to choose lab-grown diamonds or other gemstones. These stones are created in a laboratory setting and have a significantly lower carbon footprint than mined stones.  My husband and I chose to make his wedding band together at Wildfawn’s jewellery studio and my wedding band and engagement ring are both from lab grown diamond specialists Kimai. By choosing jewellery made from recycled materials or lab-grown stones, you can make a positive impact on the environment without sacrificing the beauty and quality of your wedding jewellery.

Credit: Jacquetta Clark
Credit: Yulia Longo
Credit: Jacquetta Clark
Credit: Yulia Longo

Ditch the Favours

Wedding favours are small gifts given to guests as a token of appreciation. However, they are often forgotten or left behind and can create unnecessary waste. Instead of spending money on favours that might end up in the bin, consider writing your guests a personal note expressing your gratitude. It’s a simple yet meaningful way to show your appreciation and reduce waste.

Stay Seasonal

Choosing seasonal flowers and food is not only more sustainable but also can help to keep the wedding budget under control. It’s tempting to choose exotic flowers or food from faraway places, but it’s just not environmentally friendly. Seasonal flowers and food are readily available, support local farmers and are often less expensive. By choosing what matches the season and the venue, you can reduce the carbon footprint associated with importing flowers or food from far away.

Buy Second-hand Where Possible

Buying second-hand is an eco-friendly option as it saves resources and reduces waste. You can look for pre-loved bridesmaids outfits or decorations from second-hand stores such as Depop or eBay. By choosing second-hand, you can save money and reduce the environmental impact of your wedding.

Choose Clothes That Last the Test of Time

When choosing wedding outfits, consider clothes that you or your bridesmaids can wear again after the wedding. Choose a groom’s suit that can be used for other events or work. Bridesmaids can wear outfits that they will wear outside of the wedding day. Encourage your guests to re-wear their looks or rent them to eliminate waste. By choosing clothes that last, you can reduce the carbon footprint of your wedding and make your outfits more meaningful.

Credit: Yulia Longo

Ditch the Gifts

Asking for money gifts or donations to a charity instead of receiving traditional gifts can reduce waste and be more meaningful. There is no need for more material possessions that will eventually end up in landfill. Adding a charity link to your wedding registry can be a great way to give back and make a positive impact. By asking for donations instead of gifts, you can reduce waste and help others at the same time.

Cut Down on Paper

Digital invitations are an eco-friendly option that reduces paper waste. There are many digital invitation websites available, such as Paperless Post or Papier’s digital offering, that offer customisable designs and templates. You can also consider using recycled paper or vegetable-based inks for your printed materials such as wedding programmes, menus or place cards. By cutting down on paper, you can reduce the carbon footprint of your wedding and make a positive impact on the environment.

Weddings are special occasions that celebrate love, and they should also be mindful of the impact they have on the environment. By adopting sustainable practices, you can reduce the carbon footprint of your wedding and make a positive impact on the environment. Remember, every little step you take towards sustainability can make a difference, and it’s up to us to make a change. So, let’s celebrate love and the planet together!

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