As the pandemic rages on, many couples are left with a dilemma. What to do about their wedding plans? Perhaps you have had to decide whether to continue planning your wedding, with all the changes necessary due to COVID-19, or to postpone your wedding indefinitely.
These are difficult decisions, and amid all the confusion sustainability might be the least of your worries. But with an astonishing £488 wasted on food at every wedding, the need for sustainable weddings has never been greater. If you have decided to press on with your wedding plans, it’s worth considering that many sustainable practices can actually be pandemic friendly, too. Here are five steps you can consider to make your sustainable wedding a reality:
- Eco-friendly invitations
As you plan your special day, the invitations play an important role. They announce your event to the people you invite, and the style and wording set the mood.
You can make your invites eco-friendly with the following tips:
- Avoid glitter, glue, ribbon, or other elements that don’t recycle well.
- Use recycled paper, and remind guests to recycle their invite.
- Create an invite from recycled paper that people will want to keep. Perhaps it could double as an image to put on their wall or refrigerator.
- Consider e-invitations. You could get creative and produce a video short, an infographic, or even a meme style invite.
- Venue and decor
The venue has a big impact on the ecological footprint of your wedding. During the pandemic, the venue needs to have robust practices in place to reduce the risk of transmission.
- Keep the guest list short – good for the environment, as well as the pandemic.
- Live-stream the event so that more people can join in.
- Choose an outdoor event. Weather permitting, an outdoor event will reduce the risk of transmission, as well as your carbon footprint.
- Go local when you can to reduce the distances people need to travel (this will also help guests to reduce their infection risk).
- Consider the carbon footprint of your indoor venue. Does it use renewable energy? And is the catering sustainable?
- Encourage car-sharing and other sustainable methods to get to the venue.
When you choose your outfit for the day, consider using a vintage dress and recycling the dress once you’ve used it. Vintage dresses can be beautiful and on-trend despite their age.
If you want something special just for you, you could use recycled materials to make a new dress. Again consider the dress’s life after you’ve used it. You could recycle the dress, or give it to charity for someone else to find and cherish.
When choosing your rings, choose ethical and sustainable materials – this means avoiding conflict (or “blood”) diamonds. Find out as much about the provenance of your diamond as you can before you buy, and don’t be afraid to ask the jeweller questions.
- Wedding gifts
Think about any gifts you may want carefully, as a pile of unwanted presents is far from ideal. You can make a gift list people can buy from to avoid duplicate presents or unwanted gifts, or start a collection for a charity close to your heart.
Stay local. You can still make the honeymoon special with a bit of creativity – consider fun and romantic sustainable accommodation such as a luxury yurt, for example. Or you can use the savings you’ve made from not having to travel abroad to pay for an extra-special hotel you wouldn’t normally be able to afford.
During the pandemic, there have been so many restrictions placed on our daily lives that planning a wedding can feel nigh on impossible at times. But don’t lose heart: your wedding may take longer than planned, and it may be different to how you imagined it, but there are still many ways to create a special, unique day for you and your family to enjoy. And not all the changes have to be negative – making your wedding more sustainable is one big, positive change you can bring to the world. Hopefully these five steps have given you a good place to start.