As environmental concern for our planet grows, not only are people inspired to make environmentally conscious decisions in their everyday lives, but more are becoming increasing aware of reducing waste for the biggest day of their life – their wedding day – with more couples striving for the most eco-friendly celebrations.
However, you don’t need to completely restrict yourself on your big day to make a difference, swapping out plastic cups for glasses and plastic straws for paper ones on your tables is a simple yet effective way to reduce waste.
When Laura Degiorgio and Stephen White tied the knot at the Inn on the Lake in Shorne, Gravesend, Laura, who is also the hotel manager of the Inn on the Lake, wanted to make sure her wedding was as eco-friendly as possible.
“After working at a lot of weddings, I saw first-hand the aftermath of waste, so it was incredibly important for Stephen and I to create as zero waste as possible,” Laura explains.
“Our invitations were printed on seeded paper - which guests have now planted - name cards were replaced with leaves picked from the garden, the confetti was made of dried flowers from the garden and our table seating plan display was an upcycled wooden pallet.
“We served a full vegan menu including vegan-friendly prosecco and a vegan ice-cream van. My Watters WTOO wedding dress, from Bridal Indulgence in Crondall, was also vegan friendly as it contained no silk.”
Kylie Christie, marketing manager of The Old Kent Barn, has seen the demand of more couples wanting to host eco-friendly celebrations.
“More couples are aware of the environmental impact of their day-to-day lives and this naturally extends to their wedding celebrations,” Kylie explains. “We are often asked to compost couples used foliage and flowers and to supply eco-friendly straws at our bar.
“Food waste is another concern with couples, and our kitchen ensures minimum waste from preparation through to service.
“There are lots of simple solutions to have an eco-friendlier wedding. Couples are gifting wildflower seeds as favours and more couples are making their own homemade dried petal confetti from arrangements and homegrown florals.
“We have also seen couples use homeware items, such as lanterns, mirrors and vases, to decorate the venue which will be reused to furnish their own homes.
“Finally, as more couples are choosing hiring over buying, pre-loved and vintage dresses are increasingly popular with brides using borrowed items, such as accessories and veils, from family and friends.”
If you are looking to walk down the aisle in environmentally conscious style, then choose an eco-friendly or sustainable wedding dress brand.
British brand Indiebride London is renowned for its zero-waste approach to its bohemian wedding dress collections, with fabrics ordered on purchase to ensure there is nothing left over.
Another British label who has fast established itself for sustainable fashion is Mother of Pearl, from recycling wool to make new designs to using organic and natural fibres in collections which will biodegrade much faster and in a less damaging way than synthetic fibres.
Frasers Grand Opening of Stag Barn, Florence Berry Photography
From solar power to using on-site grown produce in their catering menu, there are many ways to ensure your venue is environmentally friendly. One Ashford-based eco-friendly venue who has prioritised sustainability and reducing their environmental impact is Frasers of Egerton.
Lisa-Jane Fraser, proprietor of Frasers of Egerton, says: “Our ethos is to be as sustainable as possible and that our carbon footprint is as low as possible. We utilise renewable energy from a ground source heat pump in our ceremony area, restaurant and commercial kitchen for heating and hot water.
“The low impact farming method on our estate ensures that our business is sustainable. Our preference is that, wherever possible, the spirits, wines, beer and ciders are sourced in Kent as we are located in an award-winning wine growing area with close links to Biddenden Vineyards. This method of business practice ensures all our couples have the finest locally sourced ingredients – either from our estate or from other 50 local artisan suppliers who we support – to minimise our carbon footprint.
“Inside, our bridal suite features a statement bath with the mahogany surround made from recycled school benches. We operate a recycling policy for food waste and packaging.
“The environmental campaign is becoming increasingly high on both the political and social agendas and we have noticed couples are becoming increasingly aware of their own environmental footprint.
“Celebrating at Frasers means couples can also enjoy a guilt free experience knowing they are supporting British agriculture and the rural economy.”
If you are hosting an outdoor celebration choose garden games, such as hoopla, giant Jenga and boules, which can be reused. Avoid bouncy castles, which require high power generators to inflate.
For live music, reduce the amount of power being used by electric musicians and DJs by including acoustic music, string quartets, jazz musicians and pianos - instruments which don’t require electric power.
Finally, after your big day, give back to the environment by planting a tree in celebration of your marriage. Not only is it a thoughtful act to the environment, but it is a beautiful way of signifying your love and watching it grow for years to come.