Planning a sustainable wedding saves you money and makes you feel good about your carbon footprint and the good news is, it is super easy. As I found when I asked the Bridechilla Community Facebook Group (not a member? You should totally join!) for suggestions, there are literally hundreds of small changes that you can makes to ensure that your wedding leaves an impact on you are your guest lives and not the environment (and your wallet!).
I’m excited to share this episode with you as I truly believe that by making these changes we can do our bit to make impactful changes on the way we think and behave- and it makes you feel pretty smug and delicious inside too!
Listen To The Bridechilla Podcast Episode
Buying Ethical Gold and Diamonds
You've probably seen the film Blood Diamond, with the incredibly sexy and attractive Leonardo DiCaprio, if you haven’t seen it, watch it. As well as the Dicaprio factor, it’s a good film to understand the of the shoddiness of the diamond trade, the poverty and the human rights abuses that can occur in the quests and trade of diamonds.
Conflict free diamonds originate from mines that are following the rules, it means that they aren't buying and selling 'blood diamonds', and not buying diamonds that are found by children. It also means that they are supporting ethically sourced diamonds and that are adhering to strict labour trade and environmental standards.
So, if you are in the market for a wedding ring take a minute to do your research try and support a conflict free jewellery manufacturer. Then when you flash that ring around you can say, “Yes, it is a lovely diamond ring, did you know it’s a conflict-free, ethically sourced, diamond ring.” And, you can sound like a very worthy person and deep down a very good person inside.
Find a list of jewelers who support Conflict Free Diamonds here.
Don't Throw Away Your Wedding Flowers
Flowers are beautiful and yes they die but why not someone else enjoys the beauty of your wedding flowers when you are off whooping it up on honeymoon?
I am talking about the idea that you can recycle your flowers by donating them to hospices, hospitals and old folks’ homes. It’s a basic process, a lot of the charities and organisations will come to your venue and pick them up. You’ll never have to do anything out of your schedule and time around your wedding and, often a lot of hotels and event companies will be involved with the charity as well.
Ask your wedding planner or venue if they are connected with one of these charities or organisations, and if they aren’t, ask why not and what the hell they do with their flowers from all of the functions that they hold?!
Can you imagine some nanna sitting in a home somewhere, that’s shitty and miserable, being able to have fresh flowers in her room or terminally ill people in a hospice having lovely flowers? How nice is it to think that you can pass on these beautiful floral arrangements that you’ve had at your wedding and know that that is bringing a bit of joy into their lives. Offbeat Bride shared in this post, a list of organisations who help distribute donated flowers.
I would also like to suggest you look into BloomRent, which a company who will help you share and re-use your wedding flowers, working directly with florists.
They’ve got a big list of florists on their website. You get the quote; hire the florist, do all the stuff that you would normally do when having floral arrangements designed for your wedding. The florist then sees there is someone else in your neighbourhood that would like to use the flowers after you. They can be re-designed and reused the next day. So, you can have a centrepiece that perhaps is being pulled apart and then put together the next day for a baby shower, or for a corporate event.
You can negotiate a better price because the flowers aren’t going to go to waste and they will be enjoyed by another group of people.
Bridechilla Sabrina shared her fabulous foliage wedding inclusions;
For decorations, instead of buying lots of flowers that would die a few days later, we bought preserved eucalyptus branches to be faux garlands in the middle of the tables and encouraged everyone to take branches home at the end of the night. We were surprised how many people took us up on that and I love going to friends houses and seeing eucalyptus from our wedding decorating their spaces
Ditch the Gift and Give to Charity
Some couples are in the situation where they are lucky enough not to need or want physical gifts for their home, or honeymoon funds, etc. Instead, they are asking their guests to make a donation to a charity that is significant to them.
If you don't want to go full charity contributions, you could donate a small portion of your honeymoon fund, and then you get Karma credits, and then isn’t a bad thing. Karma credits are good credits in my books. Brides shared a list of charities that you can donate to with your wedding registry (and in lieu of favors) to inspire you.
Going paper free with your wedding stationery can not only mean that you are saving a bunch of money on postage, it will also help make the project management side of your wedding a lot more easier to handle.
Awesome companies such as With Joy are offering complete wedding website packages for FREE!
You can create gorgeous invitations, save the dates, manage your guests and RSVPs and share all of the info with your bridal party and coordinator. They've also teamed up with help of our friends at Elli, so you can instantly order beautifully printed invitations, save the dates, menus, itineraries and more that perfectly match your website and app- great for the older folk who aren't as web savvy as your friends.
Renting Your Wedding, Bridesmaids Dresses And Accessories
Dahlia Top from Happily Ever Borrowed
There are so many options available now for renting wedding attire, Borrowing Magnolia (for wedding dresses) Rent the Runway, Vow to be Chic, Happily Ever Borrowed, for accessories, Menguin and The Black Tux for gents suits.
The choice is out of this world; theses companies have big buying power, so they stock the latest designs, you can see examples of other people wearing the dresses (which I think is the best feature!). You can make an event of ordering a bunch and trying them on at home, just like you would in the store.
Keep and eye out for great deals and especially when it comes to free shipping to try before you buy and consider adding a dress for your rehearsal dinner and bachelorette too.
Buy An Ethically Produced Wedding Dress
One thing is really important to think about when you are buying a wedding dress, especially if you are considering buying one of those cheapo dresses from China, is ask why the hell is it so cheap?
Grey Goddess By Ceila Grace
I don't have a problem with overseas manufacturing; it's just questioning how some companies can make a dress for so cheap? Where it's coming from?
What materials are being used?
Who is making the garment (kids?
Couture gowns are made to measure, and most of the major bridal manufacturers abide by the rules of ethical standards, but again if you don't ask, you don't know.
If you are looking for an ethically manufactured wedding dress, you should check out Celia Grace. Founded by Marcy, who searched high and low for a wedding dress that matched her human rights and environmental values but, came up short. She couldn’t find anyone that could say that it wasn’t manufactured in a sweatshop. So, she created Celia Grace. They make wedding dresses that are fair trade, and they also use eco-silks and small batch fabrics that aren’t full of chemicals, so they reduce the carbon footprint.
What is also lovely about her dresses is that they are made in countries such as Cambodia and they are integrating the idea of supporting local communities that have a history of silk weaving, and trying to encourage people that are in those communities to keep up this amazing skills that have been in their families for years and years, and providing them with the option to work in a fair trade and happy environment.
Think about Locally Produced Food and Alcohol
When it comes to food booze, and favors, one easy way to reduce your carbon footprint and also be able to support local vendors, is to purchase items locally. If you know you have a brewery down the road or live near vineyards, then contact them directly and ask how you would go about purchasing alcohol in bulk. Visit your local farmers market, connect with suppliers and do your research with caterers, ask them about their use of local produce, etc.
Consider using disposable plates and cutlery- there are plenty available on the market that are jazzy and saves clean up and the environment.
Ditch the Wedding Cars
Another easy way to save money and also be environmentally friendly is to cut the fancy cars, especially if they are only being used to transport you a couple of miles down the road.
Instead of getting a fancy car, consider booking a premium Uber or Lyft (if they service your wedding area). Yes, it's not Kate Middleton fancy BUT if you are showing up to the church or your event and all of your guests are inside, and no one sees you turning up then no one is going to know if you arrive in a Prius and have saved you a bunch of money AND the environment.
Say Bye Bye To Favors
Controversial perhaps but wedding favors to me are just couples giving their guests shit that they have to get rid of later on but, they feel guilty about it so, they hold onto for a couple of weeks and then it goes straight in the bin.
As much as giving favors is a lovely idea, a lot of the times people are buying mass produced crap that they leave on the table and it means nothing. So, if you want to give favors, shift your ideas. Instead of a novelty bottle of mini champagne (why give little-overpriced alcohol bottles when they can drink from big bottles at your reception) give your guests a sapling, a succulent or some seeds. Something that they can go home, plant, water and remember your wedding day for years to come (and try and not murder).
One Bridechillas Trash is Another's Treasure
For me, Wedding Magazines are a right of passage and a regret buy. They're advertising catalogues now, which is a shame. After our wedding, I put all of the bridal magazines I purchased on eBay and made $40. We also sold tablecloths, tiny milk jars, and lanterns.
There are a bunch of useful re-sale sites to buy and sell wedding items, local Facebook groups and Reddit also has a buy and sell section.
We live in a very wasteful society so let’s not add to it. Hope this list has inspired you! Have I missed something out? Let me know. I'd love to share your tips for planning a sustainable wedding. Leave your comments below.
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