Author name: Lisa Cockington

Greening Your Wedding Day: 9 Easy Eco-Friendly Ideas To Get You Thinking

We look forward to a wedding day for a very long time, and when it comes, it’s so easy to get caught up in everyone else’s expectations rather than sitting down and thinking about what’s truly important to you. It’s not just about how much your budget is, but also what you spend your money on, and what impact that has. Take a few minutes here to think about how eco-friendly your choices could be.

Let’s set the scene from my book of fables….

Once upon a time in a quaint village, there lived a couple, Sarah and James, who dreamed of having an eco-friendly wedding. But there was a challenge. The village had never seen such a wedding before, and many were skeptical about their unique idea. Some believed it would be too difficult to pull off, while others were resistant to change.
Undeterred, Sarah and James decided to press on. They sent digital invitations instead of paper ones, repurposed vintage decorations, and chose local, organic catering. Their wedding day was set in a lush forest, under a beautiful eco-arch, surrounded by friends and family. As they exchanged vows, they released biodegradable confetti, and the reception was lit by solar-powered lanterns.
Only a few people turned up at first, there was talk of sorcery and lack of respect for traditions, the older generation were shaking their heads, but eventually curiosity got the better of them.  One by one they arrived until the whole village was present – FOMO was strong!  This was the biggest wedding the village had ever had, and soon the apprehension was replaced with joy at the beauty and significance of the moment.  The village elders realised that this could be the way to keep their village thriving for future generations.
For Sarah and James, their commitment to an eco-conscious celebration not only overcame the doubts of the village but also inspired everyone to embrace sustainability. Their wedding became a fable of love and perseverance, reminding all that even in the face of challenges, simple changes can make a difference.

Cute huh?

You don’t need to change a whole village like Sarah and James but it doesn’t hurt to consider contributing in some way towards a brighter, greener future, and to slowing climate change.

The Round Up

I’ve done a bit of round up of all the articles and ideas about eco-friendly weddings and here are my top 9 ideas.  I’ve also given some thought into ordering them in terms of which ones might have the greatest impact.  (The greatest is first) I can’t claim the order is scientific, purely a judgement call here in case its helpful!

  1. Green transportation.  Consider group transport where and how far you are asking guests to travel.
  2. Choose a venue that is making efforts to be green, and put in place a plan for left over food to reduce wastage. If appropriate to your situation, serving an entirely vegetarian meal will have a lower impact on the earth.
  3. Choose local foods in season, and local suppliers – this amounts to a lot less travel, refrigeration and increases the chances of items being re-usable.
  4. Go paperless: electronic invites or website, marriage paperwork, menu’s (how about a bar code to scan), or 1 menu per table. Washable serviettes etc. If electronic isn’t your thing.  How about recycled paper, or for a more personal touch home made paper?  (I also have a cute little idea involving seeds – you can read about it here.)
  5. Eco conscious decorating – re-use, recycle, upcycle, re-sell – avoid single use items.
  6. How about vintage clothing and sustainable wedding jewellery? Lab diamonds are also more eco friendly than mined ones. You could encourage guests to look for vintage clothing too.
  7. Flowers – if fresh – choose seasonal ones, and even better use silk, dried or felt ones that can be re-used. Consider also using live plants (potted) for living colour.
  8. Consider eco-friendly unity ceremony ideas, such as tree planting – this could be done into a decorative large pot to take home.
  9. Discuss the concept of charity registries and experiences over physical gifts

Key Messages For Going Green

The ideas above are just examples, but they are based on the following basic principles

  1. Keeping it local
  2. Avoiding waste and single use items
  3. Consider fair trade when you do buy
  4. Go electronic rather than paper

Finally – if you’re up for it – find some subtle way to let people know about your choice to be eco friendly -it can be subtle or overt, but keep in mind the bandwagon effect. You can read more about it here.  You’ve made the effort because you think its important, why not help others to consider doing the same?  Who knows, maybe its the beginning of a trend with your friends?

Creating Special Moments

Our most precious memories contains a range of magical defining moments.

They are usually not about our greatest achievements as such, but the experience that accompanied it, and the little things that made it special.

Sometimes, yes, its about that magical wedding proposal, but sometimes its not, its about personal, unique experiences

Let me tell you about one, nothing to do with weddings, nothing really to do about money, and EVERYTHING to do with the experience.
It comes from Chip and Dan Heath’s book The Power of Moments, which I highly recommend.

Enter a hotel called The Magic Castle.  You’re visiting because it has such amazing reviews. “Best Hotel Ever” kinda status. When you enter it and look around – you might consider it to be “average” in appearance, and possibly calling it a “hotel” is even a stretch.  What gives it the outstanding reviews?  Its the little unique and amazing experiences it offers.  It has many unusual experiences, quirky magicians appearing around the place being just one of them.

But try this one on for size:

You’ve ventured out to the pool and are lying on a cabana. As you gaze around you spy a glossy, cherry red phone on the wall.  Curious, you pick it up and call it.  A voice answers:  “Hello This is the Popsicle Hotline – what flavour would you like?”.  You choose raspberry, your favourite, and within minutes a waiter with white gloves and a silver tray appears by your sunlounge. He lifts the lid of the tray to reveal your popsicle.  And its all for free. And you can order as many as you want!

What a magical experience!  Who wouldn’t enjoy this and re-tell the story to friends?  Its different, unique and a personal touch to their service, that costs very little.

People will overlook outdated or minimal decor etc in lieu of poignant defining unique experiences.  This is how special memories are made.  When you organise an event, anything from a dinner party to a wedding, don’t you want it to be a special celebration that will be remembered as a magical moment in history? Something that your loved ones will remember with great fondness and passion?

It’s not about how much money you spend or how fancy it is, its about designing the special touches that make a difference.   And when you arrived in this hotel, you were curious, almost expecting something to wow you. This is because the reviews prepared you. Before you even arrived you were getting ready for that unknown moment. That’s called guest preparation.

Chip and Dan Health believe there are four triggers to powerful moments

ELEVATION: They rise above the everyday experience – A wedding should always tick this box (and who would expect a Popsicle Hotline!)

INSIGHT: They may shift your point of view of yourself or the world – Setting the stage to help others look at things a little differently is easy to do and quite powerful. Think things like an Acknowledgement to Country, or a personalised message to each guest.

PRIDE: They capture moments of accomplishment or courage – There is nothing more courageous than publicly declaring your feelings for someone, but not everyone needs to do this – it depends on what signifies accomplishment or courage to each person.

CONNECTION: They are often social events that strengthen the bonds we share with others. – There are many ways to strengthen social bonds during a ceremony or reception, and leave you and your guests feeling connected and on a social high.

Priya Parker in The Art of Gathering (another book I’d highly recommend) talks about how important it is to prepare your guests for your gathering so that they are open to the experience you are about to provide. Sometimes this is about setting the stage before they arrive – eg the invitation says how much you value everyone being “in the moment” together and to leave phones in the box on the way in, or starting a ceremony with something that takes their thoughts from a “let’s go throught the motions, then move on to party” to a highly charged anticipation of the witnessing and contributing to something truly wonderful.

This may all sound a little overwhelming, but many of these things simply require a little forethought to really craft an event that you’ll be talking about for years. I can’t wait to offer you ideas that fit with who you are, and what you want your “best day ever” to look like.

Love the life you live, and may it be full of special memories.

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