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Sustainability

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?

Imagine a wedding that’s not only amazing but makes a difference in the world!

Picture this: 

“You’re strolling through Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park, awestruck by its beauty, when you come across a sign that reads, “Your heritage is being vandalized every day by theft losses of petrified wood, 14 tons a year, mostly a small piece at a time.”

You’re initially shocked but continue your journey, observing a few people pocketing small pieces of wood along the way. These pieces seemed like amazing keepsakes. But why were they doing this when the signs explicitly warned against it? 

A few years later you happened to meet a ranger who worked at the National Park.  He explained to you that the theft of petrified wood had been significantly reduced.  Relieved, you asked how the change occurred.  To your surprise you discovered that all they did was to take down the signs and the occurrence of theft reduced.

Whaaat?

This story, inspired by a true event at Arizona’s National Park, highlights a phenomenon – the unintended consequences of behaviour normalisation. The signs that were used to deter theft actually had an opposite effect by normalising the unwanted behaviour.  Visitors actually internalised a message that if it was so common, it must be ok, everyone was doing it.   Weird huh?  Or not…

The Bandwagon Effect

“The bandwagon effect” is a powerful driver of human behaviour. People are drawn to choices based on what others are doing. More importantly, research has shown that we are even more drawn to choices made by people we like and respect.  We want to be “a part” of that group. 

How does this relate to your wedding? Don’t get me wrong, In no way do I want to suggest that your wedding should not be about fun, love, laughter and celebration.  Of course it should.  It should be everything you’ve ever dreamed of.

However, if you’re someone who wishes to make a positive difference in the world, and you want your wedding to reflect your authentic self, it’s worth considering the bandwagon effect. Your special day will be celebrated by many family and friends. What you do or don’t do can influence the way your guests perceive the world and the choices they make.

Weddings can make a difference

Let’s consider an example: incorporating an Aboriginal Acknowledgment of Country in your ceremony. By doing this, you are more likely to normalize and promote the value of respecting our first nations people. On the other hand, if you skip it due to concerns about making people uncomfortable, you may unintentionally contribute to normalizing its absence.

Now, think about other important issues like climate change, eco-friendly wedding considerations, sustainable weddings, reallocating the wedding budget to cherished charities, supporting local businesses, and fostering personal connections. Your wedding is a pinnacle moment in your life and an opportunity to add depth and value to your day, your guests, and the world.

Conclusion

Staying true to your values on your wedding day can elevate it to another level, but it doesn’t need to be stressful, or detract from the enjoyment of the day.  Most of the decisions and actions just require a little extra thought in the planning.  Weddings can make a difference – either by demonstrating what’s important to you, or directly through sustainable choices. And in my case, if I’m your celebrant I’ll take the load off your shoulders by listening to what’s important to you, supporting you with ideas that are authentic reflection of who you are – and ones that will add deeper meaning to your amazing wedding celebration.