The Wedding Edition’s sustainability editor, Jacky Sloane on four ways to aid Making Your Wedding Sustainable.
1. CHOOSING YOUR VENUE
MARQUEES AND TIPIS
The rule of thumb is this: transporting heavy things over long distances requires a lot of fuel which produces carbon emissions and we all know the rest. If your heart is set on a marquee then choose a local supplier to get that transport distance right down and consider going for the snuggest option. It will be cosier and quite possibly kinder to your pocket.
HALLS, HOTELS, COUNTRY HOUSES & BARNS
Having your wedding in an established building is generally the greener choice. Find out how green that venue is, though. Are they on a green electricity tariff? If they provide the food, do they advocate local, seasonal, deliciously sustainable produce? Will they collect, split and recycle all your waste? If the answers to the questions aren’t as positive as you’d like, make it clear how important it is to you. Asking the right questions is a great motivator for venues who ultimately compete for your business.
If this isn’t enough for you, there are wedding venues popping up all over the country that make being green the backbone of their events. Take River Cottage and Welsh Green Weddings. They will hang a rainbow of environmental joy over your day.
2. MANAGING THE GUESTS
Deciding on the number of guests you have is never easy. Throw this into the tussles over whether to invite the Smiths or not. However, fewer guests means less travel, a smaller venue, less food, less drink and a dramatically reduced carbon footprint. It could also leave you a little extra money to spend on the guests you do have.
Guest travel is a high carbon emitter and encouraging people to sacrifice the independence of arriving by car is difficult. Green carrots may be required here: provide train times to your venue’s nearest station and then use electric taxis to ferry them to you. The gains will feel more real. Depending on where your venue is, you may find vehicles that you can decorate and have fun with… electric milk float anyone?
3. THE FOOD & DRINK YOU SERVE
Look for caterers who love nothing more than serving both local and seasonal food. It really does make a difference. Locally reared beef is likely to have a lower carbon footprint than asparagus that is flown in from Argentina. Local, seasonal vegetables will have an infinitely lower footprint that those that have had to travel long distances in refrigerators. And don’t forget about your drinks. Three bottles of wine have the equivalent carbon footprint to driving 385 miles in the average car! It’s due to the weight of the glass bottles and the increased fuel needed to transport them. Consider boxed wine – there are some fantastic options out there as illustrated in this shortlist from The Independent. Pour them into decanters if you feel uncomfortable with the look. If you love the feel of bottled wine however, choose wine from France not Australia!
4. PLANT TREES, AND PLENTY OF THEM
Your wedding will always have a carbon footprint, but if you have reduced it as much as you can there is one final gratifying thing you can do: acknowledge the remaining emissions by planting trees. There are many planting schemes out there, but I run Carbon Aware Events and I (obviously) recommend it. We partner with small UK-based planting charities that will get your trees into glorious rewilding projects at very low cost and provide photos and video clips for you to enjoy. Site visits are always encouraged. And there is something quite magical about walking through trees planted for you, on the year of your wedding and watching them grow.
For more info on how to make your wedding a little more green visit: carbonawareevents.com