When it comes to planning your dream wedding, just how easy is it to be eco-friendly?
Ed & Rachael from the luxury sustainable wedding venue Finnebrogue Woods in Northern Ireland share their top tips for incorporating this ethos into all aspects of your wedding.
Like the conscious Bride there are many ethical wedding suppliers who believe in fair pay for creatives, sustainable heritage materials and a low carbon impact. So, it’s entirely possible to be both beautiful and kind to the world on your big day!
BOOK A SUSTAINABLE VENUE
We are biased on this, but Finnebrogue Woods is not just an idyllic woodland with luxury tipis, it’s our family farm where we raise grass-fed Dexter cattle and run a sustainable forestry business supplying the local community with fire wood. Supporting venues like this in your town or country will encourage other wedding suppliers to up their green game. You can easily erect cover like tipis, tents or marquees that will be kind to the land while you use it. If properly looked after and managed, there shouldn’t be a negative impact on the local ecosystem.
GET MARRIED AND PARTY THERE
While we’re on the topic of venues, try to find one that is suitable for both your wedding ceremony and your reception party. This cuts down on travelling by road, particularly in guest buses which are even less environmentally friendly than cars. For the exchange of vows in the ceremony, you can source your rings from one of the increasing numbers of jewellers who are using recycled gold or ensuring fair-labour gemstones.
EMAIL YOUR INVITATIONS
Use one of the many online wedding portal/website building templates so guests can RSVP and receive information about the venue, transport and any registry lists (which you can also research for sustainability, too!) Of course, there will always be some people who still refuse to join the internet age! So, for those guests you can afford to invest in just a few sustainable paper invites.
Wildflower bouquets will not only fit with the whimsical and rustic feel of a countryside wedding, but they reduce the carbon footprint drastically. You can always employ a florist to help you cut and secure bouquets if you don’t feel creative enough to DIY. Just be sure to check that the flowers you pick aren’t endangered or on someone’s private land. If you still want a particular bloom, try to choose locally sourced in-season flowers, that haven’t been grown using chemicals that affect the organic soil.
BORROW YOUR DECORATIONS
There’s no reason why your “something borrowed” can’t be the very things that people often buy only to throw away once the wedding is finished. These include decorations such as bunting, favour bags/boxes, materials for place settings and even candles and centrepieces. If you can’t borrow what you need, seek it out in second hand stores to both reduce and reuse at the same time. When it comes to lighting, opt for candles, tea lights in jars or even swap electrical lighting for low-voltage LED lights.
DONATE YOUR FAVOURS
A trend that is actually growing in popularity, mostly because couples will have charitable causes dear to their hearts that they wish to donate to in lieu of favours. However, donations have even more environmental benefits because they reduce wastage, printing and paper use and also allow you to choose an eco-friendly organisation to receive the monies.
This is a great way to not only reduce the use of paper, but to reduce your costs too! You can request from your wedding photographer that you don’t have proof sheets or a fully printed album. You can receive a copy of digital prints online or on memory drive/disc only. Then simply choose to print any individual photos that you intend to frame. Even better, ask your guests to record the day’s moments on social media photo sharing apps like Instagram and use a specific hashtag so that you can look through them all afterwards.
ORGANISE YOUR WASTE
If you hire in external suppliers such as bar staff or catering teams they will of course be adhering to health and safety standards when it comes to clearing up waste behind them. However, you can go one step further and set up composting and recycling bin systems at your venue kitchens, as well as outside for guests, to help easily sort the waste later.
FARM TO TABLE…
This movement is gaining momentum even among the general public’s dining tastes, and it’s definitely a good way to go green on your wedding without sacrificing taste. Be mindful that organic produce can be more expensive, however a good eco-ethos catering company should be able to advise you of the best in-season menu options that will help guarantee freshness as well as the best value for money. You can also now source very good options for organically-grown wine and champagnes!
Finnebrogue Woods is an exclusive lakeside venue, close to Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, where beautiful Nordic tipis on a historic site of untouched woodland, tranquil lake and lush fields provide a stunningly unique backdrop for the day of your dreams.