As a community, we are all becoming more environmentally aware and seeking convenient ways to minimise waste in our everyday lives. But what about our wedding? On average, a wedding can produce about 200 kilograms of waste; with 2.5 million weddings per year that’s around 500 million kilograms of waste weddings produce alone. With leftover food, dresses worn once and decor you never use again, it starts to pile up. Want to reduce your wedding waste without sacrificing the style of your big day? We’ve got the goods for you (bonus: these are also budget-friendly!).
Invitations use copious amounts of paper – the invite, the RSVP card, special details notes, envelopes – most of which end up in the rubbish bin after the big day. Instead, why not create a website and share the link via email as your invitation?
You can share all the important information, add updates if details change and offer accommodation suggestions for out-of-town guests. It’s a quick and easy way to receive and track RSVPs and ask for dietary requirements as well. Not to mention, no postage fees!
If you’ve already established much of your home and necessities, you probably don’t need new sheets or cutlery sets, but as much as you may ask people to not bring gifts, people will anyway. To avoid receiving unnecessary gifts and creating more waste, create a digital registry online (myregistry.com is a great free option) and let your guests know that these are the only items you need. If you want to skip gifts altogether, ask your guests to donate to a favourite charity or not-for-profit in your name in lieu of a gift.
Everyone loves the promise of a fancy feast at weddings, so why not consider the simplicity of a grazing table? This is ideal for afternoon receptions and produces less waste as guests take only what they like and servers aren’t clearing half-empty plates.
Leftovers? Box them up in Tupperware; cheese, dried fruits or nuts and some dips can be saved and enjoyed in the following days. Some hard cheeses (excluding parmesan) can be frozen in air-tight containers for several months, so you can whip them out for your next cheese platter too!
So many of us buy decor items we never use again and they, like many other things, end up at the local Lifeline. Instead of buying new, scroll through online wedding forums to find other brides selling their once-used decor items. Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and op-shops are great places to find gorgeous decor at a fraction of the price. Better yet, you can hire decor for a fee and have nothing to worry about!
If you’re not interested in crafting your bouquets from market flowers, ask the florists at your local market if they’d be willing to. As they use seasonal flowers there is often less waste because leftover blooms can be used for other bouquets.
You can also ask your florist to wrap any leftover flowers in a miniature tossing bouquet or as a keepsake. You can also ask leftover blooms or leaves to be trimmed and use them to be scattered by your flower girl or flower boy. So your flowers aren’t a one-hit-wonder, consider preserving the flowers and having them made into a keepsake or potpourri.
Choosing your wedding dress is a very special moment, but it doesn’t have to be brand new and several thousand dollars if you don’t want it to be. If you’re passionate about reducing waste, wear a second-hand dress.
99% of them have only been worn once and you can find them online or at a vintage or local op-shop for a fraction of the price. A talented seamstress can alter it to suit your style and body shape to perfection. If you’re a bit more sentimental, you can wear a relative’s dress, like your mum or grandmother’s, and have this tailored as needed. Environmentally friendly and a special memory.
Most of us have been on the receiving end of wearing an ugly bridesmaid dress, or being stuck in something you’ll never wear again; it either ends up in the Lifeline bin or being sold online.
To avoid single-use, allow your bridesmaids to choose a dress they love and will wear again. Also, consider suits for your groom and groomsmen that are simple in style and can be worn again, rather than those with wedding-specific detailing or that are too formal for future events.
As a wedding planner, I cannot tell you how many favours I have seen thrown out at the end of the evening because people just don’t want them. Overly personalised favours especially, such as champagne glasses, are either left behind or donated to an op-shop within the year. To save the environment you can skip wedding favours altogether or choose ones that people will use and love. A few modern favourites are natural soaps, honey, and coasters. Those who love them will pick-up the leftovers and any more can be taken home and enjoyed by you.
As always, keep making your special moments unforgettable xx