Guest Blog: How To Have A Sustainable Wedding

A person’s wedding day should be the happiest day of their life – and we’re not here to ruin that for you. We all know weddings carry huge monetary costs, but very few people consider the environmental costs of a wedding.

A recent study of the environmental cost of Irish weddings was a real eye-opener for many, showing us exactly how important our decisions are and the impact they could have.

So, read on if want to have your eyes opened and to learn some ways to reduce that impact your wedding will have on the environment. Just like everything at Obeo, we don’t like sustainable choices to be a sacrifice or a compromise on what you really want – instead, we love to find better solutions that are sustainable. This is particularly important on your big day, so we’ve come up with these ideas to help you have an eco-friendly wedding.

Image Courtesy of Stonechat Jewellers

Use Living or Local Flowers

Flowers are synonymous with weddings, and many people spend a long time picking the perfect bouquets for their big day—but the industry behind the colourful flowers you buy from a florist is anything but bright.

Most major flower farms are located in developing countries like Ecuador, Kenya and Colombia because of the ideal climates and low staff costs. Given that the average flower is around 97% water, flowers need a lot of water to grow—so the sheer scale of flower farms requires intense irrigation in countries where water is already such a precious commodity. In addition, flower farmers and staff handle large amounts of chemicals, many of which are so toxic that they are banned in the EU, leading to severe health problems for farmers and nearby inhabitants.

When choosing flowers for your big day, avoid buying bouquets which have been shipped from abroad—where they have contributed to water shortages, deforestation and CO2 emissions due to pesticides and long-haul transport. Instead, there are lots of local flower farms in Ireland who have made it their mission to boycott the exploitative floriculture industry, and you can rest assured your money will be well spent, on flowers that don’t leave behind an ugly legacy.

Alternatively, opting for potted plants or herbs from local sources make beautiful table displays, adding a unique flair to your decor—and after the wedding, they can be put to good use in the garden, or given to any guests who might want them!

Rethink Your Wedding Invites

An incredible amount of paper is used to create wedding invites. An estimated 200 trees per year are cut down to produce invitations to Irish weddings and save-the-date cards, this isn’t counting RSVP cards or any other paper that comes with the planning process.

200 trees per year would absorb about 45 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. Think about the carbon footprint of your wedding and consider other options. Of course, recycled paper is never as white but there are plenty of lovely design options to go with that embrace the fact the paper is recycled.

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In this great age of digital advancements, there are also plenty of paperless options available. Practically everybody is online nowadays, why not opt for an e-invite. Some of the solutions available are not only eco-friendly but also super practical.

For one thing, a digital wedding invite can save you tons of time. Having your guestlist typed-up means you can copy and paste from there – there’s no need for handwriting at all when everything is digital. You also won’t need to gather up-to-date postal addresses, which can be very stressful – you just need an email. Another great timesaver and stress reliever is that you can there are great services such as Green Envelope, who provide you with features such as RSVP tracking, guest surveys and address validation.

Have Less Meat on the Menu

Having some exciting vegan or vegetarian options or even entire courses as part of the day’s menu could really reduce the impact of your wedding on the environment. I think the trick here is to not simply have an “option for vegetarians” to meet certain people’s dietary requirements, but rather to have a delicious option that just happens to be meat-free – to encourage everyone to choose a veggie meal.

Farming meat for Irish weddings is creating an estimated 8000 tonnes of Co2 every year, according to Stonechat Jewellers research. You would need about 800 trees to absorb this.

If you get creative, you can come up with vegan or vegetarian only courses, e.g. for the starters and canapé’s that are so mouthwatering that people won’t even miss the meat. Your menu could be an exciting culinary foray for many of your guests and even spark a change in dietary habits in their lives beyond the wedding day.

Avoid Confetti Made From Unsustainable Materials

It is estimated that 110 kilograms of plastic or paper confetti are used every year for Irish weddings. Of course, confetti at weddings is a time-honoured tradition and it’d be a shame to cut the practice out altogether.

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You could have alternatives, something like Gwyneth Paltrow’s wedding confetti. Using leaves, rosemary, thyme, lavender, flower petals or feathers to can create a beautiful, naturally bio-degradable confetti rather than plastic or paper, to create the same (or you might say, a better) effect.

Little Decisions, Great Impact

Every day we make many decisions in our lives that, no matter how small, could be having a great impact on the planet. With wedding planning, these decisions reach a large scale very quickly, due to the fact it involves so many people. 

So, whether it’s a wedding, an event or maybe our workplace – let’s think, are there any other decisions we are making, that could be tweaked for the sake of the planet?

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