Celebrating your union with your friends and family can often mean lots of people travelling long distance and piles of rubbish to clean up. If you’re an eco-conscious kiwi, you might be worried about the impact your wedding has on the environment. After all, the typical wedding includes decorations, food, transport that may only be used for one day, but leave a lasting impact on the earth.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can have a more eco-friendly wedding – here are some of our top tips!
Cut out travel time
People might travel from the other end of the country – or even from other parts of the world – to attend a wedding, adding their increased carbon emissions to the already polluted atmosphere.
You can do your bit to limit carbon emissions simply by planning your wedding in a location where the majority of your guests reside. This limits the amount of people who need to travel long-distance. Choose a venue in a central location close to public transport routes, and provide public transport schedules to guests to encourage them to use it. This has the added bonus of preventing the need for sober drivers!
You can also consider streaming your wedding ceremony live over Skype to share with out-of-town guests!
Source food locally
Transport issues aren’t just about people - food is one of the biggest costs of a wedding, not just financially, but also environmentally. Gourmet dishes and out-of-season foods are usually sourced from suppliers on the other side of the world, and are flown to New Zealand, stored in refrigerated containers and shipped around the country, using an astronomical amount of gas, oil and electricity to bring them from the field to your plate.
Instead of opting for these foreign delicacies, why not go local and enjoy fresh foods sourced from producers in your area? You will find plenty of caterers who are proud to stock local materials, or talk to your local farmers market vendors about sourcing ingredients for a DIY feast.
Have a paperless wedding
Wedding stationary is definitely an area where eco-friendly couples can reduce their footprint. Just think of all the paper used for a single wedding – not just the invitations, but the envelopes, reply cards, menus, place names, decorations, save-the-date cards, programs … the list seems endless.
Paperless Wedding is an amazing kiwi company who specialise in electronic wedding invitations, wedding websites, online RSVP trackers and other paperless materials. Going paperless also cuts down on printing and postage costs, giving you more money for the things you really care about. If you are a whiz with technology, you could even create a wedding app that included all the details!
Wherever possible, look for second-hand and vintage options for your wedding. This could be as simple as buying vases off TradeMe for your centrepieces, or as exciting as finding an amazing vintage wedding dress in the local Salvation Army store. Reusing goods keeps useful things out of the rubbish dump and will give your wedding a unique flavour. Plus, it’s always such a thrill when you find that perfect vintage bargain!
Choose Eco-friendly wedding favours
Wedding favours – little gifts you give each individual guest to thank them for attending – are becoming more and more popular in New Zealand. But although those little plastic beach pails and candy boxes look lovely at each place setting, favours can cost a lot of money for very little return – many guests leave them behind or throw them in the rubbish when they get home.
For an eco-friendly wedding, either forgo favours altogether, or choose something that your guests will want to keep, such as small glass jars filled with homemade jam, or seed packets they can plant at home. Some couples donate a small amount of money in the name of each guest to a local charity.
These are just a few of the ways you could incorporate eco principles into your wedding day. Did you have an eco-friendly wedding? What other ideas do you have to limit your environmental impact? We want to hear from you!