With more than 100,000 weddings in Australia annually, it is no surprise that fellow humans are looking at ways they can reduce waste on their wedding day. From decorations, food, bonbonniere and even clothing, there are lots of ways that you can reduce wedding waste without compromising on beauty and grace. After all, it is your wedding day!
Here are our top 10 tips for zero waste weddings.
They're the first thing (aside from the obligatory Instagram #engaged post) that your wedding guests will see about the wedding, and also the #1 way you can reduce waste. Paperless invitations are all the rage, not only because they save paper and resources, but online invitations are an insanely cheaper option. They don't require printing or stamps (WIN!) saving you lots of dollars and trips to the post office. Did we mention that it's also 1184%* easier to manage your RSVPs this way, too?! *Fact.
2) Wear sustainable
Finding the right dress and suits might seem like a big task, but there are more and more sustainable fashion designers setting their focus on raw and organic fabrics. Furthermore, some brides opt to shop second-hand dresses and/or donate their dress after the big day. The same goes for suits! Check out www.stillwhite.com.au and www.thebarefacedbride.com.au for some brilliant second-hand options, but be sure to check if they’ve been altered from the original sizing.
3) Donate leftovers
Food is a big waste in Australia, not just at weddings but across the board. A great way to ensure your food doesn't go to waste (aside from eating it, which in most Bride's cases they can easily forget!), is to donate it to a charity. If logistically it's too difficult to donate, simply package up the food for your guests to take home as leftovers - they'll thank you when they don't have to think about what to eat in their next-day-slightly-hungover-state!
Did you know you can also donate your flowers? Many hospitals and nursing homes will happily accept leftover weddings flowers (those in good condition), and Civic Disability Services also host flower making classes with them!
4) Reusable decor
When planning the look and feel of your ceremony and reception, look for things that can easily be recycled. We know purchasing one hundred 50c jars can seem like a great deal, but it’s good to also consider what will happen to them afterwards. You’ll have to collect them all, clean them and try to sell them, otherwise they will end up in landfill. Where possible we recommend minimizing single-use items like balloons (which are also not great for the environment). Instead, borrow or hire what you can to ensure your decor can live another day. Most styling companies will dry hire you their items and some will even offer delivery and pick up! Win win!
Location is a big factor when considering waste, not only from a venue input and the way they operate their site, but it's also relevant when deciding how far your guests will have to travel. For instance, an overseas wedding, requiring guests to fly to the destination will have a far greater impact on waste than if it were to be within 20-50km of your nearest city-centre.
6) Native florals
Using florals that are native to Australia, sourced and grown locally is an awesome way of reducing waste and the impact on our environment. It means less need for chemicals, less travel and it's also a gorgeous way to celebrate the beauty in your local area. Did we mention natives are usually much MUCH cheaper than their imported friends?
7) Shop local
We're for local businesses! Support your local suppliers and help inject that much-needed cash to your area and community. Not only will it help your neighbours, but shopping locally reduces travel, packaging, and excess waste that comes with shipping items.
8) Sparkle naturally
If you've been following us for a while, you know we're hot for a sustainable confetti. Confetti is rife at weddings (and so it should be!). We're lovers of the glittery, fluttery, burst of colour and love at your very special moments. BUT micro-plastics are largely frowned upon these days, meaning we highly recommend sourcing an eco version of your confetti - whether it be dried petals or metallic confetti made from plants (it exists!). Have a look at the extensive range offered by ecoconfetti.com.au
9) Party favours
Bonbonniere are such a lovely tradition at a wedding, and if you're deciding to have them for your guests, there are many options available to you that are zero-waste. Think reusable jars, filled with sustainably farmed honey, or Aunty Val’s homemade marmalade as a perfect example.
10) Align with fellow zero-wasters
Finding the right vendors means finding people that you gel with: it's extremely important. But it is also important to align with businesses that marry (pardon the pun) with your ethics. Choosing other sustainable suppliers, such as a photographer who will plant 3 trees in honour of your wedding, is a fantastic way to further reduce your carbon footprint.
The last thing we want to do is increase your stress-levels when planning a wedding! And this list is not aimed at being exhausting, but rather little tidbits of ideas we've come across that can be easy ways for you to reduce your waste. A little bit goes a long way.
Happy planning! And remember, if you need anything, we're just an email away firstname.lastname@example.org