In today’s throwaway society I’m sure the wedding must come in at the top of the scrap-heap in terms of wastage. For it’s one glorious day of wonder, think of all the things that we need to dispose of afterwards – single use weddings huh? Today’s ethical bride post thinks about decor: what can we do to make wedding decorations more sustainable and have more longevity?
Please note – we don’t expect people to follow every single one of these guidelines, and understand we can’t make every single thing in our lives ethical (unless we live in a hole in the woods, probably naked and eating leaves?) but maybe, just maybe by supporting one of these ideas, we could help the world a little bit at a time. Here’s how:
one. candles – so I’ve only just discovered these facts and I’m a little bit horrified *gets through 5 tea lights a night* – did you know that paraffin based candles release harmful toxins into the air? As well as not being great for the environment (they are a petroleum byproduct of crude oil as it gets refined into petrol) they also give off soot as they burn. Alternative ideas? Use 100% beeswax candles. Try Wood-Knit-Bee, Beessence, John Wood or Gold and Black Candles.
two. ditch the disposables – if your wedding is a DIY affair you may be tempted to use disposable cutlery and plates. If possible try and source non-disposable items from lenders – this doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think and can be cheaper than disposables in the first place! It’s also worth remembering many supermarkets hire out glassware for free (we used and recommend Waitrose – great service and you don’t have to return them clean either!) If you are certain you need disposables try more eco friendly options such as biodegradable bamboo or palm leaves (plus they look waaaay nicer than plastic too!) Try The Wholeleaf Co. P.S. Don’t forget to ditch the plastic straws or use these metal straws instead).
three. flowers – ok this is a cheat point as we have already covered flowers in our floral ethical bride post here, but it’s totally worth another read 😉
four. balloons – ending up in landfills the world over, causing countless animals to die from ingestion and using up non-renewable helium. Balloons are not cool in the eco world. Think of other ways you can decorate without balloons (think potted plants, banners, wall hangings, flowers, foliage…) and never release balloons into the air. If you really can’t do without them try a more eco friendly version such these balloons from Little Cherry.
five. vintage, recycle, reuse – scour the local charity shops and recycle what you can. Raid the garage and the attic and you will be surprised what you can find! We made our table plans with old photo frames from our local charity shops, painted up with leftover paint and added our homemade designs. The next day we gave them all away to guests who now have them hanging in their houses!
six. favours – do you really need/want them? As well as saving money by ditching the favours, you will also save the environment! Yes ok a bit over the top but it’s true – you will be doing your bit. Plus many people don’t even use/take them. If you really want favours can I suggest a free bar?! If that’s not feasible then try homemade favours such as baking your own biscuits, making jam, cordial or booze (using recycled jam jars of course – start collecting them now!)
seven. hire – there really is no need to buy new decorations for weddings – if you can’t source your own (see point five above) then check out some local (reduce the carbon footprint!) businesses. They can hire out anything from festoon lights, jam jars, ladders, bunting and even vintage bikes! Try The Little Lending Company.
eight. family and friends – we used our good friends bunting which they made for their own wedding. This bunting has since graced the weddings of most of our friends and is still going strong! Remember there are always people who have got married before you or know someone who had that certain thing at their wedding. Use social media to put out a plea.
nine. sky lanterns – yes they look amazing, create beautiful photos and fun times, but they are just not that great for the environment. Actually they are really really bad for the environment. Sky lanterns kill and injure animals who eat the metal or bamboo cage within them, cause fires in homes and the natural environment, damage aircrafts and can drift out to sea and mimic distress flares. Do you really need them? Just party on the dance floor instead!
Have we given you any ideas for your own wedding decorations? Let us know any other ideas in the comments below! More ethical bride posts can be found here.
Photography by Rachel Hudson