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How To Have A Sustainable Wedding

Wedding Planning – 18.05.20

We’re all becoming a little more conscious with our daily routines and are trying to become more environmentally friendly. So why should your wedding day be any different? Ethical weddings are a growing trend, and one that we love here at Combermere Abbey. Coupled with an idyllic countryside setting, we have the perfect wedding venue for an eco-friendly celebration.

Wedding ceremonies come by in their thousands and thousands every year, big celebrations have the potential to produce major waste – so if you like the idea of hosting a celebration that’s a little bit different, an eco-friendly wedding is a favourable route to take.

Why Consider A Sustainable Wedding?

Research from 77 Diamonds suggests that…

  •  4,910 tonnes of unrecyclable plastic was used up and left behind at British weddings last year
  • On average, £488 is wasted on food at every wedding
  • 15% of people would only eat one or two of their three courses
  • The same number, 15%, of newlyweds would throw the remains of their cake away
  • 37% of guests don’t eat edible wedding favours
  • A few hours at one wedding can account for 65% of a home’s wastage across an entire year

There’s no such thing as a perfectly ethical wedding, but even making small changes to your special day can have a big impact. Here’s some advice from our wedding planning team on how to have a sustainable wedding.

13 Ideas On How To Have A Sustainable Wedding

1. Choose a location that’s nearby

If you’re fortunate to have family that live nearby, choosing a local wedding venue will reduce the Co2 emissions required to travel. If your family live further afield, why not encourage them to stay onsite (if they can) or close to your venue the night before so they can choose an ethical way of travelling.

2. Pick a sustainable wedding venue

One of the most important things to do when planning a sustainable wedding, is to pick an eco-friendly venue. Do you know Combermere Abbey was named one of the UK’s top eco-friendly venues by Wedding Ideas Magazine? If you chose an ethical venue, they will help you tick all the boxes on your ‘sustainable wedding’ checklist. Be sure to visit your venue before booking to ask them these questions, you can now book a personalised venue showround with us to find out how we can support your sustainable wedding day.

How to have a sustainable wedding

3. Upcycle your own wedding invites

Now’s a great time to make your own wedding invites at home, is there a way you can make them sustainably? You could either use recycled paper, or even get super creative by creating invitations from other materials you have at your disposal – such as wood. Remember to try and use plant-based inks if you can.

Eco-friendly wedding invites

4. Consider an ethical wedding dress designer

Of course, if you want to have a sustainable wedding, you should try and incorporate eco-awareness into as many parts of your big day as you can. Perhaps you could opt for a vintage or ethical wedding dress designer? You’d be sure to get a gown that is truly unique and unforgettable.

5. Utilise a local florist

We work with many local and regional florists at Combermere Abbey such as Red Floral, consider choosing one for your special day. As well as making an eco-friendly and sustainable choice, you’re also helping to support a smaller, independent business – which is ethical in itself.

6. Develop an eco-friendly dinner menu

Could you talk with your guests before your wedding to develop a dinner menu that incorporates dietary needs, but that is also eco-friendly? Vegan foods are a popular choice for being sustainable, so it could be worth exploring your plant-based options if this is an avenue that you wish to explore.

How to have a sustainable wedding - vegan wedding food

7. Dress your wedding venue with sustainable décor

A sustainable wedding can still be a beautiful one. We have seen many brides and grooms who’ve had rustic, sustainable wedding décor which has made their special day really unique, as well as having benefits for the environment. Could you upcycle wedding decorations from pre-loved items? Make sure you opt for a venue that offers you a blank canvas (similar to ours) so that you can style your special day any way you choose.

8. Opt for homemade wedding favours

As mentioned previously, there has never been a better time to get creative with your wedding day – you have time to plan and create now. There are so many homemade wedding favours that you could make, some ideas that we’ve seen from previous weddings – and that we love – include: succulents to take home, pic n’ mix sweetie bags, wildflower seed packets (or seed bombs), homemade soaps and birdseed feeders.

9. Swap wedding confetti for an eco-friendly alternative

The wedding confetti throwing after you’ve exchanged your vows is a wonderful memory to treasure and it creates a fantastic photograph opportunity too. Why not make this important part of your ceremony eco-friendly too? You can use bio-degradable wedding confetti, or real flower confetti (take a look at Shropshire Petals for inspiration), and if you want to be really unique, we love the idea of using birdseed.

How to have a sustainable wedding - eco-friendly wedding confetti

10. Encourage reusable glassware

If you’re hosting an outdoors wedding in particular, you might be thinking about disposable cups for your guests’ drinks. We have a better idea. Why not opt for a recyclable glass bottle that they can reuse throughout the day (and night)? It’s not only more eco-friendly, but also looks great too and fits perfectly with a rustic countryside wedding theme.

Reusable glass for wedding - ethical ideas

11. Give something back to the environment

Once you’ve said your ‘I dos’, perhaps you’d like to give something back to the environment and create a wedding that you can cherish forever. At Combermere Abbey, for every wedding party, we plant a tree in our bridal grove; many of our past brides and grooms come back to visit it, a symbol of how their love has grown and blossomed.

Sustainable bridal grove at Combermere Abbey

12. Encourage an ethical wedding gift

Many wedding celebrations end in the giving of a gift to the newlyweds. Sometimes, people ask for charitable donations as an alternative.  You could select multiple charities who support the environment and use your wedding as the perfect opportunity to make a difference.

13. Plan a ‘no-fly’ for your honeymoon

Finally, your honeymoon is an experience that you’ll never forget – could you make it all the more unique by choosing something different and original? We love UK staycations, and one way to have a sustainable wedding would be to end your celebrations with an eco-friendly trip closer to home instead of jetting of on a plane. There’s a whole world right on your doorstep – you can explore it together.  If your wedding venue provides accommodation, why not extend your stay after your wedding day?  At Combermere Abbey, we often find our couples like to stay another night at our honeymoon suite in the North Wing.

Do you have any eco-friendly recommendations? Let us know your ideas for how to have a sustainable wedding, on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

With thanks for the photographs: The Crawleys, The Minimalist Vegan, Rock My Wedding, Ronnie Lee Hill and Jason Mark Harris 💕