Wedding couple sitting by lake

10 ways to have a green wedding

Here are our top tips for an eco-friendly wedding that's every bit as precious as the Earth's natural resources you'll be saving.
  Published:  14 Aug 2017    |      4 minute read


1. Try wildlife-friendly wedding favours

Packing and products eat up a lot of the planet's natural resources. Be kind to the Earth by giving your guests something useful, gorgeous and environmentally-friendly instead.

Beautiful Wildflower Seed Favours are the perfect take-home gift, not only benefiting your wedding guests' gardens but providing a much-needed source of food for bees. The packs can be personalised with your names and wedding date plus Friends of the Earth receives a donation from each pack.

Photo of Friends of the Earth bee cause charity wedding favours set amongst plant pots, dried flowers and trowel

2. Ask for environmentally-friendly wedding gifts

If you want to cut down on a pile of presents and avoid plastic packaging, explore other gift ideas instead. Ask for eco-friendly gifts when you tie the knot.  

If you've got everything you need, why not ask guests to donate to Friends of the Earth's environmental work instead? You can set up your own custom page with JustGiving.

If you do opt for a wedding list, make sure you only ask for things you really need and will use. 

3. Choose eco-friendly wedding invitations and photos

Make sure you search for wedding invite companies that only use recycled paper. Even better, don't use paper invites at all. Choose an online invitation company to send e-invites. If you have additional information for guests, you could set up a wedding website and your e-invite could direct them to it. 

If you know you won't look at hundreds of wedding snaps, don't print them all out. Get your photographer to keep them in digital format and only print the ones you need for framing.

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4. Buy ethical engagement and wedding rings

Try hunting for a unique wedding ring in antique shops or at the end-of-year shows for jewellery design students. Or search online for suppliers of recycled gold or Fairtrade silver.

For advice on buying conflict-free diamonds, see The Kimberley Process FAQs. For Fairtrade and Fairmined gold, recycled gold or platinum wedding rings, see our ethical jewellery information page.

5. Source local, organic food and drink for your wedding feast 

Source your food from a supplier that uses local, seasonal and organic food or ask your caterer to do this for you. Food from local farm shops or markets is less likely to come packaged in unnecessary plastic. Think about having a vegetarian or vegan wedding meal so that your food isn't contributing to climate change

Invite guests to bring their own contributions to the meal – this can help keep costs down too. You could even find a caterer who can make a wedding fest from surplus food. Your guests will be amazed at how beautiful and tasty dishes made from food waste can be, and you'll save a packet on your eco-friendly meal. 

Hire crockery and glasses to avoid disposables, and recycle whatever you can, including bottles and cans. On the drinks front, look out for organic wines and soft drinks, and local beers or ciders.

6. Hire your wedding dress

One of the biggest waste of resources at a wedding is the wedding dress. It can cost hundreds or thousands of pounds and will never get worn again. One way round this is to choose a style of wedding dress that could be worn again for another function. Or consider hiring your outfit – ideal for bride, groom, ushers and children. For bridesmaids and page boys, make bridesmaids dresses and suits green by buying something they can wear afterwards for parties – or invite them to wear their own favourite outfits. Of course, the bride can do the same!

Or check out vintage and retro shops. Alternatively search online for quality used outfits from places like Depop, Vinted and Ebay or you can buy wedding dresses, wedding shoes and accessories from places like Oxfam. You could also consider borrowing from a friend.

After the big day, why not consider recycling your wedding dress or accessories? There are several charities that want used wedding dresses for terminally ill brides. By donating anything from jewellery and tiaras, to clutch bags and bridesmaid dresses, you could also support a fantastic scheme that helps brides in Malawi. 

Wedding couple - trousers dress and flowers
Wedding couple - groom's trousers, bride's dress and bouquet of flowers

7. Choose an organic wedding cake

Ask your wedding cake maker or local baker to use organic, local ingredients in your cake. If you're going for a fruity wedding cake, ask for seasonal, British fruits rather than imported carbon-guzzling options. You could even try dairy-free wedding cake recipes that will be suitable for vegans and better for the planet. 

Or, if you don't want to end up wasting food by having a wedding cake that will only get half-eaten, try something different - like an organic cheese board 'cake' with local fruit instead, or individual wedding cupcakes for your guests. 

8. Opt for environmentally-friendly transport

Looking for the perfect wedding location? Find a venue close to home to cut down on transport. And don't invest in hiring a gas-guzzling wedding limousine for your wedding car - instead, make a statement by turning up to your wedding in an electric car or horse-drawn carriage – or walk, or even cycle.

If you don't have the ceremony and reception at the same venue, encourage guests to share rides to the reception or provide a coach or bus.

If possible, include public transport details in your invitations, to encourage guests to consider leaving the car at home – and enjoy a few drinks too.

9. Find a great wedding venue — and try biodegradable confetti

You can have a great rustic wedding in a unique venue and make it environmentally friendly too. What about a rural wedding on a farm? Or an outdoor wedding surrounded by nature? Why not take a look at these 32 beautiful barn wedding venues?  

Make your wedding decorations green too. Be aware that confetti can contain plastic. Biodegradable confetti, such as flower petals, is now easily available in the shops. Or, how about asking guests to throw birdseed instead of confetti, so the birds get a treat?

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10. Look into a no-fly honeymoon

One of the biggest environmental impacts your wedding can have is a long-haul honeymoon.

If you don't want to worry about adding to climate change when you tie the knot, think about romantic destinations you can visit for your honeymoon that won't clock up the air miles.

There's a fantastic range of no-fly holiday destinations you can visit by sea and train.

See Seat61 to find out how to make your journey part of the adventure.