If you're reading this, I'm pretty sure you’re a big hearted soul who cares about the world and your impact on it. You try to live as ethically as you can, so why shouldn’t your wedding reflect those lovely values of yours?
There are loads of ways to bring a bit of conscience into your wedding, and most of them end up saving you some money and faff too - extra bonus!
1. Check your suppliers for ethical standards.
The best way you can make sure you have an ethical wedding is to work with ethical suppliers. In your checklist of questions you ask suppliers, male a point of asking them about their process and sustainability policy. For example, do they make everything in house with sustainable materials? Do they treat their staff well? Do they make a bigger impact in the world by pairing with causes they believe in? These are all ways to give back while hiring someone for your wedding.
2. Ditch the plastic crap - buy stuff you’ll want to keep.
We’ve all seen those tiny plastic champagne bottle bubbles as favours.... do you really need them? Aside from the fact they look naff, most of them will end up in landfill - along with all those disposable cameras that seemed like such a fun idea at the time. My advice? If you want favours for your table, skip the extra stuff you’re adding just for the sake of it, and instead go for thoughtful things people will actually want to keep. This goes for anything else you buy for the wedding, try to think about where it will end up afterwards, if the answer is “in the bin” try and give it some more thought.
3. Go for ethical jewellery
There are some amazing designers that use fair trade and recycled gold and silver in their jewellery. Going for ethical jewellery means you know that everyone involved in making it has been treated fairly - what’s not to like? Wild Fawn has some beautiful designs, especially if you like a delicate minimalistic style for your jewellery.
4. Upcycle as much as possible
Think about ways you can buy things second hand, whether that’s going for a vintage wedding dress, or scouring boot sales for furniture to decorate your wedding tipi. The bonus of this is you’ll get a really cool eclectic look for your wedding, and save money too - win win!
5. Support small local businesses
Your wedding is the perfect opportunity to support local small businesses. Your business means the world to small biz owners, and buy buying something local you are helping them live their dream! Buying local also means you know that there are no horrible sweatshops involved, and everyone who had a hand in your lovely wedding thing has been treated like they should be.
6. Choose an ethical venue.
Be sure to ask plenty of questions on your venue visits. What's their sustainability policy? Do they recycle? Do they work with ethical suppliers? Working with a venue that's focused on sustainability is one of the most important first steps in having an ethical wedding.
7. Is your stationery sustainable?
Check with your stationery designer if they use FSC-certified paper, which means it's approved by the Forest Stewardship Council. Making sure your supplies are FSC-certified means you can have beautiful invitations with confidence that the paper is not damaging our forests in the process. Pssst, the paper I use is always FSC certified.
8. Donations to charity instead of gifts or favours
Do you have a cause you're passionate about supporting? Why not ask for donations to charity in place of your wedding gifts, or you can even substitute favours for a small donation on behalf of your guests. Don't forget to leave a little card on the tables though letting them know - it spreads warm and fuzzies, AND raises more awareness for your charity in the process.
9. Hire furniture instead of buying
Anything you can hire instead of buying is always a great shout. Logistically it helps you not be left with piles of stuff that may end up in a skip, and it can also save you money too!
10. Make your food veggie /vegan
This can be a touchy subject in some families, but especially if you are veggie/vegan yourself, it makes perfect sense to bring those values into your entire wedding, not just an option. Think of it as a chance to allow your meat preferring guests to try something new, or if not, use caterers that supply organic, ethically sourced meat. Another great idea is to donate your leftovers through apps like Olio, so nothing goes to waste.
Did you like these tips? I hope this gives you some ideas, but there are loads more ways to be ethical and sustainable while also having the best time ever on your big day! My best advice is just to stay informed, ask questions of your suppliers and most importantly stay true to your values. That's pretty good advice for life anyway right?