How to plan an eco-friendly and Sustainable Wedding in Hampshire
We live in a time where the importance of being eco-friendly and having a sustainable household is an absolute priority. We are becoming increasingly socially conscious and the desire to lead a more planet-friendly lifestyle can be seen everywhere – including in wedding planning!
I love to work with eco-friendly and sustainable wedding suppliers, as well as couples who make this a key part of their day. But there’s still a long way to go before sustainability becomes commonplace. It can be really tough to achieve, especially when you’re not sure which wedding suppliers hold those zero-waste ethics in their businesses and services, or how you can go about making your wedding an environmentally friendly and safe event. Which is why I’ve put this article together with some great suggestions and some truly wonderful suppliers in the Hampshire vicinity, who will be able to help you plan the best eco-friendly and sustainable wedding day possible!
As a small Hampshire based business owner myself, I take pride in my efforts to be as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible. I only use recyclable packaging or re-use items such as bubble wrap when sending items to you. I carefully curate my own suppliers too, and fully research their credentials. My albums, for example, are supplied by the extremely eco-conscious Folio Albums. I also aim to reduce my own carbon footprint as much as possible by mostly working in my local area. And I prefer to re-use and recycle my own personal items – I use reusable chilly bottles for food and water and have a sustainable capsule wardrobe, which is why you might see me wearing the same outfit at your wedding as you may have seen me in previously!
Keep it Local
I’m sure you’ve heard of carbon footprint – emissions released into the atmosphere caused by each action we take. So, by planning your wedding at a local venue and shopping from local suppliers, you are definitely going to reduce that carbon footprint.
By the very nature of the spread of friends and family, reducing the carbon footprint to zero is, sadly, difficult to achieve entirely, but there are things you can do to reduce it as much as possible once they have arrived. Why not have the ceremony and reception in the same place? Perhaps, even, somewhere with accommodation so that, once everyone has arrived, they literally don’t have to go anywhere until it’s time to go home again? You can also remove the need for wedding transport by doing this, which will save on carbon emissions – you can’t get more environmentally friendly than a stroll from the ceremony to the reception now, can you?
Of course, some venues don’t have accommodation, but you can look for local places within walking distance or a short drive away. If you know a lot of your guests are staying in the same place, why not organise a bus (vintage or otherwise!) for them all to travel in together?
By also sourcing local suppliers and vendors such as the photographer, or florist, or make-up artist and/or hair stylist who live locally to your venue, you can reduce their carbon emissions as they won’t have as far to travel.
Don’t Buy, Hire!
Grooms and their groomsmen have been hiring their wedding suits for years, which is certainly an example we could all be following for many other items too!
I know lots of brides would shudder at the thought of hiring a wedding dress but really, think about it… why pay thousands for a dress you’re only going to wear for one day? Hiring a wedding dress is certainly not as hideous a suggestion as it might sound. You can hire some absolutely stunning (and designer!) gowns for a fraction of the cost of buying them outright.
Hiring not only saves you an absolute fortune, though. It’s so good for the environment too. Think about it, by hiring an item, far less need to be manufactured. This has a huge impact environmentally – reducing the carbon footprint of all the processes required to make that item and then getting it to where it needs to be.
I understand that hiring a wedding dress isn’t for everyone though. But there are other items you could think about hiring, such as furniture, decorations, crockery, bridesmaid and flower girl dresses and so on. So please do give hiring some consideration.
Ditch the Plastic
We’ve all seen those awful photographs of what the mounds of plastic are doing to our oceans. So why not try, as much as possible, to ditch the plastic in your wedding planning?
Starting with the basics, you can ditch the straws and other plastic items that might be present such as cups, cutlery and plates and opt for reusable or recyclable alternatives. You could even provide reusable straws as part of the wedding favours, perhaps. They come in an array of pretty colours and would definitely be a useful item for your guests!
The possibilities don’t end there. Take a look at your decorations too – it’s amazing how many things contain plastic now so consider edible or recyclable materials for your cake décor or table decorations. You could even put your DIY skills to good use by making items from old book pages, for example.
Go Vintage or Pre-Made
So, hiring your dress might not be a consideration but what about going vintage? There are several options to consider. The first is to look at purchasing a pre-made dress. There are lots of bridal boutiques popping up now who specialise in the sale of pre-made wedding dresses. Again, this is a really budget-friendly method of finding a wedding dress, as well as being eco-friendly, so this could be a viable option if you are working with a low budget. Many of these boutiques offer the full wedding dress experience too, with being able to try dresses on and then having the dresses adjusted so that they fit you perfectly.
Or, if the fashions of the past are more your thing, why not look at purchasing a vintage wedding dress or even borrowing your Mum’s dress! There are so many beautiful dresses from different eras – perhaps you love the boho style of the seventies, or something feminine and flirty from the fifties is more your flair. Whatever you prefer, there are plenty of styles out there to suit every taste and body shape – although do bear in mind a lot of vintage wedding dresses come up smaller and sizing may not be exactly the same as it is today. There are some excellent vintage wedding dress vendors out there – do ask them for their advice as I’m sure they are well-used to guiding brides when it comes to purchasing a vintage dress.
Roll with the Seasons
When it comes to organic items, such as food and flowers, take into account the time of year your wedding will be taking place and opt to use only items typically found during that season.
Choosing foods and flowers that aren’t in season generally means the items must be sourced from elsewhere, usually overseas. Importation of out-of-season foods and flowers can take up a significant amount of your carbon footprint. Seasonal purchasing of produce allows you to source the items locally, thereby reducing that carbon footprint.
There are suppliers who specialise in providing seasonal produce so if you’re worried about doing this yourself, you can always enlist them to help with their expertise.
What about looking for ethical wedding rings? Purchase rings from a reputable source or store, where the history of its materials, production and the workers involved have been researched and fairly compensated. Or look at antique shops as an alternative. You could even consider alternative materials, such as sea glass, wood or reclaimed materials.
Research wedding stationery alternatives. Of course, there’s the obvious recycled paper, but what about also considering a digital alternative for invites and save the dates? And you could consider paper-free alternatives for things like place names, such as beautifully calligraphed names on collected stones, shells or pieces of sea glass.
On the day itself, what about designating a single glass to each guest, perhaps with their name written on it, to be re-used throughout the day? This would definitely save energy on repeated washing, as well as water and additional costs.
Local Eco-Friendly Suppliers
This article wouldn’t be complete without telling you about some wonderful local eco-friendly and sustainable wedding suppliers and vendors that I would love to recommend to you. Some are Hampshire based, the rest are all reasonably local to the area and I would happily recommend every single one of them.
Kingsettle Stud (https://www.kingsettlestud.co.uk/) – Nestled in 1000 hectares of the organically managed Cholderton Estate, Kingsettle is a listed Victorian Stable Block straddling the Hampshire and Wiltshire border, near to Stonehenge. It is the perfect venue for a rustic-themed all-in-one wedding venue – they have a field suitable for setting up a small camping village.
Baylily Bell Tents (https://www.baylilybelltents.co.uk/) – Emily and Alan are champions of leaving very low impact on areas they visit as part of their business ethics. Hampshire-based but covering the whole of the UK, you can hire their beautiful bell tents for a really unique experience and alternative accommodation for you and your guests.
Real Green Dress(https://www.realgreendress.com/) – This beautiful boutique, run by Erica, supplies original vintage dresses which have been exquisitely restored and are perfect for a bride looking for an ethical and alternative wedding dress from a local supplier.
Love from Lila (http://www.lovefromlila.co.uk/) – Run by Lara at the edge of Hampshire and Surrey border, she supplies responsibly sourced cakes in the area and has written a substantial post on eco-friendly wedding cakes too. Take at a look at her blog for that informative post.
Floribunda Rose (https://www.floribundarose.com/) – Sarah is a design-led florist who is serious about her carbon footprint. She never uses floral foam and avoids the use of single-use plastic in her ethical business and she aims to use British florals and locally-sourced foliage as much as possible.
With These Hands Weddings (https://www.withthesehandsweddings.co.uk/) Another husband and wife team based in Hampshire, providing both floristry and a vintage hire company using reclaimed and salvaged items, such as an old piano bar, vintage sewing machine cake table, reclaimed wood furniture.
Vinnie’s Vintage Vehicles (https://www.vinniesvintagehire.co.uk/) – Vinnie’s hires out the most wonderful collection of vintage vehicles and they are also extremely environmentally-aware, making an effort to eliminate the use of single-use plastics and re-using and using vintage as much as possible.
Ginger Catering Company (http://www.gingercateringcompany.co.uk/) – Passionate caterers based in the New Forest who make a point to use locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, along with personal touches like favourite ingredients and flavours of the clients they are catering for. Although I am not vegetarian, I can personally vouch for their vegetarian and vegan menu options.
Eva Designer Goldsmith (https://www.evadesignergoldsmith.co.uk/) – Hampshire-based jeweller with a real talent for designing one off pieces and repurposing old jewellery too, by either melting down the precious metals or re-using and re-setting old stones into newer pieces.
Finally, for more inspiration and links to other suppliers who pride themselves on their ecological ethics and sustainability, you should also check out The Natural Wedding Company (https://thenaturalweddingcompany.co.uk/) who have also published a styled shoot I photographed with some of these talented suppliers listed above, which you can see here . My shorter version of that shoot featuring mostly old fashioned film images can be found here.
It’s important to remember, though, not to be too hard on yourself if you can’t do everything in a completely eco-friendly and sustainable way when planning your wedding day. Do as much as you can, be proud of the efforts you have made and, ultimately, enjoy your beautiful wedding day. It’s going to be a perfect and personal experience so savour every moment of it.
If you’d like to book me as your eco-friendly and sustainable wedding photographer, do get in touch!