I believe weddings are a great place and time to celebrate the earth while we also celebrate human love. As a marriage celebrant I can see the industry trending away from big, fussy weddings (which can really cost the earth, literally and figuratively) towards more meaningful celebrations of love. Wild weddings, eco weddings and love-filled elopements are becoming ever more common and I am glaaaaaaaaaad!
There are a few things I do to help bring down the eco-cost of weddings, and there are plenty that you can do too. None of us needs to be perfect but it’s great to start with what you can – every little bit helps.
Here’s what I do:
I operate in a nearly paper-free office. Aside from your pretty lil’ marriage certificate, given at your wedding ceremony, all other forms of paperwork can be done digitally. I use a Samsung tablet – aka my best friend – and a stylus to receive your paperwork and sign all wedding documents (barring the commemorative certificate mentioned above). I store your information in a password-protected digital cloud and use Google Forms to gather all the information I need from you.
2: CARBON OFFSET
I partner with Greenfleet to offset one-tonne of carbon emissions for every wedding I conduct. If you’re new to carbon offsets, this means that something like tree planting is done to counteract the carbon emissions created by transport, production and general living. Learn more here!
3: WEAR SECONDHAND
I like to look nice at weddings and I really want to feel good in my clothes so I can be my best, happiest and most confident self. But I buy almost all my clothing from other celebrants or from Op Shops. Shoes are a different story (OMG where are the size 10 at op shops?!). Wherever I can, though, I thrift my clothes to step out of the toxic and wasteful Fast Fashion cycle. Learn more about Fast Fashion here.
As the saying goes, “the most sustainable product is the one you already own”. Even thrifted clothing needs to be transported. So the most truly eco-ethical way to dress is in what you already have. I try to pop some clothes away for a while so I can get excited about them when I bring them back out. You know, shop your own wardrobe! There’s a whole movement around this on social media – it’s called #onegreendress and it’s a great way of normalising re-wearing.
Here’s what you can do:
In whatever way you can, reduce as many aspects of your wedding as possible. Weddings with less guests will likely attract less waste and eco-harm; there are fewer people travelling, eating and doing weddingy things like buying new outfits and receiving invitations. Of course this isn’t possible or even desirable for everyone – some of you want big parties and that’s rad. There are certainly other ways to bring down the eco-cost of your wedding. Weddings with less new stuff will be kinder on the earth and weddings with less kilometers to travel will emit less pollutants.
It is an unspoken rule of wedding planning that everything must be bought new (for specialness? I don’t know…) but let’s challenge this notion. You might be able to use your own decor to pretty-up your wedding, or maybe you can buy a heap of glassware from an op shop and then use it in your home and be reminded daily of your festivities. Maybe you’ve already got great shoes that can be worn or a suit from a previous wedding? These are little steps you can take but they count.
Have you heard of dress re-wearing? Beautiful pre-loved wedding dresses are available for you to buy from places like Still White which allow you to save coin and make the most of the fabric, craft and effort already poured into the dress. Recycle your florals by gifting them to guests or having them sent to local hospitals and nursing homes. Sell or donate your unwanted decor and fashion items so they may live on in love and celebration!
4: CALCULATE YOUR FOOTPRINT
Head on over to Less Stuff More Meaning to use their wedding footprint calculator.