The wedding season is officially open! Vogue.com has just published its annual wedding guide, featuring garden parties, grand soirées and everything in between. And I celebrated my ninth (gulp!) wedding anniversary this week.
While I think that my wedding was reasonably glam – celebrated in one of Switzerland’s most famous hotels in Montreux, the embodiment of the Belle Époque charm, I don’t think it was particularly green, even though there were quite a few environmentalists in attendance.
What would I change if I were to tie the knot again (which, for the record, I most certainly don’t want to!) to make it a truly green-and-glam wedding? Here are some hopefully helpful resources for all those preparing for their ethical and eco-friendly nuptials.
1. The venue
Whether you are in for rustic charm or black-tie ballroom do’s, the trick is to choose a venue that would speak to you and your partner’s values. Go beyond the beaten track of characterless hotels and standard-issue marquees, and consider a city park, an old mill, or a solar-powered museum! You may wish to check the venue’s policy with regard to energy, water and waste management. For inspiration, visit the Green Union website. My favourite is Matara – a unique wedding venue in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire (see below).
2. The dress
This ought to have been #1 on the list, of course. After all, the wedding is all about the dress and whoever says otherwise is just being hypocritical! There is no other reason why women the world over are prepared to fork out thousands of dollars or Euros for the once-in-a-lifetime pleasure of wearing their wedding gown.
And that’s exactly the problem: wedding dresses are, by definition, single use. No matter how green their credentials – and here designers such as Leila Hafzi and SarahSeven are doing their utmost to cater to the most discerning eco-brides – your wedding gown is probably looking at a life sentence of being stuck at the back of the wardrobe.
Well, that’s just not good enough for a green-and-glam bride! Take cue from Livia Firth who wore her ‘upcycled’ wedding gown to the Golden Globes Awards ceremony, and give your wedding gown a second chance to see the world (although by no means by wearing it to another wedding – be it yours or someone else’s!).
The average wedding emits around 14.5 tonnes of CO2- a staggering amount compared with the 12 tonnes generated per person each year. Although a range of factors contribute to these carbon emissions, transport is usually the biggest culprit, according to the Green Home’s Green Wedding Guide.
So try to avoid a gas-guzzling limo, and go for a romantic horse-drawn carriage or hire the luxurious yet fully electric Tesla Roadster! If your ceremony and reception venue are a distance away, consider a vintage bus to transport your guests. They will save energy trying to find a parking spot, and you would save on carbon emissions!
4. The menu
Fresh, local, organic. This is the magic recipe for a palate- and environment-pleasing wedding banquet. And think about those leftovers! (Remember the ‘Think.Eat.Save’ motto?) Will the caterers use them for compost? Generally, I found weddings where finger food or bite-size portions are served to be the most easy-going and waste-conscious. As for an eco-friendly wedding cake, check out these top 10 tips from Green Wedding Slices.
5. The honeymoon
For an unforgettable honeymoon, nothing beats UNESCO World Heritage sites – the world’s most iconic natural and cultural destinations. As of this week, there are 222 natural World Heritage sites, which not only need our protection but very often a steady flow of tourists to prove that these unique places can generate income by means other than through logging and mining.
Among natural World Heritage sites are Peru’s Machu Piccu, Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. For more ideas, visit the Inspiring Places pages from IUCN, the organisation that advises UNESCO on natural World Heritage.
6. Something old…
Finally, remember the traditional English rhyme about ‘something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue’ that a bride should wear on her wedding day for good luck? For that little something blue, you can pick an eco-friendly handmade bridal garter from Petits Secrets by CB.
And I hope that after reading these tips, your wedding will have ‘something green’ in it, too. Good luck!