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13 ways to make your wedding eco-friendly

13 ways to make your wedding eco-friendly

Written by Marcia Moody

From the venue to the photography and entertainment, here's how to make your big-day a little more environmentally savvy


When it comes to planning an eco-friendly, it turns out Kermit was wrong - it is easy being green! Generally, the key things to remember are: hire where possible, go local, go seasonal and recycle.

Here, we speak to eco experts Charlie Burton from The Natural Wedding Company and Rosie Ames from Green Union, who tell us all of their tricks to makre sure your big day is as untroubled as your conscience...

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Rosie says: "Here's a great opportunity to be eco-chic from the start - and there's no need to abandon taste and style! Print all your wedding correspondence on recycled or tree-free paper with vegetable inks".

Source stationery, favours, decorations and DIY materials from a company like; alternatively, go paper-free and create your own wedding website, sending out invitations and information entirely online.

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If flowers are flown in from overseas, it adds to air pollution, so go local. Charlie says: "Find a florist who grows their own, or one who sources British-grown flowers. If there's a particular flower you want, find out when it's in-season and have your wedding then".

Cherry blossom, forget-me-nots and lily of the valley are all perfect for spring, whilst roses, peonies, hydrangeas and lavender encapsulate summer. Berries and leaves are great for autumn decor, while twigs, evergreens and holly berries epitomise winter. Choose a florist who recycles green waste, such as flowers and leaves, as well as the packaging.

Hiring silk flowers is also an option. For confetti, opt for biodegradable petals, or seeds - birds can eat it, or it will grow into plants!

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Try to hold both the ceremony and reception in the same venue - or a short walk from each other - as this cuts down on travel, and means decorations can be moved easily and reused. Check your chosen venue's recycling policy and try to choose somewhere that uses sustainable energy.

Image: Sarah Lauren Photography

There's an increasing number of farms, luxury hotels, barns and country houses across the UK, as well as more unusual options, such as tree houses, wetland centres and nature reserves.

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Hen do

Try ultra-luxe glamping or luxury yurts: travel by train and make the journey a part of your celebrations with a picnic and a bottle of prosecco!


Forgo the single-use cameras to save printing and film - go digital instead. Give guests access to your images online to save on discs and postage.

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The main things to avoid here are mass-produced synthetic creations made using cheap labour in questionnable conditions overseas. Instead, choose designers who you know use environmentally-sound fabrics and have a Fair Trade policy. Minna is one of the leading ethical brands in the UK and recently launched its bridal accessories collection. 

Alternatively, you and your groom could choose to commission hand-made pieces by a British designer and support our home-grown talent. "You could go the whole hog and use organic cotton or wild silk," says Rosie. "But it's good enough to choose European-woven fabrics which are guaranteed to have been made under fair trade conditions".

Other eco options for you, your man and your wedding party include clothing hire companies, charity shops, vintage boutiques and eBay. 

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To eliminate lots of car journeys, lay on group transportation. You don't have to forego style: opt for vintage buses or charabancs. Or how about riding in a rickshaw or horse-and-carrige?


Go acoustic where possible, and choose an MP3 playlist for dancing. Choose eco sky lanterns instead of fireworks.

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"There are lots of companies who hire out genuine vintage props, furniture and crockery, which are perfect for weddings," says Charlie. "Or, you could use living trees in hessian-wrapped pots or succulents for centrepieces, and bunting made from repurposed fabric".  

Image: Kit Myers Photography


Hire companies will have old bikes and step-ladders for a rustic theme, gilt-framed mirrors and ornate dressing table dessert stations for a Rococo flavour, or bird cages and candelabra for al-fresco luxe. 

Jewellery and accessories

Ideally go vintage, utilising a family heirloom. If buying new though, Charlie says: "Go for an ethical jeweller who uses fair trade or recycled precious metals, and conflict-free gems". 

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Ask guests to make a charity donation or plant a tree. If you'd like something for your home, ask for donations and commission a local crafty type to make you a piece of furniture or artwork.


Look at supermarket labels, as a lot of food comes from abroad. All flights pump pollution into the atmosphere, so choose seasonal and local ingredients where possible. In spring, opt for crab, spring greens, lamb and Jersey Royals. In summer, there's salmon, asparagus and courgettes, berries, cherries and peaches. In autumn, pick oysters, monkfish, squashes and mushrooms, as well as pears, figs and plums. In winter, choose mussels, game and root vegetables, walnuts, cranberries and dates.

Image: Paperlily Photography


Meats are available from British suppliers all-year round. Rosie adds: "Local micro brewery beer in a barrel or cider from a West Country orchard are great ideas. And these days, even British bubbly comes with high credentials!"

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The most eco-friendly option is, of course, to stay in our green and pleasant land. Travel by train and support the local economy by staying in B&Bs or individually-owned hotels rather than big chains. 

However, there are ways to have that luxe exotic trip of a lifetime. Rosie says: "If you decide on a long-haul destination then try to support eco tourism. Avoid travelling with a multinational operator or staying in western-owned all-inclusive resorts, particularly in the developing world". Instead, check out UK travel agents featuring eco-travel options, such as Responsible Travel.

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