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Sustainable Wedding - The Best Tips for a Green And Eco-Friendly Celebration

Sustainable Wedding - 12 Tips for Green Weddings

You want to celebrate a wedding as sustainable as possible? Then you've come to the right place. Every year, around 400,000 couples get married in Germany.₁ Marriage is usually a big event celebrated in private, which unfortunately also involves a not inconsiderable amount of money, ecological footprint leaves

Luckily, there is a great trend or better movement: Green Weddings. Here, couples take into account environmental conservation in their wedding planning and try to reduce the keep the ecological footprint as small as possible. An important principle here is "less is more". Avoidance, reduction and compensation of emissions also play a major role. In addition, the motto of every marriage should be "He who changes, changes the world."

This means that you act as a role model and bring many people at the wedding to a more sustainable life or even inspire your own Green Wedding. In this article I would like to give you the 12 most important tips on how you can marry sustainably.

In advance, a brief overview for you:

  1. Fair wedding fashion
  2. Regional organic catering
  3. Green wedding stationery
  4. Local wedding venue
  5. Ethical gold rings
  6. Gifts
  7. Sustainable service providers
  8. Decoration
  9. Wedding date
  10. Alternative wedding traditions
  11. The bridal styling
  12. Ecological honeymoon

1. fair wedding fashion

A wedding couple in sustainable clothing
When choosing a wedding dress and wedding suit, you should look very carefully | © Simon Veith

Everyone knows the bad effects of Fast Fashion and exploitation in the fashion industry. The biggest problem with wedding dresses and suits are long Supply chains, repurchasing, conventionally sourced materials and ethically questionable production..

But there are many ways to break this cycle when choosing your own wedding fashion. Of course, it doesn't always have to be new. Many great providers specifically advertise their very high-quality Second Hand Wedding dresses and suits. In addition, the fashion can also be borrow.

Countless boutiques have also focused on nachustainable and fair wedding fashion specialized. There you can get clothes made from certified organic or recycled materials, fairly produced goods from Germany/Europe and animal-friendly, vegan clothes.

Fair fashion does not necessarily have to be more expensive either, as wedding fashion is generally rather high-priced. But if you attach great importance to ruffles and lace, you probably have to expect a higher price due to the high proportion of handmade - especially if it is new and not second-hand. Of course, you can also shop at the Sshoes, underwear, bow tie/tie, handkerchief and other details for sustainability with the above criteria.

2. regional organic catering

The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. But so do CO2 emissions. After the journey (more on this later), the food offered has the greatest potential for savings. In short, why should we feed soy to a cow first when we can also eat it deliciously straight away?

Often couples and wedding planners order Too large quantitiesso that vast quantities of emissions are produced. Also the Failure to use regional ingredients from organic farming contributes to this. I advocate vegan catering out of love for all animals and the world. With the right catering, you can make your guests happy and also encourage them to rethink their own eating habits.

That being said, make sure you have catering that is is organic, regional and seasonal. However, each couple must decide for themselves what to serve. There is the eternal discussion whether a buffet or dishes on plates is the more sustainable option.

With both options, food waste can occur and this must be avoided. Personally, I find the solution with buffet and sustainable take-away dishes or even better Tupperware, which all guests bring with them, sensible and very sustainable.

3. green wedding stationery

Invitation cards, place cards and the menu can also be environmentally friendly
Invitation cards, place cards and the menu can also be environmentally friendly | © Simon Veith

Invitation cards? Table decorations? Envelopes? menu cards? Table numbers? The many stationery for weddings is mainly about the right paper, as well as the Waste avoidance and the Forest clearing.

Does it always have to be paper? And if so, which paper should it be? At which print shops is sustainably printed? Think about what needs to be on paper in the first place. The less paper (and trash in general), the better.

The invitation can e.g. newfangled also be sent by e-mail or by a Wedding website happen. The same applies to Thank you cards. If the lack of stationery bothers you, you still have the option to choose it as ecologically valuable as possible - and to rely on recycled paper. This paper can be reused up to seven times and is therefore an excellent alternative to its conventional counterpart.

Make sure you use the right paper (Blue Angel, FSC, AP/VUP or Okopa seal, handmade uncoated paper, stone paper, seed or grass paper). The printer should work with the desired paper and water-based inks. In addition, it should either come from the region or at least ship the products in a climate-neutral way.

As an alternative to print, you can write yourself or have someone writeThe most beautiful with professional calligraphy. Do you need a menu card per guest or is one per table perfectly sufficient? Do the table numbers or names have to be printed on paper, or do you use a beautiful gemstone, the napkin or the existing glass? Can you also combine this directly with the guest gift? There are really few to no limits to your creativity.

4. local wedding venue

Here you can pay attention to the so-called landscape picking: you choose a location for the wedding, which is for the majority of the wedding party a short or no journey has.

A no-go, on the other hand, is the so-called Destination WeddingThe wedding ceremony is not a local event, where all the people have to travel abroad (especially by plane). For this, there are also more environmentally friendly alternatives such as bus or train, but the local option is always the more environmentally friendly.

The Arrival to the wedding, by the way, is said to account for up to 73 percent of a wedding's emissions₂ - making this the biggest CO2 offender with plenty of potential for savings. Another point is still the Overnight accommodationThe event can be held in a hotel, which should be within walking distance, or in a hotel, where all guests can stay overnight. In addition, when selecting the respective organizers, you can also focus on the preference of Green electricity pay attention.

5. ethical gold rings

Ethical gold rings at a sustainable wedding
Ethical gold rings at a sustainable wedding | © Simon Veith

Gold rings in particular can come from questionable mining. Political conflicts, environmentally harmful extraction by toxic waste materials, transportation and exploitation are some downsides of gold. So how to get wonderful wedding rings without remorse?

When buying, make sure to buy fair trade gold from sustainable mines or from rivers where gold is extracted without chemicals. You should show the certificate for the gold used or have it given to you. Faith is good, control is better!

The same applies to diamonds - after all, you don't want to buy blood diamonds. In addition, there are now also many suppliers who offer Recycled gold fall back on. You should avoid real pearls and other animal materials such as ivory or coral, so as not to support the exploitation of animals. An old superstition says that every pearl the woman wears at the wedding will lead to a tear during the marriage. So let's just not do that.

Some alternatives to gold rings are rings made of different woods, recycled paper or even ink in the form of tattoos. Another alternative is, of course, antique jewelry or second hand jewelry that you can find at flea markets and online portals or even get from family. As a final point on this, I'll throw in the question: do you need brand new engagement rings if you're not going to wear them after the wedding anyway?

6. gifts

When it comes to gifts, it's obvious: pure consumption and for many guests, one or the other gift will also be duplicated. It is important to avoid unnecessary wedding gifts and especially dust catchers. There are online wedding tables where you can enter sensible gifts as a future married couple and the guests can mark them anonymously as purchased, to Avoid duplication.

Besides you can get environmentally friendly gifts such as sustainable green electricity, smart home items, train tickets, car sharing memberships, memberships in Greenpeace, Animal Equality or similar. You can quietly tell your guests about the online wedding table or the wish for sustainable gifts with the invitation. In a world of consumer goods, time is often the best gift, so gifts like concert tickets, special dinners, trips together, etc. are wise investments in great memories.

7. sustainable service providers

A big wedding simply does not run without service providers. Their job is to professionally beautify your wedding and take away the organizational stress. In the meantime, there are already some providers who also design their services in a sustainable, climate-neutral and climate-positive way and thus make the wedding greener. Wedding planner, DJ, photographer, videographer, service staff, catering, wedding speaker, musician and make-up artist are just a few examples.

The adjusting screws of all service providers for a sustainable wedding, to which I also attach particular importance, are, for example. green hosting of the website, green banking, green electricity, green mobility, paperless office and regional/sustainable/organic equipment or ingredients.. This may involve natural cosmetics on the one hand, but also catering, planning, travel of each service provider and also photography.

In addition, it is of course important what products they use and whether they fit your wedding. A conventional cake fits less in a catering that is vegan, organic & regional. So better look for a vegan pastry chef. Otherwise, find out about the working methods and sustainability of the desired service providers and discuss together how you can make the wedding even more environmentally friendly.

8. decoration

Sustainable bouquet on wedding
There are many options available to you when it comes to sustainable wedding decor | © Simon Veith

The lighting and decoration contribute significantly to the atmosphere of your sustainable wedding. However, many elements require a lot of energy for this as well. Decoration pieces are often used only once or made from new materials that are not durable. As a rule, renting high-quality materials is the most environmentally friendly solution.

or example, solar lights or candles that do not require electricity can provide the right mood. There are even sustainable candles suppliersthat produce without petroleum and organic/vegan. For electric lighting, be sure to choose the following LEDs, which require significantly less power than conventional light sources.

Fresh flowers can quickly have a negative impact on the carbon footprint, for example through the use of pesticides . The simple solution is seasonal and local organic flowers, where the choice of the Florist very important, because, unfortunately, not all work environmentally friendly. Dried flowers are also currently very trendy. Here too, of course, it depends on the appropriate florists and the cultivation.

The Bouquets and arrangements last virtually forever and can be given to guests as a souvenir at the end of the celebration. Or you can use them to decorate your own four walls after the celebration. Especially with the bridal bouquet, the durability of dried flowers is an advantage, because it is often a great souvenir for a long time.

One of the absolute no-goes at a sustainable wedding is buying elaborate decorations that were made as cheaply as possible abroad. It is much more environmentally friendly to simply borrow the beautiful candle holders, vases and signs. This also includes reusable Glass drinking straws or metal, which avoids disposable waste.

9. wedding date

From experience, it is worthwhile to set the wedding date in the fall or spring. The weather is milder and the temperatures less extreme in these seasons. This prevents high heating and also the use of energy-intensive air conditioning. Likewise, a wedding in this period is often also much more pleasant for the couple and the guests, because the extreme temperatures can be quite exhausting. But of course, beautiful summer and winter weddings also have their charm, for sure.

10. alternative wedding traditions

Releasing balloons or throwing rice and confetti are particularly popular, but unfortunately absolutely not environmentally friendly traditions at weddings. As a sustainable alternative, I would recommend, throw dried flowers or foliage. Or you get creative, there are, for example, flower confetti to buy or you punch yourself some. With it you can also make wonderful pictures. To the theme also fit the flower girls or children. The above-mentioned dried flowers could also be given as favors.

The wedding procession by car, led by the bride and groom, is not really a sustainable wedding. Especially since completely unnecessary CO2 and particulate matter is emitted. Instead, you could make a column with bicycles, cargo bikes or on foot.

Another No-go are traditions that include animals. Letting doves or butterflies fly is no longer cool. Many also bring their dogs to the wedding - that's okay, but you should make sure that the animals are not exposed to a lot of noise.

A nice tradition is to have on your own property a Wedding tree to plant. Who does not like to have an apple or cherry tree in their own, sustainable garden?

11. the bridal styling

Even the bridal styling can be sustainable
Bridal styling can also be sustainable | © Simon Veith

Of course, bridal styling is also an important factor in making the wedding as sustainable as possible. Why use chemicals for skin and hair when the rest of the wedding program is natural and ecologically designed?

Meanwhile, there are also just as good alternatives with Natural cosmetics and specialized makeup artists or hair & makeup specialists. I recommend that you make a trial styling in advance to check the To get to know the stylist and the selected products and also to test them for a whole day. So there are no nasty surprises such as intolerances on the wedding day.

12. ecological honeymoon

After the wedding, the honeymoon is on the agenda for many newlyweds. Most of us probably think directly of tropical beaches and long plane rides - of course, this does not have to be the case when you Staying true to yourself and your plans for the sustainable wedding wants.

Fortunately, there are also great travel destinations in Europe that you can reach by train can. You will quickly realize that public transportation can also be quite romantic. Possible environmentally friendly alternatives are also trips by bus or car.

If it is to be a more distant destination after all, try to stay there as long as possible so that Travel distance and travel duration in reasonable proportion stand. Then also compensate for the air travel, which is now even often offered when booking.

Wellness and relaxation should also not be missing after the perhaps stressful organizational phase of the wedding. There are many Organic wellness hotels in Germany and Europe, which are ideal for environmentally friendly honeymoons.

Sustainable Weddings: A conclusion

Sustainable wedding cake at a wedding ceremony
Sustainable wedding cake at a wedding | © Simon Veith

I'm sure you and your partner can put on a great wedding with consideration for the environment and not have to sacrifice anything. There is also an exciting, ecological alternative to almost every item and tradition.

I would like to point out that small steps are important and that no wedding has to be 100 percent ecological. It is possible, but not a must. Plan your wedding the way you like it best. It is your wedding, your big day - and not the wedding of your guests. You have the planning sovereignty.

If you decide to take some of the tips from this list to heart and get married sustainably, it may well be that your guests will be inspired by this idea. It is often difficult to take the first step, but the next ones will be much easier and in the end it will be worth it for you and the environment.

For further assistance I can still recommend you my Green Wedding Checklist download and sign up for my Green Wedding Newsletter for many more sustainable wedding tips & tricks.

I wish you lots of fun planning your big day and most of all that it will be unforgettable.

Stay sustainable,

Simon

PS.: By the way, the wedding party is a great way to give your Bringing sustainability closer to the family. In the linked article you get now even more tips about it!

References:
₁ Federal Statistical Office: Population - Marriages in Transition, available at https://www.destatis.de/DE/Themen/Querschnitt/Demografischer-Wandel/Hintergruende-Auswirkungen/demografie-ehen.html. [18.10.2022].

₂ Jörg Janssen: 16 Simple Solutions for a CO2 Friendly Wedding (as of Aug. 06, 2019), available at https://hochzeitslocation.de/ratgeber/hochzeitsplanung/16-einfache-loesungen-fuer-eine-co2-freundliche-hochzeit. [18.10.2022].

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Simon Valentine

Simon Valentin is a sustainable wedding photographer from Cologne. He loves to help wedding couples achieve more sustainability at weddings and capture them beautifully for eternity.

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