Are you planning your wedding and wondering whether to make it an eco wedding? ‘Eco’ or ‘sustainable’ weddings are growing in popularity. With so much in the news about climate change, there has never been a more important time to do our bit for the climate and our future on this planet. Eco weddings can play their part. Because of this, sustainability is one of the core values of my business (take a look at my Sustainability Policy). As a Highland wedding planner in the Cairngorms National Park I am always looking to work with suppliers who share this same value.
Did you know that the average wedding emits approximately 14.5 tonnes of CO2? This compares to 12 tonnes emitted by an average person during an entire year. (Source: Climate Care)
The Cairngorms National Park in the Highlands of Scotland, where I live, is a very special place. This is because it is protected for ecological reasons. It also homes protected species of wildlife such as Golden Eagle, Capercaillie, Osprey, Pine Martin and Red Squirrel. We have a ‘Leave No Trace’ rule here and with this in mind, I pledge to ensure that whenever I have a natural wedding taking place in the outdoors, there is never any sign of the wedding once the guests have departed.
However, I balance this core value with a sense of style and a truly personal celebration for each couple. ‘Eco’ and ‘Stunning’ are two words that can go hand in hand when creating the perfect wedding. Here are my top 5 simple tips of wedding planning advice to consider when planning your wedding. These can make a small, but important, difference to the bigger climate picture.
Keep It Local
Using local producers and suppliers is a win win for everyone. Local suppliers know and celebrate their own landscape. Therefore they will give couples the best possible service, whilst cutting down on the mileage. Being a Cairngorms wedding planner, living in the heart of the National Park, I have knowledge and relationships with the local suppliers. (There is an incredible amount of talent here in the Highlands). This means that I can save clients who live outside the area a lot of time and mileage having to make visits here to make their own connections.
By using suppliers who work near to your wedding location, it also gives your wedding a more authentic feel. Ask your caterer to source the food locally. Also request that any leftovers are disposed of responsibly, being composted or passed on, rather than dumped into landfill.
When talking with your suppliers think ‘seasonal’. (Read my blog on Planning a Summer Wedding) Consider whether the food can be locally sourced. Being a Scottish wedding planner, helping my clients choose their menu options is fun and easy as the choice is diverse. Seasons provide delicious options for Scottish meat, fish, fruit and veg that doesn’t have to be flown in from elsewhere. Forget the need for New Zealand Lamb or Spanish strawberries!
Flowers can also be chosen according to the season of your wedding and possibly even locally sourced from flower farms. Dried flowers and even fake flowers look stunning, will travel. They don’t need to be watered and will last long after the big day itself.
As Emma Whittle from Mayflower and Lily says – “My luxury faux wedding flowers will not only leave you feeling gloriously happy and amazed at the fact that they are not the ‘real deal’ but they will fill you with satisfaction knowing that you have done your bit towards being as sustainable as possible. There is no waste, no floral foam, no temperature controlled conditions required during transit and minimal packaging, none of which is plastic! A beautifully realistic alternative to fresh flowers that you can keep and treasure forever as a lasting memory of your most special day”.
When planning your eco-friendly wedding another area that you can consider is the décor. Rather than buying everything new for one day’s use, can you incorporate items that you already own? Ask your guests to get involved too. Can they provide vases, tablecloths, candlesticks?
Consider also letting the natural landscape of your wedding do some of the work. Couples choosing to have a Scottish eco wedding, especially here in the Cairngorms, really have some of the most breath-taking scenery in the world. There is hardly any need for extra touches. I will help my clients style their wedding in a way that feels beautifully curated and stylish. We will also use the spectacular backdrops provided by Mother Nature and avoid bringing in unnecessary extras.
Ask your guests who are travelling from further afield to look at eco-friendly travel options. Can they take trains instead of planes? Aviemore in the heart of the Cairngorms is well connected with daily trains travelling to and from London. The Caledonian Sleeper train passes through Aviemore and provides a touch of romance before the wedding has even begun. What better way to start wedding celebrations when leaving a busy city behind? Fall asleep in a cosy cabin and wake up to the beautiful mountain views and wide, open skies….
If guests are driving, can they car share? Consider offsetting travel with one of many carbon offsetting companies. Maybe ask your guests to plant a tree instead. In the Highlands we have Trees for Life, a charity who offer couples a chance to Buy a Grove.
On the day itself consider ways to avoid making unnecessary journeys. Consider keeping ceremony, reception and maybe even the accommodation in one place. Or hire a bus to transport everyone to and from their accommodation. You can hire bikes or highlight walking routes instead. Guests can have so much fun stumbling home along a forest path in the moonlight at the end of the night…..
Finally look at ways to make the elements of your wedding day work harder for you. Can you use your wedding bouquet as your table centrepiece? Can you move your ceremony arch to become the photobooth backdrop at the reception? Perhaps your wedding cake can double up as your dessert or evening buffet?
Planning an eco wedding isn’t actually hard. All these small touches can add up to make a big difference and I can help you every step of the way.
If you would like to chat with me further about planning an eco wedding or just anything about wedding planning in the Cairngorms, let’s have a chat. Fill out the contact page on my website or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wedding planning really can be done in a sustainable fashion without too much effort, and you can happily, with hand on heart, not only say ‘I do’ to your partner, but also say ‘I do’ to our beautiful, vulnerable planet.
If you would like to read about sustainable wedding jewellery read my blog post here.