How to plan an eco-friendly wedding

When a bride and groom are excitedly planning a wedding, there can be hundreds of ideas bouncing around in their brains, and to-do lists the length of a leg. One important question that has risen to the forefront in recent years, is ‘how do we create a beautiful wedding that doesn’t harm the environment?’ With the wedding season just about to burst upon us, we have gathered some tips and tricks on how to plan a wedding that is eco-friendly. 

Go paperless

Paper production is responsible for about a fifth of the total wood harvest across the globe, with each sheet of paper consisting of fibres from hundreds of different trees. This has a huge impact on the environment, because these trees have often travelled thousands of kilometres to arrive at their destination, creating a large carbon foot print. The pulp and paper industry is an incredibly inefficient use of energy, and is the world’s fifth largest industrial consumer of energy.

Websites like Paperless Wedding allows couples to either create their own wedding invitations, or pick from a range of beautiful themes online. These invites are then emailed to guests, which is kinder on the environment, and are far more convenient than relying on the post. Guests receive them straight away, which means they can RSVP quicker too. Paper has a huge impact on the environment in our country, so let’s rally together and use less of it! 

Bride and groom, Katie and Shane are the owners of Honeypot, and stayed at the Te Henga Eco Art Retreat, which is an eco-friendly option for accommodation. The main building was designed by NZ’s renowned sustainable architect Graham North and is powered by solar energy, with solar hot water for summer and a Pyroclassic wood burner & wetback for winter.

Prevent piles of packaging

By signing up to a fantastic honeymoon registry, like Honeypot Registry, you can reduce the amount of wrapping paper, boxes, polystyrene, bubble wrap and other packaging items needed for gifts that are harsh on the environment. Statistics from the Packaging Council of New Zealand show that Kiwis consume around 735 thousand tonnes of packaging each year – and less than 60 per cent of that is recycled.

By using a honeymoon registry, not only will it cut down on packaging from gifts, couples can choose gifts that have little negative impact on the environment, whether it’s an item made of recyclable materials, sustainably sourced, or made from eco-friendly materials. Because the bride and groom can choose gifts they truly want, this ensures that nothing will go to waste as well. 

Go tech-savvy with your planning and keepsakes

Technology is at the forefront of everything we do, and we like to say if you can’t beat them, join them. You can create beautiful digital journals you can use as keepsakes, or you can opt for awesome apps, rather than using reams of paper checklists.  

There are heaps of cool wedding apps couples can download, to ensure no stone goes unturned in the wonderful world of wedding planning. Wedding Planner by The Knot is an inspiring app with hints and tricks, including a wedding checklist, a budgeter, you can save and send ideas to friends and family, and more. Remember the Milk is a to-do list and task manager app. It can be set so that it sends you reminders – via email, twitter, or mobile apps.

Day One is an app which allows people to create memories in a beautiful digital journal. This is perfect for tech-savvy honeymooners – who can integrate photos, locations, weather, their thoughts, and heaps more – all in one place, so precious moments are never forgotten – and it cuts down on paper production.

Photography by Samantha Donaldson, www.samanthadonaldson.com

Reuse and recycle

According to recycle.co.nz, if everyone in the world lived how we do in New Zealand, we would need three planets to sustain our demand!

By choosing items you can reuse, or hire, you are doing the environment (and your budget) a favour. Hire beautiful table settings, or make your own. Reusing beautiful wine bottles filled with pebbles, crystals or organic flowers can not only look great, but they can also be recycled afterwards – or you can find another couple who might like to use them. To seat guests, use a decorated blackboard, rather than printing out name cards for each person, and for wedding favours, consider something like herbs, seedlings, bulbs, or bee-friendly flowers that guests can take home and grow. Scouting around op shops is also a great idea – and you will most likely be contributing to a fantastic charity at the same time.

Where you can, go organic – including for the bouquets. Organic flowers are grown without chemicals, which in turn decreases the amount of chemicals leached into the air, soils and waterways. By using organic cotton for any table cloths and napkins, it also cuts down on chemicals dispersed into the environment, and protects the biodiversity of the plant. For extra eco-points, you could cut down on table cloths altogether, and simply use a venue that will wipe down the tables after your celebrations. 

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