Updated: Jul 21
In this day and age, sustainability is key. Reusing, reducing and recycling have become common household practices, integral to the fabric of our neo-lifestyles. Why, then, are wedding days barred from this green effort? In order to combat the growing effects of climate change, we have started taking pains to compromise and cut down on excessive waste, so shouldn’t these efforts double down on one of the most wasteful, albeit special, days of our life?
As it turns out, weddings usually produce about 200 kg of garbage and 63 tons of CO2.
These are just numbers on the page but in reality, 200 kg of garbage is equivalent to about 23 big black bags of waste — having significant impact on one’s personal carbon footprint. Being sustainable isn’t just about your carbon footprint, though. It’s also about peace of mind and ecological welfare. The attempt to usher in a new era of sustainability can offer a sense of purpose and, according to research, result in higher happiness levels, something that is central to your big day. Common misconceptions about eco-friendly weddings include that it is too challenging, expensive and restrictive, but in fact, your wedding day can look pretty much the same whether or not you decide to go green. The only difference is the amount of damage done to the environment. So why not try it out?
The most simple way of lowering your carbon footprint is choosing a venue that prides itself on its sustainable developments, but there are plenty of other decisions you can make along the way.
1. Choose recycled invites
Indian weddings are known for having a guest list as long as the river Nile, thus requiring a large number of invitations. To balance this out, the invites themselves can be distributed virtually, or made of recycled paper and wood. Various companies offer 100% recycled invites and can make you feel better about spending loads, since they are not only personable but pastorally sensitive.
2. Avoid food wastage
According to studies, across the sangeet, ceremony and reception, about 20% of meals are wasted. This is a concern that can easily be solved by having a preliminary chat with caterers. Choosing a plated meal can reduce leftovers, but most people prefer buffet styles due to the flexibility and convenience of choice. By asking caterers to store leftovers and planning donations at local shelters, it can be possible to donate the excess to those in need.
3. Go for outdoor wedding arrangements
If floral arrangements are integral to the wedding theme, then you might consider eschewing the artificial bouquets and getting married outdoors. This will create a far more natural, serene setting, perfect for photoshoots. Also, most venues come with indoor sitting arrangements, creating a genuine harmony between the natural and human world.
4. Invest in bus rentals
If your wedding is held in different venues and requires guests to move around, an easy (and fun) way to reduce emissions is to carpool or invest in bus rentals. Couples who have chosen a themed wedding can decorate their van to their tastes for extra points. This is much more convenient than having guests move around in their own cars.
5. Employ local businesses
If you're having a destination wedding, it can be valuable to immerse in the local culture by booking small businesses and vendors for your wedding events and entertainment. This provides opportunity and employment to people that are in need of it and adds a touch of cultural authenticity to your wedding, making it unique and special.
6. Use ethically-sourced diamonds
Another contributor to the dreaded climate crisis, considering the amount of CO2 emitted while mining. Opting for lab-grown diamonds should be no sacrifice since they look exactly like real diamonds and cost a whole lot less. Lab-grown diamonds are not ‘faux'; they are produced using the same natural processes, but with cutting-edge technology instead, making them a far superior alternative.
7. Avoid single-use plastic and 8. Pick a vegetarian menu
Talking about food waste, single-use plastic is also a massive environmental concern. If discussed with the caterers beforehand, reusable or biodegradable plates and utensils can be used across the sangeet, ceremony and reception. You might like to use thalis as a subtle way of incorporating Indian tradition. These plates can be helpful to you in the future, or can be donated to wedding venue.
Sticking with the theme of food, perhaps the most environmentally conscious decision you can make on your wedding day is to choose a vegan or vegetarian menu. Although a bold and controversial decision, this does not need to be the sacrifice you might think it is. Plant-based meat has gained significant motion in recent times due to its health and environmental benefits, and yet, veganism is often an object of derision. Vegan alternatives might be higher in sodium and less nutritious, which makes them poor alternatives for the individual family, but it is perfect for weddings where food is supplied in mass quantities. Furthermore, plant-based meat can taste exactly the same as normal meat when mixed with sauces, despite lacking the same texture. This will keep your guests satisfied and moreover, will not feed into the destructive meat industry (pun intended). If, however, you are still on the fence about abstaining from animal products, sourcing food from local farmers can be a great way of lowering carbon emissions.
Your wedding day is ultimately one of the most important days of your life, so forgoing beautiful details can be heartbreaking. However, if planned carefully, it is easily possible to produce the effect you want to create without having to cut-down on any aspects of your celebration. For example, instead of buying a bunch of balloons, why not pick a venue with built-in decor? This can often look more charming than gauche strung-up confetti, while giving you the same celebratory atmosphere. Dried flowers are another great alternative to confetti, which can be a hazard for children and the environment, and can add a more glamorous and tasteful appeal to your wedding, especially if used alongside potted plant decor.
In the grand scheme of things, planning a sustainable wedding will not fix the global climate crisis. However, that does not mean we should give up on our individual attempts to go green and help, especially when our combined efforts can take something wasteful and transform it into something non-consumptive, and yet luxurious.
If you'd like to turn your wedding green, contact us at https://www.wednue.com/contactus and we'd be happy to help!