These tips for a zero waste wedding can help you celebrate your special day, without harm to the planet or animals. And a simpler wedding is also more enjoyable, as what matters is how you felt on the day, not what you bought. Also see where to buy recycled wedding rings.
Many flowers used for wreaths and confetti (lilies, delphiniums, wildflowers) are toxic to pets so avoid near pet friends (don’t send toxic plantable cards to homes with pets). Many celebration trees are toxic to horses. Read up on how to grow or where to buy organic flowers.
Modern Wedding is a beautiful book focused on nature-inspired seasonal weddings. The secret to planning a meaningful wedding is nothing to do with budget. It’s about a celebration to reflect a couple’s core values. This book covers the stationery and the dress, seating plans, food, drink, gifts and flowers. With emphasis on natural surroundings, seasonal flowers and minimalist ceremonies.
- Natural Jute Country Heart Bunting is ideal to brighten any party, and is strung together on 3 metres of sturdy white cotton. Each flag is decorated with a simple white love heart, suited for indoor or outdoor use. Drape over a wall, door or unlit fireplace. See why you should avoid balloons and fire lanterns, terrible for wildlife all-round.
- Rather than pay a big hotel for your wedding venue, hire the grounds of a local monastery or convent. If there only a few of you, you may consider holding the wedding say in the grounds of a farm sanctuary, as long as your big day would not negatively affect residents.
- Make your wedding gift list zero waste. Or ask for guests to donate to your favourite small charity.
- Hire a local veggie or organic caterer. Ask them to donate leftovers to local shelters or food banks.
- Instead of hiring a big band, see if there are local acoustic buskers or talented musicians that would be more talented and willing to sing or play.
- Floral Angels (London) donates bouquets to care homes & hospices.
- Carefully consider, if thinking of having dogs at wedding, as many don’t like the noise and crowds. Dog’s Trust has tips on whether to do this.
- Beyond Skin offers luxury shoes and boots, handmade in Europe with sustainable materials and sent in luxury eco gift boxes. These are the alternative to designer shoes, and you can also find bridal shoes.
Zero Waste Wedding Invites
These zero waste wedding invitations prove that you don’t have to chop down a tree, just to invite someone to your wedding. You can buy nice wedding e-invites from Dayspring. Many wildflowers are toxic to pets, so only send plantable cards to pet-free households.
Perfect Day Wedding Invite is an elegant palette of grey, white and recycled brown kraft card, with co-ordinating envelopes, and optional info cards, envelope liners and finishing touches, with optional ‘evening reception’ wording. Minimum order of 30 invites (or 20 for day and evening combined), with samples available.
Calligraphy Kraft Wedding Invite is printed on recycled card (rustic vintage) using unique hand-lettering for a crisp print finish.
These luggage tag place cards are available in black or white ink, in modern calligraphy writing, string not included. Made from recycled kraft cards, they are ideal for parties or weddings, choose from two sizes, with a minimum order of 10. You can also use them for gift tags, just include the names (use large for full names).
Handmade cotton rag paper is handmade in Italy from cotton rag with a torn edged look. Write your guest names on the place cards by hand or stamp and fold in half to make a free standing place card. They make nice gift tags or the larger size can be used for table numbers within frames. 2 sizes, sold in packs of 20. The jobs provide employment in rural areas and also use tropical crop residue fibres, the water is from rain water capture.
Where to Buy or Sell Wedding Gowns
Zero waste wedding gowns are made from natural materials like organic cotton, linen or hemp. Silkworms are usually killed to make silk (even some ‘peace or ahimsa silk’ leaves silkworms to die on the floor). Cupro is better – looks and feels like silk, made from the cotton waste industry.
Rather than pay a fortune for one gowl to wear for one day, consider hand-me-downs (wear your grandma’s wedding dress!), vintage gowns or just rent one. Or look for gowns in small locally-run animal charity shops that don’t fund animal testing or company cars, like the big medical charity shops.
- Rolling in Roses (Yorkshire) offers handmade gowns in vegan silk, made from oranges! Each dress has a wrist loop to carry a train gracefully, and ribbon tabs (to tie up for dancing).
- Luna (Yorkshire) offers organic vegan dresses made from English lace and bamboo. Skilled seamstresses transform the fabrics into unique dresses that are all made in Britain.
- Just buy a nice organic dress, to wear again and again. This organic cotton broderie dress by People Tree is really nice, and could be suitable for a wedding.
- Buy or sell pre-loved dresses at Still White.
- Cherished Gowns has volunteer seamstresses, who turn donated wedding dresses into free burial gowns for angel babies. Gift of a Wedding gives donated dresses to terminally ill brides, so they can have their dream wedding.
Zero Waste Wedding Confetti
A lot of wedding confetti is made from plastic or glitter/metallic, and can be ingested by marine wildlife if it flies off in the wind, especially for beach weddings. Italian for ‘small sweet’, conventional confetti should be avoided, and most priests and vicars won’t allow rice, as it’s a slipping hazard, and attracts pigeons! For the same reason, avoid bird seed and coconut flakes. And still sweep up at the end – even if biodegradable.
Take fallen leaves and use a hole punch to make your own confetti. Use a heart-shaped hole punch! Or use the hole punch to make confetti from old newspapers (not magazines, most have toxic dyes)
Biodegradable confetti is a good idea, but avoid toxic flowers like dephiniums, near pets. You can buy it from Shropshire Petals (above) along with wheat sheaves, dried flowers or lavender grain. The Real Confetti Company offers rose petal confetti (choose natural version – freeze-dried to last 4 months).
Rainbow Hearts Rose Petal Confetti is made with real rose petals, and packed in glass bottles with cork stoppers. The confetti is hand-punched to create pretty little heart shapes, and can also be used to sprinkle on table settings or as wedding favours. Handmade in a small studio, you can optionally add the names of the happy couple or the wedding date, onto a tiny tag that is lovingly tied around the bottle neck.
Bake Your Own Wedding Cake
If you like to bake and are on a budget, why not have a bash at making your own vegan wedding cake? You can then control the ingredients, cater for allergies, and save animals, as you celebrate your big day. Here are some cakes that could serve as good wedding cakes. If used, choose palm-oil-free vegan butter for the icing/frosting.
Vegan Strawberry Cake (Minimalist Baker) is made with natural ingredients, and topped with a pretty pink frosting. It only needs 9 ingredients to make too.
Wedding cake does not have to extra-fancy. Try this 1-Bowl Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake (Minimalist Baker). With a bit of frosting and some fresh berries, it serves the purpose of a fancy cake for your big day