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5 Top Tips for a Sustainable Wedding

December 17, 2021

Driving sustainable change in the wedding industry

Weddings are a celebration of two people coming together in the presence of those that they love most, but many couples are unaware of the environmental damage their wedding day could be doing.

On average, in the UK, the carbon footprint of a wedding is 14,500 kg CO2eq, which is more than an average household emits in a year! And with more than 278,000 weddings taking place every year, that’s an awful lot of avoidable emissions.

At the Sustainable Wedding Alliance, we aim educate couples, helping them to understand how they can make their wedding more sustainable, reduce its carbon footprint and have a memorable wedding day whilst still being kind to the planet.

We also work with companies in the wedding industry, helping them to make both their business and the weddings they run more sustainable. We work closely with them to understand what sustainability means to them, how they can implement it in their business and what they need to do to communicate it to their clients.

What can be done to make weddings more sustainable?

There are lots of ways to make wedding days more sustainable. It’s about making, conscious considered choices at every step of the planning process.


Say goodbye to single-use plastic!

You knew it would be the first thing on the list… plastic!

Sky Ocean Rescue reported on average 18kg of single-use plastic is thrown away at each and every wedding in the UK. If we could eliminate single use plastic from weddings, we could save over 4,910 tonnes of plastic pouring into our oceans, every year! That’s the equivalent weight of 47 blue whales!

It’s easy to see why plastic has become such an overly used material in the world of weddings, and is the worst offender. With fake confetti, disposable decorations, water bottles and single use gift bags to name a few… and that’s not even including the throw away plastic packaging.

So instead of purchasing new we always suggest: hire, reuse (or re-purpose) and recycle.


Hire it, don’t buy it

Whether it’s props, backdrops or crockery, hiring is going to be eco-friendlier and more cost effective.  There are a fantastic range of hire companies across the UK, some also offer styling services too.

It’s also worth cuples talking to wedding venues as they may have their own décor that they’re happy to include as part of the hire.  For venues offering hiring services, be sure to make this a prominent feature of your services. 


Stick to your season

Without doubt, working with the season is the most sustainable way to plan a wedding, and in the UK we’re really lucky to have four very distinctive seasons.

Think about your favourite foods, when local produce is in abundance, flowers are looking their best, how much daylight there is. This should be your starting point, before you research venues, decide on the time of year


Ask the Question

Don’t be scared to ask your suppliers what their approach to sustainability is. A supplier that is working sustainably will be very happy to talk you through their processes and policies.

All of the Sustainable Wedding Alliance members have made a commitment to sustainability, working towards our industry standard accreditation. You can be confident that when booking an accredited Sustainable Wedding Alliance member that they have been assessed to ensure they are working as sustainably as they can be.


And lastly, always reduce, reuse and reycle

After your wedding, it’s very likely you will find yourself with things that you’ll probably never use again… why not sell them on one of the pre-loved wedding marketplaces – Sell my Wedding, Recycle my Wedding or local selling sites.  

As well as saving the planet, you’re likely to save money too. Using caterers that are sourcing food locally, seasonal flowers from UK flower farms and vintage, up-cycled and repurposed decorations, is not only good for the soul, but for your bank balance too.


Find out more about the Sustinable Wedding Alliance and how they can help your wedding venue to be even greener.

Website:  Sustainable Wedding Alliance

Instagram: Sustainble Wedding Alliance on Instagram


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Jo Hendrickx
Jo Hendrickx
Jo is a sustainability professional living in Gran Canaria with over 20 years of experience in the global tourism industry. She has worked extensively with hotels and accommodation providers around the world since 2001 helping managers to navigate the health, safety, quality and sustainability expectations of tour operators. Increasingly concerned with the impacts of unnecessary plastics, Jo was motivated to create Travel Without Plastic to support those hotels that want to make a difference.
Michelle Miles
Michelle has been in the weddings and events industry for two decades and over that time she has built up a wealth of knowledge. She has been running her own successful business since 2009, working with both couples and businesses. In 2020, she founded the Sustainable Wedding Alliance to help businesses tackle the challenges that companies in the wedding industry face when thinking about how they can be more sustainable, and reduce their environmental impact.

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