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Going Green | Tips For An Eco Friendly Wedding

Going Green | Tips For An Eco Friendly Wedding

One of the biggest wedding trends last year was the pantone colour greenery. Greens are usually implemented as a colour scheme of a wedding or as part of the floral and foliage décor, yet there is so much more to the shade. 

As a colour, green represents all that is to do with nature; of cleanliness, freshness and purity and the beauty of the natural world. It also encourages us to continue our efforts to go green.

Despite what Donald Trump and his cronies may want us to believe, global warming is a real and worrying problem. We should all be trying to reduce our carbon footprint and a wedding is a good place to start. It is after all, the start of something new and exciting, a clean slate and a promise to do good in the future.

An average wedding produces 66 tonnes of carbon dioxide which is equivalent to the carbon footprint of four people for an entire year. We have compiled our top tips to help you minimise your carbon footprint on your big day while still having a glamourous celebration.

Venue: South Africa has a number of venues that encourage sustainable practises. A few of our favourite eco-friendly venues include Landtscap and Spier in Stellenbosch and Grootbos in Gaansbai.  Each implements sustainable and eco-friendly processes as part of their daily operations and also have community programmes to uplifting the workforce and their families.

TOP TIP: Choose a venue closest to the majority of your guests and opt to have both the ceremony and reception at the same venue to reduce the amount of travel.

milkwood forest at Grootbos Lodge

Stationary: Contrary to popular belief, you can have a high-end event that is completely paperless. E-invites are becoming more and more popular, especially as guests tend to live further away. There are also a number of custom wedding websites that offer electronic save-the-date emailers to help cut back on some of your paper usage.

Consider using recycled paper or even seed paper for the actual invitation as well as other stationary like menus, programmes and name cards. Check out which is a local supplier of recycled paper in South Africa, or ask your stationary designer if they have recycled paper options.

TOP TIP: Consider cutting down on the amount of menus and programmes you print by either having two menus and one program for two guests, as most of your guests will be partnered. At the end of the day, get you wedding co-coordinator or venue to gather all the paper items for recycling.

Food and Beverage: Choose to use locally sourced and in-season produce, preferably organic where possible and choose wines from a vineyard close by to reduce transport. For the very daring you can even consider a fully vegan or vegetarian menu. According to TreeHugger and the Environmental Working Group, “Lamb, beef, cheese, pork, and farmed salmon in particular generate the most greenhouse gases, sometimes four times more than other animal products and 13 times more than plant-based proteins”. 

TOP TIP: As your caterer if they are happy to donate leftover foods to local organisations who might be in need.  

Gifts: If you are a couple who are not in need of the traditional wedding registry, consider asking  your guests to donate a gift of monetary value to your favourite charity by creating an online registry on sites like Just Give or I Do Foundation.

Alternatively, you can even ask guests to donate to your honeymoon fund or a wish list fund by registering on websites like:

TOP TIP: For gifts for your guests, choose things that are locally made gifts or that contribute to a foundation or organisation specialising in uplifting the community. Companies like Street Wires & Earth Africa Curio are great examples of this.

Décor: Screen potential vendors by asking if they have any giving back initiatives that they are involved in within the local community. A great way to be eco-friendly is to rent your décor instead of buying.

TOP TIP: Look at solar lights, rented candles and preferably LED lighting where possible.

Flowers: No wedding would be complete without foliage or flowers and there are many wonderful ways to be both social and environmentally conscious. Try to use a local florists and blooms that are in season.

Ask your florist if they use fair trade flowers, if imported cut flowers need to be used. Tambuzi Roses is a company based in Kenya who farm some of the most beautiful selections of speciality roses, while looking after their workforce and the surrounding community. It is a lovely initiative and Yes! Exclusive Flowers is the South Africa importer for Tambuzi Roses.

TOP TIP: Donate your used bloom to an old-age home or hospital or alternatively give them a second life by preserving them as art by pressing and framing them. Alternatively, use them to dye fabrics your robe that you wore while getting ready. This is called eco dyeing and definitely is a fun DIY project, although it can also be commissioned professionally.  

Wedding Dress: Choosing fair trade or locally made material is always a step in the right direction. Another wonderful trend that has emerged recently is reusing lace from a dress from another family member’s wedding dress. Not only will it add to the sentimental value of your dress but by doing so you are taking an active step in going green.

TOP TIP: Using family heirloom pieces as part of your accessories is also a lovely way of recycling metals or stones to create a piece more suited to your taste.

The greenery trend of 2017 is here to stay even as we kick off 2018, and it really does not need to be scary not take away from your fairy-tale day. Small steps make all the difference.

Photos by: Samantha Clifton Photography 

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