Wanting to plan a sustainable wedding? Worried it’ll be too much fuss and a whole lot of extra expense when “Hello! Weddings are already exxy enough?!” Don’t fret. Read on and I’ll tell you how it’s damn easy, very on trend and friendly to your bank account.
I’m not going to regurgitate clichés here, ‘Ban single use plastics!’ is blindingly obvious. I also won’t demand that you sell all of your worldly possessions, move into a carbon-neutral hut in the forest, only eat self-grown veggies. We’ve all watched the global warming and sustainability docuseries on Netflix and read the statistics so I promise I won’t bore you with the facts. This is the 21st century. Sustainable weddings are simple, and it doesn’t need to be the focus of your entire wedding. Prioritise eco-consideration as much as you are comfortable with. Whatever effort you make – you rock.
Picking Your Venue
When picking a venue choose one that hosts both your ceremony and reception to limit emissions from cars. Pretty self-explanatory. If your ceremony and reception are far away – there are a handful of bus charter companies (even Brisbane City Council) in SE QLD to transport all of your guests between locations in one big party car-pool. It also helps if you select a venue that utilises natural light and candles and say NO to air-conditioning.
Sending Out Your Invites
Recycled paper tres chic, some even have seedlings embedded. You can also ditch the whole physical thing, be 21st Century chic and create your own beautiful wedding website. It’s cost effective, kinder to the environment and easy to make updates as needed! Both Say I Do and Wix are incredibly stress-free to use and this way you can manage your save the dates, invites, dietary requirements, directions/maps and RSVPs in one streamlined spot. Yay for efficiency!
What Are You Serving and What Are We Drinking
BYO Alcohol. (Again, for those in the back) BRING YOUR OWN ALCOHOL! Go local and go organic when you can. Some of the most beautiful wines in the world are natural wines! Ask your venue if you can source your own beer kegs from a brewery and have them serve that! Craft Wine Store in Red Hill is great place to find some new favourites. We all know at least four craft beer breweries that have popped up in Brisbane in the last couple of years. How good!
Food. Glorious food. There’s heaps you can tweak in terms of your menu. Firstly, ask you caterer or venue where they source their produce before you book. If it’s not local or supporting local farmers and suppliers, it’s likely not exceptionally fresh anyway.
I’ve worked in the events industry for years and one thing that always gets to me is food wastage. It’s actually insane! Bear in mind, most venue kitchens aren’t allowed to package up leftovers and send your guests on their way with them – food regulations are strict. You can get around that by not over-ordering copious amounts of food, traditionally, plated dinners mean a lot less waste.
Also, on the note of food – don’t be afraid to serve less meat or a meat-free wedding. An increasing number of people are vegetarian/vegan or are becoming more open to the idea of meatless meals. In the past 6 months alone, I’ve managed 3 totally vegan weddings! If this is important to you, and you’re worried what your family will say, don’t be! They love you and care about making your day perfect. Just see if the venue’s Head Chef is comfortable or has experience creating a meat-less menu! Also dry, tasteless vegan cakes? A thing of the past! Hello, The Little Vegan & Co and VeganYumm, thank you for coming!
Tips, Tricks and Things To Go Without
If you’re scratching your head about what to have as your bonbonniere and feel like you’ve ‘just gotta have somethin’… Think again! Lots of couples feel like it’s just expected of them and end up spending hundreds of dollars on nick knacks their guests use once and throw away ☹ Sad for your wallet and the environment. If in doubt – leave it out.
Disposable cameras. In years past you could find them on the tables of almost every single wedding. I totally get it – a wonderful way to glean different perspectives of your big day and mementos to boot. But, in my experience quite a few end up MIA with 1 in 4 photos just too dark. Leaving it to the pros is never a bad idea which is why Steve Jobs invented iPhones and Instagram gave us filters.
To save your flowers being shipped all the way from Europe when they’re out of season – go for florals that are in season in Australia. Have a quick google or ask your florist. Ever gone to the Brisbane Flower Market? Beautiful, colourful (if not slightly overwhelming) HEAVEN. You can source and put together your own bouquet on the cheap – YouTube tutorials will help too. Alternatively, NFP flowers! A beautiful bouquet for you with the money going back into helping communities that need it – two birds one stone. One of my Brisbane favourites are Just Cause Bunch.
Tip: Style any wedding arbour pieces so they can be removed and re-purposed as table centrepieces!
Tip: Instead of taking your flowers home to be binned in a week, take them to your local old folks home or hospital the day after the wedding. I promise you, they will be so appreciated.
The Modern Wedding Dress Thrifter
Anyone who knows me knows that I am an avid op shopper. Where else would you score a perfect Oroton Wallet for $5? (No exaggeration – best day ever). That said, I’m still too much of a snob to start dredging through those op shop racks filled with 80s wedding dresses with sleeves the size of a hot air balloon. It is maybe THE most important article of clothing you will ever wear, right? So! May I present to you a compromise? Jump into the realm of second-hand dresses online and you’ll find websites like Still White and White Gown! I’ve spoken to a few thrifty brides that have scored dresses for several thousand less than their RRP and given the dress new life. Pre-owned and second-hand aren’t dirty words anymore.
Anyway, if you’ve made it this far, I hope I’ve given you a few ideas on how you can give the environment a little hug whilst planning your wedding.
This blog was written by Madeleine Love. Madi joined the Riverlife team in late 2019 and has managed countless weddings, engagements, school formals, milestone birthdays, corporate Christmas parties, charity galas, day delegations and our New Years Eve party! She has a passion for creating unique events, natural wines and her last meal on Earth would be spicy ramen!