Guest: Froya Mathers | Event Marketing Manager | Gem-A
Around the time I got engaged, on a mild evening in May 2018, I was in the middle of a transformation to phase out single use plastic in my life. I was reading article upon article among watching hours of YouTube videos by zero-waste influencers and experimenting with lifestyle changes that would reduce my plastic consumption.
After celebrating the engagement and sharing the news with friends and family, I started thinking of the w-word - the wedding. A date and venue was quickly secured. However, it turned out the rest of the planning wasn't as easy. In the middle of my first attempt on Plastic Free July, I started wondering, “How can I apply principles from the zero-waste movement onto our wedding?”.
I started researching sustainable weddings and getting familiar with what was available on the market. Unfortunately, as sustainability is becoming a massive movement, the market is full of misleading greenwashing and empty jargon. The best way around this is to educate oneself and look beyond marketing claims and buzz words. The difference is simple:
Instead of getting the biodegradable wedding confetti branded as environmentally sustainable but packed in plastic, choose to reduce, thus forgo confetti.
Here are the measures I took to make our wedding ethical and sustainable, without making any big compromises:
Wedding cake by Vida Bakery, an independent Shoreditch-based vegan bakery
Cutting animal products has been said to be the single biggest way to reduce environmental impact, due to inefficient water use, inefficient and unsustainable land use, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Additionally, the central location kept delivery emissions to a minimum.
Wedding dress by Belle & Bunty, London-based designer duo
Made of 100% silk, I was able to have it dyed and keep using it after the wedding! Reusing is the antidote to the damaging throwaway culture.
Furthermore, by using a natural material, I avoided micro plastic and emissions that comes with synthetic materials.
Seasonal fruit and vegetables for the wedding breakfast
Seasonal fruit and vegetables can grow without pesticides and other toxins.
This saves food mileage as seasonal produce don’t have to be imported.
Vegan and cruelty free make-up from Charlotte Tilbury
Charlotte Tilbury’s products are not tested on animals. No animal should have to suffer for you to shine on your big day!
Touch up products such as Airbrush Flawless Finish and lipsticks (not all shades!) are made without animal-derived ingredients or by-product.
Skip the wedding favours
Unfortunately, most wedding favours end in the bin, and even biodegradable confetti will struggle to degrade if thrown in a landfill. Avoiding favours and confetti will save a lot of waste.
The most effective measure in lowering the carbon footprint was to follow the rule not to buy anything that couldn't be used or worn again. Keeping animal products to a minimum and sourcing everything locally (living in London really helped on this one!) helped massively too.
To anyone seeking a sustainable wedding I would recommend following these principles and not get side-tracked by misleading marketing. There are lots of options out there for love birds with a heart for the planet.
Event Marketing Manager