It has long been marked as ‘the most important day of your life’ with a lavish party, where friends and family gather to celebrate and witness the moment when you officially marry your spouse. Unite with and embark on a common future.
While for many, celebrating a wedding equates to a ‘no expense spared’ event, a growing number of couples are considering the impact it has on the environment and are vowing to ensure That their marriages are as durable as possible.
In fact, the National Wedding Survey from Hitched – the free wedding planning website – showed that 22% of couples take this into account when planning their big day. Editor Zoe Burke says there are many simple ways weddings can be kept as eco-friendly as possible.
She says, “There has been a surge in interest in eco-friendly weddings in NI and across the board as the urgency around climate change becomes impossible to ignore and couples are rethinking their plans to reflect this. ,” she says.
“This includes choosing locally sourced produce wherever possible for your food and flowers, reusing items when you can and recycling or renting your decorations — glass Save bottles and jam jars, or look into decorative hire companies so you’re not shopping for nothing. “
This can be seen at the popular wedding venue, Culloden Estate and Spa where climate conscious couples are focusing on sustainability and location like never before and rejecting less eco-friendly wedding traditions in the process. are
“From the menu planning stages, where locally sourced food is a key consideration, to holding a wedding at a hotel to reduce the need for transportation – the demand for more sustainable options continues to grow,” says events manager, Michelle Wells. is
“Not only is the carbon footprint of the food a key consideration, but so is the menu itself. In the interest of saving paper, couples are opting to do away with printed menus, putting them online instead – they’ll often create their own website for it and send invitations electronically.”
Becky Miskimin (30) and her fiancé Ciara Sinnamond (28) can relate as stability has played a big role in their wedding plans.
“Our wedding is at the beautiful Segrave Barns in Co Louth which is about 30 minutes outside of Newry,” she says.
“When we were researching our locations we came across a place where the couple decided to make sure it was as sustainable as possible. It wasn’t the first thing I thought of – even though we recycled do and try to buy things that help reduce the need for single-use plastic – this was not on my mind when it came to our wedding.
“At this point we had already booked two or three of our vendors who are now happy to travel as they live close to us in the Belfast area/Ards Peninsula. But when we sat down to talk about the rest we realized, that to help with the carbon footprint, we had to start looking at vendors much closer to the venue – in the Newry area.
“Our flowers are coming to the venue from a grower local and the only thing we ask is that they are colourful, wild and in season – and we don’t want weight to help reduce waste.
“Also, we chose the food to reflect the palates of our wedding guests. This means less waste and we want people to enjoy themselves and the food, not go hungry. “
Becky, who is a referral co-ordinator at a veterinary clinic, says clothing is another important factor when it comes to sustainability as she and Ciara, who works in the NHS, want to make sure the bride’s clothes and The best man’s suit can be worn. Again
And for their own outfits, they are still searching to find designers with a passion for sustainable materials or even second-hand or pre-loved pieces.
They also chose to use both decorations provided by the venue and items they would either borrow from friends or make themselves and reusable products wherever possible.
“So instead of a paper guest book, we’ll get a cut of wood from a local business, sand it down and allow guests to sign it with a white marker. Then we will varnish it and hang it on our wall to create a beautiful piece of art that will remind us of our day.
“Where possible, we’ve chosen local businesses and we spend our whole day in one place. No need to travel anywhere – although it also means my wife can yell at me if I’m running a little behind schedule.
“Lastly, and probably one of the easiest things we can do to make our day as sustainable as possible, is making a plea to not use plastic – paper straws instead of plastic, linen napkins instead of paper. Things like that. The little things make all the difference.”
The couple, who live in Co Down, say that while these changes may seem mundane, they can and do make a difference and they want their big day next summer to be one for them and their loved ones. Be specific to and have minimal impact. to the environment.
“I really believe that people are becoming more aware, with documentaries about the impact on our environment and wedding magazines highlighting the things people can do to help,” says Becky. .
“Also, businesses are becoming more aware so it’s easier for couples to find the likes of biodegradable confetti or create their own floral display from flowers they’ve grown themselves.
“And sometimes picking up local vendors on location means cost reduction. So they may not even realize that they are actively being more attentive – and that’s not a bad thing.
“I think there is still a long way to go because a lot of people claim it is very difficult, when in fact it is very easy.
“We don’t think you should be less environmentally conscious on your wedding day than you are conscious the rest of the year, especially because there are so many people in one area (on the day), so there will be. More waste and (potentially) more single-use plastics. So, if we can help alleviate this, even just a little bit, then we are helping the bigger picture. And that’s important to us. We only come on this earth once and we need to take care of it now so that future generations can enjoy it.
Planning a wedding should be something that is completely personal to the couple and brides say their choice is all that matters.
“Nobody else’s opinion matters – we have a day that’s all about us and what we like,” she says. “My advice to couples is to do what’s right for your day – if it’s what you believe in and morally it’s what you want, then do it. Don’t let people tell you that. Do what you want and certainly don’t change your morals to please others.
“We want to have the best day possible but still want to make sure we’re mindful of how it will affect our planet.
“If anyone wants to follow our progress, check out our Instagram page @bridesbythesea_ni.”
Zoe Burke (www.hitched.co.uk) has lots of eco-friendly wedding tips to help couples be more sustainable.
“These could include choosing biodegradable flower petal confetti, talking to caterers about using local produce and asking your florist to recommend flowers grown in Northern Ireland or the UK, rather than imported,” she says
“This means you may need to plan your wedding around a date that is in your favorite flower season.
“Give your guests a sustainable favor – something they can plant like a packet of seeds, or small succulents they can take home and nurture, or donate to a charity instead.
“And look for ways to offset your carbon footprint. Consider planting a tree – it’s a great way to mark your wedding and minimize its impact on the environment.
Wedding planning experts say there are many things that can be reused – all of which help create a sustainable event. She says, “Think about how you’ll reuse the wedding items you’ve already bought—you can dry your flowers and keep them, or donate them to a local hospice. ,” she says. “And you can resell things you’ve bought and no longer need, or give them away to keep them from going to landfill.
“Many bridal and bridesmaid brands are also offering their dresses through rental platforms — this has been the norm for suiting for so long, so if you don’t dream of keeping your dress forever, this is an option. it can. It’s really easy to make your wedding more eco-friendly if you make sure that whatever you use for the day doesn’t end up going to waste.