Using eco-friendly products for your wedding décor can often be perceived as “boring” but this does not need to be the case for your special day. There are a wide variety of items available to purchase online, which are pricey, so why don’t you start recycling, upcycling and sustainably sourcing your own products. This is a great way to save money and might inspire you to make conscientious choices as a lifelong habit.
In preparation and leading up to your wedding, consider saving tins, glass jam jars, glass sauce bottles, newspapers, brown paper, hessian and string/twine. Keep an eye out for interesting wooden doors, glass window frames, large bottles and baskets etc. There are also hidden gems in op shops and garage sales. Here are a few ways to use your new collection of items.
Recycle and upcycle is key when searching for decor ideas that are also eco-conscious. Consider using an old door or glass window frame for your seating chart or menu. Use bottles as candle holders or vases. Pretty paper bunting can be made out of old newspapers, as well as paper flowers for use in table arrangements, bouquets, or wallflowers.
Thin “slices” from old tree stumps make great cake stands. Table runners and chair ties can be made with hessian, pretty curtains no longer needed, sheets or scraps of fabric. Dig in granny’s cupboard for napkin rings, knives and forks, cups and saucers and beautiful silver items. Miss-matched tables can look whimsical and will be unique. Once you have a theme or colour for your wedding, recycled and upcycled items can easily be coordinated to fit in with the rest.
Using leaves and flowers either fresh or dried is great for the environment. Ask your florist to keep all the bits and “scraps” from your arrangements and place in paper cones, easily made yourself from paper, or pop into baskets for guests to grab a handful of. Other possibilities for confetti are cooked popcorn, birdseed and rice, however, remember some venues have a strict rule of what type of confetti can be thrown so be sure to ask beforehand. Little paper shapes can be punched out of newspapers, old books and even leaves which can be used as confetti. These will break down, decompose and add nutrients to the ground. How awesome this that!?
We have mentioned some really awesome DIY Alternatives to traditional wedding cakes here, but it’s worth bringing up again as an eco-friendly option in your wedding because many of these ideas minimise waste. The empty jam jars we mentioned earlier? well, they can be used to serve your welcome drinks, then washed out and used to serve your deserts in later in the evening.
Packaging and single-use catering items lead to the greatest amount of waste in landfills and ultimately damage to our environment. Consider using bamboo plates and cutlery which can be composted and put back into the soil. Multi-use recycled items such as glass sauce bottles are great to serve homemade iced tea in and used with a paper, glass or silicone re-usable drinking straws. Where possible, use paper bags instead of plastic and use paper napkins which are made with natural dyes.
Eco-friendly catering can also go beyond the actual serving suggestions mentioned above. Use your local farmers and community gardens to source any local products that you might need so that any money spent goes straight back into your local area. Try source organic ingredients and speak with vendors whose eco-conscious ethics are in line with yours.
E-invitations are probably the most eco-friendly way to go, as far as paperless invitations and there are fantastic templates on websites like Creative Market and Canva. However, if you (or your mothers) have settled on paper invitations, try to include handmade papers as an eco-friendly alternative.
These papers can also have the addition of seeds that can be popped into the garden later to provide some pretty flowers. You can even have a bash at making them yourself and popping a few pressed flowers, in your colour scheme, into the paper, as well as adding some essential oils for a lovely scent. These can later be used to scent a linen drawer. Menus, place cards and tags can also be made from hand-made paper. Keep in mind that these papers cannot always be printed on and handwritten inks will have to be tested on the papers for running. So do a small test run before making a large batch.
Although it can be a little time consuming to gather enough for a large function on your own, you can approach restaurants to keep their sauce bottles and pretty wine bottles for you. Remember to collect on a regular basis. Get the community involved, post on your community pages what you are looking for and you will soon have enough. Ask family and friends to save items for you. Have fun, get creative and save some money.
What Eco-friendly ideas are you incorporating into your wedding?