7 ideas for an eco-friendly wedding
Here at Linga Longa we are fortunate enough to find ourselves in a pristine environment. It is impossible for us not to want to preserve the beauty of our surroundings, and one way we can do that is by encouraging all of our guests to consider the small changes they can implement to make their wedding day a little more ecologically friendly. If you would like to join us in our war on waste, read on for seven ways you can reduce the toll of your wedding on the environment. It doesn't take a lot. Even the smallest change can make a huge difference!
1. It all starts with the venue
Ah, the venue, usually the first big choice couples take when planning their wedding, and a great opportunity to keep their wedding’s footprint to a minimum. It’s quite simple, really. An outdoor wedding is going to require a considerably less amount of energy than an indoor one, not only from the sun providing your lighting, but also from the bucket loads of decor you can cut back on by embracing the natural splendour of the great outdoors! From vineyards and farms, to botanical gardens, the options are endless.
If an entirely outdoor wedding isn't an option for you, focus on finding a venue that takes sustainability seriously. Ask them about the lighting they use. Is it energy efficient? How do they dispose of waste and recycle?. They may seem like pointless worries, but every little bit of energy saved counts.
Here at Linga Longa we pride ourselves on our responsible handling of waste, as well our extensive solar system which powers our entire operation!
Yet another easy way to save on energy when it comes to choosing your venue is to find one that can cater for both your ceremony and reception. This eliminates the need for you guests to travel to a different location in the interim. Just think of all those emissions you've saved!
2. Bites & Blooms
The next big eco saver; your major vendors. Think food and flowers!
When it comes to the food for your big day, jump aboard the farm to table bandwagon and find a caterer who is big on sourcing in-season, ethically grown produce from local farms. You’ll be inadvertently cutting down on emissions from transport taken to get your ingredients to your caterer (they are local after all!) and they're bound to be fresher and tastier to boot!
Unfortunately weddings often leave an immense amount of leftovers, much of which goes to waste. So, once you have your guest count finalised sit down with your caterer and fine tune your menu and quantities to minimise on food wastage. If you do end up with extra food, try to pass as much as it on to family and friends as possible. Not a single morsel should go unsavored!
And now it's time for flowers. Botanicals not being my forte, I turned to frequent Linga Longa collaborator, and floral mastermind Lara Bos of Bos Tents and Events in order to glean some insight on how to keep your floral arrangements ethical and environmentally friendly.
With up to eighty percent of flowers available in the wholesale markets flown in from overseas, she says the main thing is to "choose a florist who prioritises locally sourced, seasonal blooms. They can guide you to choose flowers that are blooming and in season at the time of your wedding. Australian Natives are always a safe bet, however, there are a few flower farms in the area that grow local roses as well."
"There are plenty of cowboys out there, especially on the international side of things. Make sure your florist is sourcing their blooms from an ethical farm to ensure they are using safe practices with chemicals and farming techniques so that are not harming the environment. There are plenty of terrible work conditions for staff in some of the farms in Africa and South America so this is a big issue that needs to be considered. Ask your florist, 'do you know where your flowers are coming from?'"
Lara also champions the re-use and repurposing of floral decor as a way to cut down on floral wastage.
"Potted plants are fantastic opportunities for material that can be reused. Use plants at your altar that you can then plant in your home and cherish forever! Large trees and plants in your reception can be a great way to sustainably lush out a space. Focus on re-using flowers across your ceremony and reception. For example, some big vase arrangements from your altar could be transferred to the dance floor and signing table flowers can be relocated to the gift table. Entire arbours can be moved to sit behind the bridal table as a backdrop!"
And once the party is over?
"A lot of the dried and preserved materials I re-use so its almost like you are hiring the flowers and
I compost all my leftover fresh materials. As for your bouquets and centrepieces, drying your wedding bouquets can be a nice option for preservation and if you have you floral decor designed in vases they can also be gifted to your guests as favours!
Her parting piece of advice: "Avoid floral foam at all costs. It has micro plastics that are not only toxic to humans but also never break down and destroy our waterways!"
3. Liquid refreshements
Kegs, kegs, kegs. It is such a simple, yet oft overlooked option. If you are planning on throwing a big boozy party not only will kegged beer drastically cut down on wastage from cans and bottles, it may even save you a little bit of coin! Companies such as Beer Caddie will deliver all the equipment you need to pour the perfect brew. They even provide on night cleaning of the glassware as they go! Avoid purchasing any plastic cups and instead opt for hired glassware. It may be easier to simply toss away plastic cups, but it most certainly isn’t in the turtles’ best interests!
The same principles apply to wine. You should always try to source your wine from local wineries in full bottles or boxes (after all, boxed wine is one of Australia's great inventions!) rather than individual single serves. The same goes for cocktails and soft drink. While there are an array of single serve, cutely packaged, canned sodas and cocktails in the market they really aren’t great for the environment. If you are set on serving cocktails think about hiring a bartender and stick to just a few simple cocktails to minimise costs. Avoid purchasing any plastic cups and instead opt for hired glassware. It may be easier to simply toss away plastic cups, but it most certainly isn’t in the turtles’ best interests! You can also request that your guests re-use their glassware as much as possible to cut down on water usage when the time comes to wash up!
As for sodas, it is once again important to focus on locally made options, served in recyclable or re-usable packaging. Here at Linga Longa we make our own sodas from fresh fruit harvested from our orchard, served in re-usable glass jars. We can whip up a batch to keep your thirst quenched all night long!
It’s simple. Ditch the posted Save the Dates in favour of electronic ones. Better for the environment and your bank account! While many couples are happy to use paperless save the Dates, the same cannot be said for the final invitations, however, there are ways you can cut down your impact on the environment here too. In lieu of multiple paper inserts, create a wedding website to which you can direct your guests for any additional information, as well as a place from them to RSVP.
5. Wedding favours
Be honest with yourself. How many wedding favours have you kept for longer than a week? (That’s if you took it with you in the first place!) Many couples are in fact steering away from favours altogether, in order to cut down on waste and cost. However, if you still want to go ahead with them, think out of the box to come up with items people are more likely to enjoy and use. You can’t go wrong with edible treats, and no, I don’t mean the run of the mill rock candies. One of our most recent Linga Longa couples opted to give out jars of homemade blueberry syrup (lovingly prepared by the groom and his mother). It went down a treat with their guests!
6. Rent, don’t buy
Tableware, drapery, furniture and decor. All these elements can, more often than not, be hired from local companies such as Red Gum Events. Not only will it work out to be astronomically cheaper for you, but the more people who hire items rather than buying them, the less these items need to be produced, only to be discarded or deteriorate in storage afterwards.
7. Re-sell or Donate!
Finally, your wedding is all done and dusted and while you managed to hire as much as possible, there were just a few items you had to buy yourself and now you are wondering what to do with them. Why not try to re-sell them or donate them? Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace are a great place to start, especially if you want to recuperate a little of the overall cost of your wedding. However, donation is also a wonderful option, especially for items that aren't overly personalised. Look at giving them to your local op shop or post them on your local "Pay it Forward' Facebook group. You never know, you may have just the thing someone else needs, and the world will be a better, healthier place for it!