4 ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your wedding

Greening your Big Day: 4 ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your wedding
May 12, 2022 Laila Raza

A wedding is a significant occasion, and so too is the way we choose to mark it. In recent years, more than ever, couples are thinking about their impact on the planet and choosing greener options.

If you’ve ever wondered how you can organise a more sustainable wedding, read on. Sandra Henri from eco-ethical wedding hub, Less Stuff – More Meaning, shares four high impact ways to minimise the carbon footprint of your big day.

Wedding footprint by Nina Hamilton Photography

Image by Nina Hamilton Photography

Minimise air travel

“Whilst developing our Wedding Footprint Calculator with Edge Environment, we found that air travel is the factor that has the most significant impact on a wedding’s carbon footprint,” says Sandra. “So much in fact, that during COVID restrictions, when we were limited to local weddings with small guest lists, the footprint of an average wedding was reduced by 93%! Staying local, and choosing local suppliers is the easiest way to reduce the impact of your wedding.”

Couple on the beach by Sandra Henri Photography

Image by Sandra Henri Photography

Keep your wedding small

Micro weddings are on the rise, so this will be good news for those already looking to keep their guest list small. According to Sandra, “the number of guests at your wedding is the second most important factor when it comes to carbon footprint. Fewer guests means less consumption, less travel and less food waste, all of which contribute to the event’s environmental impact. As an added bonus, it’s great for your budget and far less stressful to organise!”

Wedding at Avoca Surf House by Sandra Henri Photography

Image by Sandra Henri Photography

Choose a mainly plant-based menu

“By switching from a meat-based menu to a plant-based (vegan) menu, our research found that you can reduce your catering emissions by 47%. That’s the equivalent of planting 1 tree per every 5 guests,” Sandra says.

Sustainable Food Co

Image by The Sustainable Food Co

Say no to imported flowers

“It’s not commonly known that most of our flowers are imported from overseas, with questionable labour conditions and huge travel miles, as well as being heavily chemically treated,” Sandra says. “Make sure you ask your florist for locally grown flowers. An eco-florist will have connections with local suppliers and growers, so let the seasons be your guide for the most eco-friendly wedding bouquets.”

Men getting married by Sandra Henri Photography

Image by Sandra Henri Photography

“Weddings and sustainability might seem like an odd couple, but we’re here to challenge that,” says Sandra. “Think about an overall wedding budget for one day, which might come to $30,000 to $50,000 or more. That’s a significant amount of money. The decisions you make about where to spend that money and what kinds of businesses to support can make a real difference.”

“Our research with Edge Environment shows that when comparing an average wedding of 100 guests to an eco-ethical wedding of the same size, the carbon footprint was significantly reduced. We considered an eco-ethical wedding one that was held locally, where the dress and jewellery were second hand, and where they served a predominantly plant-based menu. It was the equivalent of saving 380 trees,” Sandra says.

Want to organise an eco-ethical wedding?

Check out Less Stuff – More Meaning’s Wedding Footprint Calculator, a simple tool that combines industry knowledge with scientific data and empowers you to plan your big day with care for the planet.

Couple getting married by Nina Hamilton Photography

Image by Nina Hamilton Photography

Sandra Henri, Less Stuff More Meaning founder

Sandra Henri

Less Stuff – More Meaning is a resource dedicated to inspiring cultural change in the wedding industry. Sandra calls it “wedding activism”. Sandra is a wedding and family photographer with almost 20 years experience, now specialising in small and intimate weddings. In that time, Sandra witnessed a trend towards consumerism and extravagance that she felt detracted from what’s important in marriage and the world at large. She spent some time volunteering in Africa as a photo journalist, a long held dream of hers. Sandra returned from Malawi with a new passion for social change, that culminated in the creation of Less Stuff – More Meaning, Australia and New Zealand’s first eco-ethical wedding hub.

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