Your Wedding Doesn’t Have to Save the Planet (But It Doesn’t Have to Help Wreck It Either)

It’s not up to you to solve the climate crisis single-handedly, but making eco-conscious choices with your wedding can make all the difference.

So, you want to have an eco-friendly wedding? How about plastic-free too? Carbon neutral is a must, surely? Or better still, why not simply have a wedding that’s carbon-negative, plastic-free, produce so local you grew it yourself, outfits made of the contents of your recycling bin, flowers fresh from the graves of newly dead people and a venue you built with your bare hands from timber rescued from trees that died peacefully in their sleep?

Why not, in-friggin-deed.

I get it, you care about our planet. You care so deeply, so why would you ever throw a wedding that wasn’t simply a perfect reflection of an eco-conscious sustainability orgy that Greta Thunberg would sail across the seven seas (or part thereof) to attend?

For reasons, that’s why. And those reasons are:

1. It’s too much pressure

2. It’s not achievable

3. Fixing the climate crisis isn’t actually up to you. There, I said it.

But let me first tell you a tale. A tale of two wonderful people/clients who came to me to design and furnish their wedding. They wanted it to be a heartfelt reflection of them, including making it plastic and waste-free.

Awesome, I replied! I’m thrilled to do this with you. It’ll be our first totally waste-free wedding and I cannot wait.

The couple made napkins from tablecloths they had in the linen cupboard, had the caterers use nothing single use, hired vintage furniture from us, handmade their signage, used knick-knacks and props from their home instead of buying new things (also, super personalised #awww), outfits were second-hand or would be integrated into their regular wardrobes after. They used a venue and wedding suppliers local to them, a friend did their floristry from foraged flowers and greenery.

How thrilled we all were, huzzah! Smug even, I dread to say. Then, on the day of the wedding, as I was setting it up, there it was. Several kilos of individually plastic wrapped lollies/candy. Wahhhhhhhh fucking wahhhhhhhhh, boo hoo and God dang it to heavens to Betsy.

Alas, there was disappointment. But, also not-disappointment. While the goal was not *quite* reached, thoughtful action did lead to much, much less consumption and thus waste, heading off to landfill to create methane as it breaks down, adding to one of the biggest contributors of our ever-increasing global temperatures.

The couple’s personal ethos is thrift first, consume less. This was achieved, albeit imperfectly. Which leads me to my (probably) contentious point; you and I cannot fix the climate crisis, no matter how perfect our wedding planning.

We need governments and large corporations to make massive and radical changes around stopping the burning of fossil fuels and release of methane (from industrial farming and trillions of cubic metres of landfill). But while they’re stuffing around, here’s a few things we CAN do for a responsible wedding.

The circular economy is your best mate

You know what’s really simple? Using the circular economy to create your wedding. The circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible.

When you hire what you need, those items get to have a long and excellent life, helping rad people celebrate their life’s milestones. Don’t you just love the idea of a lux vintage couch that’s seen dozens upon dozens of weddings, after once being the ‘good lounge suite’ in the home of a dear couple who were together for a million and one years?

What you can’t hire, you can buy second-hand. It’s never been easier to access second-hand items via Marketplace, eBay, Depop, buy/swap/sell groups and the like. It’s a digital treasure hunt, and let this be a warning to you; it’s addictive! And the best bit? Sell it on later via those same channels.

Your consumer behaviour is power

As much as it’s like screaming into the void about leaders taking meaningful actions to tackle the climate crisis, they listen when it starts to affect their money and power. Your consumer behaviour, AKA how you spend your money, can create change. Ways to flex your muscle here include shopping small wherever possible. Buying from Amazon makes a mega billionaire richer and thus more powerful, while exploiting the human beings that work for him.

Choosing eco-products, such as compostable plates, tells manufacturers there is money to be made away from single-use plastic. Make the very best choices you can within your budget. Talking to prospective suppliers about their sustainability practises lets them know it’s important to customers. Choose suppliers that have a plan around this type of thing. Let the vendors you didn’t choose (very politely) know that was one of the reasons why. In business, you adapt and change or you perish. The good ones will adapt.

Now, let’s talk about banking and superannuation/401ks/retirement fund/pension schemes. “Maam, this is a wedding magazine,” I hear you shout as you wave your Rock n Roll Bride mag in my silly little face. But stay with me, though! The following is a wedding gift to yourselves!

OK, so. As of 2020, there was 2.62 trillion pounds invested in the UK Pension Scheme. Moving your funds to an ethical fund is one of the biggest actions you can take because, collectively, there is so much money tied up in these set-ups around the world.

Same with your banking. Get ye pounds (and loans, credit cards, mortgages) to an ethical, clean money bank. There are more and more competitive options and, again, it’s a direct How Dare You Sir to the powers that be. These actions are smashing the status quo and, damn it human reading this, we’re fully part of that process!

So, dearest reader, you do not have to be perfect to have an eco-conscious wedding that doesn’t add to the climate nightmare we’re living in. But you can do a few easy things to feel like you’re aligning your wedding to your personal values. Huzzah!

ABOUT KATE

Co-founder and creative director of Melbourne vintage furniture hire and event styling legends, Good Day Club, Kate Forsyth is an expert at stacking unstackable vintage chairs and designing the raddest, most non-traditional and fun weddings known to wo/man. Outside of running her business with husbo Dave, she parents small human Remy, plays the drums and just painted her house every colour of the rainbow.

This article originally appeared in issue 43 of Rock n Roll Bride magazine. You can purchase the latest copy here, or why not subscribe to never miss an issue?

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