How to Have a Low Waste Wedding (and Save Money!)

Sep 19, 2023 | Weddings

Weddings are just one day, and there’s so much waste at the end of that day – favours left behind, plastic wrappings, unwanted gifts, thousands of miles travelled. But there’s so much you can do to make more eco friendly choices for your wedding.

Here are 10 ideas for holding an eco-friendly low-waste wedding.

10 Ways to Lower Waste at Your Wedding

Confetti and bubbles

I love confetti and bubbles! But if it’s not biodegradable (ie plastic) it’s going to sit around for ages and harm the environment. Also, while you may have biodegradable confetti, the plastic pouches each person’s confetti is in likely won’t be.

What to do instead

Biodegradable confetti is the easiest option, as well as dried petals. Another option is a big basket of confetti that everyone grabs a handful of. If you want individual pouches, use paper cones that haven’t been dyed or got glued stickers on.

If you want bubbles, use a bubble gun that can be refilled and reused instead of individual plastic tubes. Bonus – bubble guns make even better photos because there are so many bubbles!

Another option – high fives! No waste, and they’re free. Plus, the photos look fun!

A bride and groom having a zero waste wedding while walking down the aisle.

Outfits

A wedding dress that costs several grand and you’ll wear once? It’s so easy to get carried away, and it’s really fun to get an awesome dress, but picture it all sad and lonely in your wardrobe never being worn again unless you have a Friends day and decide to wear it around the house for a laugh. Let’s be honest, no one is wearing a traditional wedding dress again for an actual occasion where there are people.

What to do instead

Why not look at charity shops, like Nat did, or somewhere like Etsy (like Georg in the image below) where you can get a cheaper dress that you can wear again. Or, like Jade, chop it up and turn it into lots of different garments after the wedding. You could also buy the dream dress, then wash and sell it, so someone else gets to enjoy it.

etsy wedding dress with bride and groom walking up the aisle

Crockery

Paper plates are just thrown away, so if you want disposable crockery, look at sustainable options.

What to do instead

Find crockery from a charity shop (then wash and return it), or use organic bamboo or similar fibre plates, bowls and cutlery, which is easily composted. Bamboo also grows really fast and is sustainable so you’re not chopping down precious trees. If you’re getting married at a venue with crockery included, that’s great as it’ll get reused.

Food and wedding cake

There’s so much food waste at weddings, so here are some ways to mitigate it: don’t serve both dessert and wedding cake – have the cake as dessert.

What to do instead

Serve wedding cake as dessert. Serve popular and high-quality food, not dried out crappy wedding food (more likely to get scoffed and not set aside on the plate). Pizza from a van is great as it’s often made to order so less waste.

Flip flops

These are a great idea, but most couples get way too many and have to get rid of them.

What to do instead

Bring fewer pairs, or even better, suggest guests bring their own. They’re super handy for beach weddings like this one!

Wedding party dressing gowns

These are cute for prep photos, but unless each member of the wedding party is going to use them as their normal dressing gown at home, let people wear their own comfies for prep. Let’s be honest, when we’re at home we’re not wearing short shiny dressing gowns with our names on the back – we’re wearing that hideous monstrosity from M&S that’s fluffy and long.

What to do instead

Suggest the wedding party brings something comfy but photogenic to get ready in. Wear your own PJs for home. Or get dressing gowns/PJs that you’ll all wear again!

Wedding gifts

You often get things you don’t want and end up chucking or giving away (then there’s the added guilt!), and even worse, the wrapping often contains plastic, and things like ribbon and sellotape aren’t recyclable.

What to do instead

Why not ask for a donation towards the honeymoon?

Flowers

Instead of trying to get your dream bouquet, go local and seasonal. For bonus eco points get them dried so they last forever!

Games

Hire them rather than fill the charity shops with tons of lawn games you no longer need. Or buy them from charity shops and donate them right back!

Suppliers

Whether it’s the DJ, band, photobooth, caterers, florist or make up artist, choose someone local to your venue. We’ve seen people travel all the way down the country from far north to the south coast, when there are so many fabulous suppliers in Sussex. If you need suggestions of brilliant wedding suppliers in Sussex just ask me!

Wedding photography

And that brings us to… us! Choose a wedding photographer who lives near your venue. This not only saves on petrol, but means they know the area, they’re less likely to get stuck in traffic and be late, and it keeps local photographers in business. We’re based in East Sussex and have loads of wedding venues near us in Sussex that we’re familiar with and close to.

A couple laughing at their wedding reception, surrounded by rustic wilderness.

If you’re looking for a local wedding photographer in East Sussex, get in touch!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Alternative Wedding Suit Ideas for Brides and Grooms

Alternative Wedding Suit Ideas for Brides and Grooms

There are a thousand blogs for wedding dress ideas, but what about the suits? We love a funky wedding suit - whether it's on a groom or a bride - so let's have a look at what some of our couples have worn and get you inspired for your own wedding outfit. A black, navy...

read more
How to throw a kick ass wedding on a tiny budget

How to throw a kick ass wedding on a tiny budget

Wanna throw a kick ass wedding but have a tiny budget? Welcome to the club, amigos. Apparently the average cost of a wedding is £32,000! I know!! But fear not, after shooting about 300 weddings I've seen loads of really easy ways to save tons of money and still have...

read more
14 Alternative Wedding Ideas You Haven’t Thought Of

14 Alternative Wedding Ideas You Haven’t Thought Of

Here’s the deal - your wedding should be fun, it should be you, and it should be all, “this is the best day ever” rather than all, “let’s get through this as fast as possible.” And sometimes, the same old wedding traditions just aren’t going to cut it - you need a...

read more