What are some of the common features in weddings that maybe aren’t so sustainable, and what can they be replaced with to ensure a similar (or better) experience, without harming the environment?

(for the video version, skip straight to the bottom)


Photo credit: Abi Hackling Photography

Let’s start with confetti, or glitter, or rice, or whatever it is that you want to throw around to celebrate (because who doesn’t love throwing stuff – and we all know it looks epic in photos). Dried leaves and flower petals are absolutely stunning. They can be punched into cute shapes, selected for their specific colours and, assuming they were sourced naturally and not chemically treated, they’re totally biodegradable and in-fact, actually belong outdoors!

Adding herbs into the mix can be a great way to mask that earthy smell if it’s not your vibe and is also a chance to get meaningful. Many herbs have traditional associations, rosemary for example is said to represent love; thyme is said to represent courage.

While the common method of handing these out is in individual paper cones, I’d go a step further and suggest having them in one big re-useable box, basket or whatever container takes your fancy. Have a friend pass the basket around for guests to take their handfuls while you sign your marriage certificate. This will ensure no hands are getting to tired or sweaty holding on to masses of leaves, and will also keep everyone entertained and chatty while you take care of that oh-so-important paperwork.


Looking down on a table a dark green plant is surrounded by delicious and colourful looking wedding canapes
Photo supplied by Pexels

Canapes and grazing tables (or just any of your catering at all). Consider how your guests will interact with the food on offer – we all know that feeling of not wanting to take the last piece incase someone else really wanted it… Food waste is pretty difficult to avoid when planning an event, you definitely don’t want those guests going hungry, so over-catering to some extent is almost inevitable. Design your menus with thought around this and see if you can come up with a way to make the most of those leftovers!

One suggestion I’ve seen with grazing tables is to instead of laying all of the food out at once, have someone assigned as a re-stocker, only adding the required foods to the table and avoiding putting out tonnes of what people just don’t seem to be loving.

Another option is to have canapes served on or near easy to grab, portion controlled plates. Guests won’t go through 500 napkins while they pick and choose repeatedly, and it also has the added option of reducing food contamination allowing those of your guests with allergies to partake with confidence.


A person stands barefoot on two layered rugs. Their patterns very bright colourful and fun.
Photo credit: Sina Saadatmand (via Unsplash)

D├ęcor. Swap out plastic and single-use items for things you already own. Maybe that rug on your bedroom floor can mark the spot where you say “We Do”, or perhaps you’ve got a favourite furniture item or piece of artwork that can feature in your wedding. Swap balloons for bunting and swap the tacky plastic green wall for a full on real, living green wall you’ve hired.

Event and Wedding Hire Companies will be your absolute best friend – they have so many incredible options for re-usable decoration in so many different colours and styles. There is absolutely something out there for everyone – plus they’ll bring it out to site and possibly even maneuver it into place for you – that’s one less setting up job and transport logistics exercise you’ll need to worry about!

Photo credit: Aliis Sinisalu (via Unsplash)

Often being more eco-friendly in your wedding choices involves a whole lot more than just a simple swap out, but if you have fun with it and get creative, there are so many unique (and often cheaper!) ways of doing things that will still have your guests dropping jaws as they step through the entrance.

What would you add to the list?

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Emerald and Ebony – Planning Eco-friendly weddings in Taranaki and beyond.

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