The three things I consider as an eco-friendly wedding planner, to ensure every single decision aligns with your values.

The concept of being eco-friendly can be a little daunting. It means so many different things to so many different people and attempting to encapsulate all that “eco-friendly” is, is no easy feat. Throw in that wedding word and you’ve got a recipe for a whole lot of overwhelm, anxiety and the dreaded eco-guilt. Let’s be honest, wedding’s can be a lot to comprehend without adding your concern for the environment into the mix as well.

In this blog post I’m sharing the three things I consider for every single decision to ensure your weddings are eco-friendly and align perfectly with your values. And while I’m writing this in the context of wedding planning – these are things I use to consider the eco-friendliness of stuff in my every day life too. From purchases to activities and evaluating how I choose to live my life… these three concepts are ones that help me day in, day out to ensure my bases are covered and keep me on track to improving and being my best eco-friendly self.

the camera is aimed directly downwards at two feet, tramping boots on and covered with mud. They're standing on a narrow wooden swing bridge and the bright green patterns of the ponga below are detailed and eye catching.
Photo credit: David and Jodie Munro

The key with being eco-friendly is conscious consideration.

You can’t always be perfect, but what matters is that you’ve considered the possibilities and options, educated yourself as much as you can and allowed yourself the time and space to look into creative solutions. So often, we make decisions based on habit, or on what we’ve previously been told without every really understanding why we do what we do, or what has gone into that decision. Learning how others choose to address the same kind of situation or decision is a great place to start, there are so many other view points and ways of life and it’s worth knowing and acknowledging that everyone’s situation is totally unique. What works perfectly for someone else, might not be right at all for you, but if you’ve done the research and taken the time to step back and make this decision a conscious one, you’ll be so much more likely to come to a new decision that supports both your lifestyle and your values.

That final answer or solution you arrive at won’t always be the most eco-friendly answer, but that’s okay. Being perfectly eco-friendly in the world we live in is incredibly difficult (if not impossible!) and the more you spend time learning, growing and making decisions consciously, the better those choices will sit with you, and the closer you will come to being your most eco-friendly self. The way I see it – there’s no end point to this goal. There will always be more we can do, more ways we can grow and more changes we can make. Let’s get started on that path together, right now, doing what we can, with what we have, and choosing, consciously, to do things the way we do them, to make purchases and choices we can be proud of.

Sunlight pours through the gaps between the lush green trees of Aotearoa, New Zealand's West Coast rainforest
Image credit: Jodie and David Munro

In order to fully consider something we need to look at the whole lifecycle.

Whether it’s a concept, an idea or a physical thing – it has a lifecycle. There’s a time before you implement it, a time while you are implementing it and a time after you’ve finished with it.

And so those three things – before, during and after, are a brilliant place to start brainstorming.

Let’s look at something like your wedding bouquet for example:

One. Before.

Before you get your bouquet it needs to be created.

What goes into creating it? Where did the flowers and other elements come from? Were they grown locally or have they travelled for miles to get to you? Are they in season where they were grown? Or were artificial conditions used to allow them to grow?

You can take this thought process as many steps back as you’re comfortable – and I will just add, if looking into this too deeply is causing you a whole heap of anxiety or stress, tone it down! You’re planning a wedding! You’ve got enough pressure on you without falling into the depths of this rabbit hole too. There’s no such thing as perfect and what you are in a situation to consider and act on is dependent on so many factors. Stop where you’re comfortable, it’s all about the baby steps!

Two. During.

Once you’ve established what boundaries you’d like to put in place for their creation, you can move on to the ‘during’. This could be things like what the item is being used for, how you’re making the most out of it and whether you’re using the item responsibly – perhaps with your bouquet you could repurpose the same bouquet from your ceremony as decoration at your reception? So you’re really making it worth it’s while.

Three. After.

Then the last step is to consider the ‘after’.
What will happen to that bouquet after your wedding? Can you compost it? Or was it built using wires, tape and foam to form it’s structure? Perhaps it was dyed or preserved using chemicals which would also result in it being unable to be composted responsibly.

Maybe you want to save it as a keepsake and have it pressed or dried. Or perhaps you’re looking at gifting it to someone who needs a pick me up or a local charity or even rest home that it will be loved and cherished.

If you’re taking the donations route I’d recommend taking that one step further and considering what will happen to it after that donation. When the flowers inevitably die – how will the people you’ve donated it to dispose of it? which brings us right back up to the question of whether it can be composted…

A tramper crosses a long and narrow wooden swing bridge as is disappears deep into the lush green rainforest
Photo credit: David and Jodie Munro

You see where I’m coming from? This is just one example of something that can be made so much more eco-friendly if you put a little thought into the full lifecycle and start to consider some alternative ways of creating, using and disposing of things.

How do you ensure your decisions align with your values? Are there questions like these that you ask yourself daily?

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

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