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You will (hopefully) only get married once.  

Why not push the boat out?   Just for one day, be decadent, lavish, carefree.

Thing is, with over 200,000 weddings happening in England and Wales alone every year, that decadence can take a pretty heavy toll on the environment.

Don’t worry though, we’re not going to ask your guests to do their own dishes.

In this series of articles around planning an Environmentally Friendly Wedding, we will look at simple and cost effective ways to reduce the impact of your wedding.

To make sure you don’t miss the next article make sure you pop your name and email address into the box below.

Cutting Down Your Wedding Mileage

A lot of miles will be driven to make your wedding day happen.

Driving to planning meetings, venue visits and deliveries, not to mention suppliers and guests attending on the day.

You can easily cut down on the environmental impact (and cost) of all this travelling by making a few little changes, such as…

Try to Find Local Suppliers

Find suppliers who are based locally to your wedding venue so that they don’t have to travel far to attend meetings and the day itself.

Bonus points if the actual wedding venue is local to you and most of your guests too.

You can use Facebook groups to find local venues and suppliers, plus Google tends to do a good job of finding businesses who are based near you if you search for them.

Meet with suppliers over the phone, Or Combine Meetings

You can use video calls over Skype, Facetime or Facebook Messenger so that you don’t lose the personal touch.  

If you do still want to meet your suppliers face to face, see if you can combine the visits.

For example, arrange to meet your photographer at your venue on the same day you are due to meet with the venue’s coordinator.  That way you are not making an extra trip to meet your photographer, and they can do their location scouting whilst you meet with your coordinator which will save them another trip out.

For bonus points, you could incorporate your make-up trial and engagement shoot into this planning meeting, which has the added advantage of giving you engagement photos taken at your actual wedding venue in full bridal make-up!

Cut down the amount of travel your guests have to do on the day

If you’re getting married in the same venue as your reception then this is less of an issue.  Your guests arrive in the morning and leave at the end.  Perhaps you could improve things further by encouraging car pooling with a note on your invitations.

If you’re getting married at a church or registry office then your guests will need to travel to both locations, meaning potentially 10+ cars making the same journey at the same time.

Why not organise a bus for them all?

Plan for your guests to arrive at your reception venue at a certain time and arrange a bus to take them all to the ceremony together.  Then the same bus can take them all back afterwards.  That way your guests can relax and not worry about where they need to go next, and you’ve taken a bunch of cars off the road.

For bonus points, you can take the same bus back to the reception with your guests, saving you from hiring a wedding car.  You can still make it special by booking a vintage wedding party bus.

Things Your Suppliers Can Do To Help

I’m a pretty low-waste photographer in general.  Mostly because I’m a techie and believe in finding the most modern and efficient way of doing things.

When I deliver photos I do so via an online gallery.   The images can be downloaded by the couple, plus any guests who are given access.  

This means no shipping of memory sticks or tacky wooden boxes from China, and no additional mileage incurred passing memory sticks and prints around.

I also use a UK-based printing house for all my print and album orders, meaning there is no needless long distance shipping going on.

Outside of the photography world, other suppliers can help reduce pollution too.

Eco-Friendly Vehicles

Being eco-friendly shouldn’t get in the way of living out your dream wedding.  If you’ve always dreamt of arriving in a vintage car, you still can.

See the car in the photo above?  That’s a modern car.  In fact it is a modified Hackney Carriage, aka a London Taxi.  The body has been replaced so that it looks vintage, but it has all the eco-friendliness of a modern car.  Ok, I’ll admit, this is still not the most environmentally friendly way to get to your wedding, but any small change can make a big difference.

Source Local Raw Materials

Before you hire a supplier, find out where they source their raw materials.

This could apply to caterers, venue decorators, even make-up artists.

Are they environmentally responsible when it comes to sourcing materials.  Buying local can cost a little more, but often means a higher quality product, so it’s worth asking the question.

Conclusion

When we’re planning a wedding we often don’t give too much thought about how many miles we, our guests and suppliers are driving in order to make it happen.

Whilst some driving is inevitable, there are a few quick, easy and cheap ways to make a significant difference to how many cars are on the road and how much fuel is guzzled just to make our one day happen.

Part 2 Coming Soon: Tips on Reducing Wedding Waste...

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All the photos in this article were taken by JLM Wedding Photography.
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