Eco- Friendly weddings and ceremonies

Sometimes the planning of a wedding includes lots of trimmings and decorations, many of them shiny ribbon, plastic, or sparkles. We all love a bit of bling but think how long the bling is being used for, and how fast it can decompose. You may want to reconsider using balloons and glitter.
Here are some ideas for weddings which include some thought on how to lessen impacts on the environment.
Seed lights are a fabulous way to bring festivities into a space – even draped through bouquets, or trees, and they can be used again and again.

Camping all together at the space, This has worked really well in mountain lodges and rural campsites, with weddings by the river or in the hills. Car- pooling to get there also works famously, giving people a chance to meet as they travel.

Handpicked flowers. Fabulous. Arrange them on the day with a bunch of friends, to make centre pieces and bouquets. One bride gifted all the flowers from the bouquets to the guests to take home and press if they wanted a memo from the day. It’s extra special if you have flowers from the family garden, or in Christchurch, the red zone. Tie bouquets in twine or harakeke or reusable ribbons.

Forage for fruits and nuts in season. There is an app for foraging within Christchurch City with 52 varieties of trees identified. In the right season you can use these in your platters/meal or make jam/chutney with them for favours.

Ask your guests to bring a plate. I went to a wonderful wedding where a ‘meal train’ was organised a few weeks prior – covered vegan, vegetarian, meat lovers and desserts, as well as food for allergies. It worked superbly.

Decorate with bunting from recycled materials or use paper and cottons that can recycle. Decorate with nature. Driftwood, shells, toi- toi or foliage that is easy to access.

Go to op shops and source tablecloths, napkins, tea cosies, cushions and get a retro or vintage theme going. Or just use them and be proud. In fact, you can get as much second hand as you wish. Your dresses and table settings, your glasses and plates, cutlery, bowls – whatever. (Be aware of buying some compostable products as in Christchurch we can’t recycle them as green waste, and you need to do this in your home compost). There are some Facebook pages where you can find ‘recycled’ wedding items – from bridal dresses to napkins and dried flowers – Canterbury Wedding planning, Christchurch Brides and Grooms NZ, Brides of Canterbury. A fabulous idea.

Give everyone a named glass/cup and use a keg for the beer/drinks.

Have clearly identified composting and rubbish containers at your venue. Paper hand towels are compostable. Food scraps will find a home with a pig or in your compost. Glass and paper can be recycled.

If you are providing favours, think of giving homemade biscuits, or small individual pot plants which can also be name tags, or dried herbs; lavender bags or dried herbs for your guests to take home and enjoy.

Or skip favours. That is a huge possibility. One wedding I went to; the name tags all were a little handwritten description to the person and what the bride and groom appreciated in their friendship. They were on handmade cards. It was gold.