How to plan a sustainable wedding


Florence Robson

Dining Candle Table Set-Up | True Grace
- Photo courtesy of Imogen Xiana

Planning a wedding can be notoriously intense: couples have to balance finding a venue, choosing suppliers and confirming a guestlist, all while filled with nerves and anticipation for this next phase of their lives together. But amongst all the expectation and excitement, it can be easy to overlook the impact one celebration can have on the environment. 

Between excess food, leftover flowers and disposable tableware, one of the most magical days of your life can easily also become one of the most wasteful. In fact, one wedding can produce as much as 20kg of plastic waste and over 57,000kg of CO2

The good news is that an eco-conscious wedding is not only possible but also opens you up to creative choices that could make your big day even more special. From locally-sourced, seasonal produce to vintage decorations and refillable candles, we’ve gathered tips to help you plan a spectacular, sustainable wedding day.

the venue

When possible choose a wedding venue that has considered things like renewable energy sources and recycling and composting practices and also has a recommended list of suppliers with eco credentials, ready to share with you.

St Giles House, a gorgeous and historic venue in Dorset, is one such example. “The nature of our location; set in 5,500 acres of private parkland, puts sustainability at the forefront of our minds daily”, says Wedding Coordinator Lottie Brown. “From the grounds team practising environmental stewardship for our protected wildlife species, to enhancing our on-site woodlands and preserving our clean air. These practices are carried into our wedding offering, where we’re conscious of the suppliers we work with, the products we use and how to prevent and reduce wastage.”

From florists who opt for wire frames over a disposable oasis to caterers who create menus from produce from the venue’s walled garden allotment, the St Giles team are consistently looking to evolve their sustainability practices in partnership with suppliers. “Our most recent practice is to gather all candle remains, which are collected by The Recycled Candle Company and made into brand new products”, explains Lottie. 

Outdoor venues can be particularly environmentally-friendly as they come with built-in decor. A lush forest, expansive vineyard or elegant greenhouse can provide a stunning backdrop without the need for hothouse flowers.

It goes without saying that, while an abroad wedding might be appealing, asking your guests to fly to reach your venue will increase the carbon footprint of the event significantly.

“An eco-conscious wedding is not only possible but also opens you up to creative choices that could make your big day even more special.”

The Guestlist

While whittling down a guestlist can be tricky, the fewer attendees at your wedding, the less waste you will produce. Ready to go? It’s easier than ever to find eco-friendly invitations, including options made with recycled paper, upcycled fabric, seed-infused paper (that you can plant and turn into flowers), or even materials like leather and wood.

If you’d like to create a gift registry consider seeking out a company or platform that offers an ethical selection of products. Alternatively, you could ask guests to donate to a charity of your choice.

The Food

When it comes to designing your wedding menu, go as local and seasonal as possible. Not only does this reduce carbon emissions but it also allows you to support neighbouring farmers. Plus, seasonal produce always tastes better! 

If you feel comfortable doing so, you could offer a predominantly or entirely vegetarian or vegan menu to reduce your carbon footprint even further.

Finally, opt for a plated dinner over a buffet, as the latter can lead to a lot of food waste. If you do end up with lots of leftovers, consider donating them to a local food kitchen, if regulations allow. 

The Tableware

Tableware is actually one of the easiest switches to make when planning a green reception. Avoid single-use plates, napkins and utensils (while they might seem easier on the day, these options produce a lot of extra waste). Instead, consider renting dishware and glassware or check Facebook Marketplace and other resale platforms for second-hand options. As well as being more affordable, these also allow you to mix and match according to your style.

The Flowers

Flowers for events are often imported into the UK or forced to grow out of season, thereby using up a lot of energy. Opting for seasonal flower arrangements can therefore be an easy way to significantly reduce your wedding’s carbon footprint (throwing a winter wedding? Try these tips from Shaftesbury florist Pamplemousse).

If you’re using floral arrangements in your ceremony, avoid unnecessary waste by reusing them for your reception as well. Bridal party bouquets make beautiful cake table decorations, for example. Dried flowers can also be a gorgeous replacement for confetti or rice.

“Seasonal flower arrangements can be an easy way to significantly reduce your wedding’s carbon footprint”

The Lighting

Candles are not only an atmospheric lighting choice but can also be a sustainable one. At True Grace, we offer a range of colourful dining candles made in our carbon neutral factory to help you create the perfect tablescape. We’ve also put together a wedding scents guide to help you select a signature fragrance that you’ll always associate with your big day.

For an extra-special gift or memento, you can use our engraving service to personalise the sustainable candle with a date or message. Afterwards, our refill service means that you can continue to use your candle for years to come.

The outfits

Looking gorgeous on your wedding day doesn’t have to mean sacrificing sustainability. There are a growing number of wedding dress designers who focus on ethical production and eco-friendly fabrics so that you can find the dress of your dreams without impacting the earth.

If vintage is more your thing, try websites like Etsy, Nearly Newlywed and Stillwhite to find pre-loved wedding dresses at a fraction of the price. Rental platforms are a great option for low-key brides, as well as for bridesmaid dresses, while a wide number of tailors and shops offer rental tuxedos at affordable prices.


The eco-friendly planning can last beyond the reception! From carbon-neutral resorts to romantic train rides across Europe, there are plenty of fabulous options to help you start your newlywed life together in (sustainable) style.

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