This year feels like Wedding Season is on steroids. With all the rescheduled weddings going on, it’s brilliant to finally be celebrating happy occasions with loved ones again.
Of course, love in the air is an excellent reason to come together but we also shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the carbon footprint of it all. Think of the travel, decorations, outfits, food, lighting, etc...
The good news is there are plenty of ways to attend a Big Day without unnecessary waste. In this article, I list 6 eco-friendly wedding gift ideas to bring smiles to faces plus a few tips and tricks to be a low-carbon guest.
That’s the ultimate gift a couple could receive, right? A room full of guests dedicated to preserving a planet for them to grow old on. That, or a nice dinner set.
6 eco-friendly wedding gift ideas
1. Box of Vegan Doughnuts with Edible Flowers, £19.50
Nothing says love like doughnuts. Or is that only me? This delicious box of vegan chocolate doughnuts, made with sustainably sourced and organic ingredients, is the perfect tasty treat for the couple to tuck into. Packed in recyclable packaging and sprinkled with edible, dried flower petals, they look as good as they taste and make fab ethical wedding gifts.
2. Organic Wedding Tree, from £35
Plants make great sustainable wedding gifts and I particularly love trees as a living symbol of a couple’s love. The Present Tree offers a variety of organically grown trees to suit all spaces. These trees are also zero waste gifts as they come in pots made of 100% biodegradable spruce fibres that can be composted.
Organising weddings can be rather stressful so after all the excitement, the happy couple will be in serious need of pampering. This gorgeous set includes a bottle of massage oil made with the heavenly scent of night blooming Tuberose. Tuberose has naturally warming and aphrodisiac properties, and the candle is made from clean-burning, sustainable coconut wax in a recyclable and reusable glass container. Of course, the number one rule of sustainable gifting is to avoid buying stuff that people won’t use, so if your happy couple isn’t the ‘fragrant candle’ type then save this idea for another time and choose from one of my other suggestions!
This is probably my favourite eco-friendly wedding gift idea. During this one-day course, the couple will head back to nature with a professional forager to learn all about sustainable and safe foraging as well as harvesting of wild food. Afterwards they’ll cook up a delicious lunch using the wild ingredients and leave with a foraging bag and knowledge that will last a lifetime. The eco-ness of this gift is two-fold; one, you’re not gifting something which will eventually end up in landfill, and two (if the couple goes on to forage after the course) then they’ll be saving on food miles and packaging!
5. All in One Zero Waste Box, £150
For the ultimate zero waste wedding gift, why not give a Zero Waste Box. Created by waste experts, TerraCycle, it saves products from going to landfill by collecting items that councils don’t recycle. Think toothbrushes, contact lenses, crisp wrappers, makeup, etc. All these are collected in the box and sent off to be sorted into raw materials for reuse. It can take up to a year to fill and is a convenient way for the happy couple to lighten their carbon footprint. Plus, it’ll eradicate arguments about sorting the recycling!
6. A slow getaway, £275+
Couples love a romantic getaway, but nipping to Europe for the weekend often involves a carbon-expensive flight. If you want to really treat the I-doers, gift them a planet-friendly escape through a company like Byway. They offer low impact, hassle-free trips that celebrate the beautiful areas we have right on our doorstep.
Once you’ve got your eco-friendly wedding present sorted, it’s time to turn inwards and think about how you can reduce the impact you’ll have as a guest.
Top tips for being an eco-friendly wedding guest:
1. Wear something borrowed
Weddings are all about the outfit (love too, obvs). However, according to the UN Environmental Programme, the fashion industry produces up to 8% of global carbon emissions and if nothing changes, by 2050, it will use up a quarter of the world’s carbon budget. So instead of buying something new, why not borrow or hire your wedding #OOFD (outfit of the day)? I find the best places to look are in friend’s/family’s wardrobes or virtual wardrobes (aka, scan their Instagram), Hire Street, My Wardrobe, Moss Bros Hire and Vintage Suit Hire. Even swanky department stores such as Selfridges have got in on the designer rental act. Do remember that getting an outfit to you requires fuel, so try to avoid unnecessary returns where possible.
2. Travel by public transport/carpool
Where possible, travel by public transport or carpool with other guests to get to the wedding. Letting the train take the strain means not having to decide on a designated driver, so everyone gets to enjoy a tipple. Win win.
3. Eat your meal
At weddings it’s very easy to get caught up in small talk, or have a couple of drinks before the meal and then not feel like eating. But food waste, which contributes around 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions (Source: Wrap), is something we must curb in the UK. So if you can’t manage anything else on this list—no eco gift, no public transport, no borrowed outfit—then you can certainly do your bit by simply eating what’s on your plate. Your body will thank you the next day, too.
You don’t have to sacrifice any of the fun to party as an ethical wedding guest. Little tweaks add up to make a big difference and I think your hosts will appreciate the effort.
While you’re here, let’s briefly touch on the importance of business climate action. You’re doing your bit, is your employer doing the same? Pawprint exists to help employers ramp up sustainability efforts by bringing employees along on the journey. If you think that’s something your workplace could do with, why not pitch Pawprint to your c-suite today?