A LAVISH wedding was once at the top of every couple’s wish list, with the average cost said to be nearly £20,000.
But now a growing number of brides and grooms are swapping a traditional white wedding for a green one, as they try to cut down the cost – and waste – of their big day.
Environmentalists are “upcycling” crockery and tableware sourced from charity shops and encouraging their guests to take home the (handpicked) flowers from the table decorations.
Others are asking their guests to refrain from splashing out on a new outfit for the event and requesting they instead wear old clothes or buy them from charity shops in a bid to cut the carbon footprint of the celebration.
Friends of the Earth Scotland has claimed that the average wedding emits around 14.5 tonnes of CO2 – much more than the 12 tonnes emitted by the average person during a whole year.
Meanwhile, figures from Zero Waste Scotland show that the carbon impact of food and drink alone at a typical nuptials is 82kg of CO2 equivalent, while the footprint of a typical traditional wedding dress is 112kg of CO2 equivalent.
The recycling charity calculated that if the brides at Scotland’s 30,534 weddings every year get married in a wedding dress, the carbon impact will be about 3,406 tonnes of CO2 equivalent: the same as that from making 568 new cars.
“People are becoming increasingly aware of the impact they have on the environment, so it’s not surprising to see big events in people’s lives, such as weddings, start to take account of that,” said Iain Gulland, director of Zero Waste Scotland.
“A lot of what is bought for weddings, like dresses, cakes, favours, confetti and food, can often end up being wasted or not used again and so it’s great to see people taking steps to make their big day a bit more sustainable, and still every bit as special, with a focus on re-used items.
“Our aim at Zero Waste Scotland is to try to instil that approach across all facets of modern life. Our key re-use programmes are focusing on making passing items on or picking great used items up as easy as possible.”
Romance expert and proposal planner Tiffany Wright said: “The number of people opting for eco weddings is definitely on the rise. Weddings are getting more and more lavish and expensive, and so now people are rebelling against this and want something different.
“Definitely increasing in popularity are things like upcycling, which is where people take something they have found in a charity shop and decorate it or paint it to make it into a really nice table decoration.”
However, environmental experts said that sourcing flowers close to home is not always the best way to cut carbon costs. Although, for example, flowers from Kenya have to be flown to Britain, in the Netherlands they have to be grown in greenhouses, which ends up being more carbon-intensive.