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Sustainable Wedding Ideas: Making Your Big Day Eco-Friendly

At The Octagon Barn, we value sustainability and treading as lightly as possible when it comes to the environment. This is why we welcome more environmentally-friendly approaches to hosting your dream wedding day.

'But how? Weddings produce (approximately) the same amount of CO2 as five people do in one year!'

There is a whole host of options to you as a couple if you'd like to keep sustainability in mind for your wedding celebrations, and we'd like to share them! Many people assume that sustainable options are a bit heavy on the wallet, but spoiler alert, they don't have to be! And some can even be more cost effective!

So let's get started, shall we?

#1 - Use a florist that will use locally-grown, in-season flowers

The flower industry! This industry flourishes during wedding season, with many couples swarming to get their hands on the best bouquets and floral décor they can.

Unfortunately, the beautiful flora that you have your eyes on might have a large carbon footprint attached to it. Most floral arrangements are sourced from other countries, from large greenhouses using considerable amounts of energy, and are sprayed with pesticides.

It's not all doom & gloom though! There are a selection of florists that grow their own flowers locally, without the use of pesticides, and restrict options to only include flowers that are in-season.

Wild flowers in a wedding bouquet
Photography: Eloise Pitcher Flowers: Jipola

Locally in Norfolk, we recommend Jess at Jipola & Natalie at The Wild Folk Florist. Both Jess & Natalie grow their own flowers in their gardens based in Norfolk, and this means they're restricted to flowers that are currently in season. Natalie also does not use floral foam or tape in her arrangements, opting instead for more sustainable alternatives. Both Jess and Natalie are not only environmentally-conscious, but they are some of the best florists in their craft, so we highly recommend you consider them for your wedding celebrations.

#2 - Go vintage, borrowed or repurposed for your bridalwear!

Your "this is THE dress" moment might not have to be a brand new dress from a bridal shop. It could be a repurposed & recycled vintage wedding dress, a family members' wedding dress, or a rental!

Some of you may think that this doesn't sound like a glamorous or exciting option for your big day, but there are many options open to you if you choose this route.

A vintage wedding dress
Dress: Poppy Perspective

Poppy Perspective, a bridal shop based in Kent, specialises in reusing material and repurposing bridalwear, giving it new life. Phiney, the designer at Poppy Perspective, will create your dream come true whilst still focusing on sustainability. Phiney has a selection of dresses already in her collection to take a look at, but she also creates bespoke dresses tailored to your desires. If you're in the market for a wedding dress, it's definitely worth considering what options you have in the repurposed wedding dress market!

Many wedding dress stores will also offer a pre-loved range, or the option to rent your wedding dress! If you're personally less concerned with having your wedding dress as a keepsake, we would suggest renting it to save both money & to be most sustainable! Bridalwear shops such as Adella Bridal in Wymondham, Norfolk have a pre-loved wedding dress range which features some absolutely gorgeous dresses at a fraction of the price.

Brides may shudder when they consider using their mothers' or grandmothers' old wedding dress as their own on their big day. But it doesn't have to be such a scary thought! There are some amazing tailors and designers around that would happily tweak the dress to add your own flare, updating & removing any outdated designs that you may not like. We love this idea because it makes your dress feel extra sentimental, and it will make your mother/grandmother feel really special.

Photography: Unknown (if this is your work please contact us!)

#3 - Make your menu as eco-friendly as possible

At The Octagon Barn you have free reign over who your caterers are, and many other venues are the same. We recommend ensuring that your chosen caterer uses locally sourced ingredients. This ultimately leads to better quality dishes overall, and with less food mileage!

Our top recommended caterer, Norfolk's Edge, takes pride in sourcing local, fresh ingredients whenever possible. This not only helps with ensuring your menu is as sustainable as can be, but it also supports local farmers & suppliers, so everybody is a winner!

A grazing board with fruit, cheese & vegetables.
Photography: Thyme Lane Grazing Board: Norfolk Grazing Company

Reducing your meat intake is also a great way to limit your impact on the environment during your wedding breakfast. Whether it's eliminating meat completely from your menu, or offering your guests a choice between a meat dish & a meat-free dish, this can definitely be considered when building your menu for the day.

#4 - Use biodegradable confetti & glitter

Or even better - flower petals!

Everybody wants that signature 'confetti shot' from the photographer after their wedding. They make for some beautiful, memorable photos of your family & friends laughing as they shower you both with a flurry of colourful confetti pieces.

A wedding couple having confetti thrown over them
Photography: Aurora Grey

But what happens when the confetti shot is finished? Where does the confetti go?

The confetti will remain on the ground (regardless of how well your coordinator may clean them up) or blown away into the general environment somewhere. This is why it's important to use confetti that will naturally breakdown, decompose, or even contribute to the environment for the better!

Many colourful, paper confetti options will be biodegradable these days, which is fantastic. Even more fantastic would be using dried flowers, fresh flower petals, or confetti that gives back - such as this Wildflower Seed confetti!

#5 - And finally.. use an eco-conscious supplier for décor!

We're lucky in the fact that there are many fantastic wedding décor & prop suppliers to choose from, and it would be great to ensure they're on the same page about sustainability.

Many suppliers will consistently reuse their props and decorations, and others will go a step further in consciously repurposing old, vintage items.

A wedding couple kissing at the end of the alter decorated with flowers and vases.
Photography: Eloise Pitcher Props: PROPosal Wedding Hire

An example of a great supplier who repurposes and rejuvenates vintage props is PROPosal Wedding Hire. Jules has a fantastic selection of items to use at your wedding, and many of them have been given a new life! If you're having your wedding in Norfolk, you must visit her showroom and browse some of her collection - we can promise that you won't be able to resist!

Happy World Environment Day!

This blog was written in celebration of World Environment Day. It's very important that we take responsibility in our own ways for limiting our impact on the environment. Let's take care of this earth together.

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