Lots of us are thinking more about the environment in our daily lives; recycling plastic, glass, cans and cardboard, using more eco-friendly cleaning products, being more aware of the energy we use. How can an environmentally caring attitude be translated into your wedding day?
Instead of having lots of cars coming to the venue with just one or two passengers, ask your guests if they are happy to car share. It won't work for everyone, but if family and friends are travelling from the same part of the country, it might work out well for everyone.
By having your wedding ceremony and reception in one venue, you will be cutting down on fuel emissions by halving the need for travel.
Choose a venue that has lots of natural daylight so you don't have to use the lights throughout the day. For your evening party think about candles and lanterns.
Is your venue mindful of the environment? At Escot House, for example, we have installed a biomass boiler to cut down on our impact on fossil fuels.
Does your venue have in-house catering? Ask if they use locally sourced ingredients. This cuts down on food miles and also will often be a sign of quality ingredients. Venues that support small producers usually have a good ethos.
One popular idea is to give seed packets as wedding favours - why not go a stage further and make these recycled seed packets. Check out Wildflower Favours for some great suggestions and inspiration. If you want to give sweets and chocolates, find a local small supplier who really cares about the quality of their products. You could simply give your flowers away for your guests to take home with them. Ask the venue if the staff will be happy to divide the flowers up and hand them out at the end of the day.
Widlflower Favours offers seed paper invites and other stationery, but you could go a stage further and save a few trees by using paperless invites. We've used Paperless Post to invite guests to events at Escot House. It's a great system, allowing RSVPs and reminders. Your guests can write messages on a 'wall' - one way of finding out who is travelling from where and prompting car share, perhaps!
Your dress / suit
Not everyone wants to wear second-hand clothes, but if you feel strongly about it, you can find wonderful vintage dresses, used contemporary dresses, suits and accessories so easily these days. If you want to wear a new outfit, have a look for natural materials such as silk, organic cotton, or even hemp.
There are so many areas of your wedding where you can make a difference, large or small. If you're an eco-warrior you'll want to go the whole hog, but even if you do one small thing, you'll be contributing.
As well as the biomass boiler at the house, we are committed to the enivronment with the responsibility for the estate woodlands. Country estates like ours with a few hundred acres of mixed species trees are guardians of part of the lungs of our planet. Rich in biodiversity, these areas come at a cost and often can only be justified by amenity use. Forestry these days favours quick growing softwoods with a 40-50 year cycle which support minimal biodiversity and acidify the soil and surrounding water courses. Hardwoods (oak, beech, chestnut, etc) take 3 generations to grow to maturity and are much more prone to grey squirrel decimation, deer, and the ever-increasing list of imported diseases. Many estates have simply stopped planting them but at Escot we are working hard to ensure their survival. Your wedding will help us to acheive this and retain hardwood trees for future generations.