Destination weddings may be seen as a luxury, but they account for a quarter of all weddings. However, the rising popularity of destination wedding ceremonies leaves a remarkably high carbon footprint behind. According to Stanford Magazine, the average carbon footprint of a non-destination wedding is 56.15 tons, with 43 tons being used on transportation for guests. Factor in the even greater amount of air travel that destination weddings require and that figure will be even higher. As a point of comparison, the global average carbon footprint per person over the course of a year is 5 tons.
3 Tips for Creating an Eco-friendly Wedding
This year’s Sustainable Travel Report demonstrated that 87% of tourists “want to travel sustainably”. While only 39% actually succeed in doing so, the good intentions of the majority of travelers suggests that tourists will take the steps to improve their carbon footprint. But will destination weddings follow suit, and if so, how will this be possible?
Think global, act local
One of the biggest contributing factors to a wedding’s carbon footprint is the importing of decoration, food, and personnel. This only increases for couples marrying abroad. Consequently, it is crucial that you either hire and liaise with a local wedding planner or make sure that the company you hire are committed to sustainability on this front.
Luxury destination wedding planners Snapdragon note that it is crucial to “source appropriate accommodation” as well as “judg[e] how to blend local and international suppliers” in order to not only organise a couple’s dream day, but lower its overall environmental impact. The best destination wedding planners will also be able to coordinate all travel on the day, so if all of your guests are able to travel together en masse, this will not only reduce the overall carbon footprint of your ceremony, but allow guests to meet and mingle in advance of the big day.
Of course, as CaterSource notes, if sustainability is a major priority for your wedding, you should ”take out anything that is unnecessary and stick to what matters the most”. After all, the stunning scenery surrounding your ceremony will be what gives the day its luxury edge, and adding too much in the way of additional decoration may arguably distract from the destination’s natural beauty.
Pick a resort which actively promotes sustainability
Finding an eco-friendly wedding venue has become much easier over the last decade, with an increasing number of hotels and resorts taking up the cause. Look out for venues which are Green Certified or approved by the local Green Business Bureau; these venues will offer locally-sourced food, use solar panels for their electricity, and boast a water conservation policy.
Even without opting for a specifically eco-friendly destination wedding venue, it is easy to put sustainability at the forefront of your nuptials. The Knot note that outdoor daytime weddings can make use of beautiful scenery and natural light; those who would rather not tie the knot outside will be well-served by keeping the ceremony and reception in the same location, reducing the emissions produced by transport between venues.
Make sure the gifts and garlands are green
From flowers to favours, there are plenty of smaller steps you can take for an eco-friendly destination wedding. Make sure any flowers—whether the bouquet or the table decorations—are able to be locally sourced and in season. When it comes to favours, Bridal Musings suggests forgoing them altogether, “to save [couples] from bringing goods that could likely end up in the trash”, in favour of spending the money on aspects of the reception that will benefit guests, such as a bar tab or more food.
Likewise, the registry should prioritise gifts which are recycled or charitable. Amongst other things, Hitched suggests passes to areas of natural beauty, allotment for the happy couple’s new garden, or charitable donations. Indeed, these donations could be made directly to the resort where the wedding itself is taking place, or to a charity based in the country, allowing you to contribute directly to the destination’s sustainability for future couples.
Destination Weddings Are Becoming More Eco-friendly
Destination weddings have become more popular than ever, which is raising concerns about the carbon footprint they are creating. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to make weddings more environmentally friendly.