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Planning an eco-friendly wedding or event?

Updated: May 10, 2022


Here's a few tips we've picked up from recently planning our planet friendly wedding

Alex & Emma co-founders of UK company elmkind natural cleaning products getting married and signing the register

So you may have heard the news, myself (Emma) and co-owner Alex recently tied the knot in January 2022 (Hurrah!). True to our passions and beliefs, our wedding was completely vegan and we made it as environmentally sound as we could too. Here's some quick insights into how we planned it in just 4 months - I have also listed the suppliers we used at the bottom of this blog for anyone needing a recommendation, and also to share the love of the incredible people who helped make our day so special.



Flowers

Bride wedding shoes and dried flower bouquet in glass vase on a windowsill overlooking beautiful Devon countryside

Becoming all the rage is dried flowers, which we absolutely love because these can last a lifetime if looked after. We chose to make all of our decorations ourselves, partly because we love a challenge, and partly because we knew we could make great decorations from second hand items without the need for buying new materials. Glass jars from pickles, pesto and whatever you can get your hands on, make fantastic vases for dried or fresh flowers. They won't cost you a thing and better still they are great for the environment as they don't need to go through the recycling process before they're being reused (upcycling for the win!). We collected a lot of fresh flowers from friends, family and our own garden, and dried them at home to use in our displays, we also purchased some from a local company who had an incredible selection. With help from our friends we then made all of our table flowers, aisle flowers and even my flower crown and bouquet, which we found to be the most special experience.



Candles

Sustainable wedding decorations for a fully vegan wedding breakfast in North Devon

Everyone loves a candle at a wedding right? But candelabras and candle holders can actually be really expensive, not to mention where are you are going to put them all post wedding? Going along the same theme of the reused glass jars, we asked friends and family members to save empty beer, wine and spirit bottles for us, so that we could clean and repurpose them as candle holders, the more weird and wonderful the better! Free, great for the planet, and surprisingly effective - a big thumbs up from us.



Wall Hangings / Arches

Large macrame wedding decoration suspended in beautiful wooden 7ft tall handmade hexagon for a wedding in North Devon

As for any other decorations, of course completely dependant on the style or theme you're going for; but we made some structures out of wood and some macramé wall hanging pieces to fill our venue with the style we wanted, natural, rustic and a bit boho. Everything we made was either self taught or taught through YouTube videos, which is a great way to learn new skills and get crafty. You may not be the creative type and that's totally fine, perhaps you have friends or family members who are and could make some contributions towards your decorations. Friends and family love to be a part of your special day and perhaps that could be their wedding gift to you as well?



Food

Beautiful flower decorated vegan canapes for a sustainable wedding in North Devon

Ok, so you may not be vegan or even vegetarian, but however you choose to eat perhaps consider using a local company for your catering needs, one with great environmentally friendly credentials, a company that ideally knows exactly where their ingredients have been grown/picked. You'll need to have a good think too of what you're going to serve the food on. Reusable plates and napkins are your best choice for sustainability, but if you have lots of kids coming maybe some wooden plates might be a good option to save on breakages?



Drinks

Environmentally conscious wedding drinks for a sustainable wedding

One thing to double check with any bar options you might be looking at is what they use to serve their drinks in, a lot of companies use glass or even sturdy reusable plastic cups which is great, but some still use throwaway single use plastic cups which are not the best option if you're looking for a truly sustainable wedding/event. Even the 'biodegradable' plastic single use cups are not the best option because reusing something as many times as possible is always generally better than constantly recycling an item. It takes a lot of energy to recycle materials, and biodegradable items usually require special treatment in order to be fully degraded, so they can pose just as much of a risk to the environment as a generic plastic cup if not dealt with correctly after use.



Confetti

Biodegradable wood confetti cones filled with beautiful dried leaves and petals for a sustainable vegan wedding

As we had a winter wedding, we were blessed with an abundance of leaves falling from trees. So we purchased a couple of quirky different shaped hole punches, collected bags full of dried leaves and punched them into shapes until we couldn't punch anymore! Combined with any dried flower heads and petals that had fallen off when making our decorations, they made fabulous natural confetti. There are lots of online stores as well where you can purchase natural confetti made from vibrant petals and leaves in all the colours you could possibly think of!



I hope that gives you a few ideas to help you on your way to the most amazing eco-wedding / party of your dreams. Happy Planning folks and thanks for reading. See below for some of the suppliers we used.



Emma x


 

Suppliers used for our wedding:

Cake | Blossom and Bee Vegan Bakehouse | Heidi is local to us and a fellow vegan market

Beautiful 3 tier different flavor vegan and gluten free wedding cake decorated with pastel colours and dried flowers

stall holder, which is where we first tasted her delicious vegan bakes many years ago. Being an artist at heart, her cakes are stunning works of beauty, and they honestly taste as good as they look.


Being allergic to gluten myself, and having many family members who are the same, we decided to make the whole cake gluten free which was no issue for Heidi.


Our guests kept saying how amazing the cake was and that you wouldn't even know it was gluten free or vegan!






 

Delicious Vegan and Gluten Free wedding food caterers. Stunning and luxurious presentation with eco-friendly credentials

Wedding Breakfast & Canapes | Field To Fork Catering | A fantastic company with a great sustainability ethos and truly scrummy food. All 100% organic food, and they know exactly where their ingredients are grown, raised or picked from, which to us is incredible and essential if you're talking about true sustainability in food.


Although not a vegan company, the owner himself is vegan and was more than happy to create a fully vegan menu for our special day.


 

Beautiful and delicious Vegan and Gluten Free wedding buffet food for that perfect sustainable wedding

Evening Buffet | Fairfoods Vegan Catering | Another local company to us, and this one is completely vegan and 100% delicious. Fruit and vegetables are also sourced locally and they even had reusable Tupperware for any leftovers which we washed and returned to them after use - Zero waste at its finest!


 

Eco-friendly wedding drinks and bar service. Sustainable sourced reusable glasses with alcoholic red beverage

Bar Services | Gatehouse Bar | Local to our venue's location and flexible with all requirements, this company was brilliant at planning our bar service for the evening.


They were a great addition to the day and were even happy to source only vegan drinks for the occasion (That's right, not all wine, cider etc. are actually vegan or even vegetarian - so make sure you check if that's what you're in to).




 

Beautiful, magical and enchanting old chapel wedding venue in North Devon. Fairy lights and candles lining the walls

Venue | Ash Barton Estate | An incredibly idyllic venue in the heart of Braunton, North Devon. So many venues require you to use their own selected caterers or suppliers, and for us this just would not have worked, so as soon as we found the Ash Barton Estate we knew it was exactly what we needed. Set in the most stunning grounds with everything you could possibly need all located on one site, and the flexibility to hire in whomever you wanted to suit your style, it gave us the most magical wedding day we could have ever hoped for.



 

Up Art Photography Wedding Photographer. Beautiful images and get bubbly personality making you feel so comfortable

Photography | UpArt Photography | This wonderful woman Agata is a joy to behold, so efficient, organised and full of energy, a real pleasure to work with.


We had so many comments from our guests about how amazing she was on the day and especially for making us all feel so at ease and relaxed in front of the camera.


Her photos are just stunning and so creative, we could not be more happy to have chosen her to be our wedding photographer.








 

Bride luxurious, stunning hair for sustainable vegan wedding in Devon. Topped with beautiful natural dried flower crown

Bridal Hair | Chrissie Gibbons Hair Design Chrissie is so brilliant at what she does, a real perfectionist and it shows. The bridal hair on the day was just so incredibly beautiful and she seemed to do it all with ease.


Chrissie uses only vegan and cruelty free products in all of her hair work. Passionate about the environment Chrissie also has sustainable practises in place for her work including incredible recycling policies by teaming up with the green salon collective.






 

Men’s modern and luxurious wedding suit jenson check blazer in marine navy with orange/rust colour detailing

Suit | Zebel Bespoke, Exeter | We not only bought Alex's suit from in here, but we also recommended a lot of our male relatives who needed suits to visit this wonderful shop too.


The staff were so friendly and helpful, Max especially so as he was our suit hero from the minute we stepped in the door, as we didn't have a clue what we were looking for.


Beautiful suits, very reasonably priced and a great service, definitely worth a visit.







 

Beautiful bride for sustainable vegan wedding in North Devon with detailed dried flower crown and bouquet

Bridal Make-up | Makeup by Lisa Hannah | Lisa is so friendly, professional and amazing at what she does. Lisa is an eco-conscious MUA and only uses cruelty free products in her work, she was also happy to use only vegan products on request too which was amazing.


I couldn't have been happier with my finished look on the day, and everyone kept commenting on how special the make-up looked.









 

Two piece Wedding band playing classic pop songs with a modern twist

Band | Guilty Pleasure | An incredible duo, these guys knew exactly what to play to get the room dancing.


Playing a mix of classic pop songs with a bit of a modern twist, they were a lot of fun and everyone couldn't stop talking about them even after the day itself!






 

Bride and Groom for a sustainable vegan wedding in North Devon. Atmospheric photograph next to open fireplace

Wedding Dress | Pirouette, Exeter | A beautiful store with a lot of history. The staff are super helpful and very lovely, this was the perfect place for me to find 'the one'.


I then had my dress altered by Sarah Jane Blair, a personal friend who also does private alterations and lives locally.


The dress I chose had detachable sleeves so I could whip them off in the evening for whole new look, without needing two outfits! Such a win.








 

Videography | CM Wedding Films | Craig was so incredibly lovely and a joy to work with. His videos are truly magical and absolutely awe-inspiring, we are so glad we chose him for our wedding film.


Check them out for yourself... https://www.cmweddingfilms.co.uk/



 


Thank you for reading my eco-wedding blog. I'd be more than happy to answer any further questions anyone has, just find us on social media or drop us an email.