General Wedding Planning

How to Get Married and Save The World at The Same Time

Do you and your future spouse want an eco-friendly, sustainable wedding that honours your love for the environment?

4.5 minutes to read

The Green Bride Guide says that the average wedding creates 200 kg of waste, and 63 tonnes of CO2. In New Zealand, there’s more than 15,000 marriages a year, which equates to more than three million kilograms of waste, and almost one million tonnes of CO2. Ouch.

In just one day, a wedding produces the equivalent of emissions of what five people contribute in an entire year. Double ouch.

Luckily, there are many ways you can cut down on your environmental impact, and maybe, even make a positive change. You don’t have to wear a potato sack and sing kumbaya either; modern eco-weddings are every bit as sleek and sophisticated as you want them to be.

Wedding Favours

Instead of a bag of sweets, you can make the world a bit greener. Gift a tree, maybe even a native plant. While growing a rimu or totara tree in the backyard might not be viable, they can be planted, or donated on behalf of the guest, to local beautification groups.

A small potted plant never goes astray, a snake plant is hard to kill even for the least green-fingered people. A lemon tree also happily grows in a pot, and every time your guests have a gin, they will think of you.

Wedding Invitations

If you still want a physical invite rather than a waste-free e-invite, then choose seed paper. Your guests can dispose of the card and envelope by planting them, and enjoying gorgeous flowers in the future.

Food and Drink

Buy local, and seasonal foods. Use local breweries and wineries for your booze. As an added bonus, you’re supporting local farmers, not shipping pineapples and mangos from the other side of the world.

Also consider a vegetarian menu—and this is not the destroyer of joy some may think it is, vegetarian food can be incredible. About ten percent of Kiwis are vegetarian, and the rise of meat-free Monday trends mean more people are willing to forgo meat.


Cut back on your miles by having your ceremony and reception in the same venue. Think about if you can arrange transport for your guests. Not only does this mean people will (theoretically) be on time, but they can drink and not worry about driving afterwards.

One of the biggest contributors to Co2 in the world is flights… we aren’t suggesting you un-invite people that live overseas, but it’s something to consider.


If people are going to be giving gifts, then consider a registry with eco-friendly products. Get those steel straws and cute hand-woven cotton drapes you’ve always wanted. Ask that things not be wrapped. If you aren’t wanting to recieve gifts, then perhaps ask for a donation to a local environmental group on your behalf.

Décor and Flowers

This is where you can go wild with your love of vintage or second-hand items. There are groups online where people can post their used wedding items for sale. Buying second hand reduces waste and reuses those vases, candelabras, and (LED) fairy lights. Create your own centrepieces with items sourced locally, and ethically. Those Agee jars finally can get an outing.

Alternatively, you can rent items from a wedding hire company. You get beautiful, top quality items, far cheaper than buying them, and you know they will be re-used.

Flowers on the table can be potted plants, or opt for local blooms. Kowhai, Rata/Pohutukawa, or the sweet pink Manuka flowers mixed with the silver fern for the ultimate in natives, or maybe the sleek flax for a modern look.

Clothing and Jewellery

There are several ways to go about this. The clothing industry is well known as being one of the worst polluters, and you can easily avoid contributing to this.

  • Hire suits and bridesmaid dresses.
  • Buy quality, ethically made outfits that you know your attendants will wear again.
  • Considered a second-hand wedding dress, or up-cycling a dress from the Sallys? A talented dressmaker can make something truly unique, and at a fraction of the cost of a brand new dress (although, we still advise that you go wedding dress shopping because this is the only time you’ll ever get to do that, and it’s amazing)
  • Did you know that Kimberley process diamonds are STILL not guaranteed to be ethical? No diamonds or precious stones are 100% ethical (nor gold, as an aside). Lab manufactured gems are the way to go, or second-hand antique jewellery.

Chat to Your Vendors

Everyone, from your venue to your caterer, will have ideas how they can greenify your wedding. Some venues make it a point to be eco-positive, and can help you to create a beautiful atmosphere without any environmental guilt.

You can truly have an amazing day, without the waste. Most of the choices can help you to reduce the cost of the day too, with very little effort. If you’re really serious about cutting back on the harm, choose a micro-wedding. In general, the smaller your guest list, the less impact you’ll have on the environment.

Whatever you decide to do, it’s about you, your almost-spouse, and your beliefs and values. Make it work for you, and have an amazing day.

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