The Perfect Day – but at what cost?

Whether we admit it or not, we all want our wedding to make a mark, but what if it’s memorable for the wrong reasons? We’re not talking about Uncle Dave loudly telling your new in-laws about your previous boyfriends or your colleague Sandra getting drunk and starting a conga around the Church. We’re not even talking about blowing the budget.

Following Princess Eugenie’s marriage last year, several magazines and websites ran stories on the environmental impact of weddings. It was widely reported that an average British wedding produces around 20kg of disposable plastic – which equates to around 5,000 tons of the stuff each year. Everywhere you look there’s advice on how to cut plastic use but some of these eco-swaps add pounds to the budget which make them out of reach for some couples.

We’ve prepared a quick guide to some of the worst offenders and solutions whatever your price range.

Plastic Bottles

Offering your guests water is essential but don’t be tempted to buy little personalised bottles of plastic water or those big 2L bottles for pouring. Whatever your budget, cool tap water in pretty glass jars is fine – you can add fancy ice cubes with lemon, berries or edible flowers in to go with your theme. Keep an eye on the blog to see how to make these!

Disposable tableware

If you’re having a buffet and skipping proper plates to cut costs, it’s tempting to buy plastic plates. Paper plates can get soggy and are often not fit for recycling after they’ve had food on them but we’ve found compostable plates from catering supply shops for less than £5.00 for 50. And there’s no washing up required! Party Plastics have some made from reed-pulp which is stronger than paper and even some plastic too:


If you’re serving cocktails (or mocktails) at your drinks reception, you may be looking for straws. It’s easy to switch to eco-friendly ones. Paper Straws London offer eco friendly straws in just about every colour stripe for just a few pounds for 50. If you have a larger budget you can even buy personalised steel straws which can double as wedding favours. Check out Etsy for a selection.


Ready made confetti varies wildly – some of it is made from biodegradable paper or real petals but some is coated with plastic to help it keep its colour and shape. A quick check on the box will tell you if it’s what you’re looking for. You could opt for traditional rice or dried lavender from the garden. If you’re musicians, why not cut strips of manuscript paper for guests to throw? Or save the confetti for photos – if you’re in your own garden, you could ask guests to throw wild flower seeds instead and plant you a meadow as a memory of your wedding day. There are lots of options out there to fit every budget and wedding style.

Flower Arrangements

Not an obvious one, this… But most couples will ask their florist to prepare their table decorations and displays without considering that most will use plastic bases and floral foam which is made of a type of plastic (let’s not dwell on the formaldehyde..). Speak to your florist and check they’re using the biodegradable foam instead or ask them for advice on using non plastic containers such as glass vases, ceramic jugs or even jam jars. A good florist will be able to offer you some great ideas which complement your theme and protect the environment.

Of course, there are other things to consider – is your stationery recyclable? If it’s coated with a gloss finish, it may not be. Are your decorations and lighting disposable? If so, do they contain plastic? What about your wedding favours? With a little thought, you can make sure your wedding leaves it’s mark for the right reasons.