Five ways to make your wedding more eco-friendly this summer

Planning a wedding for 2024? Trend-setting couples are increasingly choosing more sustainable options, for celebrations that are lighter on the planet and save money.

The pandemic broke many event planning rules meaning we have more freedom than ever to do what you want. Getting creative can start with considering the costs and consequences of our shopping habits, where goods come from and their impact.

Here are five hot wedding trends heading into 2023.

Lab-grown diamonds

When buying jewellery, do you ever wonder where gemstones come from or how they’re mined? Conventional diamond mining causes terrible environmental destruction, destroys animal habitats and exploits child labourers and others. Who wants to wear a symbol of suffering on their finger?

* The couple here to help you have an environmentally-friendly wedding
* Buy locally-made jewellery to avoid Russian conflict gold
* Creating climate-friendly tourism in a post-Covid-19 world
* Pandora ditching mined diamonds for lab-grown ones

Lab-grown diamonds are far more eco-friendly than mined diamonds, avoid worker exploitation, and can be up to half the price to buy.

They’re an especially hot trend right now: in the past year, Pinterest searches for ‘lab-grown diamond ring’ increased by 86% and specific searches for ‘lab-grown diamond engagement ring’ went up 179%, says consumer body

A heritage family ring and other hand-crafted elements added to Beth and Zac Hoffman's west coast wedding.

Avosa Photography

A heritage family ring and other hand-crafted elements added to Beth and Zac Hoffman’s west coast wedding.

Ethical and heritage jewellery

Vintage jewellery is on the rise. Choosing a heritage ring and adapting it to suit, can add more meaning and is better for the environment than new jewellery as it repurposes existing materials. They can also be considerably cheaper to buy than new jewellery, meaning better value for you.

Or for a bespoke option, look for local jewellers specialising in conflict-free, and ethical rings, such as the Wellington-based Zoë Porter Jewellery, whose pieces are made using ethically-sourced stones and recycled metals.

Slow flowers

We all love flowers – even better when we’re working with florists using sustainably grown flowers and greenery.

The international flower trade is huge, with hothouse flowers sprayed with chemicals, plastic wrapped, refrigerated and flown around world. This adds a heavy carbon footprint to each bunch of flowers. One Lancaster University study found an imported mixed bouquet cost 10 times more carbon emissions than a seasonally-grown British equivalent.

The Slow Flower movement is a bit like Slow Food. Instead of local ingredients and traditional cooking, it’s about championing fresh local flowers grown seasonally and naturally. Use the New Zealand Flower Collective to find more than a hundred flower farms and cutting gardens. Support artisan growers using natural methods that encouraging biodiversity.

Anna Wilkinson of The Florist Pantry grows a variety of cut flowers to keep up with emerging trends.

Julia Atkinson-Dunn

Anna Wilkinson of The Florist Pantry grows a variety of cut flowers to keep up with emerging trends.

Get to know some of the many local growers: Sarah Rutherford, The Joy Farmer works with other local growers suppling florists in the Southern Lakes region; The Peony People are a family business with a peony rose plot in Rakaia, and Canterbury and Anna Wilkinson of the Florist Pantry grows a variety of flower and foliage to meet emerging flower styling trends.

Choose caterers who support your values

Food choices matter, and you want the meal served on your special day to align with your own environmental values. Sustainably-sourced and free-range ingredients, plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, avoiding excessive plastic waste – these are just some of the positive options to discuss with potential food providers.

Weddings can involve a lot of waste. Ask your caterers how they deal with rubbish, whether food waste is composted, or if leftover wedding food can be redistributed or dropped at a food bank or food rescue depot the following day.

The Sustainable Food Company is a zero waste, Auckland-based catering company, and an example of what’s possible. Menus are crafted from plant based ingredients, using high quality, locally-sourced produce and with no waste going to landfill.

Keeping it simple

Wedding favours, or gifts for guests, may have become the norm, but in these stripped back times, this is just the kind of extra expectation you might drop if you wish.

If you are gifting, try to avoid trinkety items that might get tossed. Small artisan food items are a popular option, or something whimsical and multipurpose, such as packs of playing cards, with guest’s names printed on the front, so they double as table place cards.