From candles to catering, there are lots of creative ways to make your wedding eco-friendly without sacrificing style

1. Use recycled paper for invitations

The first order of business for any wedding is the invitations, and Hong Kong-based designer Penny Fosker has an eco-conscious way to get your big news out to your friends. Her stationary company, Paper-Roses, creates hand-illustrated, customised designs and prints them on recycled paper.

If you’d like to reduce your carbon footprint even further, you could send digital invitations via sites such as Evite and Paperless Post

2. Pick eco-friendly caterers

If you need to hire a catering service for your venue, consider Invisible Kitchen, which makes a point of using organic and local produce and, as much as possible, WWF-certified sustainable seafood and meat from sustainable farms.

They reuse their cooler bags and food packing trays to cut down on waste, and donate any clean, unused ingredients to charities like Food Angel and Feeding Hong Kong for use in their meals for the needy. 

3. Use potted plants instead of cut flowers

Rather than traditional floral centrepieces, consider using elegant arrangements of potted flowers and herbs. Small pots of orchids, succulents, sage, mint or basil in well-chosen ceramic vases, styled with fruit like figs, lemon and blush pears, make stunning arrangements that look chic against white tablecloths.

Not only do they smell gorgeous and provide a talking point, guests can take them home and make good use of them.

See also: Pol Fàbrega: How To Start Your Own Vegetable Garden

4. Shop sustainably 

For outfits for the events around the wedding, such as the bridal shower, rehearsal dinner and post-wedding brunch, consider buying pre-owned luxury clothes and accessories through sites such as Guiltless and Vestiaire Collective. You’ll look fabulous and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. Redress, a Hong Kong-based NGO that aims to reduce fabric waste in the fashion sector, sometimes does pop-ups for pre-owned clothes through On The List’s showroom on Duddell Street, Central. 

If you want to rent your wedding gown instead of buying one—a move that will also save you some valuable wardrobe space—Central Weddings now offers gowns for rent from Monique Lhuillier, Marchesa, Anne Barge, Yolancris and more. 

See also: Dramatic Flair: The Hottest Wedding Dresses For 2018

5. Give to charity

If you would like to mark your special day by giving back to the community, you could suggest guests make a donation to your chosen charity in lieu of gifts, or you could make a donation on behalf of each guest as a wedding favour. For donations as a wedding favour, World Vision Hong Kong can provide postcards for each guest customised with the name of the couple. Orbis Hong Kong provides wedding cards that allow you to write or print your own thank-you message inside.

Other local charities to which guests can donate include Bring Me a Book, the Red Cross, Oxfam and Plan International, which helps underprivileged children in Thailand, Sri Lanka and West Africa.

6. Let there be candlelight

Timeless and intimate, candlelight creates a romantic atmosphere that allow you to rely a little less on electric lighting. The choices for candleholders are almost unlimited, from ones featuring colourful Moroccan patterns to stately candelabras and simple glass vessels.

Scents are also important to consider. Home Essentials’ candles are made from natural soy wax and housed in recycled glass containers, with decadent scents including pomegranate, lemongrass and French vanilla. If you love the Jo Malone aesthetic, the brand offers a consultation service to help you choose the best size and scent of candles for your wedding.

See also: 5 Non-Toxic Scented Candles That Are Good For You

7. Throw seeds for good luck

The origin of the tradition of throwing rice at the bride and groom is uncertain, but instead of rice and confetti, why not throw seeds? This is a greener solution that might even see some flowers blooming long after the big day.

8. Serve organic wine

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote that “wine is bottled poetry,” and we all know it’s an essential ingredient for a great wedding. Thankfully, there are ways to make it a sustainable option, too, thanks to Cork Culture.

Hong Kong’s premier organic wine merchant, they specialise in hand-harvested, authentically organic Italian, French, and Spanish wines. 

9. Ditch the plastic straws

Cutting out plastic straws is an excellent way to make your wedding more eco-friendly. If you don’t want to go without straws, there are green alternatives to plastic, including reusable metal straws from Plastic-Free and biodegradable bamboo straws from Vegware.

Metal straws and sets of bamboo utensils from Plastic-Free can also be used as wedding favours, helping to spread the word and encourage people to cut down on their use of plastic. 

See also: 11 Eco-Essentials For A Plastic-Free Life

10. Give wedding favours that your guests will treasure

Atelier Cologne’s perfumes are made from highly concentrated quality essential oils. The brand’s fragrances are available in 30ml glass bottles that can be housed in leather cases engraved with guests’ names, an excellent option for memorable and stylish wedding favours or welcome gifts.

The accompanying leather cases come in 15 colours, allowing couples to choose the right scent and colour for each guest. Furthermore, the bottles have screw-on spray nozzles, so the bottles can easily be reused long after the fragrance is gone.

See also: 10 Bridesmaid Gift Ideas To Spoil Your Squad

11. Say no to shark fin soup

While it has long been a staple of Chinese wedding banquets, many hotels and restaurants have ceased serving shark fin soup due to the questionable fishing methods used to procure the delicacy.

There are plenty of alternatives that are just as delicious and suitable for a Chinese banquet, such as double-boiled consommé made with chicken and matsutake mushrooms, which features on the wedding banquet menus of the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong

12. Cut down on plastic bottles

The quantity of bottled mineral and sparkling water needed for a wedding can quickly add up.

To cut down on the use of plastic bottles, you can check with the venue or caterer to see if they have an in-house water filtering system and carbonating device, so you can keep your guests hydrated with filtered and house-made sparkling water served in reusable glass bottles or jars.

See also: 7 Hong Kong Eco-Warriors Who Are Saving The Planet

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