If you think of yourself as an eco-friendly couple, all the plastic, rubbish, car travel and more associated with a wedding can be tough to swallow.
To minimise the impact of your big day, you'll want to have the most eco wedding possible - and that starts with all the decorations, favours and extras you buy.
Eco-friendly party supplies are one of the most important things you can do to reduce your environmental impact. Usually everything you need for a good party is single-use, wrapped in plastic or headed straight for the bin. Buying reusable or biodegradable wedding decoration like cotton bunting and petal confetti can make a huge difference.
Combine these with our top tips for how to throw an eco-friendly wedding and you’ll have a sustainable, guilt-free day!
Click below to find out favourite eco wedding shopping picks.
1. Rice Paper Lanterns – £13.99, Amazon
Instead of plastic balloons, choose reusable rice paper lanterns like these which you can make string up whenever you need a burst of colour. Once they’re no longer of use, these will biodegrade so you don’t need to worry about plastic hanging around for years.
2. Rainbow Wedding Ribbon Wands - £29.88 for 20, Etsy
We love ribbons to use as decoration at your wedding and as an alternative to confetti as the couple leave the ceremony venue. A jar of them will look beautiful on your guest book table and the guests can take them home after. If your guests don't want them, you can reuse them at other occasions or we bet you know a teacher l that would love these for their school kids!
These Etsy ones have wooden sticks and lace satin ribbons so no plastics here to sit in landfill.
3. Cotton Fabric Bunting – £12.99, Amazon
Bunting is a great rustic addition to your wedding decor that looks brilliant strung up outside or around a barn. The key to eco-friendly decorations are ones that won’t be thrown away after one use and bunting is brilliant for this. You can DIY your own out of old pieces of fabric or buy cotton bunting to wash and reuse for you next celebration.
4. Macramé Glass Jars - from £9.99, Etsy
One of the biggest things you can do to make your wedding eco-friendly is to not buy any single-use products. Why don't you make a pact that you won't buy anything you won't keep afterwards or find a good home for?
You'll want these beautiful recycled glass macramé jars as centrepieces and then to use for storage, as flower vases or as candle holders at home afterwards. There are 12 designs to pick from.
5. Biodegradable Balloons – £1.99, Little Cherry
Can’t do without balloons? Eco-friendly supplies company Little Cherry sell a pack of 10 balloons made from natural latex that biodegrade much quicker than traditional balloons. You’re still advised against releasing them into the air; instead pop the balloons and place them in your garden compost.
6. Beeswax Candles – from £15, Gold & Black Candles
Dorset-based Gold & Black make 100% pure beeswax candles with a subtle natural honey scent; everything is delivered in recyclable packaging. We love the ivory beeswax church candles that burn for 25 hours and are £14 each, or you can get 20 ivory tapered candles for £90 which are perfect for centrepieces or as aisle decoration in hurricane vases.
7. Gin Bottle Centrepieces – from £2.50, eBay
You can DIY gin bottle centrepieces yourself (it just means drinking a lot of gin!). They look good, are an excellent way to reuse bottles and can be recycled afterwards. Try and choose a UK-made gin to reduce your drink’s airmiles. You can buy empty gin bottles for cheap on eBay if you don't have time to get through 10+ before your wedding!
8. Bamboo Plates – £39.99 for 100, Amazon
You might not even spot the difference in the photo above. The couple have used bamboo plates here which are a great option instead of having acrylic or plastic wedding table settings. Layer up different sizes of them and pair with washable cloth napkins and bamboo cutlery. It’s a great alternative to plastics if you’re having an outdoor or garden wedding.
9. Fabric Flowers - £32.80, Etsy
How amazing would these fabric flowers look as little posies in vases as a vintage wedding? They have loads of retro charm and are a great way to cut down on using real flowers. These could even make a cute bouquet for a flower girl!
10. Eco-Friendly Photo Bunting – £12, Instajunction
Photo bunting is such a fantastic way to personalise your wedding venue. This photo bunting is printed in black and white ink instead of colour and on 100% recycled brown fleck kraft card.
11. Pot Plant Centrepieces – from £5, Patch Plants
Instead of cut flowers which will eventually be thrown away, use potted plants for your centrepiece. We love Patch Plants for lush, green, architectural foliage. Homebase or your local garden centre will have a great selection of more colourful plants – think lupins, dahlias, geraniums and miniature roses mixed up with herbs like mint and lavender. Give them away at the end of the night to guests too!
READ MORE: 45 Beautiful Wedding Table Decoration Ideas
12. Biodegradable Corn Straws – £6.99, Amazon
To encourage your guests to take a reusable straw, have mason jars full of these corn straws on the bar and on tables. They’re sturdy and won’t affect the taste or break-up in your drink like paper straws do. Made from cornflour and natural food colouring, they’re 100% environmentally friendly, compostable and safe. No harming marine life here.
13. Hessian Table Runner – £12.29, Amazon
Line your tables with hessian table runners for a shabby-chic look. It’s an easy way to add rustic décor to a venue and these ones from Amazon can come with lace stitched into them too. Made from the fibres of the jute plant, hessian is 100% biodegradable and these can be washed in warm water and dried at a low heat so they last for years.
14. Prop Hire – Various
One of the best things you can do is to hire a lot of your bigger props instead of buying them. You’ll vastly cut down on the travel miles of all your deliveries and their packaging if you choose to hire from one company instead.
We love The Blossom Company for flower arches and centrepieces; The Sussex Wedding Postbox for post boxes; Bristol Vintage for afternoon tea crockery; the Event Flag Hire Company for cool decorations; Rose Metallics for the coolest cutlery hire; and Light Up Love for the cutest lights.
15. Custom Wooden Name Tags – £1.50, Etsy
Use these wooden name tags as both a place card and a favour and your guests will have a cute keepsake to take home. You can also attach them to your guest’s glass so they can reuse it during the night, cutting down on washing up. The wood is sustainably sourced, stamped with black ink and finished with ribbon.
16. Biodegradable Favour Bags – £5, Etsy
These bags are made from thick eco-friendly glassine paper, which is 100% recyclable and biodegradable, and made with wood from sustainable forests. They won’t crumple so look great on your tables, and your guests can simply plant the whole pouch in their flower beds.
17. Wedding Favour Tea in a Glass Bottle – £2, Spice Kitchen
Your choice of tea blend comes in a cute glass bottle, which can be filled with something else once the tea is finished. There’s no plastic and everything can be recycled too.
18. Plantable Wildflower Place Cards – £3.50, Etsy
These beautiful wildflower place cards are made from seed paper which will bloom when planted. They’re a zero-waste product which is both a name tag and a favour to blossom after the wedding.
19. Wildflower Seed Bon Bons - £80 for 30, Sow Many Seeeds
An alternative and seriously cute way to gift wildflower seeds as wedding favours is in these delightful, plantable 'bon bons'. Each contains a mix of British wildflower seeds, all wrapped up in pretty dried petals. Your bon bon will come in its own individual kraft box, with planting instructions on the bottom.
Sow Many Seeeds are an awesome company for eco-friendly wildflower seed favours - we're in love with their glass bottle seed favours too.
20. Bird Seed Wedding Favours - £3.95 for 10, Etsy
There are two ways to use this: one, as wedding favours on the table for the guests to take home, and two, as an alternative to confetti.
Bird seed is much better for the environment than traditional rice, which has fallen out of favour due to it expanding it the birds' stomach. Each bag contains 10g of bird seed that you can throw (perhaps not directly at the couple!) and will provide lots of delicious food for the birds and squirrels once your day is done. We'd suggest you use these at smaller weddings so there's not too much seed thrown about - your venue might not love that. Alternatively, guests can take it home and use in their garden.
21. Personalised Coffee Favours – £2.50, Etsy
Natural hessian bags filled with a cup’s worth of cafetiere coffee make brilliant wedding favours and there’s no plastic involved. The beans come from trusted farms in Brazil and then are hand-roasted in Perkulatte’s micro-roastery in the UK.
22. Personalised Succulent Wedding Favours - £60, Not On The High Street
Even the least green-fingered guest can keep one of these succulents alive! Your guests will love a living wedding favour and none of these will end up in the bin. You could even propagate succulents from plants you own and all you'll need to DIY these is some potting soil and terracotta pots.
23. Fabric-Wrapped Handmade Soap – £128 for 50, Etsy
Each of these 50 handmade natural soaps contains no palm oil, sodium lauryl sulphate, preservatives, artificial colours or fragrances. Instead they’re packed with essential oils and sustainable plant oils and butters. They come wrapped in hand-dyed cotton batik fabric to avoid plastic.
24. Cookie Favour Bags – £5 for 10, Etsy
Bake your own cookies and put them in these biodegradable glassine bags. They’re super cute and food favours rarely ever get wasted – just be aware of any allergies. Baking the favour yourself means you can make sure all the ingredients are up to your standards, for example, free range eggs and fair trade chocolate chips.
25. Reusable Beeswax Food Wrap - £1.79 each, Etsy
Beeswax wrap is washable, reusable and biodegradable; it's a fantastic alternative to clingfilm. You can gift each of your guests with one of these and they'll be able to use them again and again. The natural anti-bacteria properties of beeswax help keep foods fresh. You could even wrap a slice of wedding cake in the wrap for each person!
26. Personalised Paper Rose Name Place – £1.85, Paper Tree
Coming in six different colours, you can place a sweet paper rose as a name setting and favour on each of your guests’ plates. They’re made from eco-friendly paper with natural raffia name tags. Alternatively use papers roses instead of real flowers – which may be flown in to the UK and will wilt – in your centrepieces.
27. Divine Milk Chocolate Bar – £29.70, Traidcraft
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Instead of individually wrapped truffles, give your guests a bar of Divine fair trade chocolate. Cocoa beans are harvested from Kuapa Kokoo, a co-operative of vibrant smallholder farmers in Ghana, where farmers are given a better price for their beans. These 30 bars (so less than £1 a favour) come wrapped in paper and foil which can be easily recycled.
READ MORE: 3 DIY Edible Wedding Favour Ideas
28. Biodegradable Petal Confetti – £12.75, Shropshire Petals
Shropshire Petals have mixes in a huge variety of shades to match your colour scheme. They grow wildflowers and blooms such as delphiniums, cornflowers and calendula and dry them naturally with no preservatives or artificial colours. Many venues will let you use petal confetti where you can’t use paper. A litre of loose confetti (which is about 10-12 handfuls) works out at £12.75, but you can get it in paper cones, boxes, pails and wands too.
29. Baby Eucalyptus Leaf Confetti - £1.75, AdamApple
These freeze-dried baby eucalyptus leaves are 100% biodegradable and free from bleach and dye. The confetti looks so vivid and fresh and is perfect for a rustic wedding. The company do a variety of different leaves so you choose what works best for your wedding, but these little ones best replicate the confetti size.
30. Rainbow Confetti Dots – £1.95, Etsy
These rainbow dots are made from 100% biodegradable paper and ink, and also come in biodegradable glassine bags. They’re fantastic for a colourful summer wedding to use as confetti or spread across reception tables.
READ MORE: How to Make Your Own Confetti Cones
31. Bamboo Confetti Pots – £0.40, Dollz Confetti
Fill bamboo biodegradable pots with your petal confetti. They're easily recyclable and look rustic-chic too.
Five Eco-Friendly Wedding Tips
We have a whole article on ways you can make your wedding more environmentally-sound, from choosing the right venue to buying a sustainable or second-hand dress. Here’s a few of our favourite ideas:
- Use virtual invitations instead of paper ones. You can still have a beautiful design but send it by email – websites like Paperless Post and GreenVelope are great.
- Avoid plastic decorations in favour of paper or fabric decorations. Look on sites like Hitched’s ‘For Sale’ forum or Gumtree for people selling their decorations cheaply or even giving them away for free.
- Think local and seasonal for everything. Not only will flowers and food produce be cheaper and fresher, but it’ll have travelled less far (cutting down on carbon emissions) and you’ll be supporting local businesses.
- Ban all disposable cups, plates and cutlery. Choose bamboo over plastic where you can. If you’re serving drinks, use glasses you can wash, recyclable paper cups and biodegradable straws.
- Ask guests to travel together if possible so less cars are driving to your venue. If you’re close to a train station, you could hire a bus to take everyone in one go rather than in lots of different taxis.
If you’re interested in using biodegradable confetti on your day, make sure you read our guide to everything you need to know about confetti.