There are lots of ways to reduce the impact of your special event on the environment. Taking action at a personal level can sometimes feel like a drop in the ocean, but it’s more powerful than you might think. First of all it inspires others to do the same, it also sets a clear path for children and helps green businesses to thrive. It feels pretty great too!.
If sustainability is important to you, here are my top tips for a greener ceremony. (There’s lots to cover, so I’ve split this blog into two. This is part 1 – the ‘main bits’ and you can check out part 2 for the ‘extra bits’!).
Seek out venues that put sustainability front and centre. There are a growing number of eco venues with on-site energy generation, food recycling, landscaping for biodiversity and much more. Try Green Union‘s listing for ideas. My local favourite in North Oxfordshire is Heath Farm – they have accommodation too, so you can combine your ceremony with a weekend away for the whole family.
The great outdoors
Keep your energy impact down by hosting your event outdoors. Under the shade of an apple tree, at the top of a hill with views all around, the courtyard of a centuries-old manor – celebrant led ceremonies can be held wherever your imagination takes you (even your own back garden!). Try Outdoor Ceremonies for inspiration in your area.
Keep it local and minimise your food miles by choosing seasonal, locally sourced food wherever you can. Lots of people are reducing the amount of meat they eat, so veggie and vegan options will be much appreciated. Think about buffet or grazing style catering to minimise food waste and ask your venue what the options are for donating any leftover food (even if it’s as simple as providing some take-home boxes for guests at the end of the day).
Most of the carbon linked to a family gathering comes from travel, so try to pick a place that most people can get to easily. City centre might not be an obvious choice, but it means that family and friends can take public transport, which blows a big hole in your carbon emissions. Oxford has tonnes of gorgeous venues within striking distance of the trains and buses – try the Ashmolean Museum or Cherwell Boathouse for starters. Where travel is needed, think about car sharing or mini-buses to help get you from A to B.
Calculate your carbon impact
Even after you’ve reduced your environmental impact, there will some outputs that can’t be avoided. If you’re serious about carbon neutrality, then you’ll need to calculate your unavoidable carbon emissions and off-set them. Off-setting means taking positive action to reduce CO2, by the same amount that your event has generated. This can be most easily done by investing in tree planting or other carbon mitigating projects. There are lots of options out there, but I like Forest Carbon for UK-based tree planting and try the BP carbon calculator for working out your event’s impact. It’s been designed for larger events, but it’s the best I’ve found so far. I can help you with how to use it, if you’re unsure.
Bluebell Ceremonies – Creating beautiful, bespoke celebrations to mark the special moments in your life.
Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and the Cotswolds.