It’s been a momentous year for Britain’s young royals, with not one but two weddings taking place. In summer, the world eagerly tuned in to watch Prince Harry exchange vows with Suits actress, Meghan Markle. In Autumn, it will be Princess Eugenie’s turn, as she prepares to say ‘I do’ to her fiancé, Jack Brooksbank.
With less than three months to go until the big day, details of Eugenie and Jack’s wedding are starting to emerge - who the maid of honor is, where it will be held, and most refreshingly of all, that it will be completely plastic free.
With this young royal leading the way for a more eco-friendly wedding, there’s no reason why others shouldn't’t consider doing the same. But before you say I do, there are things to consider before making your special day a plastic free zone.
It starts with the finer details according to stationery designer Vaishali Shah of Ananya Cards, who says: “Wedding stationery is as much about using design as a form of adornment than about the written content of the stationery, so for example, to protect both a beautiful invitation and the envelope, wedding stationers like ourselves often use plastic envelopes to enclose invitations. A no plastic rule would mean we would not be able to use these as a form of protection in the post.
“A no plastic rule would also mean that stationers couldn't use the likes of bubble wrap to protect the delivery of any stationery to the bride and groom, and the same can be said for packaging wedding favors, or having a cake box with a see through plastic top.”
She continued: “But there are suppliers out there like us who are willing to be flexible in order to share their customers values and meet their needs. For suppliers, this means researching new ways to protect invitations, for example, or experimenting with alternative materials to see if they deliver the same but more eco-friendly result.”
Wedding planners, Sam and Lisa Johnson of Carmela Weddings encourage plastic free advocates to be clear with suppliers from the get go about their wishes, saying: “The first thought should be in sourcing your suppliers. You should be asking them straight away if they use single use plastic products and if so, what alternative could they provide. Doing this removes conflict and makes it very clear about what is and isn’t acceptable to your standards. Plastic is everywhere so think about everything from rubbish bags to drinking straws and more.”
She continues: “There is a risk that a plastic free wedding may cost a little more. While there may be some savings to be made with the likes of balloons, for example, alternative materials may end up being a little more expensive but there is a bigger picture to consider here. An estimated 12.7 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans every year. The implications of making this shift are huge.
“We would suggest taking your plastic free wedding even further by using wildlife friendly wedding favors, choosing eco-friendly invitations and sourcing local and organic suppliers for food and drink.”
Believe it or not, a wedding day can be tough on our planet. The average day generates an estimated 500 lbs of waste and 20 tonnes of CO2.
Amy Braund, Wedding and Events manager at luxury London venue, The Bingham, says: “Choosing a venue is one of the biggest and most exciting decisions any couple will make when it comes to planning their wedding, so picking somewhere that is already being kind to the environment will make life much easier for any couple looking to ban plastic pollutants.
“An increasing number of venues such as ourselves are taking big steps to be more environmentally friendly by outlawing the likes of plastic drinking straws and stirrers, opting for 100% recyclable takeaway cups, banishing plastic bin liners in favor of a greener alternative and more.”
Going plastic free is a hot topic for couples these days according to Amy, who says: “In the last few months, we have had two wedding inquiries that have been very conscious of making sure their wedding reflects their environmental beliefs. For them, it’s not only about plastic but also about where and how things are sourced, from the food being served to the napkins on the tables.”
She continues: “Plastic free weddings are a step in the right direction and it is something that is definitely more accessible to couples nowadays. There are always other options out there so if you see something that you think could do harm to the environment, look for the alternatives to make sure your big day stays in line with what you believe in.”
What’s evident is that going plastic free isn’t just a passing trend (and a good one at that). Protecting our planet is a global phenomenon that could incur massive gains. So with Princess Eugenie flying the flag for the environment on her big day, there’s no reason why more of us can’t follow in the footsteps of the latest young royal preparing to tie the knot.