How To Plan A Plastic-Free Wedding

If you’re planning a plastic-free wedding celebration like Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, here are a few tips to get you started…

Today Princess Eugenie married her long-term love Jack Brooksbank in what is rumoured to be a plastic-free celebration. Speaking to Vogue ahead of their big day, Princess Eugenie – an advocate for environmental issues and ambassador of ocean plastic organisation Project 0 –  said that the couple were planning for their wedding day to be plastic-free like their home.

Weddings can be surprisingly full of single-use plastic, so if you’re currently swept up in planning your dream celebration and are feeling inspired to cut down on the plastic, here are a few simple swaps to help you on your way:

1. Party without Plastic – Hen parties can be a fountain of plastic memorabilia – from the disposable cups and plates that your cunning bridesmaids picked to save on washing up; to the silly props, inflatables and suggestive straws that your scheming best friends ordered to embarrass you. If you have any control over your party planners, ask them to stick to paper or reusable props and real crockery (and maybe offer to help with the washing up!)

2.Go Natural – The wedding dress might be one of the most talked about aspects of your special day, but did you know it can also be a hidden source of plastic? Watch out for synthetic, plastic-based materials such as polyester and embellishments such as sequins, and instead choose a beautiful dress made from a natural fibre such as certified organic silk.  For men, choose silk ties and suits made of a natural fibre like wool and avoid synthetic linings.  The same applies to bridesmaids and ushers!

3. Stay Beautifully Plastic-Free  – All brides and grooms want to look their best on their big day, but your beauty regime can be a surprising source of plastic as shampoo, shower gel, make-up remover, razors, and make-up are all often contained in plastic packaging. Luckily, there are plenty of products out there that come in glass bottles or even have no packaging at all – try a traditional bar of soap and shampoo bars.

4. Toss the (Biodegradable) Confetti – Get that instagrammable confetti photo with beautiful dried flower petals.  Not only will this avoid plastic packaging and be much more environmentally-friendly than synthetic confetti (which can contain plastic), but drying flower petals from your own garden to make your own confetti is also a lovely romantic touch.  Alternatively, for a more rustic touch you can ask your guests to throw bird seed instead, giving the local wildlife a treat too! Don’t forget to let your guests know to leave their confetti at home in advance.

5. Go to Market – Flowers add beautiful colour and scent to a wedding, but can come wrapped in plastic.  If you’re doing your own flower arrangements, head to a local flower market or florist and bulk-buy your flowers without cellophane wrapping. Alternatively, why not try growing your own or decorate your venue with potted plants or herbs instead? Potted plants can be given away after the wedding as thank you gifts or you can re-plant them in your garden as a constant floral reminder of your special day.

6. Ditch Plastic Tableware  – If you’re planning on renting your crockery, cutlery and glassware, there are plenty of catering and prop hire companies out there so you can shop around for the perfect plates – just double check with your chosen supplier to make sure that items won’t come wrapped in plastic or cling-film.  This is a much more eco-friendly alternative to disposable plastic plates and cutlery, which end up contributing to plastic pollution. Glassware can also be rented for free from many local supermarkets, so there’s no need for plastic cups.

7.  Plastic-Free Bar – Water, soft drinks and cordial often come in single-use plastic bottles, which as we know can take hundreds of years to biodegrade.  Keep your bar plastic-free by providing refillable water jugs and glass-bottled mixers. Or why not skip the carbonated drinks completely?  Keep your bar and wedding straw-free to avoid adding to ocean plastic pollution. If you really can’t resist drinking through straws, opt for reusable metal or biodegradable paper straws.

8. Consider your Catering- Food packaging is one of the biggest contributors to plastic waste, so speak to your caterers about how you can keep the kitchen plastic-free. If you’re sourcing your own wedding food, look for local suppliers that provide seasonal, organic food or buy ingredients from a local farm shop as this is less likely to come in unnecessary plastic packaging.

9. Don’t Throw it Away – Hopefully your plastic-free wedding will be relatively low-waste, but for any rubbish you do accumulate, choose reusable or biodegradable bin-bags.  Recycle all glass, aluminium, paper and cardboard and compost any food waste.

10.  Add The Finishing Touches  – Balloons, table confetti, bunting and photo booth props can all contain plastics, so consider your decor carefully to avoid unnecessary plastic waste.  There are lots of natural, reusable or recyclable decorations to choose from including flowers, candles and fairy lights.  Empty jam jars and drinks bottles can make great vases or candle holders, and pebbles work well for place names. And finally, if you’re thinking of having table favours, a handmade gift such as homemade fudge, jam or sloe gin can provide a thoughtful plastic-free momento and is also a fun way to rope family and friends in your wedding preparations.

Happy planning!


Discover Melissa Hemsley’s simple tips for cutting down on plastic at home.