When I was a kid, my school spent a lot of time teaching me and my classmates about looking after the environment. We had a weekly Bokashi rotation (kind of like composting), we went on excursions to the recycling centre, and we had an annual “Clean Up Australia” competition for who could pick up the most rubbish in the neighbourhood.
Millennials are the most climate-conscious generation, so it’s no wonder more and more engaged couples are opting for greener weddings. However, it’s important to have realistic expectations about what is achievable. It would be almost impossible to plan a wedding that emits close to zero carbon. That’s where carbon offsetting comes in…
Carbon offsetting is a way for you to invest financially in a project that sequesters CO₂ out of the atmosphere to counterbalance (or offset) your own carbon emissions. Every purchase of carbon offsets goes to fund activities such as planting trees or building renewable energy infrastructure.
In this article, you’ll see how easy it can be to plan a carbon-neutral wedding.
Step One: Making Conscious Choices
The first step in planning an environmentally friendly wedding is to continually and actively make conscious consumer choices. This means doing research on how sustainable your wedding products and services are. For example, when choosing a wedding venue, find out what energy sources the venue uses or how far away it is from public transportation. Buying pre-loved items such as wedding gowns or shoes will also lower your upfront carbon footprint. When picking vendors for your wedding day, speak to them about your sustainable values, and ask what they do in order to reduce their own business carbon footprint.
Step Two: Wedding Footprint Calculator
Once you have chosen the perfect wedding vendors and locked in all the details of the day, the next step is to calculate your wedding’s carbon footprint. Usually, you’ll want to do this about 3 or 4 weeks before the wedding itself. This can be done with Wedding Footprint Calculator, from Less Stuff More Meaning, which estimates how much CO₂ will be released into the atmosphere based on a variety of wedding-specific factors like travel and the number of guests you have.
This calculator can take a bit of time to get exactly right, but if you get stuck then it is generally safer to overestimate than underestimate.
I am a proud Ambassador for Less Stuff More Meaning. To learn more about how LSMM can support you on your eco-conscious journey, please visit their website.
Step Three: Purchase Your Carbon Offsets
Once you have completed the calculator, you will be given an overall carbon footprint, which is the amount you need to purchase in offsets. There are many ways to do this, but I recommend CarbonNeutral.com.au or Green Fleet because they let you go “shopping” for which projects you want to support. You could pick to plant trees through reforestation, build wind farms, or replace cookstoves.
I hope this article has been both informative and inspiring. If you’re looking to plan a carbon-neutral wedding, I encourage you to take these three steps: make conscious consumer choices; calculate your Wedding Footprint with the help of an easy calculator; and purchase offsets for your wedding emissions. These tips will ensure that your efforts towards sustainability are successful!
Hank Paul is a carbon-neutral wedding photographer. He specialises in sustainable and inclusive weddings. Visit the contact page to hire him for your wedding day.