Sustainable Weddings and Events – Gifts
Research by Debenhams suggested that the average wedding present costs £44 and newlywed couples sell 2/3 of their unwanted wedding presents. This means, an estimated £25.4 million is wasted each year by friends and family on unwanted gifts.
Choose a charity
To cut waste and save your guests money, discourage them bringing gifts. Instead, choose a charity for your family and friends to donate to, give them information about the charities chosen so they understand why you’ve made this decision. If you want to support some worthy “waste” charities, we have included some here:
WasteAid: Shares waste and recycling skills in the world’s poorest places globally.
FareShare: Tackling food waste in the UK by redistributing unused food to areas which need it.
Feedback: A campaign group working to regenerate nature by transforming our food system.
Surfers Against Sewage: A Cornish charity galvanising communities and inspiring people to protect our beautiful coastlines.
Plastic Oceans: Preventing plastics from reaching the oceans and clearing areas which are polluted.
2minutebeachclean: An initiative which began in Cornwall and now on over 800 UK beaches to encourage the public to complete beach cleans.
Alternatively, choose a charity which is close to your heart. Maybe a local charity which would appreciate the support.
Write a gift wishlist
If you would still like to receive gifts, consider making an online wishlist which your guests can choose what to get you. This irradiates the problems of wasted gifts while also helping you buy some items for your house/flat, or experiences for your honeymoon.
The wedding gift list website Prezola gives you the option of creating your own wishlist. The page is broken down into items, experiences and vouchers towards travel and honeymoon activities.
At most traditional weddings, a small gift is offered to guests as a thank you for attending the event. Traditionally, the favour would have been 5 sugared almonds representing Health, Wealth, Happiness, Long Life and Fertility. Now a favour can be anything from jams to hand cream.
If you are trying to have a sustainable wedding, supplying guests with plastic tat probably isn’t the most environmental option. The most sustainable option would be not having any favours at all.
However, a nice idea is making place names also a gift to guests. Personalised wooden shapes, slate hearts, leaves or even smooth pebbles are a sweet way to inform your guests of their seat but also a token to take home to remind them of your special day. On the occasion they get left behind or lost they won’t cause harm to the natural environment.