How to plan an eco-friendly wedding

Thinking of going green for your wedding? More & more couples are ditching glitzy ceremonies in favour of more eco-friendly ones or elopements that have less of an impact on the environment. Not sure how to plan an eco-friendly wedding that leaves you feeling good about the planet? Here are my top tips:

1. Find an eco-friendly sustainable wedding venue near you

Or elope without the additional cost of hiring a venue. My Ultimate Snowdonia Elopement Guide will tell you everything you need to know to start planning an eco-friendly Just Us wedding in Wales straight away!

But, if you have your heart set on a venue, choose a permanent set up like a barn or a country house rather than transporting and constructing your own. Planning a tipi wedding is fun but bringing all the separate elements together usually involves dizzying carbon footprints. And permanent venues regularly host events so that means their infrastructure is already suitable for an eco wedding. They also already have working recycling facilities in place and are well connected with local suppliers. Not sure where to find an eco-friendly wedding venue that suits you? Here are some of my faves:

Eco-friendly wedding venues in the UK

Llyn Gwynant Wedding Barns

Set within a breathtaking natural location right in the heart of Snowdonia’s most beautiful valley. Surrounded by charming private fields which can be used for camping and with stunning lake views. Probably the best wedding backdrop in all of Wales! Also the ideal base for walking, swimming and other adventure activities.

Llyn Gwynant Barns, Nantgwynant, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 4NW

The Ultimate Snowdonia Elopement Guide

Ceridwen Centre, Teifi Valley

You’ll find this multi-award winning eco-sensitive wedding venue on a 40 acre organic farm in the Teifi Valley in West Wales. They run Welsh Green Weddings here and guests can stay in a various comfortable & restored unique spaces such as yurts, a converted double decker bus, an upcycled static caravan, and an eco pod.   

The whole site is driven by eco principles – it’s a small organic working farm growing a lot of the produce that they cater with, their heating is biomass or solar thermal and they power the site with solar PV. Perfect for low impact weddings with local sourcing for food, flowers, drink, etc.

The Ceridwen Centre, Drefelin, Drefach-Felindre, Llandysul, Carmarthenshire SA44 5XE

Eco-friendly wedding venues in Wales

Nantwen, Pembrokeshire

This intimate wedding venue is steeped in history, crafted with local expertise and finished with the latest eco-technology. Perfect for a romantic elopement in Wales or a romantic getaway with wedding ceremonies being held in a 15th-century barn. The property is sustainable with a rainwater harvester, solar thermal panels & a biomass boiler. On offer in 2021: elopement package with no need to book accommodation

Nantwen, Felindre Farchog, Nr Newport, Pembrokeshire, SA413XG

The Barn at Brynwich

Beautifully converted 17th Century hay barn set in a stunning rural location right in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park. The impact on the environment is minimal; they use power and water sensibly and generate at least 50% of their electricity using solar energy. Every effort is made to manage the land in a way that protects biodiversity and they work  to a realistic environmental policy that they can stick to.

The Barn at Brynich, Brynich, Brecon, Powys, LD3 7SH

Snowdonia Elopement Photographer


2. Pick an eco-friendly wedding dress

Wear the dress, get married, save the planet! Go for vintage or pre-loved. There are many gems to be found on sites like MillyBridal and Oxfam. And while some vintage styles may not be every bride’s idea of the perfect wedding dress, there sure are some real bargains to be had. Hiring suits for the guys is common practice and now Girl Meets Dress offers the same for eco-conscious brides. A top tip for how to plan your eco-friendly wedding would be to go second hand and choose one from – there are almost 45,000 2nd hand wedding dresses on offer. How to plan an eco-friendly wedding bonus tip: you can even re-sell your 2nd hand wedding dress after your wedding day for extra eco-friendliness!

See more: Sustainable Wedding Dresses

Wales Wedding & Elopement Photographer

3. Go for eco-friendly wedding invites

This recycled folded seed paper wedding invite oozes gorgeousness and luxury!  And it is very eco-friendly too! Or how about this pretty little seed paper wedding invitation with pressed flowers. There are several eco-friendly paper variations out there such as grass paper (who would have thought?!) and poppy seed paper. Want your guests to remember your invite long after the paper’s been recycled and the cake’s been eaten? Opt for plantable wedding invitations.

For effortless customised online wedding invitations, there’s Greenvelope. Upload your own custom design or tailor one of their exclusive designer suites. Then finish off your eco-friendly invitation with personalised envelopes, liners, stamps, and RSVP tracking.

Companies like Paper Source are taking it even further by planting a tree for every order they receive. 

How to plan an eco-friendly wedding

4. Make your wedding favours eco-friendly

You could opt out of favours altogether and make a feel-good donation to a charity close to your heart, such as Nightingale House, Cancer Research or the RSCPA. If you really wanted your guests to take a little gift home you may consider buying fragrant herbs from your local garden center that your guests can use for cooking and garnishing. Simply dress them up by decorating pots with your names and wedding date for that all important personal touch. Personalised seed packets also make beautiful favours. If you enjoy baking – how about some seriously easy home-baked wedding favours?

bride and groom running on Barmouth Beach on a sunny day with blue sky and mountains in the background by Snowdonia Wedding Photographer

5. Be eco-friendly with edible place cards

Get creative and choose tasty & eco-friendly edible place cards. Not only do they look great, but they also give your guests a real taste of your wedding. Pun intended ;)

6. Eco-friendly confetti

Regular paper confetti is a single-use product and many venues have already banned it as it’s not environmentally friendly and messy. But don’t worry, there are now some eco-friendly alternatives on offer that come with all the fun but none of the consequences such as biodegradable confetti and real flower confetti. If you find you have lots of time on your hand you could make your own petal confetti and you can even get the kids involved and punch out this eco-friendly leaf confetti.

7. Choose ethical wedding rings

Looking for an ethical engagement or wedding ring? Look for local tradesmen and always ask where the diamonds and gemstones were mined. A responsible jeweler will know every step in the supply chain from mine to market. Go for handmade if you can. It’s an investment you won’t want to take off and you’ll want to pass it down to the next generation. Bargain-priced and mass-produced jewelry is often lower quality and does not create decently paid jobs for anyone involved along the way. One-of-a-kind pieces made locally with low-impact, environmentally-friendly processes reduce carbon footprints and keep local traditions alive. You may also want to consider different materials such as these beautiful eco wood rings. Or these stunning pieces handcrafted by an ethical fairtrade jeweler.

North Wales Wedding & Photographer

8. Go seasonal & local for wedding flowers

Avoid floral foam. It has a longevity of its own as it’s not biodegradable and contains known carcinogens. If you have some particularly big arrangements in mind, ask your florist to get creative with chicken wire. Alternatively, only use vases and containers that lend themselves for filling with pebbles, gravel or stones. Consider using potted plants and give them to family members after the wedding day. To avoid flowers going to waste after just one day, ask guests to help themselves or donate them to a local hospice. How about having your bouquet made from brooches or paper?

Use seasonal flowers for your wedding. Your budget may stretch further and your conscience will be clear as you’re considering the negative environmental impact of expensive imports.

Spring Weddings: use tulips, white daffodils, lilac, ranunculus and guilder roses;
Summer Weddings: perfect for peonies, larkspur, nigella, sweet peas, sunflowers, and roses;
Autumn Weddings: best time for dahlias, calla lilies, hydrangeas, and snapdragons;
Winter Weddings: time for hellebores, berried ivy, jasmine, narcissus, poinsettia, and anemones.

bride with her back to the camera chatting to her bridesmaids inside a wedding barn by North Wales Wedding Photographer

9. Eco-friendly wedding venue decorations

Avoid buying everything brand new and consider pre-loved items from sites such as You could also save on electricity and turn your venue into a super romantic one by introducing lots and lots of candles. Tealights, for example, look beautiful in recycled kitchen items such as old jam jars and wide glass bottles.

Have an eco-friendly wedding registry and encourage your guests to gift you house plants, discovery boxes from the Seed Pantry, National Trust tickets or inspiring cookery courses for 2.

And last but definitely not least – book an eco-friendly romantic honeymoon home or away. You’ve earned it! Talking about honeymoons, here are the 15 best things to do in Snowdonia after your elopement or on your honeymoon

Eco-friendly wedding & elopement photographer based in Wales

I’m Babs, a Wales Wedding & Elopement Photographer based near Llangollen in the Berwyn Range. I photograph weddings & elopements across the whole of the UK in a natural, relaxed & emotive style. Being eco-friendly in business is pretty important to me. I only use rechargeable batteries and have chosen not to have any printed promotional materials. If you order products from me they are printed on FSC approved papers & albums and I try to use local suppliers whenever I can to keep carbon footprints to a minimum.

Environmentally-conscious wedding & elopement photography

If you are currently planning an eco-friendly wedding and are looking for a wedding photographer, contact me!

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Click on any of the images below to follow me on Instagram for your daily dose of wedding & elopement photography inspiration:

Babs Boardwell is a wedding & elopement photographer based in Llangollen, servicing Wales and the surrounding areas. Often provides services for weddings across the whole of the U.K. Specialises in capturing artistic portraits paired with unique storytelling moments to produce natural, romantic wedding photography. The Clwydian Range is home but available for travel across the whole of the U.K.