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Trend Alert: Sustainable Luxury

Sustainable weddings have been on such an upswing in recent years, it’s hard to imagine that it could grow any further. Yet, in 2020, that’s exactly what the experts are forecasting. 2020 couples are seeking the best ways to reduce the environmental impact of their wedding from factors like wasted food and single-use plastic.

However, that’s not to say that sustainability cannot equate with luxury. There are plenty of ways to plan an eco-friendly wedding that still retains the extravagant and lavish feel that many couples want for their wedding, but without the environmental footprint.

Here are what the experts have to say about going green for weddings in 2020.

Eco-minded vendors

This year, couples are setting their sights on wedding professionals who share their values and will work with them to be as sustainable as possible while planning their big day.

“Eco chic started in earnest in 2019, with couples being very determined to find ethically sound items for their wedding that satisfy their own lifestyle choices,” explains Kate Cullen of Kate Cullen. “From compostable cutlery to donating florals to nursing homes and hospitals, couples are keen that their wedding reflects their own moral standpoints, especially when it comes to climate change.”

Sustainable and reusable florals. Photo courtesy of Mike Busada.

Cullen continues: “Couples are often now preferring to book suppliers based on their eco and fair trade credentials, not just on their skills or services alone and this is set to continue in an even bigger way next year.”

Earthy linens

With microplastics and landfill waste as major concerns for today’s couples, linens are a great place to start for those who want to be eco-friendly. Sure, sequins, glitter, and acrylic textiles will still be around, but there will be a much greater focus on naturally-sourced linens.

“Eco-conscious choices are coming to the forefront in 2020 with natural, hand-dyed and organic fabrics being the linen of choice,” states Louise Beukes of B.LOVED and B.LOVED Hive. “Moving on from silks and cottons, we’ll start to see more adventurous fabrics and materials as linen companies become more established and braver with their techniques.”

Eco-luxe stationery

Of course, paper has always been an easy way to go green, so expect this shift to come into play for things like invitation suites, menus, signage, and more.

“Couples are more eco-conscious than ever and want to play their part, whether it is by only using recycled paper or paper from sustainably managed forests, replanting trees or wildflower seed packets as a wedding favor, using locally-sourced produce or eliminating the use of plastic,” says Vaishali Shah of Ananya Cards.

Shah adds: “Couples will be thinking of ways to preserve their stationery, such as keepsake wedding favors — for example, paper flowers as everlasting place cards. Soy and vegetable-based inks can be used for printing. Upcycling where possible and a commitment to zero waste, are ways couples can demonstrate their alignment with all that sustains our planet.”

Reusable florals

Many décor pieces can be repurposed for post-wedding use, but traditional floral arrangements and bouquets typically only have a lifespan of a few days. Switching out fresh blooms for more hardy plants can be a gamechanger — and one that ensures couples and their guests can have a keepsake for life.

“The demand for sustainable décor will increase so think about florals that can last beyond the wedding day — moss structures, potted orchids, and succulents used in new and unusual ways,” encourages Dee McMeeking of Dee McMeeking Weddings. “Look out for the bouquet-free wedding as brides and bridal parties ditch the traditional bouquet in favor of some stylized wearable florals — floral rings, clutches, and new ideas in floral accessories and jewelry.”

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Ethical food

There’s no question that our food choices have a direct impact on climate change and other global concerns, so there has been a huge uptick in plant-based diets which is translating over to the wedding space.

“Sustainability and ethical preferences are reaching critical mass in catering selections,” says Jeremy Bronson of Occasions Catering. “Lots of clients have wanted for years to reflect their values with their wedding menus, but most opted for the safer, traditional selections. Now they’re seeing that they can be true to themselves and still provide a delicious menu that everyone enjoys. There’s an uptick in dairy-free requests and a growing preference for completely plant-based menus instead of vegetarian.”

Sustainability is here to stay, so it’s time to consider adjusting your products and services to continue meeting the needs and preferences of today’s engaged couples. More ideas for eco-friendly changes can be found in this year’s International Wedding Trend Report.

Lead photo courtesy of Sunshower Photograpny

Kylie Carlson

Founder / CEO, The Wedding and Event Institute

Kylie Carlson is the CEO of the International Academy of Wedding and Event Planning. With six locations globally, the academy boasts an internationally recognized accreditation program that brings professional training to wedding planners, designers and stylists.