Todays couples are more conscious about the environment, and with all rights. Sustainability is something that I always refer back to when planning an event. I think its our responsibility as wedding planners to make sure that least amount of things go to waste, to be creative and ask for better, more sustainable choices and services from our vendors. In that way, the whole industry will be forced to start moving towards a more sustainable mindset.
Did you know that the average sized, American wedding produces about 180 kg of garbage and 157.000 tons of CO2? (that is about 400 lbs of garbage and 63 tons of CO2). That is about the same amount of waste that 4 persons produce over an entire year! When I first heard about these numbers I was literally chocked. But when you start to count the amount of plastic, leftovers, paper, ink, transports.. It all starts to add up.
I have been trying to find similar information for Spanish weddings, but haven’t been able to, so if you know something about this you are more than welcome to message me. I think that the amount of guests on American and Spanish weddings are quite similar, they are usually quite big events. The average size for a wedding in the US is 131 guests, according to The Knot. In Spain it is very similar, 130. So the two can be easily compared.
So because of that, I decided to put together a list of things that you can keep in mind if you want to plan a more sustainable destination wedding.
Choosing country for your destination wedding
Firstly, lets tackle the elephant in the room. A destination wedding, how can it be sustainable when everybody will be flying in from abroad? And yes, its true that you and many of your guests will be flying in from abroad. But there are ways to minimize the waste. You could opt for a destination that is not halfway around the globe, but just within a few hours flight away. Instead of traveling from Europe to the Caribbeans to get married, choose an European country for your wedding! If you live in Europe, you might be able to take the train. So there are always options.
Climate compensate your flights
If you decide to fly or if the only way to get to the destination is by flight, consider to climate compensate your flight. Many travel agencies offer climate compensation alternatives for their clients. And if they don’t, there are plenty of organizations online you can choose to donate to, there are even website where you just with a few clicks can calculate the amount of pollution that your will be generating for your travel. This is of course a very nice thing to do even if you are flying from within Europe as well!
Another part is that you might want to come to visit the venue on site before deciding if you want to book it. This is something that I totally understand. But a nice reminder, that today its possible to do a lot with just a video call. In case you wouldn’t want to come here, I can always go to the venue myself and then we just make a video call where I show you everything. I understand that the venue is a very important thing that most couples want to see IRL, so its only a suggestion if you are thinking about not traveling here before the wedding.
When choosing the venue, try to opt for a venue where you can have both the ceremony, reception and party. That way you won’t need to travel in-between different places. If you want a religious blessing, there are priests that will perform religious blessings in other places and not necessarily in a church. Also think about the venue itself, does it offer a lot of greenery or will a lot of flowers be necessary? If the venue itself is already beautiful on its own, you won’t need that much flowers. If the venue has some land around it, you could ask the owners if you can use greenery from the premises to decorate.
Coach for everybody
Most of your guests that are coming from abroad to attend your wedding in Barcelona, will most likely be staying at the same hotel or on a couple of hotels located close to each other – at least if you gave them hotel suggestions in your invitations or on your wedding website which I do recommend you to do. If you can keep them close to each other, it makes it a lot easier to coordinate a bus transfer to and from the wedding venue for everybody. In that way they don’t need to rent separate cars, plus it saves them a headache to not have to think about this part.
When choosing accommodation you have some different options. If you are having a small to medium sized wedding, you could opt for a villa wedding where you also can spend the night. There are villas in the Barcelona area that can accommodate up to 50 guests. If you need to book a hotel, I would highly suggest that you investigate if they are sustainable, or if they have any certificate of being a sustainable hotel. I will be glad to give you some options so that you can be sure to book a good and sustainable hotel in Barcelona or Sitges. LEED Certificate.
Use local vendors
Yes, I understand that it can be tempting to bring your own photographer. But please keep in mind that Barcelona is a big city with tons of super talented photographers. And with local vendors, I also mean, vendors from the area where you are celebrating your wedding. For example, always try to find a vendor that is located in Barcelona region, instead of bringing in somebody from for example Madrid if that is possible. It will also save you money in travel expenses.
Rent instead of buying material
If you require more furniture to the venue, make sure to rent everything you can, instead of buying. And if you need to buy something, try to buy it from a local company, if possible, one that practices sustainability. A good idea is to try to use as much of the material as possible that the venue already offers, and then take in some rental pieces to spice up the look, if necessary.
We already touched upon this subject, but please go for Km0 flowers, it is possible here in Barcelona. There are various flowers farms in the Barcelona surroundings that work with local florists. Also, I suggest you to be open minded when it comes to the flowers and trust your florist who is an expert! Make sure to choose seasonal flowers. I highly suggest that you keep it simple when it comes to the table decorations. As mentioned previously, many venues are beautiful on their own and don’t require an abundance of flowers.
My advice is to skip them all together. You would be amazed how little guests actually care about these small items that many times keeps you awake at night. I do understand that these gifts are part of some cultures Spain is an example of that. But if they’re not part of yours, consider not having them at all. If you still want to have them, make sure its a sustainable option. A great idea is to incorporate local products, for example there are many cava- and wine bodegas in Catalonia, or olive groves. That way you also “give” business to locals businesses.
So that’s it! I hope you got some ideas from this post. If you are thinking about implementing something similar for your wedding, please leave a comment and tell me about it! I would love to hear it 🙂