How to create a zero-waste wedding

How to create a zero-waste wedding
August 15, 2019 Sandra Henri

Image by Elin Bandmann


The ‘less stuff’ mantra; “Do we really need this?

How will this add to the happiness and memories of our day?”


Inspired by THIS couple, whose menu was determined by whatever food they could rescue from waste a few days prior to the wedding, it got me thinking, what else can we achieve with a ‘waste not’ approach?

Now I know what’s going through your mind, “Good on this couple, buuuut that’s a bit radical for me”. Yet knowing our earths resources are finite (Earth Overshoot Day is a wonderful resource), perhaps these days having a zero-waste wedding isn’t so out there after all? After all, even celebrities like Anne Hathway are championing a zero-waste lifestyle.

The beauty of a journey towards low-waste living, is the discovery of lots of simple life hacks. It was only recently that I learned you can use lemon and orange skins as fire lighters! Of course, there is no such thing as waste in nature. That is something that was created by marketers and our need for convenience.

So how can we apply zero-waste to weddings? Here are some simple ideas, for a wedding that treads a little lighter.


Pearl Button Bridal gown, image by Suegraphy


Sustainable wedding dress designer, Dinah of Pearl Button Bridal advises to wear a dress that can be reborn after the wedding. This could be wedding separates, or a dress that can be dyed or adapted in some other way.

“This is the sort of challenge I and many of my brides love. They have gone on to wear elements of their wedding dresses for years after the wedding. It’s so sensible and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s what our grandmothers thrived on. I love the chapter in Little Women where the girls give their dresses a makeover for the party. The bride wears the dress, not the other way around”.

These days, the mindful bride has many options. It’s even possible to utilise stunning left over fabrics from designers, that usually all go to waste at the end of the season. Love Me Twice bring new life to these fabrics, creating bespoke wedding dresses that are cleverly zero-waste.

Asking what your wedding dress fabric is made of, is another way to ensure you source natural and zero-waste. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that many a lace dress is made with polyester (plastic!). Yet new fabrics are emerging in the wedding industry, including linen, hemp, organic cotton, alongside timeless silk. Surprisingly even fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles! Between Me and You Bridal specialise in these alternatives.


This lush gown is made from organic cotton lace, linen/silk blend and Tencel! By Between Me and You Bridal.


We love the emergence of wedding hire such as Untold, an online designer wedding dress rental service available Australia wide. Even your guests can participate in zero-waste fashion, at Bell St in Sydney, who stock a huge selection of delightful vintage finds that you can simply rent and return.

And if it was me? I’d choose an un-wedding gown that I’d love to wear again, like this stunning number (with pockets!) by Shall Design.


Image by Nina Hamilton



How your venue or caterer handles food waste, can reduce your wedding footprint significantly. We recommend looking for those that have a kitchen garden, and can compost left overs back into their own natural life cycle. Take Yarra Valley Estate for example, where all food waste from the kitchens is taken to Babbajin Wildlife Shelter on the property to be used where possible for food for the rehabilitating animals, or is composted. They even box up leftover foods which are passed on to a local charity which feeds the homeless.


Potted plants as wedding styling - Green Styling - Image by On Janzen

Image by Ona Janzen, Whsper



Whilst ‘blank canvas’ venues are hugely popular, by choosing a venue that is already beautifully decorated such as Acre Eatery, you can eliminate the need for any further styling (and stress!). Furniture and vintage hire is another way to reduce wedding waste.

Alternatively, bring vibrance and aroma into your wedding space with living plants, that can either be hired, or if purchased, you can re-use  them in your own home and garden. They may even become your symbolic ‘marriage plant’, a little reminder that every living thing needs to be nurtured to thrive.


Dried floral headpiece made by The Flower Head, by Nastia Gladushchenko



Ah it makes me so sad seeing thousands of dollars of beautiful flowers ending up in the bin at the end of a wedding. Venues often don’t have time to do anything else with your flowers following the wedding day. Yet your eco-loving florist may just offer a bump-out service. Sophie from Puggle and Squib even volunteers her time to gift left over flowers to nursing homes in her local area.

Some florists offer wedding bouquets and installations using stunning dried flowers and foliage. Now that’s a wedding trend I can get behind!

And if you’ve been following LSMM for a while, you know how we feel about floral foam that is commonly used to anchor and hydrate floral installations; it’s a single use plastic that is actually toxic to both your florist and our environment. Choose a floral designer who creates with more sustainable and re-usable methods (which all those on our Directory do).


Zoe Pook is a specialist in fair-trade gold, and often remodels existing jewellery



“We had a bit of a “come to Jesus” moment about two years into our business when we realised just how destructive metal mining is to the environment and vulnerable communities. We decided that we had to find a way to source ethically-mined metals or we’d have to shut shop. Luckily, we got our supplier to set aside 100% recycled sterling silver for us an to insure that the metal that we were using only came from Australia or New Zealand which have relatively good mining records. Two years ago, we found a new supplier of metal that uses only Alluvial-sourced gold from New Zealand, which was a huge win for us. Alluvial gold isn’t mined from giant pit mines that use cyanide to extract the gold, but by washing the gold out of river sand with fresh water.” Ash Hilton Jeweller sheds some light into ethical jewellery manufacturing.

Don’t be afraid to ask your jeweller if they can remodel existing pieces to create something new. Often they can gather enough gold from your jewellery, or add a little extra, to create a brand new ring. Gems can easily be repurposed.


Elopement at Thousand Lakes, Tasmania. Image by Nina Hamilton

Image by Nina Hamilton


I’ll let you in on some wedding industry insider goss…the reason we see so much heavily styled wedding inspiration, is quite simply because we are naturally drawn to the pretty. It makes for enticing reader content, which then in turn sets couples expectations, and influences wedding culture. In order to stay true to your values, I suggest put on your blinkers, avoid Pinterest, and surround yourself with people who will support you.

A wedding doesn’t ‘have’ to include anything other than two people in love, and a celebrant who can create a meaningful space and help you express your intentions for your life together. Oh and maybe cake 😉

Some of the most memorable weddings I’ve witnessed have been the simplest. Fill your wedding with words from the heart, gratitude expressed, big squishy hugs and all the feels. After all, the feelings of your day are what make your fondest memories.

Sandra x

Founder of Less Stuff – More Meaning.


Enjoy Kim & Amy’s moving elopement story, that embodies connection and heart…


Videography by The Love Lab


Keen to learn more about eco-ethical wedding planning? Grab the Mindfully Wed E-Guide, which contains our collective bundle of knowledge saving you hours of research, and empowering you to stay true to your values.


Share This