Calculating the Footprint of a Wedding

There have been many speculations about the carbon footprint of the royal wedding. Whilst it was considerably more low-key than Prince Charles' wedding, it did rake up quiet a high emissions number. According to The Telegraph, the wedding is set to generate more than 6,765 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents. That is 10 times the amount of greenhouse gases the Buckingham Palace produces for in a whole year and 1,230 times the annual emissions of the average UK household.

However with Prince Charles' known environmental credentials, every effort has been taken to lower the impact of the wedding. The menu is sourced from sustainable, local, organic food and ingredients. Even the cake features free-range eggs. The royal couple have also chosen seasonal flowers and asked guests to plant trees or make a donation to Earthwatch, one of the 26 charities benefiting from the royal wedding gift fund, that focuses on environmental issues. Although guests received paper instead of virtual invitations, Clarence House ensured all documents from the event will be printed on recycled paper while Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood will be used in the building of the media stands.

Catherine Middleton's dress is made largely with British textiles, using traditional handicraft and her wedding band is made out of Welsh gold instead of conflict ridden minerals which further symbolizes the thought put into this occasion. There are also plans to recycle materials in the aftermath of the big day. Veolia Environmental Services, Westminster City Council’s waste management contractor, have said they expect to collect approximately 140 tonnes of waste, much of which will be recycled.

With the month of June coming up, traditionally the high point of the wedding calendar many happy couples are in the midst of wedding planning. There are many things you can keep in mind to reduce the environmental impact of your wedding including thinking about venue, invitations, number of guests, flowers, registering for presents, dresses, jewellery, food and drink served.

There are several resources like the Green Bride Guide that recommends tips for making a wedding more eco-friendly. It also talks about offsetting emissions as well as recommending environmentally friendly honeymoon spots. Just like any other celebration, it is important to consider environmental impacts of your happy day. It is quite obvious that the bigger the wedding, the larger the impact but with a lot of careful thought, even large weddings can have a lower carbon footprint.

Picture Credit: BBC News