Being entirely eco-friendly is no easy task, that's especially true when getting married. Often thought of as the simpler option, less extravagance and va-va-voom, this couldn't be further from the truth and going eco-friendly won't mean you can't have a lavish, luxurious wedding fit for Royalty.  While there are aspects you won't be able to control, for example, you can't guarantee the venue will be as sustainable as possible or that your guests will take the fastest route there to save petrol, but by making an effort you're making a difference and each couple that demands more will help change the industry for the better. We've put together a list of tips and tricks to help you throw a beautiful, show-stopping and most importantly eco-friendly wedding!

Buy Vintage

Bride is white lace V neck gown and white veil standing portrait to the camera holding a large bouquet of flowers and succulents. Alex W Photography

If you're only planning on wearing your wedding dress for one day then why not buy vintage? Don't take the term "hidden gem" lightly, it may take a little more searching than buying from a traditional boutique but vintage shops and second-hand sellers are a treasure trove of beautiful, unique gowns just waiting for the perfect bride. The added bonus is the often reduced price leaves room in the budget to have your dress tailored to fit you like a glove. Break the cycle of fast fashion and give an old gown a new home!

Eco-friendly Flowers

Dinner plate setting shot from above with large table center piece of leaves, flowers and candles Abby Jiu

It probably won't come as a shock to find out that wedding flowers aren't particularly eco-friendly, couples order thousands of expensive flowers from across the globe to be displayed on tables for one day and then promptly disposed of. Not even considering the amount of water being used to grow these flowers, the carbon footprint of several bouquets of Spanish roses is similar to a holiday to Spain. There are, however, alternatives. Sometimes it can be as simple as buying local. Ireland has a beautiful array of native flowers that would make a stunning addition to any bouquet, you're cutting down on the insane travel miles and water consumption simply by picking flowers that probably already grow in your back garden. Talk to your florist about wanting your flowers to come from your province and wow your guests with gorgeous displays straight out of a fairy tale!

Eco-friendly Venue

Similar to eco-friendly flowers, the easiest way to make your wedding a low carbon event is to look first to home. Ireland is host to some absolutely breathtaking wedding venues (Take a peek at a few) that could easily rival a beach wedding in Corfu. By hosting your wedding close to home your guests won't have to wrack up air miles or a few gallons of petrol to celebrate with you. One of the biggest benefits of Irish wedding venues is the abundance of natural greenery, even the carpark is the perfect photo backdrop!

Ask Guests to Donate Instead of Gifts

Nobody needs three blenders or a hoard of decorative teapots; instead of going the traditional route of filling your wedding registry with a plethora of homewares consider a more modern approach. Many couples are now asking their guests to take the money they would otherwise spend on a gift and instead donate it to a charity or ethical foundation.

Digital Invitations and RSVP

A paper invitation printed on white card with hand drawn greenery framing the text which displays the couples names and details of their wedding Paper Culture

Invitations are often the unnoticed aspect of every wedding, if you've been invited to a wedding you'll have received a paper invitation, a paper rsvp and after you've noted the date down and sent back the RSVP the rest going right into the bin. If you don't want to pay to line somebody's recycling bin then maybe it's time to consider going digital with your guest invitations. It can be as easy as having guests RSVP with email, this cuts down paper waste, transport emissions and printing emissions and all you have to do is make an email address specifically for your wedding day.

Ethical Wine

A glass of red wine in a clear wine glass sat on a balcony overlooking a vineyard backed by a mountain range Kym Ellis

You heard me right, ethical wine is a thing and it has a much bigger impact on the environment than you may realise. At most weddings, depending on how many guests have been invited, the general rule of thumb is half a bottle per guest. If you're inviting 50 people then you'll be buying at least 25 bottles of wine. Know the Flow calculated the carbon footprint of a bottle of wine and found it’s around 1.28kg CO2. That’s about the same as driving 3 miles in a Honda Accord. Why not then consider ethical alcohol, locally sourced and fairtrade wine made from sustainably grown grapes can have a shocking difference in carbon footprint when compared to the Austrian riesling you may have otherwise considered. Irish winemaking is an up and coming industry and while it isn't as cheap to purchase as other imports the quality of product has been making waves. Impress your family and friends with your knowledge of niche wines and pour them a glass of Wicklow wine!

- Grainne