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The Importance of the Wedding Industry in Becoming More Sustainable

The Importance of the Wedding Industry in Becoming More Sustainable

Michelle Miles
Michelle Miles Updated:
8th of March 2023

The wedding industry exists to celebrate the coming together of two people. With an estimated direct spend on a wedding in the UK being £14.7bn each year, it’s a growing economy that has an opportunity to influence both the way couples plan their weddings, and the negative impact businesses have on our planet. Read this article by the SWA to learn about what they do, and complete a short survey to help us gain accurate info about sustainable wedding planning.

Weddings can be very carbon intensive, with the average wedding in the UK emitting 14,500 kgCO2eq. If you think about the 550,000 weddings that will take place in 2022, that means a potential carbon footprint of around 8 million tons! And that’s before you add in the carbon footprint of the businesses in the industry. 

In 2020, we formed the Sustainable Wedding Alliance, with the mission to drive sustainable change in the wedding industry. We focus on two main aims:

  1. Working with businesses in the industry, helping them to move to a more eco-conscious model, putting in place long term strategies that will help them ensure they are operating in a more sustainable way
  2. Educating and inspiring couples to help them have a more eco-conscious wedding, connecting them with like-minded venues and suppliers 

About the Sustainable Wedding Alliance

The Sustainable Wedding Alliance was founded in 2020, existing to drive change and create a more sustainable wedding industry. It focusses on raising awareness and tackling climate change and attitudes, by proactively encouraging businesses to develop future thinking strategies and make responsible decisions.

We are about progress, not perfection, and want to encourage as many businesses as possible to make meaningful positive long-term changes.

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Setting the standard for the wedding industry

From a couple’s perspective, it’s difficult for them to know which companies are working sustainably and which aren’t, particularly when there is a lack of understanding and so much greenwashing. 

In our 2021 survey, we asked couples if they were more likely to book a supplier if they have sustainable credentials and 62% said yes, with a further 24% saying maybe. This survey is currently being repeated and we expect the percentage to have increased further. This just backs up what we already know; couples would like a straightforward way of understanding how sustainable a venue or supplier is. If you would like to take part in this survey, follow the link at the bottom of this article. 

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The Sustainable Wedding Alliance Accreditation

All members of the Alliance have the opportunity to become accredited, with accreditation being awarded to all businesses that achieve a minimum standard in their Sustainability Assessment.

If you’re already working sustainably, it’s likely that during the Sustainability Assessment you will be able to evidence your processes and actions, and therefore receive accreditation immediately.

If you’re in the early stages of your sustainable journey, accreditation may take a little longer to achieve. However, if you’re committed to investing time into making your business more sustainable and follow the plan set out following your Sustainability Assessment, then we’re confident that you can become accredited in a short space of time.

Once you become accredited you will be permitted to use the Sustainable Wedding Alliance accreditation badge on your website, social media and marketing materials.

Accredited businesses will be reassessed annually and required to meet the minimum standard to maintain their status. Accredited businesses will also receive a 25% discount on their future annual membership fees.

Sustainability doesn’t need to cost the earth

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Over the last 2 years, businesses across the wedding industry have been hit hard by the pandemic, leaving many unable to invest in making their businesses more sustainable.  From our research, we know that many businesses have the willingness, but not the funds to start their sustainable journey. Our membership scholarship gives those businesses the opportunity to start making significant progress towards becoming sustainable now.

If you would like to know more about the Sustainable Wedding Alliance or become a member, please contact us at:

Sustainable Wedding Alliance survey

As part of the the Sustainable Wedding Alliance’s commitment to making the wedding industry more sustainable, we’re repeating the 2021 industry wide survey to find out what the drivers are for businesses when it comes to being sustainable, and what has changed for businesses in the last 12 months.

We want to understand what sustainability means to you, where you are on your journey and how we can help you along the way. We want to make sure that the support we provide works for you.

The survey will take up to 10 minutes to complete. We'll be announcing the results at the Sustainable Wedding Summit on 25th April 2022. No personal or business specific details will be shared.

Click this link if you would like to take part in the survey.

Michelle Miles

About the author

Michelle Miles

Michelle Miles is the founder of the Sustainable Wedding Alliance. Her aim is to drive change and create help the wedding sector to become more eco-conscious. Michelle regularly raises awareness about the industry's effect on climate change and proactively encourages wedding businesses to develop future thinking strategies, make responsible decisions and make meaningful, positive long-term changes.

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