Consider how many weddings happen every year. Whilst there are no statistics for South Africa, in the US 2 million weddings take place annually, whilst in the UK there are apparently 400 000 annually registered weddings.
Consider how many invitations, flowers, decorations and miles travelled that must all add up to? The Examiner estimates that the average wedding produces 63 tons of CO2 – a footprint larger than the average American couple’s annual footprint of 48 tons of CO2.
Trying to have little impact on the environment is a conscientious decision. It also isn’t that hard to do. There are a couple of ways you can cut your wedding’s carbon:
- Implement sustainable steps, like eliminating the use of paper as much as possible, buying second-hand and sourcing local, and in this way keep your carbon footprint to a minimum, without actually calculating it
- Calculate your footprint and then offset your wedding (then it’s carbon-neutral or as near as)
Both of these have pros and cons.
- In the first you can end up tying yourself up in knots trying to be as green as possible without knowing how successful you may have been
- In the second the temptation for ‘business as usual’ because one can simply pay someone else to grow a few trees somewhere you’ll never visit, is high
I’d probably go with the first step, but still try to calculate my wedding’s footprint as much as possible. It’s an interesting process anyway, and one you can later use for your home. If you’re that way inclined.
There are a lot of carbon offset calculators on the internet. Here’s a list exclusively geared for weddings:
Carbon Footprint 360
Looks at air travel, driving and your hotel but that’s all. No sourcing of food, waste, energy consumption etc.
Terrapass’ wedding calculator
Helps you calculate air travel (indicates short, medium or long), car distances (although only average) and hotel stays. But nothing else.
Carbonfund.org’s wedding calculator
Helps you calculate flights, car travel, hotel stays and number of guests attending.
Wedding Museum’s carbon footprint tool
Those who’ve used it deem it the best. It also looks at energy consumption, the number of cars and the distance driven by cars, hotel stays, bus trips, paper use, flowers, catering, how much waste you generate, and the honeymoon.
Happy Wedding Planning!