Will 2022 see the rise of eco-friendly weddings?

Will the weddings of 2022 be greener on all levels?

Small, intimate ceremonies, seasonal flowers, secondhand dresses and tuxedos, catering that features local produce, natural or even edible decorations... Will weddings celebrated in 2022 be more eco-conscious? Whether it's about downsizing the guestlist or serving more sustainable food, these events look set to integrate green elements.

Every season has its trends, and the wedding industry is no exception to the rule. After a long period of gloom due to the pandemic, there is a renewed sense of optimism, and according to The Wedding Report, featured by Axios, a huge number of weddings are being planned in the US for 2022, with wedding venues quickly being booked up. So what will the weddings of next year look like? Among the trends spotted by various wedding planning sites including Mariages.net and Hitched, are several which point to brides and grooms looking to organize an event which is more respectful of the environment.

According to French website Mariages.net, which questioned 180,000 clients registered on the platform, one couple out of two intends to give this special day an ethical and ecologically aware dimension. Among those who plan to hire a wedding planner, 20% of the future brides and grooms are categorical: only the agencies that align themselves with the same values they prioritize will appear on their list!

"Couples are increasingly concerned about the environment individually in their private lives, and they have an ethical outlook that they're also bringing to the organization of their wedding," comments Mariages.net in a release. And for good reason: between the carbon footprints of the bride and groom and their guests, the wedding dress, the decorations and the caterer, the environmental impact of such an event can get very large, very quickly. Especially if guests number in the hundreds.

For example, the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William in April 2011 had generated a carbon footprint of... 6 765 tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e)! Calculated by the New Zealand-based institute Landcare Research, this very high environmental score is largely due to the huge number of guests (1,900) and the thousands of spectators who came from all over the world to attend -- or just to get a glimpse of this London event.

Recyclable, sustainable decorations and secondhand dresses

The good news is that you can easily reduce the carbon impact of your wedding, by making "sensible" choices. Take for example the location and the number of guests. What if, instead of inviting all your acquaintances (including that distant cousin you only meet once every ten years) to an island paradise, you gathered a small circle of relatives in a destination close to home? Small weddings -- even micro weddings -- are among the trends charted by Belle the magazine, which also notes that modern couples are increasingly looking to sustainable options for their big day. Digital invitations can also be a greener option.

As for the respondents questioned by Mariages.net, many (41%) plan to opt for the "zero mileage" solution, for example by choosing local food or by favoring the use of an ecological vehicle (15%). And their desire to go green is illustrated even in the choice of the reception site: 50% of the future brides and grooms wish to celebrate their union in an outdoor setting and 17% want to favor natural spaces.

To minimize as much excess as possible, you can also opt for a zero-waste wedding. As well as the option of going secondhand for an upcycled wedding dress or tuxedo, wedding planning site Hitched points to the trend of rented wedding attire. Another trend it charts is that of "sustainable table designs" that guests will be able to take home, such as potted plants. Natural, recyclable, or even edible decorations are also options.

Meanwhile, when it comes to food, vegan menus not only allow for those with dietary restrictions to be catered for, they also come with a smaller planetary impact.

And as for gifts, why not suggest to your guests to limit themselves to essentials and/or eco-responsible objects, or a communal fund for an eco-friendly holiday or special purchase.

Léa Drouelle