Ask the experts

 

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Kent Wedding magazine. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yourkent.wedding.

To view more Q&A's on a different topic, please select one from the list below.

Hot topic: Going green

Our experts advise on ethical touches for a greener wedding.

Green is the new white

Q. We consider ourselves to enjoy a good lifestyle and want this to continue into our wedding. How can I make our special day as healthy as possible? What can I do or should I be aware of?

A. Fleur Record-Smith says: It sounds like finding a green venue should (and probably is) high on your list of priorities. My biggest recommendation is to book somewhere with an outdoor ceremony area. Whilst we understand that this isn't for everyone, it's one of the biggest ways to cut down on energy usage. We think it's so romantic that the sun provides the light and warmth – and why not invite your guests to bring locally-sourced blankets to snuggle under?

Top tip: Check with your venue to find out if its wet weather contingency plan is also green.

Ideally, couples will choose a venue where everything is under one roof – less travel means less fuel emissions. It's also worth thinking about booking somewhere that gets plenty of sunlight – an orangery or glasshouse is great for this, but ideally you'd want to book somewhere with a good energy efficiency rating.

Did you know: At Hayne house, we recycle the rainwater to help tend to the lawns.

With regard to food, try to choose locally sourced where possible, to help cut down on air miles. We're certainly aware that healthy eating options are on the rise. Working with our award-winning caterers we've put together a menu for couples who are mindful of the importance of the environment and want a sustainable but nutritious meal that includes options for vegans and vegetarians, so all their guests can enjoy a wonderful food experience.

Top tip: We recommend couples still use post for their invitations, as this tends to generate a better response, but print onto recycled paper if you want to make a more considered decision.

Get stuck in

Q. My partner and I dream of a big, elegant wedding but we want to make responsible decisions. What should we be considering?

A. Erica and Charlie Bell says: The first thing to ask is, 'What do I want?' Your venue is a great place to start and many now offer eco-friendly weddings, where they either source local suppliers or grow their own produce and flowers. They'll probably organise your table decorations and favours as part of your package too.

Use organic flowers – look locally or grow some for your day; how lovely to know this is something you've done together. With this in mind, you can also make your own confetti from flower petals and herbs, which you can dry and your ushers can hand out to guests as they arrive.

As cake designers, we're always aware of what goes into our bakes. We try to ensure we source Fairtrade ingredients, always use free range eggs and, where possible, use local traders. A bride has even provided her own homemade organic jam for us to add to her cake.

We advise all couples not to over-order on their cake. Not every guest eats cake and, unless you plan to keep some, which many do, this avoids wastage.

The tradition to provide favours is still going strong. Edible options are very popular but perhaps check they're in packaging that can be recycled. You can even find biodegradable chocolate wrappers that are compostable and enrich the soil in the process! Alternatively ensure your favours come without packaging to encourage guests to help themselves.

Will it cost the earth?

Q. I want our wedding day to be beautiful, thoughtful and not cost the earth – in every way. What's your advice?

A. Rachelle Speed says: At Trust in Love we help the environment and our surroundings as much as we can, and you can too without sacrificing your budget, your style vision or wedding planning sanity. Here are some key areas where you can inject a little eco-friendliness into your day:

Stationary
Go paperless on your save-the-dates cards. An email to friends and family can still feature an embedded design showcasing your wedding date, and hinting at the theme.

I'd also suggest consolidating your stationary whereby you combine essential information onto one card so your invitations don't include so many inserts. Or, even better, create a wedding website where guests can find all the information they need. On the day provide one to two menus per table and look to handwrite as much as possible, to save energy on printing costs. Most importantly, where possible, use recycled card and ecofriendly paper made from alternative fibres such as hemp or bamboo. Bamboo only takes three-seven years to mature, unlike 120 years for an oak tree!

Food
Food is the centre of any celebration, and going green does not mean making sacrifices on taste. Ask your caterer what food is in season in the month of your wedding, and if they're able to source locally-grown produce. This will cut down the production and travel costs – and you get great quality dishes in return!

Decorations
When it comes to decorations, candles are the most widely used décor item for all weddings – they help to create a beautiful and intimate scene, and they can be green! Use soy-based versions as they don't increase the CO2 levels in the atmosphere and burn for up to 50 per cent longer. They also smell great as they can be scented with natural essential oils. Good luck going green!

Bohemian like you

Q. I'd love our bohemian-themed wedding to have lots of really thoughtful details scattered around. What do you think we should consider to maintain the theme throughout the day?

A. Amy Hatch says: To begin with, you could send e-invites instead of paper invitations. If design is important to you, work with a top designer who can capture your day electronically and build a website with all the necessary information for your guests.

In terms of your bridal look, there are lots of little adjustments you can make. You could work with an ethical wedding dressmaker or buy a pre-loved or vintage gown, and have some alterations to make it perfect for you.

When it comes to the all-important styling of your day, if you're working with a stylist be sure to let them know your wishes from the very beginning.

I'd use a lot of vintage furniture and tableware throughout, saving on purchasing new items and saving on packaging in the process.

In terms of the flowers, stick to British-grown, seasonal flowers and be aware of the products the florists are using for their arrangements, as things like floral foam are bad for the environment. You could go for pots of plants or herbs throughout, giving these to guests at the end of the day.

Above all, check the suppliers you work with and don't be afraid to ask questions as they may be able to alter their existing products or services to help give you your dream, environmental wedding day.

Hempstead House
The Lost Village of Dode
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Hempstead House