Organising My Zero Waste & Sustainable Wedding!

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You might have started wondering why I took a few weeks of break from the channel, and that is because I was actually planning a lot behind the scenes both in my personal life and in my business - in particular today I want to share with you a big change that has happened in my personal life and that is: I am getting married! I have been together with my boyfriend Jacopo for over 7 years, funny thing is I met my boyfriend the very first weekend I moved from Italy to London to study and build a life abroad, and…the rest is history!

Because I have received a lot of questions and interest from you guys about how I am organising the wedding, I thought It'd be easier to film a video where I walk you through what I am currently doing to plan my sustainable wedding which is happening over the summer in just a few months from now.

And let me tell you, there is so so so much that goes into organising a Wedding in general, it's crazy, thankfully my aunt is an event planner and my whole family are helping out because guys this is literally a full time job! But the good news is that it does not take too much effort in making the wedding more sustainable, just the right tips, so let's get right into it, and make sure to stick until the end because I left my favourite part of the organisation of the wedding to the very last!

1. Location

We are getting married in the place of my dreams, it’s an island called Capri, located in the South of Italy really close to Naples where my family is from - the wedding will take place in something in Italian we call a "Pineta", full of Mediterrean pine trees and in front of a stunning sea view.

Organising my zero waste & sustainable wedding | Bottega Zero Waste

There are benches already located naturally around the trees, which means we don't have to buy or rent any new furniture, and therefore means no waste!

For this reason the theme of the wedding will be a "Wild Capri" theme! Because, first of all the ceremony will happen in nature, and second because we will focus on what the island has to offer from nature to food.

We will then host a dinner in a nearby restaurant where will we serve exclusively local food - but we will get into food a little later on.

2. Guests

We have always wanted to have a small-medium size wedding of about 40-45 people. We both never liked the idea of having a massive wedding celebration but instead we think there is a lot of value in having a party with really closest family and friend.

Having a smaller wedding definitely makes a wedding more sustainable because of less people need to travel and the location needs to be smaller and with less decoration and just less stuff and therefore less waste.

We will have all Italians guests apart from 3 US long time friends, which will dramatically reduce carbon emissions related to flying. Italy has an excellent railway system, which means most people will travel around Italy to get to use via train, which is far more sustainable than airplane, and then will get to the Island via boat. The island is really small which makes it super easy to get around in most locations by walking as well as bus or car if really needed.

Which takes me to the next point.

3. Invitations

A lot of you asked me to share more about invitations, and we have actually decided not to send out any paper invitations. We have prepared a small website on Wix with all the information people need, and have sent literally just one email: an invitation email with a digital design made in Canva, and the link to the website.

Zero Waste Wedding | Bottega Zero Waste

Because it is quite a small wedding, we were able to do any follow ups needed directly with the guests via Whatsapp, and we will archive the website and email address just after the wedding.

That being said, if you are thinking about what other options you have with invites, I wanted to recommend to you the option of having invites made on seeded paper, that can be replanted into a little plant. If you go on Etsy or google "plantable seed paper wedding invitations" there are so many services offering design and printing service using plantable seed paper.

4. Decoration

One of the major things I wanted to do to avoid waste during our wedding was to carefully select our flower decoration and avoid cut-flowers.

Instead, since we have a house on the island, we have decided to go for potted plants, lemons from the Islands and aromatic herbs we can just bring home to decorate our garden and reuse for cooking. My mom actually makes the best limoncello ever which is a homemade liquor made with lemons!

Zero Waste Wedding | Bottega Zero Waste

The wedding will happen toward the evening so then will then have some hanging candles. For place cards we are actually ordering them through a local shop that designs them and prints them on plantable seeded paper, so we will collect them and plant them in our garden after the wedding.

Finally, In Italy we have a tradition of rice being thrown at the bride and groom as soon as the ceremony is over and they walk away from the aisle, but we've asked our Florist to give us flower petals "wasted" from other weddings and ceremonies to throw during this part of the ceremony. We've actually also found out that throwing flower petals is a common tradition of Capri island, which makes this even perfect, except they won’t be super fresh cut. It's not confirmed we will be able to do this depending on the Florist, so finger crossed!

5. Dress

Ok now to the point I am sure lots of you were expecting to hear about: my wedding dress and the groom's dress (although you probably want to hear more about the wedding dress!) . Now, I am going to be incredibly honest: I chose my wedding dress, it is absolutely amazing, but I did not manage to find a truly sustainable option. I have always wanted to buy my dress second hand because that's the most sustainable option.

I found this website - https://www.stillwhite.com/ , that had quite a lot of option but I figured it would have been a bit of a gamble to order a dress online and then look for a place to do a fitting, all in the middle of a Pandemic.

So when I went visit my family in Italy for Christmas, my mom took me to a Bridal dresses shop in literally the only single day shops were open before they got shut down again due to Covid restrictions. The shop in Milan is called Nicole Milano and caught my attention because they had a line with dresses made with entirely recycled materials.

Well, I found this dress which I loved, but then ended up actually changing it with another one which guys, was exactly what I had in mind, for years now, when I was dreaming about my wedding. And I am going to be honest, it was not from their Sustainable line but it was just too perfect.

I have shopped mostly second hand since I was young, that's how I was educated, and then I started really trying to limit my clothes shopping to just second hand - which don't take me wrong is not a sacrifice at all, I absolutely love shopping second hand and vintage, but this is to say that it's important to have a balance in your sustainable lifestyle, and this was the one day where I really wanted the perfect dress, and this dress just felt too right and so I bought it.

Planning my sustainable wedding | Bottega Zero Waste

What I am planning to do after the wedding is to donate the dress to a charity that specialises in wedding dresses, or return it to the store where they told me they are actually implementing a return scheme where they will donate the dress to charity.

I have not found shoes yet! Maybe there is still hope for me to find one second hand shop open and find some shoes for when we are out of lockdown.

As per the groom, he hasn't even started looking for outfits which again in all honesty hasn’t been easy in this lockdown because all the shops are well, closed! So I am hoping that we will have some time to go look for a sustainably made, hopefully second hand outfit for him.

6. Wedding ring

Onto the wedding rings! This is one of the parts that I am mostly looking forward to rally getting into because I feel it's such a big emotional piece of a wedding. In Italy a wedding ring is called "fede" which means literally "faith" and my desire has always been to remelt the fedi of my grandparents who are sadly not with us anymore, to turn them into new ones for myself and Jacopo. And I found out this is actually a really common practice in Italy, especially in the south of Italy, there are specialised places that do that.

7. Food

Now onto food. We have decided not to have any meat, and there will be a mix of vegetarian and pescatarian dishes. What was incredibly important to us, is that all the food was completely seasonal and most importantly local. The island habitants actually produce many kinds of food locally, from wine to vegetables and cheese.

As appetiser will have something called fritto misto which is a mix of fried vegetable, and these will be served individually using the recycled paper usually used to wrap bread, and I think this will literally be the only kind of waste we will be effectively producing because all the other dishes will be served as a normal seated dinner with obviously reusable cutleries.

The island is really rich in lemons and for this reason as a cake we will have a locally made Caprese cake, one with chocolate and almond and another one with local lemons and almonds.

Planning my zero waste wedding | Bottega Zero Waste

The only thing that we will not have full control over is any possible food waste. The dinner is made up by different meals but we have specifically asked the restaurant to make small portions because we know there is a lot to eat and we would never want people to feel stuffed half way through.

8. Other services & entertainment

We will also have a photographer and a video maker involved in the ceremony and we have tried to find professionals that were on the Island or nearby to avoid them having to fly over here and to be honest also to avoid other massive bills with having to pay for their accommodation.

As music we will have a local Violinist who will play during the key moments of the actual ceremony, and I am 100% sure I will cry from the moment I will make the first step towards the "altar" and at any other emotional moment all the way through the cutting of the cake and beyond.

9. Wedding registry

When our parents got married, so around the 70s it was really popular to do a whole list of gifts like silverware and kitchen appliances, probably because new weds would literally move into their new apartment right after the wedding.

Well Jacopo and I have been together and have lived together for over 7 years so we have a lot of stuff already we literally do not need anything else. So if guests want to make us a gift, we have told them they can make a small "donation" which we will use probably to make a nice trip when this will be ever possible ever again.

Zero Waste Wedding | Bottega Zero Waste

10. Wedding favours

Ok we have gotten to my favourite part ever! Wedding favours. As wedding favours I have decided to…drumrolls…give soaps!!

That was unexpected wasn't it? I I am thinking of mini soaps with of course lemon essential oil and to tie in with the wedding's theme. What do you think?

I will make sure to share more about how the wedding went after it has happened. In the meantime if you have any recommendations or would like to share what you would do or if you are married, how did you manage sustainability in your wedding?

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