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by Emma Hla

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Image by Xander & Thea.

I’ll keep this intro short and sweet, mostly because there’s just so much goodness from Lizzie at Wedding Yurts in this feature below.

Wedding Yurts are without doubt once of our most popular ‘venues’ and our couples love the flexibility and alternative approach a yurt brings to their wedding. However our very own nomad Lizzie is very aware of the footprints we all leave when it comes to creating our big days and in this post she explores some fab eco ideas for those brides looking for a stylish yet sustainable celebration.

Your Guide To Truly Long-Lasting Style With Wedding Yurts

Lizzie:

Well hello and I have to say that I couldn’t be more excited to be with you today. Not only is Coco Wedding Venues one of my absolute favourite resources for all things wedding but I’m talking about sustainable wedding style in this feature and this is something I’m super passionate about.

But, before I leap into sustainable and stylish tips and tricks, perhaps I should explain a little bit about Wedding Yurts and how we try to tred as lightly as possible at all of the amazing weddings we’re part of because if you’re looking to soothe your eco-conscience when it comes to you own wedding, you might be able to take a few ideas from us:

Wedding Yurts is a one-of-a-kind travelling wedding venue. Our handcrafted yurts (all made from local, sustainable woodlands) are lovingly built the old-fashioned way with hand tools and time-honoured techniques. The canvases that cover the wooden frames are made from natural cotton and the yurts themselves are all finished with eco products. We’re always keen to work with and promote like-minded, environmentally conscious wedding suppliers.

As we travel around, literally bringing everything you need for your wedding to you, we work really hard to leave no trace. We leave places and venues just as we found them and we recycle everything we can. We also buy as much as possible in each locale so we’re supporting small local businesses and suppliers as well as making the most of each region we visit.

I also LOVE styling our yurt weddings and coming up with new and fabulous ideas for our couples, all of which are luxurious and sustainable. My style is, as you might expect, really down to earth and natural with huge seasonal influences. There’s something very special about creating the extraordinary from the things that surround you and here are just a few thoughts for your own wedding:

Local, British & Seasonal Flowers

I’m a massive fan of flowers because they work so well in our yurts and, of course, florals are an integral part of any wedding. In my opinion, wild and natural arrangements are always the most beautiful and they bloom with character in a way that the hybrids that are flown half way around the world just don’t. With so many flowers being airfreighted in to the UK or shipped overland from Holland, wedding flowers can sometimes hurt the planet as well as your pocket.

Instead, when you choose seasonal and local flowers, you’re supporting local growers and getting the best, fresh blooms for your big day. When I’m working on styling plans for our weddings, I always include seasonal flowers because nature and the great outdoors plays such a big part in every celebration.

Practically, question your florist about the provenance of your wedding flowers and, if you’re doing them yourself, look for flower farms in your area where you can pick your own blooms.

Also, think about ways that you can make the most of your flowers. Could you use your ceremony flowers again at your reception..? Could your bouquet be used to decorate a cake table..? At the end of the night, could you give your flowers away to friends and family so they’re enjoyed for as long as possible rather than being thrown away..?

All the little things make a big difference.

Plants

Moving on from flowers, I have to talk about plants because as sustainable beauty goes, it really doesn’t get better than this! I love the botanical style of plants and they instantly liven up a space. Not only that but they’ll also last forever if you look after them!

Old terracotta pots filled with herbs also look great and make your space smell lovely. I’ve created seasonal tablescapes with pots of the sweetest-smelling herbs alongside potted plants and the effect was fabulous – the scents and colours were so lush and vibrant. This botanical luxe trend will continue to be big news in 2017 and I can’t wait!

Props

Over the last few years, it’s become more and more usual for couples to use large-scale props as they style their weddings. Ladders, shelves, chairs and lights are just a few of the options and that’s before we even start talking about glasses, crockery and cutlery. However, buying everything you want for just one day isn’t always the best idea. Instead, work with stylists, like myself, who’ll let you have access to their own prop collection. I love delving into my stores for couples and then continuing to reuse items time and time again.

Food & Drink

A great feast is the ultimate wedding luxury and again, it can be sustainable and delicious if you plan ahead. Look for caterers who source their ingredients locally and create menus based around the seasons. Do you really want lamb on your wedding menu when it’s been shipped from New Zealand..? We’ve worked with some fabulous caterers of late who’ve conjured up the most delicious menus from food that’s given the wedding guests a real treat as well as providing them with a sense of the region and the season.

At Wedding Yurts, we’re also really well known for our signature cocktails and our rather spectacular bar. We go out of our way to search out local crafts beers, ales and ciders as well as juices and non-alcoholic options and there’s no reason why you can’t do the same for your wedding too. Local producers will be happy to help and farm shops often love to get involved with weddings. UK sparkling wine is also a better (and some would say tastier!) option than imported fizz and more and more vineyards are springing up across the country, the majority of which sell directly to consumers.

When it comes to our cocktails, we always create them with locally sourced spirits and ingredients. Our new winter cocktail contains gin sourced locally from Thatchers in Somerset and again, it links your wedding with a time and place in the most luxurious way. This cocktail, Spicy Winter Gimlet, uses Thatchers’ newly launched apple gin as well as homemade cardamom and rose syrup along with some freshly chopped chilli. It’s decorated with rose petal ice cubes and radish plus a squeeze of lime. It’s so delicious!

Lastly, under the food or drink category, I want to mention wedding favours and, in my experience, it’s best to give your guests something that they can eat or drink on the day. Small bottles of homemade liqueurs to pimp their bubbly, local chocolates or even biscuits to snack on work really well and can also double up as place names. Favours that have been bought for guests to take home all too often get left behind, unintentionally I’m sure, but after dancing and cocktails, it’s easy to forget them at the end of the party and those little gifts you’ve thought so much about are just wasted.

Outfits & Accessories

Your wedding dress is, of course, a huge investment in terms of cash and emotion. I always think it’s such a shame that after that one day, your gown is highly unlikely to be worn again and it’s a travesty that your beloved wedding dress is a ‘for one day only’ item of clothing.

Instead, how about embracing the growing trend for coloured gowns or even bridal separates..? With a coloured dress, you know you’ll be able to find occasions to wear it again and there’s nothing to stop you having it altered into a more wearable style. Similarly, with bridal separates, you can mix and match the top and skirt with other pieces from your wardrobe to create a look that’s less bridal but is equally luxurious for those special occasions.

Also, do think about your accessories too. Again, check where the metals and gemstones have come from, where the pieces were made and how they’ve been transported. We have so many talented artisans in the UK producing exquisite accessories from well-sourced materials so there’s no need to look elsewhere for your jewellery. Fair-trade gemstones are just so beautiful and when you know that beauty hasn’t been achieved at the expense of others, they’re all the more wonderful.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little look at sustainable and luxurious wedding ideas. I know that we won’t save the world on our own but every effort we make contributes to the bigger picture. And, on a day when your life changes, doesn’t it make sense to try and create a day that’s all about a better future for everyone..?

You can discover Wedding Yurts and all that they offer in our Venue Finder right here.

Lots of love…

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