Choosing a wedding venue is often one of the first decisions a recently engaged couple will make. As an award-winning barn wedding venue and one of Cambridgeshire’s favourite eco-wedding venues, we thought we’d share our top tips on how to hold the perfect wedding day that is also as kind as possible to the planet.
We’ve included some of the sustainable initiatives we have in place at South Farm as well as some great tips from our planning team on simple but effective things couples can do to reduce the carbon footprint of their wedding day!
When researching wedding venues make sure you talk about food and menus. Food is a really important part of the wedding day – after all it’s the first meal you’ll share together as a married couple! Find out if the venues you’re considering are growing their own food or sourcing locally and sustainably.
At South Farm we home grow around 250 different varieties of fruit, vegetables and herbs in our very own small-holding. What isn’t cooked fresh from the garden is preserved for sauces, compotes and juices. Our orchard provides an abundance of fruit and our free-range chickens give us all of our eggs. Over-winter storage for crops such as squash, onions and garlic mean these can be used in our menus all year round. We pick elderflower in the Summer to make delicious cordial, perfect for soft drinks or a bubbly Elderlini and our home-grown apples are pressed locally into the apple juice we serve. Our organic farming methods remove the need for any chemical fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides. Menus are adapted seasonally to reflect what is growing on the farm.
South Farm Top Tip! Make talking to your venue about food a big priority! Look for venues that are growing their own food or sourcing from local food producers. The provenance of our food is ever more important and venues with a field to fork ethos will contribute to a lower carbon footprint with lower food miles, less packaging and less refrigeration costs. Venues who are committed to growing their own or sourcing locally grown produce are also more likely to offer seasonal menus guaranteeing you the freshest, most delicious wedding food, whatever time of year you get married!
Holding your wedding ceremony and your reception all in the same place removes the need for any transport between the two. Consider venues who can host both your ceremony and your reception. South Farm has five licensed spaces for ceremony and can accommodate up to 145 guests for dining and 250 for an evening party. We can offer faith ceremonies and blessings as well as civil ceremonies.
Eco-friendly doesn’t stop at the end of the day either – we also offer onsite accommodation in the form of Romany caravans, beautiful B&B rooms and camping options, for the more flexible. No extra travel needed here!
South Farm Top Tip! – Choose a venue that can accommodate both your ceremony and reception that also has a choice of overnight accommodation for your guests meaning less miles andtravelling time and lower fuel costs! For those who do need to drive, suggest car sharing to your guests or consider hiring a coach or minibus for journeys to and from your venue. Sharing journeys reduces transport costs per head and will help to lower fuel output and carbon emissions.
Wedding Planning & Venue Meetings
We welcome couples booking a South Farm wedding to visit us as many times as they wish in the lead up to their big day. However, if travel or work commitments make visiting your venue in person difficult why not ask if you venue offers the chance to meet virtually?
At South Farm we can accommodate virtual show rounds and online planning meetings which allow couples more flexibility and help with diary pressures, fuel costs and carbon emissions. Although of course we do love seeing you in person too!
South Farm Top Tip! Ask your venue about the flexibility offered for meetings and visits and the opportunity to meet with the wedding planning team both in person and online.
Getting married outside means your guests are warmed by the sun and your ceremony is lit by beautiful natural light alone! At South Farm you can get married in the garden Summer House between March and October. Guests are seated on the lawns to watch the wedding ceremony – but rest assured there is a choice of a further four indoor spaces just in case weather dictates!
South Farm Top Tip! – Make a shortlist of wedding venues and check out their choice of ceremony areas – make sure they have something to suit your style and your guest numbers. If you have always had your heart set on getting married outside don’t give up on your dream – lots of venues have both indoor and outdoor options – you can check out South Farm’s choice of ceremony spaces here
Did you know? Glitter confetti can take 1,000 years to completely biodegrade on earth. Just think about that for a moment. Here at South Farm, we supply dried rose petals which are 100% biodegradable. Taking this one step further in the Summer months we grow our own gorgeous red roses and dry out the petals just so that your guests can use them as natural confetti.
South Farm Top Tip! – Always choose biodegradable confetti – it’s pretty and an easy eco-friendly win! A lot of churches and venues now insist on this so make sure your guests know to only use the good stuff! At South Farm we supply dried rose petals for every wedding ceremony so there is no need for guests to bring their own.
We are seeing more and more of our couples choosing sustainable decorations for their wedding day, think re-usable, homemade, second hand, or hired in decoration like bunting, ribbon, macramé and paper lanterns. Choose eco-friendly fabrics and finishes to suit your style and theme.
South Farm Top Tip! – Search for gorgeous re-usable decorations online. You may find decorations that are pretty and suit your theme for a fraction of the price that can be used time and time again. Check out local buy / sell groups on Facebook or exploring the listings on Facebook Marketplace or Free Cycle.
Venue Finishing Touches
We also have a great selection of venue items our couples can use free of charge on their wedding day. Our rustic log slices look great with herb pots or pretty potted plants as table centre pieces and also make a pretty, rustic cake stand to display your wedding cake. Wooden Easels for your table plan and welcome sign and Table Number stands are included within the venue hire.
South Farm Top Tip! – Think about using decorative details from nature and incorporate them into your wedding style. For example, use leaves, acorns, pinecones, pumpkins or fruits. Oranges, lemons or lime make great name places for your guests to find their seat and the wedding dinner. Simple herb pots or succulents make great centre pieces, are a fraction of the cost of flowers, and are living gifts you can give to your guests or take home to enjoy after your wedding day!
When it comes to favours there are some great, green ideas your guests will love. Biodegradable seeds to plant in your garden, potted succulents, mini saplings, natural wildlife ‘Seed Bombs’ or home-made favours such as natural soy wax or organic candles or home-made preserves or confectionary are just a few.
South Farm Top Tip! – Guests love unique favours so think green when choosing your favours – your guests will love having a lasting reminder of your wedding day. Another fantastic idea is a charitable donation made on behalf of each of your guests – it really is the gift that keeps on giving!
Look for a florist who uses organically grown flowers without the use of pesticides and chemicals and ask them to create floral arrangements for you that use only seasonal, local flowers. That way your flowers will look fresh and pretty but will have had less storage, refrigeration and transportation time.
Have a chat with your florist about ways in which you can re-use your floral displays throughout the day for example using the flowers from your Ceremony on your Top Table during the wedding dinner or using your bridesmaid’s bouquets as your table centrepieces for your wedding meal.
Top Tip – talk to your venue about their recommended suppliers list and whether they have a choice of sustainable florists. Our recommended suppliers list includes environmentally aware and organically focused florists who use seasonal, locally grown flowers and foam-free floral displays. Our Florist suppliers are listed here
Stationery – Save trees by using paperless save the dates and wedding invitations or set up a wedding website with online invitations and all the details of your day on the web! If you prefer the idea of a traditional printed invitation, then look for suppliers who offer environmentally friendly paper choices!
Top Tip – Look for stationery suppliers using eco-friendly paper options – from production to disposal, eco friendly paper has fewer negative effects on the environment. It also has a lower carbon footprint than traditional paper. Look for Recycled, FSC Certified paper or even Biodegradable hand-made ‘Flower Seed Paper’ which not only looks really pretty but can then be planted after the special day!
Shop with Ethical jewellery Suppliers – There are several companies who practice social responsibility, giving back to charity with their profits, trace the origin of all of their precious stones, and even use recycled gold in their jewellery pieces. Consider buying a vintage or antique wedding ring or, if you have a family ring or a precious stone, consider upcycling it into a new wedding band or engagement ring.
Top Tip! Find a jewellery designer who uses recycled or fair-trade metals or vintage and ethical stones to create unique wedding rings just for you that help to reduce the impact of buying new.
Makeup & Beauty
Look for vegan, cruelty-free beauty brands. The great news is, there are a lot of options for natural, organic & ethically made!
Top Tip! Consider make up brands that also use more sustainable packaging: plastic-free options, recyclables and re-usables. If you are using a makeup artist talk to them about the brands they use too!
We hope you have found our top tips for holding a more sustainable wedding useful.
Don’t forget to ask your wedding venue about their wider environmental policies and what steps they are taking to help reduce their carbon footprint and support biodiversity in their venue and their local community.
At South Farm we have a whole range of green policies that not only benefit the environment but also make for an even more beautiful wedding backdrop.
- Over the years we have planted over 1000 indigenous hardwood trees, heritage orchards and kilometres of hedgerow, creating diverse wildlife habitats. Our pretty wildflower meadows provide essential food and homes for bees and other wildlife and also provide the most beautiful wedding backdrop!
- We are able to keep our gardens and lawns beautifully green and lush, even in the dry summer months because, some time ago, we installed our own sustainable water source, used for flushing, irrigating our crops and watering our lawns, meaning your wedding day backdrop will always look stunning, no matter the weather!
Sustainability at South Farm doesn’t stop there – we are proud of the environmentally friendly policies we have in place for energy, waste management and recycling too – they all help to reduce our carbon footprint and make our wedding venue a greener place for all of our couples and their guests to enjoy. You can read more details about our eco-friendly policies here and how we always strive to be as sustainable as we possibly can. Simply put, if mother nature made wedding venues, we’re sure she’d approve of ours!
If you would like to discuss sustainable choices you can make for your wedding day then don’t hesitate to contact our green, friendly team at South Farm 01223 207581 or email firstname.lastname@example.org