Sustainability Questions To Ask Your Wedding Vendors

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If sustainability is something that is important to you, then when it comes to planning your wedding day, you’re probably also thinking about how to make your day more sustainable.

Since you’re here, we’ll assume that you’ve already made one big sustainability choice, by planning a smaller, more intimate wedding or elopement. But when it comes to the vendors that you are hiring, if you are looking for people who share you values, then you might want to ask them these questions to make sure they align with your vision.

Sustainability Questions To Ask Your Wedding Vendors

To make sure you are hiring vendors who truly align with your vision for living more sustainably, here are 6 questions you can ask (either to ask them or to ask yourself when looking at their websites) to see if they are a good fit for you:

1. Are You Local?

This might seem like a really dumb and obvious question – but lots of vendors are using clever marketing tactics these days to appear in the search results for places they aren’t actually local to. It’s actually not unusual to find a photographer based in Arizona appearing in the search results when you are searching for an Iceland elopement photographer.

However, working with locals is the most sustainable choice. Not only does it support the local economy and give the areas that you are visiting, but it also means you aren’t adding more CO2 into the atmosphere flying someone around the world unnecessarily. But the biggest benefit is that you get access to their local knowledge and local connections. And believe me, I’ve heard so many horror stories where couples have brought in out-of-town photographers and things didn’t go as planned because they were given bad advice from someone not familiar with the area.

2. Do You Follow “Leave No Trace” and Responsible Outdoor Practices?

Many elopement photographers are becoming more aware of Leave No Trace, especially in the USA where many public lands are restricting access or reducing the amounts of permits offered. But Leave No Trace applies to everyone, everywhere when spending time outdoors and in nature.

And it’s not just your photographer or videographer that should be aware of LNT, but any of your wedding vendors who are involved in your day and might be in these wild locations with you.

3. Do You Have All The Required Permits or Visas Required To Work In Our Location?

We live in a global community where you can be searching for a wedding photographer in Iceland, and your search results give you people who are based in the USA. This is pretty common. Many business are pretty savvy when it comes to getting found on Google, but just because they are showing up in the search results, it doesn’t mean they are actually local – or have the legal permissions to work in your location. Unfortunately, many destination vendors will work on tourist visas. Not only is this not allowed in many places, but it can really harm the local economy, taking jobs away from vendors who live in these places.

At the European Elopement Guide, we strongly advocate for hiring local vendors for your destination wedding in Europe, but we know that sometimes you’ll have a location that doesn’t have the vendors you want locally.

When you are hiring vendors for your wedding team, if they aren’t local, ask them to confirm if they have the legal right to work in your destination, and whether they will be applying for any visas or permits.

Photo by Sophie Brioudes

4. Do You Work With Diverse Couples?

Social and cultural sustainability are important aspects of sustainability. For your vendors, one of the things that will help you see if they support diversity and equality is in their portfolio, whether that’s on their website or social media channels.

Do they show a wide range of people, including diversity in gender, ethnicity, age and ability?

Does their website use inclusive language?

If you can’t answer these questions just by looking around their online presence, it’s maybe a question that you want to ask them directly.

5. What Are Your Own Personal Sustainability Actions?

If vendors are claiming to be a sustainable business, or to value sustainability on their website, then it’s fair to ask them what actions they are taking to be more sustainable. These may be actions like reducing their travel, only working locally or supporting to charitable causes.

6. Can You Help Me Find More Sustainable Options For My Wedding?

If you are working with sustainability-savvy vendors, then they should be able to help you with more sustainable options for your wedding. Whether that’s connecting you with other local, sustainable vendors, helping you find more sustainable accommodation options, suggesting experiences that support local communities, or helping you choose more sustainable wedding attire, they should be able to help you make sure your day isn’t just memorable for you, but also better for the planet.

Related reading:
Eco-Friendly Wedding Stationary
Ethical Jewelry Guide
How to pay overseas wedding suppliers

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