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Eco-minded Couple’s ‘greenest Wedding’ Features Pre-loved Outfits And Tree Planting

British couple ties the knot with reduced carbon footprint to align with their values
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An eco-minded couple got hitched in one of ‘Britain’s greenest weddings’ by wearing pre-loved outfits, planting trees and using biodegradable cutlery.

Chris Payne, 50, and Rachel Longbottom, 44, tied the knot on July 16 at a site that grows trees and grass used to produce green ‘biomass’ energy.

The couple say they wanted their wedding to have a reduced carbon footprint to “resonate with their values.”

The bride and groom were flanked by 70 newly planted trees as they walked down the eucalyptus chip-lined aisle.

Chris and Rachel both wore pre-loved outfits – with Chris wearing his son’s suit from a firefighter’s parade and Rachel buying her dress from a charity shop.

Table placemats and coasters were made from wood chippings and waste trimmings from the plantation, whilst hay bales from a local farmer were used as tables and a “huge” sofa for photo opportunities.

Guests were asked to plant a tree – either on site or at home – and wooden cutlery and crockery were also used, as well as hessian-lined biodegradable table covers.

And in a bid to reduce fuel consumption, the majority of the 25 guests car-shared and planted trees for the excess fuel.

The ceremony was held at the GI/Biomass Connect Hub Site Plantation, in the Chiltern Hills, England.

Biomass is organic matter used to produce energy.

Carbon-neutral wedding: Chris and Rachel walk down a row of trees that they planted in April. JOSPEH WALSHE/SWNS 

All food was sourced from local farm shops, with salads grown at the plantation and charcoal from the BBQ made from wood grown at the venue.

Even the newlyweds’ wedding cake was given the eco-friendly treatment and adorned with eucalyptus and willow.

Chris, a car salesperson, originally from north-west London but now living in Aylesbury, said: “You’ve only got to look at the news at the minute and the weather.

“The heatwaves going over Europe, the hottest summer on record last year, flooding in areas that have never had flooding before.

“We just thought if we’re going to do this, we have to do it properly.

“The starting point of this was reasonably recently when we first started planting the walkway for us to walk through.

“And trying to reduce the carbon footprint of what we do with people coming was key.

“I think it’s important to Rach and me that we hadn’t chopped trees down especially for this.

“It was brash that had been cut down and chipped and nothing was felled and destroyed.”

Chris and Rachel both decided to wear pre-worn outfits – and even asked guests to follow suit.

Chris said: “My son’s a firefighter and it’s the same as he wore from a parade.

“Where possible we asked the guests to wear what they’ve worn before as opposed to going out and buying something new.

“My mom wore an outfit she’s worn before and my daughter Chloe and son-in-law to be David also wore things they’ve worn before.

“In the middle of the cost-of-living crisis, I think it’s gone a long way.

“We’d rather someone came in shorts and flip flops and be comfortable than wear something they’ll wear once.”

The couple are friends with the owners of the plantation and knew the venue was the right place for them.

Chris said: “It wasn’t difficult to find an eco-friendly place when you’re best friends with someone who runs something so eco-friendly – hence why he’s just won an award at the renewable energy awards.

Rachel, who works at the co-op – her first job for over 10 years because of her epilepsy – originally from west Yorkshire, now living in Aylesbury, added: “The carbon footprint and the effects it’s going to have on the planet and what we are saving is what I’m most proud of.

“If you see a lot of weddings or go to a lot of weddings there must be so much waste and damage to the planet.”

After tying the knot at the Beaconsfield Registry Office, the couple were carried over by tractor to the plantation.

There they walked down their tree-lined aisle and sat down for a locally sourced meal.

When it comes to the decorations on the table, Rachel said: “We had eucalyptus chip decorations on the plates and the plates for the top table were ceramic but pre-used.”

Chris added: “We also had table decorations of potted mini willow trees to ask the guests to plant a tree at home or on the plantations.”

They swapped a DJ for their own playlist and Bluetooth speaker, and the flowers featured eucalyptus incorporated into the bouquets.

Chris admitted that whilst some plastic had to be used, they made sure to use biodegradable options.

He said: “Where possible it was all biodegradable or recyclable plastic glasses.

“There was a huge recycling plan going on behind the scenes.

“Anything that couldn’t be composted will be composted to go back into the plantation or in our garden.

“Any glasses bottles will go away to be cleaned and then sterilized and ground down for compost.”

Having an almost completely eco-friendly wedding might seem difficult to achieve, but Chris says “When in the mindset of it, it becomes easier.”

He added: “The things that you do have to buy, and there are things that Rachel wanted that you can’t make out of willow and eucalyptus, but as long as when you’re ordering things they are biodegradable and recyclable, then it’s not too bad at all really.”

They’ve also been able to save some money with the set-up of the event, though say the locally sourced food can be pricey.

Chris said: “We’ve been really lucky with the community up at Asheridge where the farm is.

“Things like the straw and hay were kind of like almost being borrowed.

“Whereas with a traditional wedding, you might hire out a hall and then tables and chairs – we’ve not had to do any of that.

“The food that we used was probably a little more expensive than going into a shop but on the flipside, we know it’s the best quality and it’s not been driven a million miles to get to us.”

The newlyweds say they have no plans to stop with the eco-friendly events, with their honeymoon set to follow a similar pattern.

Chris said: “We’re going down to a glamping pod in Cornwall with outdoor cooking facilities.

“We’ll be grabbing some charcoal from the farm and taking that down with us and we’ve already found the local farm shop which is about three miles away.”

Looking back on their special day, Chris said: “It was massively rewarding and I think for us it was a bit of a whirlwind so it’ll be great to see the photos of the day.

Rachel added: “It’s definitely about making memories and the fact that all of the guests will be planting and growing their trees is something that wouldn’t happen normally.”

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

Edited by and

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