Bride and groom throw 'one of Britain's greenest weddings'
An eco-minded bride and groom have celebrated "one of Britain's greenest weddings" by wearing pre-loved outfits, planting trees and using biodegradable cutlery.
Chris Payne, 50, and Rachel Longbottom, 44, from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, wanted their wedding to have a reduced carbon footprint.
They tied the knot on July 16 at a plantation site which grows trees and grass used to produce green energy, walking down the eucalyptus chip lined aisle, which was flanked by 70 newly planted trees.
The couple also both wore pre-loved outfits - with Payne wearing his son's suit from a firefighter's parade and Longbottom buying her dress from a charity shop.
Table placemats and coasters were made from wood chippings and waste trimmings from the plantation, while hay bales from a local farmer were used as tables and a sofa for photo opportunities.
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Guests were asked to plant a tree - either on site or at home - and wooden cutlery and crockery were used, as well as hessian lined biodegradable table covers.
In a bid to reduce fuel consumption, the majority of the 25-strong party car-shared and planted trees to counteract the excess fuel.
Meanwhile all food was sourced from local farm shops, with salads grown at the wedding venue and charcoal from the BBQ made from wood also grown there.
Even the newlyweds' wedding cake was given the eco-friendly treatment and adorned with eucalyptus and willow.
"You've only got to look at the news and the weather at the moment," Payne, a car salesman, explains.
"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."
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Payne says the starting point for their eco-friendly wedding was planting the walkway for the couple to walk through.
"Trying to reduce the carbon footprint was also key," he explains.
"It was important to Rach and I that we hadn't chopped trees down especially for this - nothing was felled and destroyed."
Having both decided to wear pre-worn outfits for their special day, the couple asked guests to do the same.
"Where possible we asked guests to wear what you've worn before as opposed to going out and buying something new," Payne continues.
"We'd rather someone came in shorts and flip flops and be comfortable than wear something they'll wear once."
Longbottom says the couple were inspired to go for a more sustainable wedding after realising how much waste some weddings can cause to the planet.
"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," she says of their big day.
After tying the knot at the Beaconsfield Registry Office, the couple were transported by tractor to the venue, the GI/Biomass Connect Hub Site Plantation, in Buckinghamshire, which their friend owns.
"We had eucalyptus chip decorations on the plates and the plates for the top table were ceramic but pre-used," Longbottom continues.
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Payne adds: "We also had table decorations of potted mini willow-trees to ask the guests to plant a tree at home or on the plantations."
While the couple admit that some plastic had to be used in the celebration, they made sure to use biodegradable options.
"Where possible it was all biodegradable or recyclable plastic glasses," Payne explains.
"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 sterilised and ground down for compost."
Another benefit of their eco-friendly wedding was being able to save some money.
"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," Payne explains.
"The food that we used was probably a little more expensive than going into a shop but on the flip-side, we know it's the best quality and it's hasn't been driven a million miles to get to us."
The newlyweds say they plan on continuing their marriage in a similar sustainable style, with their honeymoon set to follow an eco-friendly pattern.
"We're going down to a glamping pod in Cornwall with outdoor cooking facilities," Payne says.
"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."
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