In case you don’t inhale royal gossip on Vanity Fair like I do (sorry, it’s not high-minded guys, sometimes I need escapism), Princess Eugenie is the younger daughter of Prince Andrew, the younger son of Queen Elizabeth II. I don’t recommend mindlessly worshipping royals simply because they have crown jewels and nice hair–after all, this *is* the 21st century, and aren’t we supposed to prize values like equality and justice more than bloodlines?
But Princess Eugenie really does seem like a breath of fresh air: the 28-year-old has a job (gasp!) as a director of international art gallery Hauser & Wirth. (Okay, so that’s posh, but still.) She posts photos of her pets, #tbt family pics, and even a video clip of Friends on Instagram–so normal! She has co-founded an anti-slavery initiative to bring light to the 46 million people who are trapped under modern slavery.
As the ninth in line to the throne, Eugenie is free to make bolder, more “political” statements than Princes William and Harry and their respective spouses. I’ve long been disappointed that aside from supporting conservation in Africa, the Cambridges and the Sussexes seem to be willfully avoiding environmental advocacy. Climate change, plastic pollution, and indeed, veganism are not “political” insofar as these issues affect *everyone*, regardless of their creed, nationality, gender, and economic status. But they are thought to be more polarizing, and so the royal family stays out of making statements.
But Princess Eugenie breaks from the ranks by making plastic pollution one of her cri-de-coeur causes. Recently she became an Ambassador of Project 0, a global movement that aims to make 30% of the oceans under protection by 2030, clean up its plastics, and restore biodiversity. (Currently, less than 3% of oceans is protected).
This isn’t just lip service, either. In a recent interview with British Vogue, Eugenie says her wedding planning has been “consumed by her mission to make her life plastic-free.” And that includes her forthcoming wedding to hospitality entrepreneur Jack Brooksbank: “My whole house is anti-plastic now–and Jack and I want our wedding to be like that as well.”
Tips for hosting a plastic-free wedding
- Use silver (gold or bronze) cutlery. It’s far chicer than disposable plastic anyway! Ditto plates, cups, and champagne flutes–glass, porcelain, china, ceramic, and crystal items can make a stunning place setting, and renting sets is a often relatively affordable option.
- Give mindful favors. Treat guests to something they can enjoy multiple times or something that is biodegradable–seeds to plant a tree or flowers, pretty linen bags for knickknacks, fair-trade dark chocolate wrapped in paper…
- Have frank discussions with your vendors. Ask decorators, caterers, and florists if they use plastic (especially single-use plastic) as a part of their service. Brainstorm ways to avoid or minimize the use of plastic garbage bags–and just skip the plastic flowers, balloons, and single-use bubble tubes.
- DIY. Have something unique in mind but not sure where to buy a plastic-free version? Get creative and DIY–whether that’s little table signs or a large decor piece.
- Consider use post-wedding. When you’re planning decor, renting and buying second-hand are often excellent options. If you do buy new, make sure you’re getting something that you can use in your married life–not just on your wedding day.
- Make a note on your invites. Inform guests that you’re planning a plastic-free wedding and would prefer that they make a donation to a charitable cause of your choice in lieu of giving you a gift. For those doting family members who insist on giving you something, request that it align with your environmental values–and no plastic wrapping or plastic gift cards, please!
Ready to take the cue from Princess Eugenie and plan a royal(ly sustainable) wedding of your own, sans plastic?
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