As someone deeply conscious about how we need to reduce our impact on the environment, I embarked on the mission to create our wedding with a minimal carbon footprint. With a bit of creativity and a lot of help from God, we made our green wedding in Singapore a reality. Today, I’m excited to share how we managed to plan a sustainable wedding and inspire others to do the same.
We had our The Starry Night themed wedding at The Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator, also known as The Armenian Church, the first ever church planted in Singapore. Located at 60 Hill Street, it is a central location for many and conveniently located near City Hall and Clarke Quay MRT Station. We opted for a garden lunch reception on the premises, under an open air tent which comfortably accommodated 180 guests.
Organising lunch outside an F&B establishment certainly meant greater logistics management and higher costs, and we did not use a wedding planner in order to save money. However as a whole we tried to keep the day’s proceedings as minimal as possible by omitting practices we deemed unnecessary. Such as the “gatecrash”, flower children, confetti, bridal car, groomsmen and bridesmaids. We did have a simple tea ceremony on the premises before the church wedding though.
In total we spent just under $35,000 (including attire, hair and make up), which is a bit on the high end considering the number of guests and how church weddings are typically cheaper to organise. But renting a national monument comes at a cost, however it was the tentage and furnishings that were the largest cost, followed by food. There was also a last minute add-on of flooring due to the muddy grounds, which set us back around $3,200, but one must always expect the unexpected when organising events outdoors.
Our key considerations:
This wedding was not about us, instead it was about the people in our lives we wanted to thank and celebrate. We wanted a lively atmosphere and to honour God through the entire process. These were the key considerations of the day:
- A church wedding and lunch reception in the same venue so it was convenient for everyone
- The food had to be delicious even though it was a buffet
- The worship music had to be fantastic
- Everyone had to be comfortable, feel seen, be well fed, and have fun
- Great atmosphere
My key environmental goals:
First of all, we agreed we would try to be cut out anything we found excessive, such as confetti, which would also require cleaning up, and a bridal car, so we would not need flowers for this purpose. We did make an exception for the church, which is the house of God’s afterall, so we sought to dress up the pews and the podium at the front, where the pastor and officiant of our wedding would preach from. Other than a minimalist approach, these are the goals we focused on for a green wedding in Singapore:
- Close to zero food waste
- Generate as little trash as possible
- Use as little energy as possible
- Any single used items have to be recyclable, compostable, from a sustainable source (ideally no plastics) and/or can be repurposed
- Decor to double up as wedding favours, are optional for guests to keep, and can be taken home and further enjoyed
Here is a list of musicians and vendors we worked with for the wedding:
- Nanyang Inc – They work exclusively with The Armenian Church for tentage and infrastructure. From them, we rented tentage, chairs, tables with skirting, coolers, lighting, fans with carpeted flooring. They were responsive and professional, and made sure everything went smoothly.
- Friday’s Garden – Clare and her team were extraordinary! They delivered above and beyond what I was expecting, the guests also commented how beautiful the floral displays were. From them I ordered a bridal bouquet, hand corsages, boutonnières, aisle and podium flowers for the church.
- Ten Butter Fingers – Jenny baked us strawberry cupcakes, lemon drizzle minis and a 3-tiered pandan chiffon cake as our wedding cake. As the lunch was held outdoors, a cream cake would not have fared well under these conditions. So a pandan chiffon cake it was, and boy was it delicious! I even ordered it on a separate occasion – one cake each for my mother-in-law and myself – after the wedding because it is that good.
- The Shepherd’s Pie – Our favourite shepherd’s pie! They kindly blessed us with several trays in different flavours and it proved to be so popular, there was barely any left!
- Mr Biryani – This is my husband’s favourite biryani. We ordered a few flavours, including mutton, chicken and prawn, and this was snapped up in double quick time. The boss came down to serve the food because he enjoys this form of hospitality, what a nice personal touch!
- Chilli Manis – We catered from two separate menus – Peranakan Jewel and Flavours of Asia (mostly peranakan food). This was also very popular and we would highly recommend.
- Shinpuru – Eating from disposable plates was a no-no, so we opted for reusable plates, bowls, cups and cutlery. The service was fantastic and I would definitely recommend using them for your events!
- Musicians – The team included Miss Lou (singer), Daniel Chia (keyboardist), Isaac Ong (singer), Adele Wong (singer), Levan Wee (singer and groom!), Valerie Yeo (harpist), Grace Notes (cellist and violinist).
- Aesta Makeup – This came recommended from a friend. The make up artists we had were fabulous, in total we had 3. One for my mother, one for myself and we were pleasantly surprised when Esta herself came down to do my husband’s hair and make up. I was pleased with the end result, I received so many compliments for my final look, which was done by the lovely Jaclyn Tan.
- Photographers – The wonderful photographers from the event were Ang Wei Ming and Joshua Pwee. Wei Ming is Levan’s colleague and Joshua came recommended by him.
- Videographers – Our talented videographers were Isaac Tan and Xie Ming Feng, both are colleagues of Levan at the Thirst Collective. We requested they shoot footage but not put together the wedding reel for us as we will be doing it ourselves.
- BQueens – I’d highly recommend this bridal boutique! They have a wide range of gowns and I found the rates affordable. I paid $800 to rent my gown and was very pleased with the service overall.
- Gardant Farmboy – We gave away plants as wedding favours, and all basil seedlings were grown by Tony of Gardant Farmboy, who is a regular face at markets like Gardener’s Day Out.
- Unpossible Kitchen – This health food company is run by a good friend of mine who sadly was unable to attend the wedding. As a form of goodwill, she contributed several boxes of gluten-free organic edamame and black bean pasta and noodles as gifts for guests.
How we planned a Green Wedding in Singapore
For every vendor and product, we thought about how we could adopt eco elements without breaking the bank. Here are the areas where we worked on creating a green wedding in Singapore.
1. Ditching Single-Use for Sustainability
One of the first steps towards creating a greener wedding was to avoid disposable items. We collaborated with Shinpuru, a company known for leasing its crockery and cutlery, as well as dishwashing services. From them we rented reusable melamine cups, plates, bowls and stainless steel cutlery. Not only did this significantly reduce waste, but it also added a more distinguished feel compared to paper or plastic plates and other tableware. Yes it did drive up the cost since we paid just over $1500. This price includes labour for 3 people to assist with clearing food from plates at a designated cleaning station.
2. Blooming with Sustainable Decor
Instead of opting for the traditional cut flowers for table decor, we chose potted plants. They not only looked fresh and beautiful but could also be reused or given a home after the wedding. The decision helped us avoid imported flowers from outside of Southeast Asia, thus reducing the carbon footprint associated with transportation. This was also an affordable option compared to floral arrangements. For the numbering of tables, our signage was made using paper and bamboo satay sticks that I already had lying around at home, making it both an economical and eco solution. It could also be easily placed inside the soil of the potted plants.
3. Food Waste? Not On Our Watch
Food waste is a huge contributor to carbon emissions globally, so it was imperitive to us to avoid this as part of having a green wedding in Singapore. We reduced potential food waste from our event by providing eco-friendly, plastic-free takeout containers from Biopak for our guests. Any leftovers could be easily taken home, enjoyed later, and nothing got wasted. We encouraged our guests to take away the food, and we are proud to report that to our understanding, there was barely any food leftover and our families took home the rest. The containers were made using sugar cane pulp. While less hardy than plastics, it is home compostable so people can opt to do so if they wish.
4. Embracing the Outdoors
Our love for nature guided us to have an outdoor, garden wedding. We set up a large tent and used fans and air coolers instead of air-conditioning, significantly reducing energy consumption. It helped that there was a natural breeze that day, with low humidity. One thing we learnt is to not have air coolers situated near a stall serving papadums because it kept blowing off people’s plates as they walked by, and we had an area with lots of crushed papadums on the floor.
5. The Conscious Buffet
Instead of a traditional sit-down banquet, we opted for a buffet. Our caterers mostly presented their food in stainless steel food trays or reusable containers. We also informed them not to bring disposable plates and cutlery since we had already organised to have reusable plates and tableware.
6. Thoughtful Wedding Favours
Wedding favours are a lovely tradition, but often they consist of items that may not be used or appreciated. We decided to give our guests plants, which also doubled as decor in our wedding venue. Not only were they a unique and reasonably long-lasting keepsake, but they could also be used to beautify our guests’ homes.
7. Sacred Blooms
We had cut flowers in the church, sourced from a florist committed to green values. Friday’s Garden did not disappoint, Clare understood that I did not want any oasis / floral foam, and instead used a reusable container and plastic tubes which I returned to her on a later date. To make it extra special, she incorporated floral elements harvested from my parent’s garden. What Clare and her team achieved was spectacular! It was important to us to beautify the house of God in a way that respected His creation and they totally knocked it out of the park. I would highly recommend them!
8. Circular Fashion Choices
I chose to rent a gown for the ceremony, ensuring that the dress could be used and appreciated by others in the future. For the lunch reception, I wanted to wear something comfortable because the truth is, it’s too difficult to use the toilet in the wedding gown! I wore a pre-loved dress that was already in my wardrobe, one which I swapped from The Fashion Pulpit. These choices were not just economical, but also a testament to my belief in sustainability and minimalism, because we should only use what we need. Making circular fashion choices is certainly a step in the right direction when planning to have a green wedding in Singapore.
9. Going Digital with Angpaos
Traditionally, giving red packets is a significant part of our culture. While we had an angpao box that was upcycled using a cardboard box and lovingly decorated with The Starry Night wrapping paper by our friend Pamela (see above), we gave the option for our guests to give red packets electronically. It was an easy and effective way to reduce paper usage and waste. At the wedding registration table, we had a standee with a QR code linked to our joint bank account for those who preferred to gift us an angpao electronically.
We are proud to share that our wedding was not only a celebration of our love but also of our shared commitment to the environment and God’s creation. It’s a small step towards a more sustainable future, and we hope to inspire more couples to consider green options when planning their big day.
Remember, every small effort counts, and together we can make a world of difference!
I hope you found this post about planning a green wedding in Singapore useful!
Main photo by Joshua Pwee