Wedding lists go green as couples tie knot later in life
Solar panels, water butts and charitable gifts are taking the place of toast racks and china tea sets
Sunday 08 February 2009
Couples now marry later in life than they used to, and when they do, they tend to have as many toasters and pasta makers as they need.
Now wedding guests are being confronted by new kinds of wedding lists which asks guests to stump up for the floorboards, walls and doors of the marital home instead. They may also be asked for "honeymoney", to throw cash into a "wishing well", or to donate to charity.
The most recent figures from the National Office of Statistics show that the average age to get married in the UK is 36.2 years for men and 33.6 for women – and couples have often cohabited before getting married. "This is the first list that enables you to build a home," said Colette Harris, editor of You and Your Wedding magazine.
The sustainable building firm Footprint Building supplies everything a couple might need to set up an eco-friendly home, from solar panels to water butts. "Green wedding lists are a great idea. What better way to mark your future together than helping to safeguard it for us all?" said Friends of the Earth's executive director, Andy Atkins.
While they might not damage the planet, these eco-friendly gifts will dent a guest's wallet. Solar panels cost £3,000-£5,000; a bespoke dining table is a more manageable £500 and a water butt is just £100.
"We hope that our service will tap into the traditional role of the wedding gift list long ago, which was for family and friends to help 'build' a new home for the newlyweds," said Ken Aylmer, managing director of Footprint Building. "Things like getting insulation done aren't glamorous, but people are moving away from buying impractical things."
"There is also a big trend towards cash," said Ms Harris. "People have been asking for vouchers for a while, and in the US people now have 'wishing wells'." Fake wishing wells are set up at the reception, with guests putting cash or cheques into the bucket and lowering them into the well.
Other couples are now getting honeymoons for free using "honeymoney" lists. But there has also been a corresponding rise in the number of couples choosing to forgo a traditional wedding list and asking their guests to donate to charity instead.
Cancer Research runs a campaign called Give in Celebration in which guests donate money on behalf of the couple, while people can choose to buy goats, toilets and classrooms for deprived communities courtesy of Oxfam Unwrapped's Wedding Lists.
"Charity gift lists are popular. Some people say that they feel so blessed and happy to be spending their life with the other person that they want to bring some happiness to other people too," Ms Harris said.
Solar thermal system (three panels): £4,700
Air source heat pump: £5,000
Rainwater harvesting system: £2,133.25
Engineered oak flooring: £30 per square metre
Bespoke dining table: £500
Eco-friendly paint: £17.99 a pot
Drug-resistant bacteria: Sewage-treatment plants described as giant 'mixing vessels' after scientists discover mutated microbes in British river
Big Butterfly Count: Members of British public turn scientists as survey gets under way
The top 10 weirdest animal mating rituals
The ugliest animals on earth: Blobfish, axolotl and proboscis monkey battle it out to be named least attractive beast
Wisborough Green becomes the first village in Britain to fight off fracking
- 1 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 2 Louis van Gaal gets tough with Manchester United players, with Darren Fletcher and Luke Shaw berated in public and Phil Jones left looking bemused
- 3 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 4 Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
- 5 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£40000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a...
£45000 - £65000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, ...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a global leader in the Oil &a...
£55000 - £450000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Consultant...