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

A A A

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.

Green gifts

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

Suggested Topics
Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Javascript Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a...

FLEX Developer

£45000 - £65000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, ...

SAP GRC Architect / Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a global leader in the Oil &a...

SAP Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £45,000 - £55,000. Wakefield

£55000 - £450000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Consultant...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn