Newlyweds are to be offered a unique gift to help reduce the environmental impact of their nuptials – a tree.
Wedding photographer Lauren McGuiness, owner of Lauren May Photos based in Carlisle, has always been a fierce advocate for making environmentally friendly choices but she is now taking it a step further by planting a tree for every couple who use her services in a wood near Alston.
A lot of photographers will give their clients USB sticks with photos of their special day, but they often get put in a drawer and forgotten about.
Lauren said: “I just thought ‘that’s really wasteful,’ so I looked into the production of my USBs and they were travelling far and wide as they were being made in different countries.
“That’s not really what I should be doing for my business and for my couples.
“I wondered if there was somewhere local where I could dedicate trees for people.”
The typical wedding can produce up to 14.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Lauren is also taking other steps to ensure her photography business is making a positive impact.
She is also signed up to Ecologi which plants trees in forests across the world to offset personal or business carbon emissions. But she wanted to be able to plant trees in Cumbria too.
So, now the couples she photographs have a lasting memento from their big day that they can wander around and see.
She does this through local business Memotrees and has her own plot that will eventually grow into an avenue packed with trees.
“It took a lot of searching, there are a lot of businesses online that you can do it with but for me local is important,” she said.
“Supporting people who are going through similar things that you are in that sort of industry.”
This is a big year for Lauren as her photography business is celebrating a milestone birthday.
It was 10 years ago that she officially set-up Lauren May Photos, although it was called Lauren McGuiness Photography until very recently.
In 2019, Lauren quit her full time job to fully dedicate her time to her photography business but unfortunately that was derailed by COVID-19.
She had 28 weddings booked in for 2020 but only three were able to go ahead.