Fair trade gold and known source gems by Ash Hilton

When it comes to wedding planning, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the ‘must- haves’. Ask any wedding professional, and they will tell you the couples who enjoy their wedding the most are those that embrace simplicity. Somehow all the extra stuff leads to extra stress. As a bonus, by taking this approach you are already on your way to reducing your wedding’s footprint. Less stuff = less consumables = less waste.

So what does an eco-ethical wedding look like?

We believe that it can vary between each couple, determined by what is most meaningful to you. Bearing in mind that it could potentially drive you a little batty trying to source everything ethically and sustainably, we recommend aiming for progress not perfection. Remember, each time a couple has an eco-ethical wedding, you potentially inspire 100 more people, who will in turn make their own contribution towards to mindful living. Every little bit helps!

Circle of Love ceremony by Sarah Tolmie Life and Love

We like to think an eco-ethical wedding includes:

  • Consuming mindfully with care for our earth and people
  • Having an appreciation of the beauty in simplicity
  • From a place of gratitude giving a little something back

So you’re meeting with your wedding vendors…what questions can you ask to make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to sustainability?

Our tip is don’t be shy! The reason for this is that wedding suppliers are generally small, service based businesses who aim to please. More than likely you’ll be welcomed with an open mind and “let’s find out” approach. And if they have already begun the path into sustainability, they will have researched their supply chain and will have lots to say on the matter!

Fair trade gold and known source gems by Zoe Pook Jewellery

Organically grown flowers by Farmer-Florist Gooseberry Hill Farm

Here are some simple questions to get you started:

  1. Ask “where was this made/grown”?

Don’t be afraid to ask your dressmaker, jeweller or florist these questions. The sourcing of fabrics, gold, gems and flowers all have their own unique challenges. An eco-ethical conscious supplier will have worked hard to create networks of people they trust and perhaps have even visited the area of production for their own peace of mind. We recommend reading the Mindfully Wed E-Guide to familiarise yourself with the particular issues within each industry.

  1. Consider how can we reduce waste?

With some creativity and a thoughtful approach, you can do your bit to extend the life of your wedding consumables. Explore re-gifting the flowers following the wedding day, or use potted plants instead of florals. Ask your venue if they recycle or compost. Other ideas include using e-invites, bamboo disposables, or giving your bridal party the freedom to wear whatever they want, and are likely to wear again.

Relaxed bridal party wear by Sandra Henri Photography

Relaxed bridal party wear by Sandra Henri Photography

Photo by Sandra Henri Photography

  1. Consider how your wedding can benefit your local community?

Try to source local, organic and support the little guy. There are so many part-time wedding businesses that do a little happy dance every time they get a booking!

  1. How is this going to benefit our relationship?

Remember the only things you really need to get married, are two people in love, and an awesome celebrant who will create the atmosphere of your day, and help you set the intentions for your marriage. The rest is optional. Set free one layer of wedding ‘must-haves’ and donate to a cause, or invest in relationship coaching; the happiness of these far outlasting your wedding day.

If you’d like to learn more about planning an eco-ethical wedding, grab our Mindfully Wed E-Guide, which shares all our combined industry knowledge. Our goal is that you go about your wedding planning, confirmed in your desire to tread lightly, celebrating something bigger than ourselves, all in the name of love.

Go you change-maker!

Ms Zebra Says: I’ve definitely taken on board ALL of what I’ve read this month – what great ways and ideas to simply help the world!!! Thanks Sandra for more ways to go a little ethical, a little green!

About Sandra Henri of Less Stuff More Meaning: Sandra has been a wedding and family photographer for more than ten years, now specialising in small, intimate weddings.

Through her time in the industry, Sandra has witnessed a trend towards consumerism and extravagance that she feels has detracted from what’s truly important – both in marriage and the world at large. Meanwhile a mid-life “opportunity” took hold, leading Sandra to fulfil a long held dream of volunteering in Africa as a photojournalist. Unsurprisingly, Sandra returned from her experience in Malawi with a whole new lens and life direction.

The stark contrast between these two worlds stirred Sandra’s passion for social change. Inspired by couples who were scaling back and giving back through their weddings, Sandra felt drawn to inspire a new wedding culture around eco-ethical weddings.

Over time, and with countless contributions from others, her philosophy of Less Stuff – More Meaning has grown into the development of Australia and New Zealand’s first eco-ethical wedding hub.