Image via Nina Hamilton Photography
It is often assumed that an eco-friendly wedding entails a compromise in style, yet it’s actually the opposite! Eco-ethically focussed suppliers are usually small businesses, creating by hand and with love, or with materials that aren’t available on a larger scale.
Farmer-Florists may grow heirloom flowers that aren’t ordinarily available. A sustainable dress designer might work with unique vintage fabrics, silks and laces. Ethical jewellers will create bespoke pieces by hand, and can even recreate old family jewellery into a new, one of a kind piece.
Yes, green and gorgeous do go hand in hand. So why not plan a wedding that is uniquely you, feels aligned with your values, and at the same time, doesn’t cost the earth?!
Here are some of Less Stuff – More Meaning’s favourite eco-wedding ideas:
- Simplicity and substance:
Laura and Chris aligned their values of living simply into every aspect of their wedding. They planned a day using the things they already had, to celebrate their love story in an environment which evoked their full sense of life and love in its most authentic and natural state.
“We avoid single use plastics, we buy second hand, we always recycle and up-cycle before we ever consider a purchase for something new, we juggle only having one car and buy our produce as locally as we can. We couldn’t justify spending our life savings on a “one day memory”.
Laura wore her late-Mother’s wedding dress, paired with a second-hand dress from Gumtree, and Chris wore op-shop shoes, and a custom made jacket. As lovers of nature and looking after the planet, the couple chose a caterer who grows their own veggies to reduce food miles, and composted on site. Tables and chairs laid out on the lawn meant the atmosphere stayed relaxed, community focused, and natural.
The newly weds wanted to give back to their local and global community as much as possible during their day, and were able to give back through their celebrant Zena Lythgo’s practice of donating 5% of the celebrant fee to SisterWorks, a nonprofit organisation.
Image via Laura & Chris
- Eco-friendly Bridal Wear
An eco-wedding for Alex and Rohan meant that if something new was needed, it had to be either reusable, long-lasting and/or sustainable. And wow did they knock it out of the park! Alex’s dress was designed and made by Hobart-based Sue Hall of Shall Design. The fabric was a vintage linen table cloth, and their 1 yo daughter had a smock and bloomers made from the same fabric.
Whilst Rachel incorporated the fabric of her grandmother’s wedding dress to be re-fashioned into her unique gown, which had all the feels!
Images 2-6 via Ona Janzen
Images 7-8 via Nina Hamilton
- Local and Seasonal Florals
Amber and Bridget took a low-key approach to their wedding florals. They bought their flowers direct from Woodbridge-based flower farmer, Lisa Kingston, who has a stall at Salamanca Market in Hobart on Saturdays. They arrived at 6.30am and picked a number of small bouquets of mixed flowers ($7.50 each!), larger bouquets of mixed flowers, and mixed green foliage/natives on the spot.
The wedding was on Sunday, and the flowers were still amazing a day later. Friends of the girls found driftwood and used the green foliage to make the beautiful hanging arbour for the ceremony as a wedding gift.
Image via Nina Hamilton
- Giving back
We love the idea of looking back fondly on your wedding day as having brought joy to others, and Kate and Pat took this to next level by paying it forward through their wedding. They asked their friends to choose from a selection of three favourite charities via bottle top vote, and then donated $10 per vote in lieu of wedding favours.
Image 10 via – Sandra Henri Photography
Images 11-12 via Jon Harris
- Memory making experiences over stuff
Kate and Pat wished to affirm the role of community and the web of love and connection that their union had created for everyone present. Celebrant Sarah Tolmie crafted a ceremony that included a memory making ‘Circle of Love’ around Kate and Pat. All their guests were instructed to surround and encircle them, reaching out to the person next to them and in front of them, connecting everyone back into the centre of the circle. Then they had to hug their way out. Fun!
Images 13-14 via Sandra Henri Photography
You’ll find lots more tips and inspo in the Mindfully Wed E-Guide. Here’s what Tanya, one of our readers had to say about the guide:
“What a refreshing approach to planning weddings. I had already come back to it a few times when I felt overwhelmed with options or unsure about what I want. It allowed me to focus on what matters, leave the unnecessary ideals that are not relevant to us, and most importantly, to remind me that I am not missing out by opting out of certain traditions. We just had our surprise wedding this past weekend on Sunday. I re-read the guide the night before the wedding to help me focus on what matters and not get swept up in all the stress.
The best thing I did was renting pot plants with baskets instead of getting floral arrangements. No waste, less cost and looked amazing! We also got people to take leftover foods and desserts home (which turned out to be great wedding favours!).”
Ms Zebra Says: To round out our Green Issue, it’s a great reminder to add small pieces and make a difference, rather than overwhelming yourself and giving up! Thanks Sandra for another great piece on things any couple can do – and not trade in the beauty of a wedding to be eco-friendly!!
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.