10 February 2014
Ethical Wedding Tips
People these days are generally more environmentally-aware than a few years ago, and some would be happy to bring this to their wedding. You won't necessarily have a fully green wedding but every little helps, and here are a few things for you to consider.
Marriage is at its lowest ebb for a century, with many couples choosing to stay together without the ceremony, but approximately 250,000 weddings will still take place in the UK this year at an average cost of £20,000. However some couples are keen to limit the waste and environmental impact of getting hitched.
Brides used to keep their wedding dresses packed away for the rest of their lives after wearing it for half a day. An ethical bride might consider hiring her wedding dress - there are lots of shops renting dresses of all kinds including designer brands. After all bridegrooms frequently hire their fancy suits for the occasion.
Whatever the cost, most wedding dresses are made of cotton, but choose organic cotton if youíre having a dress made, or other environment-friendly materials such as hemp or bamboo.
Rather than buying new, you could rework an old dress belonging to a family member, or could get the entire wedding party to dress in charity-sop chic or vintage clothing. You could even find your wedding dress on e-Bay or Freecycle. After the wedding you can recycle in turn to recover some of your cost. Alternatively why not buy a dress that you can wear again or have adapted for future use?
Many millions of pounds are spent annually on wedding flowers but the bride's bouquet or groomís buttonhole may have been farmed industrially in acres of energy-intensive hothouses in countries where few pesticide regulations exist.
If you canít be sure that your flowers have been grown locally, organically and sustainably, why not use pot-plants to decorate your wedding venue instead? You could grow your own and give them out as gifts at the end of the night.
Why not get friends and family involved in making homemade decorations, which will be more personal, more original and cheaper than shop-bought ones. They can also make table arrangements, place names or menus.
Most wedding rings are still gold, but mining for gold is thought to be the most destructive industry in the world. Proposing to your loved one with a conflict diamond seems a less than auspicious start to married life. Before buying anything with a diamond ask the jeweller where it has come from.
The Fairtrade and Fairmined gold standards were launched recently, which should make it possible for millions of impoverished miners around the world to get a fair price for their gold, and for ethical consumers to support them. There are also suppliers that concentrate on selling ethical, recycled and Fairtrade jewellery.
You can reduce the carbon footprint of your wedding by holding your wedding and reception at the same venue, or within walking distance of each other. If this can't be done then at least encourage your guests to car share.
Produce a green gift list, which will not only help set you up for a happy, eco-friendly life together, but also help your guests to discover a whole world of ethical products in the process. You may have been living together for some time prior to the wedding and have all your domestic needs already, so why not make a real difference to your favourite charity with a charity gift list?
If you want an ethical wedding then think before spending like crazy, and look for an ethical alternative to whatever you are buying.