Feature

My Big Fat Green Wedding

G Magazine

Eco-Fabulous Weddings

My Big Fat Green Wedding

Pick and mix from the following expert tips and tricks to reduce your wedding’s carbon footprint, without scrimping on quality and style.

Credit: Getty Images

Green Wedding Rings

“Call your mum and grandmother, and – if you can – your soon-to-be-mother in-law, to dig out all of the gold they don’t use anymore, melt it down and make new rings ... they would all love to be a part of something so special, and it’s good for the purse too.”

Credit: istockphoto

Green Wedding Transport

A horse and cart is a very romantic and low impact option – just be sure that it hasn’t travelled far to get to you.

Credit: istockphoto

Queen B Candles Are Stylishing Sustainable

Queen B makes gorgeous patterned and plain 100 per cent Australian beeswax candles with cotton wicks that burn 10 times longer than regular candles, or try Bees Wax Creations for plainer options.

Credit: Queen B

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Green and glamourous go together in our guide to a planet-friendly, eco-fabulous celebration.

Did you know that the average 100-guest wedding creates 7.7 tonnes of greenhouse gas? That’s close to the amount created by one return flight from Sydney to Paris! And think of the figures when you multiply that by the estimated 116,000 weddings in Australia each year.

Thankfully, making your wedding eco-friendly doesn’t mean scrapping your princess-inspired dream for a D-list drama starring paper-bag brown invites, hessian-style dresses, dreary bouquets and an insipidly bland reception.

Pick and mix from the following expert tips and tricks to reduce your wedding’s carbon footprint, without scrimping on quality and style. (And remember, you don’t have to do everything on this list! Just do what you can and want to – every little bit makes a difference.)

The invitations

Recycled paper uses 70 per cent less energy to make than paper made from scratch, and looks just as gorgeous – if not more. Alternative tree-free papers include those made from recycled denim – or even elephant poo! (Rest assured, the droppings are treated to extract only the plant fibres and none of the yucky stuff.)

Recycled seeded paper is cute too: “Once it’s served its purpose as an invitation, your guests then plant the paper and the tree becomes an everlasting reminder of your wedding,” says Melissa Horton, a graphic designer and founder of invitation design company, A Little Birdie Design Studio.

More ideas

• Use soy or vegetable inks for printing
• Have guests RSVP via email or phone
• Make your own recycled paper with a DIY kit
• Send email invitations – you’ll save $50 in postage per 100 invitations

The dress

“Try secondhand and vintage stores. There are some beautiful pieces out there just waiting to continue their story with someone else...alter that dress to make it your own, for a fraction of the price,” says eco-wedding expert Renai Page, who runs www.ecofriendlyweddings.com.au.

If buying new, choose eco-friendly fabrics including organic cotton, hemp and silk – though the most ethical silk to use is ‘peace’ or ‘ahimsa’ (non-violence) silk, produced naturally by semi-wild silk worms (as opposed to conventional silk farming, which kills silk worms in boiling water as part of the process).

You can also explore more luxurious variations such as hemp silk, bamboo lightweight satin, silk charmeuse and hemp-silk satin. Try www.hempco.net.au, www.alleco.com.au and www.hempgallery.com.au for beautiful eco-chic fabrics.

Australia has yet to catch on to the eco-wedding gear trend, but you can buy elegant dresses, as well as hemp tencel or herringbone suits for him, via many international online stores.

More ideas

• Hire or borrow a dress – from $150 for simple dresses and from $350 for more elaborate styles
• Donate your dress to charity afterwards
• Choose a dress you can wear or adapt to wear after the wedding (also a great tip for bridesmaid outfits)
• Find a local dressmaker to reduce the driving distance to and from fittings

Pre-Loved Wedding Dresses

www.smartbride.com.au
www.idogowns.com.au
www.easyweddings.com.au
www.stillwhite.com.au

The rings

Just consider how much gold there is gathering dust in various drawers and cupboards as old, unused jewellery.
“Call your mum and grandmother, and – if you can – your soon-to-be-mother in-law, to dig out all of the gold they don’t use anymore, melt it down and make new rings,” says Page. “I’m sure they would all love to be a part of something so special, and it’s good for the purse too.”

If gold’s not your thing, look into companies like Utopian Creations that are able to create custom rings from recycled and sustainable materials.

Pre-Loved and Eco-Jewellery

http://www.jouel.com.au/vmchk/rings.htm
http://www.martinandstein.com.au/art_deco.php
http://www.utopiancreations.com.au/wedding-jewellery.html

The hair and make-up

One hundred per cent natural or organic products with recycled and recyclable packaging are best for the environment.

Eco-friendly make-up is free of toxic, petroleum-derived or synthetic chemicals such as talc, mineral oil, parabens and bismuth oxychloride and is based instead on natural ingredients such as beeswax, plant oils and waxes, flower essences, pure essential oils, natural butters (like shea and cocoa), natural preservatives (like tea tree oil and grapefruit seed extract), rice powder, natural colours and aloe vera. Mineral cosmetics are another green option.

When it comes to hair products, look for those without sulphates, ‘PEG’ compounds, propylene glycol, DEA diethanolamine and other synthetic ingredients. Instead choose natural haircare brands that use nourishing ingredients, such as those listed above.

The photographs

“Think of all the waste created when photographers put together wedding ‘proof books’, which end up going to the landfill,” says Lee Holmes of Sebastian T Photography “Don’t let this happen with your wedding photos – go digital instead. Digital photography makes your wedding more eco-friendly and saves you money too.”

The arrival

“A horse and cart is a very romantic and low impact option – just be sure that it hasn’t travelled far to get to you,” says Page. “For your guests, hire a bus – even request a gold coin donation to help with costs. It’s a lot cheaper than a taxi, and will cut back on emissions.” You might like to consider arriving in eco-style in one of the top-five eco-friendly cars according to the Federal Government’s Green Vehicle Guide website: the Smart for Two Cabrio (uses 4.4 litres of fuel per 100 km), Toyota Prius hybrid, Fiat 500, Fiat Punto and the Toyota Yaris. Make a statement by choosing a funky and Euro-romantic scooter ($4 to $6 of fuel will get you about 100 km), or be chauffeured by an eco-vehicle service such as Ecolimo or Green Tomato Cars.

The reception venue

“Choose a reception venue close to your ceremony, and hold both earlier in the day to limit the need for artificial light. It may also save you money on not having to provide a full meal,” says Page.
“Ask for organic and/or local food and drinks, and, if you’re really cheeky, team up with the couple before or after you – provided you’re using a popular reception centre – and agree on a
colour scheme. Using the same can halve the costs and the eco-impact.”
Also consider a venue with solar power. The sun beams more energy in one hour than the world uses in a whole year!

Table settings

Conventional candles are made from paraffin wax, which is a non-renewable resource. Use beeswax candles instead for a romantic air – they are made of an all natural renewable resource, are non-toxic, smoke-free and non-allergenic. Queen B makes gorgeous patterned and plain 100 per cent Australian beeswax candles with cotton wicks that burn 10 times longer than regular candles, or try Bees Wax Creations for plainer options.

Select local and in-season flowers (grown organically if possible), or use cuttings from the garden (yours, or that of a friend or family member). Potted plants and flowers are a lovely alternative – whether you borrow them from the garden for the day, or buy them new and allow guests to take them home, they’ll be taken away to be nurtured, unlike cut flowers, which have such a short lifespan.

You could also consider using food as a table decoration – for example, if you’re having fruit for dessert, you can use a selection of whole seasonal fruits to decorate the table and have waiters remove them in time to prepare dessert.

More ideas

• Serve vegetarian meals and drastically cut the carbon footprint of the event
• Donate leftover food to charity, or give to your guests to take home
• Avoid disposable items such as paper decorations, serviettes and balloons
• Choose an organic wedding cake
• Use organic cotton tablecloths and napkins

Bonbonniere ideas

• Cutely presented native seeds, bulbs, seedlings or mini plants
Mokosh handmade palm-oil free soaps. Where possible, use ingredients that are either certified organic, biodynamic or sourced from fair trade suppliers.
• Beeswax candles, as used for table decorations
• Organic chocolates

Gift requests for you

• Organise a gift registry with sustainable choices, such as that offered by Melbourne’s Environment Shop
• Gifts or gift vouchers from any one of the numerous online eco-stores
• Donations to your favourite environmental charity
• Homewares made of recycled materials

The honeymoon

• Choose somewhere in Australia to limit your carbon emissions from trvaelling to and from your destination
• Find romantic eco-accommodation at www.ecofriendlyweddings.com.au
• Embark on an eco-volunteer project
• If you travel by plane, look into buying carbon offsets.

Hanky Panky

Most lingerie is made from non-renewable, non-biodegradable materials such as nylon, rayon and polyester. Opt instead for organic hemp-silk, silk chiffon, soy jersey or bamboo underthings. These fabrics are better for the environment and feel wonderfully soft on the skin.

OLIVIA RICHARDSON is an eco-journalist and editor hopelessly addicted to the latest green goss.