Real ethical weddings

John and Henriette's Danish green wedding

A Danish green wedding

The couple: Henriette and John
Wedding date: 30 May 2009
Venue and location: Holsted, Denmark
Approx budget: £1,000
Henriette's parents covered the drinks and other family members helped out with items such as the tent, speakers, caravans for overnight guests, cakes and cutlery.

What inspired you to have an ethical wedding?
We were inspired by the idea of having an amazing day without using too many resources. We try to support organic, free range and recycling in our every day life so why should this one day be any different.

What was the most difficult part about organising an ethical or green wedding?
Finding organic food in Denmark, especially large cuts of meat. We managed to get organic chicken and we were fairly happy with non-organic beef from Germany. However, we could not find any organic pork (something which was quite important to us) so we had to compromise with Danish non-organic pork. Also, the non-organic lamb was from New Zealand.

What was the most fun bit?
The preparations in the week up to the wedding. John's family came over from the UK and we made them work hard. Thursday we put up the tent, decorated and made the cake and Friday we did the cooking.

We made all of the food ourselves in line with a tight plan on a spreadsheet. However, no one complained and it brought the two families and our friends together in a close knit group and we had such a good time.

Henriette and John's wedding cake and buffet

How did it go on the day?
The day went absolutely perfectly. Most importantly we and the guests had a great time and it was all over too soon. The food was highly praised by the guests, especially the sushi made by the bridesmaids. The sun was shining all day and our outdoor Humanist ceremony brought many to tears.

What would be your 5 top tips for brides and grooms planning an ethical wedding?

  • Try your best to keep it ethical, but don't get so stuck on everything being ethical that you forget your priorities. It was a priority for us that we didn't spend too much money on this one party so obviously Henriette could not go out and buy a handmade wedding dress made from organic silk.
  • Nearly everyone has an opinion on how weddings should be. Listen to the ones you can use and close your ears to the rest.
  • If you want a low key wedding where guests are invited to a buffet you have catered for yourself then go for it. No matter what some people may say, there are no rules about how a wedding should be.
  • The above is true for the ceremony too. We went to the registry office in the UK with only our two best friends as witnesses and then we had a wonderful Humanist ceremony in Denmark conducted by two of our uncles.

    John's mother, who was a bit sceptical at first, thought it was the most beautiful wedding ceremony ever and gave it her blessing with a lovely reading. If you stay true to your beliefs your wedding ceremony will be amazing and those who love you will think so too.
  • Actually, this is true for all aspects of your wedding. We didn't play by the commonly perceived "rules" at all. We had a friend doing the photography, a playlist for the music, we catered it ourselves, our uncles performed the ceremony and we didn't even have a table plan. Yet we had the most wonderful day ever.  Find out more about how we broke the traditional wedding "rules".

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