Real ethical weddings

Amy and Simon

Amy and Simon

The couple: Amy & Simon
Wedding date: 1st July 2006
Venue and location: Hereford Town Hall (ceremony), our garden at Lugwardine Court, just outside Hereford (reception).

Lugwardine Court is a Georgian building, originally a convent, latterly a nursing home, and now has multiple uses, including classrooms for a neighbouring school, offices and two flats.

We live in one of the flats and also rent an office space as the workshop for Keep & Share. There is a big garden where we erected a very cool spiky marquee, and some of our guests camped out too.

What inspired you to have an ethical wedding?
As I’m interested in sustainability, particularly through my business, it seemed like the natural thing to do. Also we wanted it to be informal and personal, and didn’t have a lot of money, so the way that we went about it was to be creative in our approach and avoid lots of unnecessary waste.

What was the most difficult part about organising an ethical wedding? As we were organising everything ourselves, the most difficult bit was trying to source environmentally friendly supplies. We succeeded mostly, but some things were impossible to find!

Amy & Simon's ethical wedding - Amy's shawl

What was the most fun bit?
All of our guests brought food to share, and we decorated the tables with ornaments and houseplants from inside the flat – so we avoided buying or even hiring anything new and had the fun of it being so personal. Oh, and the ceremonious opening of the barrel of real ale from the local brewery (the bride had the first pint).

I made my own dress and re-dyed it bright yellow straight after the wedding, to make a great summer dress. I also made a shawl for me and a scarf for my husband to wear instead of a tie, which have now become pieces that we wear regularly.

How did it go on the day?
Swimmingly! For starters it had to be the hottest day of the year, without a cloud in the sky. Everyone pitched in and helped with the picnic. It was a perfect gathering – the people were the most important thing, but in a lovely location. The only downside was that England went out of the World Cup that afternoon (we had two TV rooms!)

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

1. Question whether you want each ‘essential’ part of the stereotypical perfect wedding

2. Ask friends and family to put money towards one item that you will really treasure, rather than lots of white goods that will break or become obsolete in a couple of years (why not commission a piece of art or craft?)

3. Get on the internet to source environmentally friendly items

4. Hire instead of buy where possible

5. Choose an informal wedding dress and dye it after the wedding – voila, a brand new summer dress with lots of wonderful memories attached.