Real ethical weddings

Berry and Paul

Berry and Paul

The couple: Berry and Paul

Wedding date: 1 June 2007
Venue and location: Reading Registry Office then RISC, Reading

What inspired you to have an ethical wedding?

We try and live our day-to-day lives as sustainably and ethically as possible.

Once we'd decided to get married and invite all our nearest and dearest (as opposed to just the 2 of us popping along to the Registry Office one afternoon) we knew that we had to try and have a wedding that reflected us and our values as much as possible.

Because we'd decided to have a relatively small wedding and didn't have a huge budget it made sense to try and do most of it ourselves which meant we could control what we did and didn't wan

Berry and Paul exchange rings

What was the most difficult part about organising an ethical wedding?

Compromise was important. We had such idealistic plans about what we wanted, but either through lack of suppliers or budget or practicality we had to scale our ideas back or change our minds on some aspects.

A lot of green wedding suppliers aren't well advertised on mainstream wedding sites, and a lot of mainstream wedding suppliers aren't green. Luckily, Ethical Weddings came up with some names for us!

My mum made my dress, my mother-in-law made the cake, we emailed all the invites, asked people to carbon neutralise their flights, had organic wine and champagne, and had an Oxfam Unwrapped wedding list amongst other things.

What was the most fun bit?

Getting everyone involved and doing it ‘our way'.

Berry and Paul get married

My sister-in-law Tieneka was amazing and was a creative tour-de-force with her ideas and my brother-in-law is a graphic designer so he helped to design some really cool table names, place names etc. It was really a case of calling in favours and expertise to turn the day into a reality. So many people helped out with their time and energy - it was incredibly humbling.

How did it go on the day?

Brilliantly. Much better than expected in fact!

It was a bit more mainstream and 'weddingy' than we thought it would be, but it was a really relaxed and happy event which is exactly what we wanted.

Wedding dress

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

  • Be prepared to compromise whilst sticking to your values.
  • Support local and independent businesses as an alternative to fairtrade or ethical ones if you can't find exactly what you want.
  • Be happy to try and be as ethical as you can, even if you can't be as ethical as you want.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help! It made the day even more special that so many of our nearest and dearest were involved in making the day happen.
  • Enjoy it!