Real ethical weddings

Kyleigh & Gerald's green wedding

Kyleigh & Gerald

The couple: Kyleigh & Gerald
Wedding date: 12 May 2007
Location: Kingston Country Courtyard near Corfe Castle, Dorset
Budget: Around £12k (doesn't include honeymoon)

What inspired you to have an ethical & green wedding?
We didn't need inspiring really, as it's part of our life already. It seemed natural to try to source things that were ethical and sustainable where possible.

What was the most difficult part about organising an ethical & green wedding?
In the beginning, I seemed to be fretting a lot about the dress! I wanted to hire a dress - it seemed perfectly simple to me - hire a dress which I could never afford to buy, wear it for one day, safe in the knowledge that it would be worn many times over. I couldn't find anywhere that hired dresses at all!

I ended up buying a dress which I was made to try on by my bridesmaids (my best friend Helen and my sister Cara). I completely fell in love with it, despite it being completely unsustainable!! It was over budget by £250 too... but it looked fabulous.

Bride & groom with bridesmaids

I decided not to beat myself up about it too much. I still have it, but my daughters both say they would love to wear it so I'm saving it for them - they'll have a long wait though, they're only 11 and 9!

Apart from that it's difficult sourcing all the bits and bobs. I had terrible trouble finding favour boxes that weren't covered in fancy shiny ivory patterned paper and the like. 

I wanted completely plain natural brown corrugated pillow boxes or square boxes and it took MONTHS to source them! I was overjoyed when I eventually found what I was after!

What was the most fun bit?
I love organising so I'd like to say all of it was fun! But looking back I guess there was the odd stressful moment. I didn't turn into a bridezilla though! I actually said to my mum that I'd really miss not having anything to research and organise... but in fact it's nice just to enjoy being married!

Wedding champagne

How did it go on the day?
Perfect! We all arrived at Kingston Country Courtyard on the Friday evening - plus lots and lots of our family who were staying there for 2 nights.

Gerald had hired a room at nearby pub, The Scott Arms so really the celebrations started then! My bridesmaid and best friend Helen dragged me away for facepacks and an early night, in fear of a wedding morning hangover...

The wedding morning was good fun but also nerve-racking - Rescue Remedy at the ready definitely. It was lovely getting ready in one of the rooms and seeing the guests arrive and head into the barn - it seemed really sneaky spying on all these gorgeous glammed up guests.

Wedding ceremony

Before I knew it, it was 3pm and time to grab Dad's arm and head to the ceremony! No car for us, just a short stroll through the beautiful gardens to the back of the barn to wait behind the big barn door.

The door opened... cameras started flashing at me, I remember Dad squeezing my arm, telling me to keep smiling...

I practically raced down the aisle.  I just saw G and honed in on him. I'm surprised I didn't cry until they pronounced us man and wife, then I welled up!

Champagne and photographs after the ceremony were held in the gardens while the fantastic caterers transformed the barn from ceremony/churchy type room to wedding breakfast gorgeousness!

Plant table decorations

The tables looked great with the lovely favour boxes, petals and recycled menus and name tags. No glittery plastic table confetti here! And the Divine choccies went down a treat!

The food was incredible - Bobbi the caterer sources all local produce, organic where possible and definitely in season. We had (among other things): asparagus, wild mushroom tartlet or locally caught marinated crab for starters followed by spring lamb, locally caught fish of the day which turned out to be sea bass or a vegan option of baked aubergines.

Organic wedding cake

For dessert we had our lovely fair trade organic chocolate cake baked for me by a great friend, Alison.

The speeches made everyone cry, the band were incredible, the DJ was the local Wimborne Town Crier! And the night ended with people drumming...

We decided to slip away quietly to the bridal suite on the far side of Kingston Country Courtyard.

It was great all of us being able to stay together on site, apart from the round of applause we got going for a 'quick and quiet' breakfast the next day!!

The wedding party

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

  • Do your research!
  • Be prepared to compromise if need be - you can only do so much
  • Be yourselves - and keep it natural
  • Don't expect the You and Your Wedding forum to understand your ethical needs! Use ethical wedding forums for your green wedding questions
  • Enjoy every second - it goes soooooo fast!