Real ethical weddings

Vicky & Jez's ethical and green wedding

Vicky & Jez

Wedding date: 12 April 2008
Venue and location: Mansfield Register Office then Wellow Memorial Hall

What inspired you to have an ethical wedding?
We try to live and work in an ethical and environmentally friendly way day-to-day so there was no question that our wedding would be this way too. We run an ethical web design business called Make Hay and try to be as green as possible at home so we didn't really make a conscious decision to have an ethical wedding as opposed to an ‘unethical' one!

The other thing was that I wanted to make a lot of things myself which often works out to be greener anyway.

What was the most difficult part about organising an ethical or green wedding?
I really thought the hard part would be finding something to wear and for that reason I wasn't initially going to have a traditional wedding dress. Then I discovered Oxfam Bridal and finding my perfect dress became very easy. I would definitely recommend it!

The things that were difficult actually took me by surprise. Buying antique or second hand wedding bands wasn't as straightforward as we'd imagined. Apparently many antique shops won't sell them because customers are too superstitious to have a used wedding ring. We did eventually find a shop which sold a range of antique rings and bought ours from there.

For the wedding reception we hired a village hall. Ideally it needed a lick of paint but that wasn't going to happen so I enquired about hiring an indoor marquee. I was shocked by the price of hiring the most basic marquee so we decided to decorate the venue ourselves, which we had to do the day before.

We were extremely fortunate because we had lots of help from our families who worked very hard and kept us laughing when things weren't going to plan. Everything worked out in the end but it was probably last minute extra stress that we could have lived without.

Recycled wedding stationery

I must say though that sourcing green and ethical items was not difficult or expensive. We made a lot of things ourselves including the invitations, menus and thank you cards designed by a friend and printed at home on recycled card. Place names were natural fruit lollipops with recycled card tags attached and favours were flower bulbs from my dad's garden in origami boxes made from recycled paper.

The decorations for the venue were flowers from a local gardener, home made cotton bunting, home made clay love hearts and fabric and muslin found on e-bay and in charity shops. The wine and bubbly was organic and we had a wonderful caterer who sourced local, organic and fair trade ingredients. Jez's mum made our cake and Fairtrade chocolate cupcakes. I could go on and on about this and already have done over at Green Girls Global.

Vicky & Jez's ethical wedding

What was the most fun bit?
The actual day itself, especially saying "I do".

Plus having our friends and family around us, many of whom had been involved in the preparations.

How did it go on the day?
Fantastic, we couldn't have wished for anything more. Our many months of planning worked out and everyone really got into the spirit of things.

As an added bonus the sun came out for us after it had been hailing all morning!

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

Fair trade wedding cake
  • If people offer to help you, accept. Involving your loved ones makes the whole planning part very special. Having things made by hand means you can have a lot of control over where your materials or ingredients are sourced and they will be unique!
  • Do lots and lots of research. There are so many options for all aspects of your wedding (for example you could have a second hand dress, hand made, organic or hired) its just a case of finding which suits you best.
  • Remember, it's yours and your partner's day. Lots of people will have lots of opinions about how you should do things but you need to do things your own way, stick to your values.
  • Don't have any hang-ups about using pre-loved items. Second hand is the greenest option and often the most cost effective.
  • Don't be too hard on yourself if you have to compromise, just do your best. You won't enjoy your day spending the whole time feeling guilty.