The rise of the ethical wedding

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Have you noticed the change in the air? The feeling that our earth and people are in need of some TLC? That we’re no longer content leaving others to make a difference. That it feels good to “be the change” and do our bit?

Ethical and sustainable consumption are going mainstream. It’s not surprising that many couples are planning their wedding in line with these values, of doing no harm and at the same time doing some good. Here at Less Stuff – More Meaning, we celebrate weddings that are consuming with care and giving back. We’ve created a space where planning an ethical wedding is made easy with loads of resources and real wedding inspiration.

What is an ethical wedding? To us it means planning a wedding from a heart-centred place:
– Consuming mindfully with care for our earth and people
– Having an appreciation of the beauty in simplicity and a return to more minimalist weddings
– From a place of gratitude giving a little something back
We find that each couple we speak to expresses their values in their own unique way that feels authentic to them. We’re learning right along with them and love hearing how weddings can leave their mark and make our world a better place.

Couples planning a wedding have huge consumer power (a quick look at your wedding budget will confirm this). There are many ways to go ethical and sustainable with your wedding, but we’d like to focus on just a handful that we believe will make tangible social change.
1. Rings: Ethical jeweller Meri Geraldine advises couples “Ask your jeweller about the origin of your diamond or gemstones. All diamonds should be Kimberley Process certified, which means that they do not support violent conflict”.
You can also find jewellers who go beyond this certification, sourcing from Australia and using recycled gold. Yet Meri describes what is our favourite option, “A choice that is very much in line with Less Stuff – More Meaning, is melting a family heirloom into a bespoke ring.” You can learn more about ethical jewellery here with LSMMBrilliant Earth and Ethical Jewellery Australia.

2. Gowns and Clothing: “Who made my clothes?” takes on fresh meaning when it comes to choosing a wedding gown. We encourage brides to ask questions as to where fabrics are sourced and gowns created. A treasured piece such as a wedding gown can be filled with love when artisans are paid fairly and work in safe conditions. Resources to help you make more ethical clothing choices include Good on You app  and Ethical Clothing Australia.
We love savvy designers such as Lost in Paris (pictured below) and Fabled and True who create custom made dresses out of vintage lace and fabrics. Hooray for Australia’s very first ECA accredited bridal designer Lenka Couture. Still White is one of many pre-loved gown options, and who doesn’t love a vintage find!

3. Wedding cuisine: Many venues pride themselves on sourcing locally and using organic produce. As we learn more about the impact of animal agriculture on climate change (50% of Australian greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock agriculture) we can go a step further with red-meat reduced wedding cuisine. An easy option is to go for a plant based entree, allowing red-meat to shine for the main course. What difference would this make? Switching one beef serving for a vegetable based meal for 100 people would result in a carbon saving of 1164 kgs of carbon dioxide. This is equivalent to 3 one-way flights from Sydney to Bali. Stats via Less Meat Less Heat.

4. Wedding design: Small, intimate weddings have many advantages, with couples opting for simplicity of design and smaller guest lists, not only to save on costs and minimise stress, but also to allow more time to savour the meaning of the day. As one of our lovely brides Georgie mused “I guess without thinking about it really we just forgot the whole word ‘wedding’ as best we could and remembered the day wasn’t about anything other than getting married. While all the extra stuff is lovely, it doesn’t make the day any less or any more important”. You’ll find many examples of minimalist weddings on our blog.

5. Wedding giving: Imagine a world where weddings become known for not only celebrating the love you share between each other, but also for all humans. Where giving back and contributing to a cause becomes a new wedding tradition. This is our dream here at LSMM. There are many opportunities to make a difference throughout the wedding planning process. This may include donating to a loved charity in lieu of engagement/ wedding gifts or guest favours. Or travelling responsibly with organisations who give back to local communities as part of your honeymoon. Donating left over food and flowers to charity or community services is another simple way in which weddings can pay it forward. LSMM is currently preparing an ethical wedding registry that allows couples to design a registry that is meaningful to them. We’ll be including ethically minded gifts such as artisan and fair-trade products, eco-getaways, charitable donations and giving experiences over stuff.

If this piece resonated with you, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line, submit your wedding or feature your purpose driven business. Let’s build an ethical wedding tribe together.

Real couple Kristi-Anna Brydon & Brad Bennett pictured at their ethical wedding. You can read the full story of their vegan wedding over on the LSMM blog.

Images courtesy of Photographer Mitch Pohl.

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Credits

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Mitchell J Carlin - Wedding Photographer
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