We love hearing from ethical fashion experts like Keira of Style Me Fair! Keira’s goal was to make her wedding as sustainable as possible and she took the time to share some tips for planning a wedding as a conscious consumer! Read on for some super practical tips on how you can do the same for your environmentally-minded matrimony.
After watching the documentary The True Cost, Keira made the decision to plan her wedding with sustainability in mind. She committed to:
- Only shop secondhand
- Or purchasing items from companies with ethical and sustainable practices
On her blog, Style Me Fair, she brought exposure to the incredible companies as she was discovering them. Her passion for ethical fashion started to pour into other areas and she began eliminating plastic waste, cutting down on paper usage, and recycling whenever she could.
About 8 months into her ethical living journey, she engaged s she dove into the craziness of wedding planning season she approached each step in an eco-friendly, ethical, and sustainable way. However, this proved to be more challenging than she expected.
Throughout the process, she discovered that there were ways to make absolutely every part of her wedding sustainable, given the time, advanced planning, and communication with her partner.
When Keira shared her ethical wedding planning pitfalls, one thing she mentioned was the short timeline she was working on. With only six months from proposal to “I Do” the planning part was at a rapid-fire-pace pace.
The reality is, if you’re trying to go 100% sustainable, that might take some time and research. Finding companies that are truly sustainable, potentially special ordering products or searching second-hand stores can be time-consuming. Often, the things that are the most convenient are the least sustainable so if you’re in a crunch, you might find yourself tempted to cut corners.
Getting Everyone on the Same Page
Start with your spouse-to-be. If they don’t know what you want, then it will be hard for them to fulfill your expectations. You don’t want to have a look of horror if the ring isn’t ethically sourced or lose a deposit because the caterer your fiance booked uses GMO foods and you have to cancel.
Be upfront and honest with your partner about how important this is to you. It is going to impact everything from the dress you wear, to where you get married to how many people are on the guest list, so it serves you both to be on the same page.
This also includes your guests! If you want to ensure your future mother-in-law doesn’t buy live flowers or that your Aunt Petunia avoids gifts from a Big Box store, you have to gently nudge them in the right direction by choosing your registry wisely and being a deeply involved partner in all aspects of planning.
Choose A Location
Location was one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle Keira also shared that her wedding was being held somewhere other than where she lived. While destination weddings and elopements are an exciting option and fully capable of being eco-friendly, it might add another layer of challenges if you aren’t familiar with the vendors and small businesses.
The most important part of a sustainable wedding is doing the research. Knowing where you’ll be getting married, the environmental impact of that choice and then sourcing sustainable materials is going to require some education on the subject (even if you are already plugged into the sustainable community). And going with a wedding location outside of your local community will mean adding another hurdle to that research.
As Keira mentioned to us, wedding season can be seriously crazy! Tension is high, the pressure is on and it’s easy to lose the love for all the to-do items on your list. Make sure you aren’t driving yourself insane in the pursuit of perfection. Every wedding has its glitches. Sometimes you have to compromise.
This doesn’t mean giving up on your dream of having a sustainable wedding, it just might mean your wedding looks different than the magazine version you may have had in mind. If you’re only able to get married on your favorite beach through an ethically misaligned hotel conglomerate, you might have to readjust your expectations.
Stress is going to come from when you’re putting too much pressure on making things perfect. So understand your goals and accept early on in the process that this might mean some sacrifice. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful wedding day that hits all the ethical high notes.
Go Big or Go Small
“I am a firm believer that it’s best to make small and impactful changes rather than striving for perfection when it comes to ethical living.” – Keira
Having every single aspect of your wedding check all the sustainable boxes might be impossible. Whether it’s budget or time or just maintaining your sanity, there may be areas where you have to compromise. You may only be able to pull off eco-friendly options in one or two categories. The point is, every effort, big or small, makes a difference. Be proud that you have the wherewithal to consider your carbon footprint during such a whirlwind time in your life.
Whether you go entirely green on your big day or you make a few tweaks from the traditional path towards sustainability, you’re part of a global movement to leave the planet better than we found it. Every small change matters. Every event that considers sustainability influences another to do the same.
Just Say ‘No’
Sometimes the most sustainable thing you can do is just exclude wasteful, forgettable aspects of your wedding.
One tip Keira shared with us on her journey was that her wedding planner shared how often wedding favors are left behind. Not only is that a waste of money, but those items you carefully selected became waste in a landfill having never served a single purpose. Other areas like live flowers, large wedding parties and designer shoes can be excluded entirely. Some are even opting for no venue at all and just a beautifully wild ceremony.
There is a misconception that in order to have a sustainable wedding you have to spend more. But that’s simply not true. Sustainability can be achieved through excluding the superfluous, which when it comes to your traditional ceremony, there tends to be a lot of. Get ethically ahead of the curve by eliminating the things you can live without. Not only does it take things off your plate and save you money, but you get to put a point up on the eco-friendly scoreboard every time you cut.
Keira only had six months to plan her wedding and she was able to pepper in things like ordering custom sandals from a sustainable company (we’ll give you a hint, it was us), getting bridesmaids gifts that fit the eco-friendly bill, and rejecting items that were deemed extra in the name of sustainability. Sometimes, it’s less about what you do and more about how you frame it in your mind. Once you begin to prioritize sustainability as an important part of your planning, you’ll find all kinds of opportunities for environmentally friendly additions.
If you’re looking for more Sustainable Planning advice, read more from our blog with 10 Tips for a Sustainable Wedding post.