Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to give you the lowdown on how to have an ethical wedding. If you’re getting hitched and you’re looking to make it as ethical as possible, then kudos to you for making that decision. That’s a wonderful thing in and of itself, isn’t it? Thankfully there’s a big welcoming community of people committed to ethical weddings on the internet just waiting to help you out. Being ethical can mean all sorts, and definitions of that term are usually peppered with buzzwords like Fairtrade, Organic, Recycled, Vintage, and Sustainable. Whatever boxes you can tick off in any aspect of your wedding, big or small, then that’s something to be proud of.
Choosing your dress, your rings, your shoes and the flowers ethically is a lot easier if you know where to look, so here’s a super-sized subtitled blog of ethical wedding suppliers that you can use as a springboard for your search. As our post on the Observer Ethical Awards shows, there are myriad ethical companies out there, waiting to be found. We’ll pack in as many links to ethical wedding suppliers as is digitally possible within these 1200 odd words. Without further ado, let’s get started…
Name: Ingle and Rhode
Price range: £395 to £1195
Styles: Classic and elegant, and a bespoke service is offered
Ethical because: They use only Fairtrade Certified or recycled gold or platinum. They abide by the Fairtrade and Fairmined gold standards, using artisinal and small scale mining groups on South America which have been fully checked out to make sure they meet the criteria. This also ensures that miners are paid a fair wage and better working conditions. You could also have your ring made from 100% recycled gold or platinum, reducing the environmental impact of mining for new materials. The choice is yours.
Famous for: being named by Vogue as “one of London’s number one jewellery destinations” and for being a finalist in the UK Jewellery Awards. Very nice indeed.
Prince range: £599 to £659
Styles: Sweeping curvy designs and truly ethical diamonds
Ethical because: KinetIQue uses the latest innovative technology in gem science to make the only man-made Hybrid Diamond gemstone available in the UK. Mining for diamonds is not only the cause of much humanitarian conflict, but it makes a huge dent in the environment. To produce a one carat diamond, more than 250 tonnes of ore have to be mined. Instead, KinetIQue’s creative diamonds have no greenhouse emissions, no water or air pollution, and no unethical labour. The diamond alternatives are such good simulations that laboratories are trying to develop procedures to be able to tell the difference between natural and lab grown gems. These designs are a real fusion of decadent aesthetics and humble ethics. They do look beautiful, don’t they? Hybrid diamonds are a girl’s new best friend.
Famous for: Receiving the Ethical Award in July 2012, and being a recommended supplier for the Natural Wedding Company, which is a fantastic resource, by the by.
Name: Glasswing Jewellery by Kate Pearse
Price range: £49 to £1775
Styles: Simple and clean with an organic texture, made using traditional hand tools, so every ring is unique. Rings are made to order but some rings are in stock.
Ethical because: Since January this year, she’s officially registered as a Fairtrade goldsmith. She sources her materials from eco-friendly bullion dealers in the UK and US. The materials are recycled, or more appropriately, rejuvenated into these sweet new designs.
Famous for: The personal touch to her service and long list of very happy customers. We love small independent companies like this one, so it certainly has our seal of approval.
Price range: Bespoke dresses start from £4000
Styles: Designs inspired by vintage eras of glamour. Dresses are handmade at thier bespoke atelier, and designs can be adapted or a new design can be made.
Ethical because: Dresses are made by artisans using sustainable materials and with the option to use vegan alternatives to silk. Tammam also recycle vintage laces and fabrics, make it doubly environmentally friendly. They work with certified Fairtrade suppliers, and use fibres such as banana, organic Fairtrade cotton and nettle.
Famous for: Being London’s first and only ethical couture atelier with a totally transparent supply chain.
As we’ve mentioned in our Mothers’ Day blog back in March, the mass production of flowers isn’t quite as pretty as the end product. Flowers have to be intensely farmed using a syrup of chemicals, and the working conditions are less than ideal. Buying flowers locally and in season seems the best route if you happen to live near any flower nurseries. Luckily the website Ethical Weddings have a helpful calendar, telling you exactly when it’s bloom o’clock for each type of flower. Handy.
You could even go one step further and plant your own flowers, which brings down the air miles to exactly zero. A top tip from the Ethical Weddings website is to over-plant your flowers to guarantee you absolutely certainly definitely will have enough for the big day.
Psst! Can I let you in on a secret? I know this really fantastic ethical footwear brand that makes gorgeous luxurious bridal shoes. It’s us! As you may or may not already know, our shoes are all handmade in Spain. The materials we use have been chosen for their quality and lower environmental impact, and are 100% vegan and vegetarian. The production of leather uses up a hefty amount of water: a single cow hide on average makes 18 pairs of shoes and uses 1.4 million litres of water! By wearing our shoes made from responsibly sourced and sustainable materials, you’ll be doing your bit for the environment whilst also looking glamorous.
Plus, just last week Natalie Portman wore Beyond Skin’s Ellen design in a fashion shoot for the cover story of Harper’s Bazaar US, so it doesn’t get more glamorous than that! We’ve have an entire range behind this here hyperlink for you to peruse and find the style to suit you.
Whilst doing research for this very blog post, a few websites had some words of wisdom for ethical wedding planners:
- Ask people to RSVP to your invitations via email or phone to save those trees
- After the wedding day, you could donate your wedding dress to the The Dress Project, renting out bridal dresses to women in Malawi
- Give your guests seeds as wedding favours so they can go home and plant their own momento of your big day
- Check out vintage and charity shops to see if there’s a dress you could recycle. Plus, it could always be tailored or redesigned by an atelier if the design isn’t perfect
Hopefully this blog has shed some light on ethical wedding suppliers, but there are many other websites to help you plan your wedding. Below are the ones I used. Happy planning!