Images by Kylie Knight
Here we are, passionate Victorian Team Less wedding vendors united by our love for people and the world.
When Sandra Henri, founder of Less Stuff More Meaning, sent an email around to all her members in Victoria a few of us jumped on the occasion to connect and create with like-minded vendors. The energy was palpable.
All of us are so keen that planning a sustainable, environmentally friendly, eco-ethical wedding doesn’t have to be any less of an experience. However, we also realise that the ‘how to’ can put people off. We wanted to show people that a wedding can be the same beautiful experience, yet better for the world, by creating a stunning styled shoot as inspiration.
Team Less Victoria will share with you some frequently asked questions (and answers!) around eco-ethical/sustainable weddings – hopefully making going eco-ethical for your wedding easy peasy.
Every change matters, no matter how big or small!
Our shoot was held at Mimosa Glen Homestead Cottage and Woolshed; originating in the early 1880’s in the Macedon Ranges, about 100 km north of Melbourne. Mimosa Glen is proudly solar powered and are regenerating the property with tree-planting. Owner Sue and her family are 5th generation farmers that have made a living off the land and sustainable practices have always been a priority.
Your eco-ethical wedding FAQ’s answered
Where should we start? By Katie Reeve, Eco-Celebrant in Melbourne.
- Approach your wedding with emotions not things at the forefront. How do you want to feel on the day, both you and your guests?
- Let your values guide you. You live these values subconsciously daily and your wedding doesn’t have to be any different! Your decisions will become easier because you will be acting with intention.
- Use the LSMM Eco-Ethical Wedding Directory! Once you find a hub that fits your values and offers everything you need to enable you to act upon them, the work is done for you! You can then focus on having conversations with the vendors who you know have the same values at the heart of their business and personal lives. To find the ‘one’ doesn’t’ have to be a difficult journey.
How can we make our ceremony eco-friendly? By Katie Reeve, Eco-Celebrant in Melbourne.
My favourite weddings are those that are immersed in nature and focus on connection with their nearest and dearest (and this doesn’t have to be small weddings!). The ones that find a tree allowing what is already freely available to create atmosphere and harness natural beauty. These weddings are in places that the couple visit every day (like their family property) or a place they have never visited before which creates a new special place for them (a destination location, like a national park or botanical garden). I’ve noticed at weddings like this that all the other aspects are all about enhancing what is already there. The photographer chats casually and captures effortlessly, the make up artist has embellished the already existing beauty in the couple, the flowers are vibrant, robust and recognisable (because they are sourced locally and indigenous to this beautiful country) which offers nostalgia as well as grace, and the food is hand delivered exquisitely displayed with a flare only possible from a local business who doesn’t have to travel long distances to get to the wedding location.
What does an Eco-friendly venue mean? By Sue of Mimosa Glen, Carbon Neutral venue in country Victoria.
When selecting an eco-friendly venue, ask the venue what their current practices are for sustainable ways in managing the venue and then also in managing their events (including the suppliers they use)
Our most recent change at Mimosa Glen is adding solar panels to our Homestead. Transitioning to solar energy has been a long anticipated, exciting change because we are now carbon neutral! Additionally;
🌍 We harvest our water
🌍 We have on-site water waste management system
🌍 We compost of all waste
🌍 Cleaning on-site is done using green biodegradable products
🌍 We plant trees at our Estate every year reducing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
🌍 We use Fly co (pest control) – a company using only pyrethrum based products
🌍 We hand weed, mulch and compost/recycle green waste
🌍 No plastic plates or cutlery policy
🌍 Continuing to improve in recycling all rubbish produced on-site
🌍 We re-use equipment where possible and have a great network of providers that specialise in pre-loved things that add those special personal touches at events and weddings
🌍 We don’t hold weddings in the hotter months Jan /Feb as our energy use is too high
🌍 We have a catalogue of pre-loved decor to share with guests and encourage all aspects of their event to reflect sustainable values
The City of Melbourne provides a great checklist you can refer to here on choosing an environmentally friendly venue.
How can we ensure our flowers are earth-friendly? By Nat from The Graceful Bloom, a floral studio in Warrandyte.
Nat sources locally grown flowers and uses reusable, recyclable, upcycled or natural products in her floral design. She’s part of the #nofloralfoam movement and so none of her creations include the very damaging and toxic floral foam. Her couples leave their design consultation feeling excited that they can have the wedding they dreamed of and be environmentally conscious at the same time. Nat advices;
- Lead with a colour palette and textures rather than specific flowers that may not be in season. Local flowers that aren’t in season require hot-houses to be warmed with power, and imported flowers have a massive environmental impact including chemical baths as well as the transport footprint.
- Try and design your ceremony flowers so that they can be reused at the reception. This means that the flowers aren’t going to waste and you also get more bang for your buck.
- Gift wrap your wedding flowers in paper at the end of the night for take home gifts for guests, this reduces unnecessary flower waste and can also double as your wedding favours.
What are my options in choosing a sustainable wedding dress? By Jennifer from Love Me Twice, Melbourne.
- Separates that can genuinely be worn again. These brides make deliberate decisions on cut, colour and fabric with that in mind.
- Upcycling your Grandmother’s gown. It’s not often that these gowns are in good enough condition, but it is such a sentimental, eco-friendly and sustainable option.
- Partial or complete restructure of pre-loved gowns. Brides committed to being sustainable can find gowns that are close to the fabric or shape they like. Any good dressmaker can transform a good base into a unique and personalised creation!
- Avoid international imports and brands that require distribution channels. In the very least, these options result in a lot of handling and logistics transport, which is ultimately not necessary. You can find a locally made gown in almost any city in the world.
- Natural fabrics that can ultimately return to the earth
- And of course, purchasing a pre-loved gown or designer sample through Love Me Twice!
How do natural and vegan-friendly beauty products compare? By cruelty-free Makeup by Inèz, Melbourne.
Earlier this year I opened up a webshop with a few amazing brands that are all cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, Australian-made and non-toxic. I have used these brands on myself and clients, so they are tested and proven. I know how they work and can recommend the right product for my customers. Some of these brands have refill options and therefore can be zero waste! On the web shop there are a lot of filtering options, so you can find exactly what you want/what’s important to you. I also love helping customers out with their specific requirements, regardless whether that results in a purchase in my shop or somewhere else. I want the best match for people and love to help people in finding that perfect product. So I encourage people to reach out to me for personal advice!
In terms of cruelty-free products, there are three main certifications – but as said, products can still be cruelty-free even without having these certifications. These three certifications are: Peta, Choose Cruelty Free and Leaping Bunny. They all have slightly different ‘rules’ about when brands will be accepted into their certification, but I guess it does give some kind of certainty at least. Please be aware though that cruelty-free – not tested on animals – and vegan – no animal ingredients – are not the same, so if you’re after vegan products additional research is required. I have written a blog post with more information on cruelty-free beauty on my website: https://www.makeupbyinez.com/my-cruelty-free-journey-i/. There are also a lot of other amazing resources online such as Logical Harmony, Cruelty-free Kitty and Ethical Elephant.
What does it mean to be a eco-friendly photographer? By Kylie Knight, Melbourne.
Sustainability has many different avenues and I realised that to be more sustainable I needed to look at what I put on my plate. With many weeks of research I came to the conclusion that I had to change my lifestyle and be more conscious of what I buy in terms of food and material items. I’m not a perfect person and I don’t expect anyone could be. But if we all look at ways of living a more compassionate and meaningful life we can help others and ourselves. For my business I try to use natural items for my gifts and materials that I send to couples and have opted to make my workflow digital to take away the need for paper in my business where possible. I also offer my couples vegan album options.
Confetti made from fallen gum-leaves or olive leaves
What about the unavoidable environment impacts of a wedding? By Makeup by Inèz, Melbourne.
For any non-negotiables you might have, you can also think of how to make them ‘better’; e.g. if your family and friends come from all over the world, you could ask them to off-set their carbon emissions or you could even do it for them by planting a tree for each guest with GreenFleet.
Why Less Stuff, More Meaning?
When I found out about LSMM’s existence, I straight away knew it was a perfect fit. I try to live my life and run my business as sustainably as possible. I’m trying to find a good balance between having less impact on the earth, and running a good professional business and living an abundant, happy and healthy life at the same time. For me the word balance is key as I’m extremely passionate to lower my impact in as many ways as possible, but find that often people striving to be perfect makes them frustrated, sad and angry. LSMM caters for all kind of passionate professionals, with all kinds of different values – but we have in common that we care for the environment and want to motivate people to think and consider what the meaning of a wedding truly is (for them) and what they can do to make it a beautiful and meaningful event with less impact on the environment. This will be different for everyone and having the discussion is the most important step. By Makeup by Inèz, Melbourne.
Everyone needs a community to thrive! And being a part of a like minded community can create traction that will create positive change…Looking after our planet also means looking after our hearts. A collective becomes a movement and a movement… moves mountains! By Katie Reeve, Eco-Celebrant in Melbourne.
A big thanks to our couple Britta and Chelsea for modelling for this styled shoot!