Image by Shaun Botterill/GP/Getty Images
A very honest friend said to me once, “you know I love what you do around eco-weddings, but when I get married I want the horse and cart and the whole shebang”. I then proceeded to give her my usual spiel, that an eco-wedding is not a style of wedding, it’s merely making more conscious choices in whichever way you wish plan your dream wedding (carts included!).
From here we coined the phrase Eco-Lavish.
With the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just around the corner, this phrase might just come in handy. With 2640 guests, including representatives of the organisations Harry and Meghan work with, and even some lucky school children, we can safely assume that their wedding won’t be minimalist. However, that doesn’t mean their wedding won’t be sustainable.
Image by Alexi Lubomirski.
In fact, the information that is slowly and teasingly being released each week, is that this socially conscious pair are choosing many eco-friendly elements.
“I have always believed in trying to keep as many of my clothes and shoes going for as long as possible (some go back to 1971 and one jacket to 1969!) – through patches and repairs – and in this way I tend to be in fashion once every 25 years…”
Both Harry and Meghan are social activists, and even the Queen has shown her green side when she recently banned disposable plastics across the palace.
Living plant hire by Pop Up Gardens.
So how do the Royal family’s values translate into a wedding filled with extravagance?
Well it seems they are putting their consumer power to good use. To date, Meghan and Harry are managing the balancing act between tradition, modernism, and eco-friendly, in a brilliant way. They are leading by example and showing the world: eco-lavish can exist.
They have chosen to go with a local florist requesting only seasonal blooms (we hope they have said no to floral foam too – yuck!). They have requested guests donate to 7 of their favourite charities in lieu of gifts. And we’d like to think that only organically sourced produce will be shared on Nanna’s finest china.
Are you the kind of girl who’d love to fill her wedding with dreamy eco-lavishness? We’ll show you how you too can plan a very royal eco-wedding.
Faye Delanty in Lenka Couture.
- The Gown – Sustainable fabrics are entering the wedding space, with linen, organic cotton and organic silk making for the dreamiest (and comfy) wedding dress options. Or take it up a notch, with bespoke fabric printing to reflect your story. Eco-bride Faye Delanty was even able to dye her bridesmaids dresses using onion skins, thanks to the genius of Lenka Couture.
- The ring – Bling can come many different ethical forms, including out-of-the-box gemstones, such as locally sourced sapphires, or even lab created diamonds. Most jewellers are able to recycle existing jewellery, and there are those who specifically source only recycled metals.
Australian sapphire ring created by RUUSK.
- The Invitations – Oooh imagine hand-made letterpress invitations, with torn edge recycled cotton paper, which not only look and feel divine, but also preserve an ancient craft!
- When it comes to wedding flowers, think wild foraged blooms, heirloom flowers from farmer-florists, or even edible bouquets! Saying no to heavily treated overseas imports, certainly does not mean compromising on style.
Lee Holmes’ edible bouquet. Image by Blumenthal Photography.
- Your menu is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your wedding’s footprint, given that your impact will be x100! We suggest finding a caterer who sources seasonally and locally, and can get creative including a range of plant-based options. Ideally they will even compost any waste. Oh and let’s not forget how delish vegan deserts are!
- Green styling – Whilst the minimalist approach is to let nature do the styling for you, your eco-lavish options include sustainable timber signage, green plant walls and living plants to bring your space to life.
Wedding signage and lighting by Sammy & Lola.
- Experiences over stuff – What can you gift your lover who has everything? Have you considered some intimate portraits of YOU? Completely luxurious, yet low footprint, this gift will be sure to surprise and delight!
Intimate portraiture by Molly & Mae.
- Nothing beats printed images to re-live your wedding day in years to come. Even your wedding album can be made sustainably, by using suppliers who source sustainable papers and carbon offset.
- You don’t need to travel far to experience some eco-luxe on your honeymoon, from secluded resorts, glamping in wild NZ, or a bamboo eco village in Bali.
Image by Sandra Henri Photography.
- Give more than you take – This is where we draw inspiration from Harry and Meghan.
Their eco-lavish wedding is giving back is so many wonderful ways, from eco-ethical suppliers, to invited members of the community, and their chosen charities. You too can go all out, yet consciously give back to people and the planet. Options include:
Carbon offset your guest flights
Plant a wedding tree that you nurture in years to come
Donate to charity in lieu of guest favours or wedding gifts
Re-gift florals after your wedding day
Pay it forward by giving your wedding styling to the next couple getting married
Donate food leftovers to Ozharvest
Volunteer on your honeymoon
Invite a community in need to your wedding
Circle of Love by Sarah Tolmie, Celebrant.
We hope you feel inspired to do some good through your wedding day…it can feel amazing knowing you have contributed to something bigger, and combining this with the wedding day feels, might just take the experience to a whole other level.
So go on, enjoy your day to the full, and then tell your kids how your wedding made the world a better place.
By Sandra Henri, Less Stuff – More Meaning; Australia and NZ’s eco-ethical wedding hub.
A big thanks to The Green Hub for featuring this article!