Welcome to the team Kate Gumbrell! Kate is passionatley vocal about ethical living, and she joins us to share her experiences about planning her upcoming ethical wedding and more. Meet Kate…
I sit here with tea in hand, staring out at my sunflower patch, glancing across to a dozen picnic blankets, 90 mismatched second hand glasses and jars, and pondering how I am going to transport vintage furniture to a field. Yes, that’s right- I am planning an ethical wedding.
On the 11th of June 2016, I went on a surprise human treasure hunt around my favourite regional park. I picked up my most beloved people, handmade clues, and wooden boxes with puzzle pieces of the park map. I completed challenges and answered tricky questions, and found myself posing with strangers and chasing cows. After an hour of walking and treasure gathering, a moustached man in gumboots (wellingtons for those of you outside New Zealand) and a suit with a hound’s-tooth bowtie, sang me a song and asked me to marry him. On that morning, I had no idea I would find myself in that glade with the lovely hairy man and a ring, but I had unconsciously chosen to wear all my ethical clothing, including my underwear. And from that day on, this wedding has been planned in keeping with my undies.
“What is an ethical wedding?” You may ask. Ethical brings up many different ideas for many different people. To add some more adjectives to help you understand what I mean, I’ll give you the words: eco, minimalist, reused, simple, secondhand, sustainable, thoughtful, environmentally considerate, preloved, and resourceful. We have restructured our previous ideas of weddings and decided which things we can compromise or go without. From secondhand bunting to e-invites and fair-trade rugs, this eco-wedding will be soulful, simple, and an ultimate expression of the life Tim and I wish to begin together.
As well as ethical, think communal. Traditionally, a wedding is defined as a ceremony where two people are united in marriage. The dictionary defines it an act, process, or instance of joining in close association. I believe a marriage goes beyond the joining of just two people. A wedding equals: bride plus groom plus community. Our wedding not only considers the environment, but pulls on people’s talents, supports local businesses, and aims to give back to the community instead of take from it.
Ethical wedding planning is no small feat. Weddings are usually far from ethical, both in their environmental impact and economical cost. Hence, the extra research and thought involved to carefully curate the day requires time and energy far beyond a typical wedding. I understand we won’t always get it right, and there are some things which we may not have thought about or just cannot find alternatives for. We can only try our best and assess every decision in an ethically conscious way. I have come across some ethical gems and discovered ways to make ethical wedding planning a tad easier. I cannot wait to share these ethical nuggets of wisdom with you and spark ideas for how you too can consider people and the planet in your own wedding decisions.