We can avoid fast fashion, mass single-use plastics, harmful microplastics such as glitter, food waste and floral waste and still have the most incredible (in my experience more meaningful) and stunning event.
The Less stuff more meaning eco-ethical directory is a great place to start to find sustainable and ethically-minded vendors for events and weddings within NZ and Australia, and Ethically Kate has a fantastic website and blog guiding us through the tricky world of ethical purchasing (she also has many discount codes for recommended products).
Preloved is the glam catch phrase for "second hand" and by using reusable products they not only prevent waste, they can become memorable. For weddings, preloved gowns from businesses such as Secret Lace Bridal and the wedding marketplace Still White are a great way to go, however many Brides are breaking free of the white dress and opting for beautiful, ethically made one pieces, pant suits and more casual dresses in an array of colours. These, glammed up with bespoke jewellery and beautiful wild florals look just incredible. Annika DeBoer is an incredibly talented designer with garments in this category.
Favours if using can be edible or plantable - and Church Confetti has the most amazing plantable stationery as well as earth-friendly (and stain free!) freeze-dried confetti. Their stationery is handcrafted from natural recycled paper and impregnated with Herbaceous or Wildflower seeds which are very easy to grow, after the day your guests will be rewarded with dainty sweet-scented flowers that will thrive in any area of the garden, bringing a variety of colour and frequent visitors of Butterflies and Honeybees.
Decorations can easily be earth-friendly - reusable, consumable or biodegradable is the key.
Florals are obviously what we love, but plants are making a big comeback, and hire products are a brilliant way to get a certain look without buying the products outright and having to find homes for them afterwards. The Pretty Prop Shop is one of the best.
At One Poppy, we pride ourselves in being a sustainable florist - we do not use single-use materials such as toxic floral foam, wire or plastic tape in our designs. We utilise harakeke, natural fibres and age-old techniques that were in place before the invention of modern day floral materials. We only use locally grown blooms and foliage, saving carbon miles and ensuring we are supporting NZ growers in buying their seasonal products. We encourage repurposing your flowers during the day (why not bring that arch arrangement inside for the evening festivities?) and also after the day - gifting to friends, family or donating to a local community institution - before they are finally composted. If you are wanting to keep your florals, let us know and we will be sure to advise on the best blooms for preserving.
With your venue's catering - check with them that food waste is being kept to a minimum and that is is being composted. If they are unwilling to work with you on this front, then perhaps keep looking. We are finding so many more weddings are taking place on private properties or venues that require outsourcing of the catering such as the beautiful Waterfall Farm. Backyard Weddings (Delaware Estate in Dairy Flat pictured here) is also a genius idea in the form of a directory of backyards available for hire for your ceremony or event venue. This gives you so much more control over what you're eating and how food waste is disposed of.
Utilise what you have already - who says everything on the day needs to be brand new or purposely purchased? Be inventive and imaginative, meaningful and thoughtful.
Happy planning, and remember that every little bit counts - surround yourself with people who share your ethos and it should all come together quite organically. And don't be discouraged by those who feel you're being "difficult" or "dramatic" when asking questions or requesting eco friendly practices. Boo to them. There's only one planet right? We'd best start looking after it.