Your guide to eco-friendly attire

Planning a green wedding? Consult our eco-chic guide for big-day attire that is ethical and stylish.

  • Story by Photo Ivy and Gold Photography & Words Rebekah White

Planning a green wedding? Consult our eco-chic guide for big-day attire that is ethical and stylish. 

The gown

The ultimate eco-friendly gown is one that sees more than one outing. If you don’t have any sartorial family heirlooms at hand, consider including vintage fabrics or trims in your ensemble. Elizabeth Soljak from A La Robe collects antique pieces of lace and beading on her travels and uses them in her designs. ‘They add charm and character,’ she says. ‘Each found piece is a one-off, and has a history you can only guess.’

If you’ve inherited a wedding gown, count yourself lucky – even if it’s not ‘you’, a talented dressmaker can salvage the fabric and craft it into something new, or incorporate details into your dream dress. ‘Sometimes a mother of the bride will bring in an old veil which we can remodel, or a pre-loved piece of lace we can use,’ says Elizabeth. And there’s no reason your gown shouldn’t enjoy a new life after your big day – it can be shortened and dyed, used in a baby’s bassinet or as a christening gown.

The shoes

Shop for your accesssories with an eye on the future. ‘I knew I’d never wear white shoes after my wedding, so I bought a red pair instead,’ says Rebecca. Adding a pop of colour to your outfit gives you something you’ll be able to return to again and again – and it’ll bring up happy memories of your day every time.

The bling

Every diamond imported into New Zealand must be accompanied by a Kimberley Process certificate – proof that its sale wasn’t used to fund conflict in war-torn countries. ‘You couldn’t get blood diamonds into the country even if you tried,’ says Brent Sutcliffe from Sutcliffe Jewellery.
That said, mining per se isn’t an environmentally friendly activity, so for eco cred, choose antique jewellery rather than buying new. ‘My engagement ring was made in 1914 and my husband’s mother handed it down to me,’ says eco-friendly bride Rebecca. ‘For our bands, we approached small jewellers and asked if they used recycled gold.’
Supporting local artisans is a good tack to take. ‘Most of the gold we use is mined here in New Zealand, and everything we sell is made on the premises,’ says Brent.

The rest of the bridal party

If your fiancé wears a suit to work, invest in a top-quality wool blend he can enjoy for years to come. Ensure your bridesmaids add a frock they love to their wardrobes by allowing them to choose a cocktail-length dress to match your colour theme.

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