Conscious Living

Green is the new white: Here’s how to have an eco-friendly wedding

Article by Fashion Quarterly

Fiona Ralph Wedding


Weddings don’t have to be wasteful; we look at how to make your special day more environmentally friendly.

A recent study conducted by Pinterest showed millennial and Gen Z pinners were twice as likely to care about sustainability as those over the age of 38 – so it’s no surprise that searches for sustainable wedding dresses were up by 181 percent for 2018. Fiona Ralph, features editor of Nadia magazine, and her husband CP Moore (pictured) threw their own version of a sustainable wedding in 2017 at The Boat Shed in Nelson.

She shares her tips for making your big day eco-friendly:


Tip #1: Shop for second-hand clothing and accessories

My dress, hat, shoes, cardigan, earrings, bracelet and engagement ring were all second-hand, from Trade Me, Auckland City Mission, Vixen on Auckland’s K Rd and the ring was CP’s grandma’s. I altered the dress to fit and to make it more modern and elegant. My husband’s jacket, shoes, pocket watch, belt and ring were second-hand too. One of the bridesmaid’s dresses was second-hand and a few of the groomsmen’s jackets were as well.

Tip #2: Be conscious with decorations

We hunted out vintage vases and napkins from Trade Me, markets, op shops and also borrowed from friends and family. The restaurant already had a collection of second-hand plates and cups, so there was no need for single-use crockery and cutlery. We avoided disposable decorations altogether, and chose a location that didn’t need too much dressing up. We dried flower petals for confetti and put them in second-hand baskets which the flower girls passed around. We opted for email invitations and a website instead of printed invites. For sounds, we used an upcycled speaker system by CP’s business At Large Audio.

Fiona Ralph Wedding

Tip #3: Think local

Our beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks were all sourced from local suppliers and came in kegs or glass bottles. Plus, we used local suppliers for the cake and flowers. Our celebrant, videographer and hair stylist were from the area too. Our venue, a restaurant, was actually inside a campground with cabins, so we all stayed there, which minimised transport and had the relaxed, rustic vibe we wanted. Full disclosure though, the wedding was in Mapua, near Nelson, so some guests flew down, and not all the food was local or sustainable. But the restaurant, The Boat Shed, does have a sustainable ethos, so we knew they were making the best choices. We drove and ferried from Auckland to Nelson, rather than flying, honeymooned at my family bach in the Abel Tasman, then road-tripped home.

Tip #4: Keep it simple

You don’t need lots of decorations, monogrammed stationery, or new outfits for every occasion and you don’t need new matching dressing gowns for the morning prep just because Pinterest says you do. Instead, my bridesmaids and I brought our own. I also borrowed dresses from friends for the day before and after. The wedding itself will be so special, and it goes so quickly, that some of the things you think you need in the planning stages really are unnecessary.

This story originally featured in Fashion Quarterly Issue 2, 2019.

Words: Fiona Ralph
Photos: Supplied

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