Marriage – an institution which stands the test of time.
Two million weddings are celebrated in the European Union each year. Although the number of weddings is falling, traditions live on.
Like any other business, weddings follow trends. And what could be more trendy than an eco-friendly wedding?
The UK is home to some of the pioneers surfing this green wave, with a growing number of young couples opting for what’s become known as the “green wedding”.
Kate and Gareth are getting married in the spring.
They have chosen ‘The Green House’ hotel as their venue, a hotel specialising in weddings and sustainable development.
Organising their big day has made Kate acutely aware of how every little details can have an impact on the environment.
“For us, it’s just choosing local produce, seasonal produce and, much like the hotel, we’ve been supporting local businesses. Our wedding cake is actually being made by a lady whom I’ve met through work, who works locally, rather than going with the big corporates. We try to support local teams with things like our favours. We have just spent a bit more time going through organic or fair trade products. It’s about making a conscious choice rather than going for the cheapest of the easiest option, putting a little bit more into it and hopefully every little thing helps,” says Kate.
Katie Fewings has set up website to help couples planning on going green. She was a green bride back in 2005, when nobody really knew what a green wedding was.
“It all started with my own wedding, basically. When I first started to read wedding magazines, I think the budget for an average wedding back then was 17,000 pounds. My husband and I were not going to spend anything like that, but it just got me thinking, if people were spending that amount of money on a wedding – and obviously some people will be spending a lot more – just imagine what good you can do with that money if you spend it in the right places,” says Katie Fewings, founder of the website “Ethical Weddings”.
Becci is another green wedding pioneer. She got married in 2004, and made pretty much everything from scratch, from her recycled wedding dress to the decorations and gifts.
Her main motivation was financial, but not only that. “I think it’s wonderful that it is fashionable and more in people’s minds to be green. I just think that they might be spending a little bit too much money on it. I think you can do everything cheaper if you do it yourself and it’s more fun as well. It makes your wedding more personal,” says Becci.
A different style and a whole different budget too: Lucy Tammam’s Atelier in London’s fashionable Bloomsbury neighbourhood.
A graduate from London’s prestigious Central St Martin’s College of art and design, Tammam is a pioneer in eco-couture. “When someone looks at my gowns they don’t say ‘It’s hippie and ethical’, they say ‘It’s a beautiful, unique, couture, design’ and they can see the craftsmanship and the quality straight away,” she says.
“But I have the added extra of being ethical so there’s more to the dress, there’s a story behind it, which is very much appreciated by most of the brides because it gives a little bit extra and they can know, on their wedding day, that no one has been exploited to help them create that perfect day.”
And be assured that your best will be all the better for the environment, however green you go. Katie Fewings has this advice.
“If you try to do everything, it can get quite stressful and you’re not necessarily going to achieve it. You don’t want to feel like a failure on your wedding day, which is a feedback I have with some couples: ‘I can’t do this green wedding because I try to do every single bit of it green’. So just relax: the fact that you are trying to have an ethical wedding is amazing. Most people won’t even think about it,” she says.