Eco-friendly weddings

Follow these simple steps for an eco-friendly celebration

By Wendyl Nissen

Why not have a green wedding? Making eco-conscious decisions for your special day will not only save the planet, but save you money as well.

The dress

Wearing a recycled wedding dress is not out of the question. There are thousands of them on Trade Me, just waiting for their chance to shine again on a special day.

You can easily have one altered and incorporate your own special touches with the help of a dressmaker. Try adding a coloured sash which matches your flowers. Take the hem up to turn it into a short dress, or add a train or a veil.

Or go vintage and proudly where an 80s wedding dress complete with puff sleeves, à la Princess Diana. You may even be lucky enough to find something from an earlier era.

And keep a piece of chalk handy for last-minute spot cover on the day.


Instead of insisting your bridesmaids all wear matching purple satin frocks, consider allowing them to bring some of their own personality to your wedding.

You could ask them to simply wear their favourite dress, rather than spend money and time organising gowns they will never wear again (and often aren’t even happy about wearing on the day).

It’s a good idea to agree on a palette, so the photos don’t feature every colour in the rainbow – and opt for florals or block colours, not both.

Groom & groomsmen

Who says the men have to wear three-piece suits? Many green weddings allow the guys to be less formal and turn up in pants and a cotton shirt. Go for green fabrics, such as linen, cotton or hemp, and take comfort in the knowledge they won’t be sweltering on a hot summer’s day. But, if he insists on going formal, hiring suits is the best green option.


Recycled paper is a must for green wedding invites, but you could also source some seed paper – a material that has been impregnated with flower seeds. Your guests can plant the invite later and grow some flowers as a keepsake.

Hair & Make-up

Forgo the fake tan – there is nothing green or natural about that – and wear your hair down if you want to. No-one says you have to have your hair up on you wedding day. You could also incorporate some of the flowers from your bouquet into the hairdo.

The rings

If family members have jewellery they no longer wear, they may like to donate it to be remodelled into your wedding rings. Buying new diamonds, gold and platinum is not seen as a very green choice. Some diamonds are used to finance armies, and gold and platinum extraction involves methods which harm the environment. Consider buying vintage rings at an auction.

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