We love hearing from ethical fashion experts like Keira of Style Me Fair! Just weeks away from her own wedding, Keira took the time to share some tips for planning a wedding as a conscious consumer! Read on for some super practical tips…
It was almost a year ago that I was suddenly convicted to only make thoughtful and intentional purchases. I saw the documentary The True Cost, and immediately decided that I would only shop secondhand, or purchase new clothing from companies with ethical and sustainable practices. I started my blog, Style Me Fair, with the intention to document my journey, and bring exposure to the incredible companies I was discovering. I proudly hadn’t made an “unethical” purchase in months, and my passion for sustainability began to overflow into other areas of my life such as eliminating plastic waste, cutting down on paper usage, and recycling whenever I could.
About 8 months into my ethical living journey, I was proposed to by the love of my life! We decided to set our wedding date six months out, and so began the craziest season of my entire life. I am still in the midst of wedding planning, but we’re on the home stretch at 45 days away, and I can hardly wait! When I started the wedding planning process, my hope was to do everything in an eco-friendly, ethical, and sustainable way. However, I quickly realized that this was an unrealistic expectation since time was of the essence, and I was planning my wedding several states away.
With that being said, there are definitely some parts of my wedding that could have been more ethical, more sustainable, and more eco-friendly. However, I am a firm believer that it’s best to make small and impactful changes rather than striving for perfection when it comes to ethical living. If you or someone you know is hoping to plan a conscious wedding, I’m here to help avoid overwhelm and inspire you to make small changes instead! To get you started, here are a few ideas and ways that you can make ethical and sustainable choices for your wedding. If you can incorporate one (or all) of these, great! You’ve made a difference in an industry that creates a lot of unnecessary waste, and you might even inspire others to follow suit!
1. Engagement Ring- No New Diamonds
Use an estate diamond, lab-grown diamond, or a different stone altogether!
If you’ve heard the nickname “blood diamonds”, you’re probably aware that diamonds are often mined in unethical and unjust ways. While most jewelry stores will claim to carry conflict-free stones, this often doesn’t guarantee that no one was harmed during the mining of your diamond. Not to mention, diamonds are not actually valuable! Due to a hundred-year-old marketing scheme, we’ve all been convinced that diamonds are necessary for an engagement. Millenials are starting to wake up and realize that this isn’t true, and there are plenty of precious stones out there that look gorgeous in an engagement ring! If you prefer a diamond, try shopping for estate stones, or repurpose a diamond from a relatives old engagement ring.
Lucky for me, my fiance’s Grandma gifted us her original wedding ring diamond since she had recently received a new one after 40+ years of a successful marriage. Using her stone made my ring sustainable (hello recycling), incredibly meaningful, and it was such a blessing to us as a young couple who couldn’t quite afford an expensive ring!
2. Ethically Made Bridesmaid Gifts
Give a gift that gives back! Your wedding party has likely spent a fortune on attire, plane tickets, and gifts… now it’s your turn to say thank you! Gift them something beautiful and meaningful from a company you believe in! Sseko has a variety of options that would make great bridesmaids gifts! They’re also currently offering a discount if you purchase in bundles for your bridesmaids.
Here are a few of my favorite Sseko items that would make beautiful bridesmaid and vendor gifts:
This duster makes a perfect gift, and can double as a robe for your getting ready photos!
This tassel clutch is the perfect bridesmaid accessory for the big day, and could also double as a makeup bag to tote around wedding day supplies!
Did you know that Sseko allows you to design custom sandals? If your wedding is on the casual side or outdoors, these could be perfect for your bridesmaids to wear on your wedding day! Or, they can sport them while they’re getting ready and give their feet a break before they put on those high heels! I personally love creating sandals with rose gold leather, it’s so dreamy!
3. Just Say NO to Wedding Favors
When chatting with my wedding coordinator, she mentioned that wedding favors always end up left behind and in the trash at the end of the evening. Because of this, I chose to skip favors altogether. If you’d like your guests to take something home, try to think of an idea that isn’t plastic and will actually be useful such as coffee, a succulent, or a bottle opener. We’re making “coasters” out of hexagon marble tiles which will double as nameplates! This will eliminate the need for wedding favors and name place cards, while providing guests with something to take home that they will actually use! Trust me, I bet no one will even notice that you chose to forgo the little plastic bottle of bubbles with your wedding date on them…
4. Secondhand or Ethically Made Wedding Dress
There are several ways to purchase an ethically made wedding dress. Unfortunately, I had one weekend with my mom and family to pick out my wedding dress, so I didn’t end up going with an ethical designer due to the time crunch.
However, if you have more time, it may be fun to shop around in these ways:
Go with a local designer. Each major city should have a few local designers. Many are inexpensive, and will be able to custom design your dress exactly to your liking!
Purchase from one of these ethical/sustainable designers
Shop second hand! There are plenty of bridal boutiques with donated wedding dresses, and you may just find the dress of your dreams at a discounted price!
5. Eliminate Paper and Plastic Waste
Try to use as little paper as possible, or print on recycled paper when necessary!
As I was writing this post, I sent an e-mail over to my coordinator to ask about any single-use plastic. Luckily, our venue has already eliminated all plastic, and promotes recycling! There was only one plastic item we were going to end up using, can you guess what it is? Yep, that’s right… straws. So, we decided to order paper straws instead! It is often an easy fix to nix unnecessary plastic, all you have to do is ask!
Wedding planning can be stressful and overwhelming at times, but taking it one step at a time will make it all worth it in the end! By asking a few simple questions and making intentional choices, you can truly make a lasting positive impact by planning your wedding with an ethical, conscious, and sustainable mindset.
Don’t strive for perfection, strive to make a difference!
Don’t forget to check out Keira’s blog for more tips and ethical fashion advice!
Want to style others and earn an income? We would love to invite you to join our community at Sseko where you will earn an income, receive mentorship and support… all while you make a difference for women in the world! Whether you want to work at home full-time or do it alongside your current job, there’s something for everyone! Learn more or schedule an interview with a woman at Sseko today to see if we’re the right fit for YOU!