Congratulations, you’re engaged! You’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, and now you get to plan a day to celebrate this wonderful moment.  

With all that’s happening here on planet earth, it’s the perfect time to add a bit of levity and immerse yourself in the world of weddings. But it’s also a great time to consider making your day a little more sustainable.  

Whether that be the flowers, the food, the venue or the transport you take to get there, the options are abundant. And what better way to flaunt your eco-credentials than to say it with the very clothes you’re wearing! Dress, skirt, suit or kilt, there are quite a few routes you can go down to make your outfit more sustainable.  

In the past few years, we’ve all become much more aware of the need to cut back on our fast fashion shopping hauls. Stories of worker mistreatment and an abundance of clothing waste around the globe are everywhere, so it’s no wonder that brides and grooms are looking to choose more ethical and sustainable wedding wear options.  

The popularity of vintage clothing has been steadily rising for the past few years in response to the climate crisis, and shops that were largely frequented by quirky fashionistas are being crowded by a generation looking to lower their environmental footprint.  

“Vintage” describes a variety of things, but really it’s just a fancy way of saying that someone else loved the item before you! There are some incredible vintage shops around the UK, and many of them stock some really beautiful, and often unique, occasion wear. Each piece comes with it’s own history and you can find some real gems from each decade that might even suit you better than modern styles.  

When initially looking for her perfect dress, Hannah (pictured above/below) visited a number of modern wedding dress shops to try and find her style. However, after trying on a few things and realising that the modern styles weren’t quite meeting her expectations for aesthetics or sustainability, she decided to look elsewhere. With other aspects of the wedding being eco-friendly such as the confetti, the in season & locally grown flower arrangements, and even her soon-to-be husbands hired wedding kilt, it made perfect sense for Hannah to choose something vintage for herself. 

Knowing that she liked a more simple, clean style, she began searching for dresses with French and Spanish influences. Ebay proved to be a great resource, where amongst the very heavy vintage looks, Hannah found the ideal base dress that she had altered to her exact specifications. The dress was initially a very 60s, long sleeved garment with a high neck and a bow around the back. As you can see, this was then transformed into the perfect, beautifully elegant wedding dress!   

Wedding attire can often be very expensive due to the size of the pieces, the materials used and skill level required to make them. So for couples looking to save some money (maybe you’d rather spend it on a honeymoon or a home!), then renting is a fantastic option. Unlike many vintage shops and online stores, some rental companies offer a fitting service, delivery and pick up of the item and you can be sure the outfit will arrive in perfect condition. It’s second hand but with an upscale twist! Most rental services offer a wide array of sizes, styles and prices for everything from a dress to a kilt, so you’ll be sure to find something you adore.  

If you have your heart set on something brand new, there are still things you can do to make your choice more ethical and sustainable. Three main things to look out for are the materials used, the manufacturing methods and who is making your items.  

Many wedding outfits, just like regular clothing, feature a mixture of natural and manmade materials. When looking closely at the label, you’ll often find that silk, cotton and linen are woven in with various plastics such as nylon, polyester and rayon. By choosing items that are made of organic, natural fibers, you are limiting the amount of harmful chemicals needed to be used in production. Also, when your item needs to be cleaned (which after a day and night of celebration, you can be sure it will!) then you don’t have to worry about any micro plastics being washed out into the sea. Company’s making the effort to use natural fibers will also often use natural dye’s, which are non-toxic and better for your own health as well as the environment around you.  

In the age of internet, it’s become a lot easier to look for information on materials, processing and the ethical treatment of factory workers. Most retailers worth their salt will provide a statement on their website to tell you about where, how and who will make your clothing. 

So, with all that in mind, happy sustainable searching! 

Eleanor Fyfe for Coorie 

Images courtesy of Emma Lawson Photography

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