5 Easy Ways To Say 'I Do' To An Eco-Friendly Wedding

Yes, it's possible to have a dream, green wedding.

There are so many ways that we can go green in our day to day lives, whether it's using a 'keep cup' for our morning caffeine hit, or saying no thanks to plastic straws. Even reusable shopping bags have gone mainstream -- and chic -- these days.

But did you know that you can still do your bit on one of the biggest days of your life? Yep, we're talking about having a dream (but still green) wedding.

It's not like you have to throw all your original plans out the window, either.  Upping the eco-friendly factor on your big day can come down to making a few small and easy tweaks.

Not only will you be doing the environment a favour, you'll also be in step with actual royalty. Britain's Princess Eugenie revealed in the September issue of Vogue that she and fiancé Jack Brooksbank live a plastic-free life at home, and are aiming to do the same for their October wedding .

So if one of the poshest -- and richest -- royals can do it, then by gosh so can we.

Embrace flower power
A silk bridal bouquet -- just like the real thing. Image: inmymindflower on Etsy.

Artificial flowers, like this silk bridal bouquet from Etsy, are a good eco-friendly option because, as with other large-scale agricultural practices, growing flowers has a significant environmental impact due to its use of chemicals, water and energy.

Plus, going artificial is often cheaper than buying real blooms, they're guaranteed not to wilt on the day and they make a beautiful and lasting reminder.

If you do opt for fresh flowers, try to source them from a local farmers market to reduce their carbon footprint. You can also reuse the blooms from the ceremony at the reception -- why not split up the bouquets and rearrange them in vases (recycled of course) for a cute table decoration?

Another plant-related eco-idea is to decorate the venue with potted flowers instead of fresh-cut ones. That way you or you guests can take a pot home with them as a sweet souvenir.

Pass on paper and plastic
Paperless post. Image: greenvelope.com

When it comes to wedding invites, save-the-date notes and thank you letters, e-invites are a fantastic alternative to regular post. Obviously they're paper-free which earns them an eco tick of approval, but they're also cheaper -- no stamps needed -- and far less hassle. It just takes a few clicks!

Plus, you can personalise them to your heart's delight. Try sites like Greenvelope, Paperless Post and Evite -- one look at their pretty designs and you'll forget all about snail mail, we promise.

Cutting down on paper doesn't mean you have to miss out on the traditional post--'I do' confetti shower, just look for biodegradable options.

Plastic straws are so passé, even McDonalds is moving on. Reusable metal or compostable paper straws are the way to go, or just ditch them altogether.

Instead of plastic cups have guests sip from glasses, which you can hire en masse instead of buying, or if an eclectic vibe is your thing why not collect a mismatched set from an antique store?

Joyful jewels
All that glitters. Image: Ethical Jewels.

The market for artificial or lab-grown diamonds and other gemstones is small but it's growing, as more and more people discover the what, where and how behind their favourite bling.

Companies like Ethical Jewels create engagement and wedding rings that are not only kinder to the earth but kinder in general. They use recycled precious metals and synthetic or fair trade stones -- they never source from a conflict area -- and their pieces are handmade in either Australia or the US. 

Makeup magic
Image: Getty.

Going green can also extend to your makeup bag thanks to the ever-growing range of eco-friendly beauty products on the market. Whether it's all-natural, cruelty free or vegan it all makes a difference.

Luckily for ethically-minded brides-to-be we've pulled together a list of 10 certified vegan beauty brands.

Dressed to impress
If it's alright with Meghan ... Image: Getty.

The Dress. It's one of the most important aspects of the day, but it also has the power to make a difference, in addition to making you look divine.

Designers like Stella McCartney, and labels like Reformation in the US and Australia's own KitX by Kit Willow are all committed to creating stunning yet sustainable gowns. Let's not forget that the newly-minted Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, opted for a McCartney creation for her wedding reception in May.

A good rule of thumb when looking for a beautiful and ethical wedding dress is to keep an eye out for handmade over mass-produced garments, and sustainable, natural fibre fabrics. Eco silk, for example, is unbleached, biodegradable and allows for the silk worms to live a happy life.

Or you could go one better and don a secondhand gown. There are treasures from the '20s and '30s to be found in op-shops, or there's always mum's -- or grandma's wardrobe ...

Feature image: Getty.

Contact the author at gwolski@networkten.com.au