11 ways to have an ethical wedding

Getting hitched? We take a look at ways you can celebrate your love without compromising your values.

1. Don’t accidentally buy blood diamonds

Adopt a zero tolerance policy to blood diamonds, like Tiffany and

Save the environment (and money) by shopping in antique stories
or (gasp!) on eBay.

Buy from Do Amore — for every ring sold, two people in the
developing word get clean water, FOR LIFE.

2. Trawl second-hand websites and stores

Most of us have better things to drop thousands of dollars on than a
dress we’ll wear once, right? Well! Save some cash AND help the
homeless by getting your frock from a charity shop such as Vinnies.

Other awesome “pre-loved” gowns can be found at I Do Gowns,
Savvy Brides and The Barefaced Bride.

3. Buy a Fairtrade dress

Stuck for dress that matches your values? Consider making a trip to
the US (um, see no. 10 on offsetting your carbon footprint).

Marcie Muehlke searched for a wedding dress matching her human
rights and environmental values but came up short. So, to help other
brides in the same boat she founded Celia Grace.

Her gorgeous dresses are Fairtrade and eco-friendly and for each
one sold, a water filter is donated to a family in need. Tingles!

4. Go eco with your invites

Wanna go eco but fancy sending something a little more special
than an email? Then visit Earth First for a huge list of eco-friendly
stationary suppliers in Australia.

Never used Etsy? DO IT NOW! You’ll find an endless supply of
wonderful handmade save-the-date cards and wedding invites.

5. Re-think the wedding gifts

If you’re a couple that has everything, consider setting up a registry that raises money for a worthy cause. Karma Currency is an online not-for-profit company that connects gift giving occasions with worthy charities.

Or you can cut out the middle man and ask your guests to donate to Amnesty International and help us fight for human rights around the world.

6. Do your guests a favour

Donate the money you were going to spend on bonbonniere
(wedding favours) because, let’s face it, no one really needs that
keychain with the cute photo of the two of you in it.

Or, if you really love the idea of giving your guests a gift to thank
them for celebrating with you, there is another option. Make a
donation in their name to Operation Smile, an amazing organisation
that provides free surgeries to repair cleft lip, cleft palate and other
facial deformities for children around the world.

7. Eat and drink ethically

Consider going vegan or vegetarian for the day. If that doesn’t
appeal to you, then just make sure your suppliers use local produce
and free range meat.

To cut down your carbon footprint even further, buy wine and beer
from the country you are marrying in. Oh, and consider buying
organic or Fairtrade.

And don’t forget to recycle those bottles!

8. Brighten someone’s day

To cut costs, opt for seasonal flowers as they’re likely to be cheaper
because of their abundance.

Other options include recycling your flowers or using artificial ones
which can be just as beautiful as the real thing!

For that extra feel-good feeling, you could give your beautiful
flowers to a local hospital or care home after your wedding day.

9. Over-ordered on the catering?

Your caterer should always ask whether you would like to keep the
leftover food from your wedding reception. If you don’t want it, the
food will either be given to the catering staff (fine) or thrown away
(not fine).

There are many people around Australia who don’t have enough to
eat and that’s where you come in. To avoid chucking out perfectly
edible (and probably expensive) food, arrange to donate your
yummy leftovers to a homeless shelter.

For tips on how to do this in your area, check out Give Now.

10. Be wary of paradise

Think carefully about into whose pocket your honeymoon dollars
are going. Often, those destinations we think of as paradise can be
hiding human rights abuses so do your research!

If you’re having your wedding somewhere exotic or guests are
flying long haul to party with you, start thinking about your carbon
footprint and visit the WWF to find out how to offset it.

Make your honeymoon a ‘staycation’. Whether you decide to help
out the cute Ningaloo turtles in WA or volunteer with Amnesty International in Sydney, an Australian honeymoon would undoubtedly be

11. Here’s a wacky idea: don’t get married!

Make like David Pocock and Emma Palandri and don’t “officially” tie
the knot.

The pair had a wedding ceremony in 2010 but won’t sign on the
dotted line until marriage equality exists in Australia.

Despite around 65 per cent of the Australian population being in
support of marriage equality, same-sex couples are still fighting for
the right to have their love recognised in the eyes of the law.

Article by Katie Young, Online editor