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I had a sustainable wedding and this is how it went

I had a sustainable wedding and this is how it went

Wave line SVG.

We planned our little ceremony around three of our life rules: no excessive waste, not too many people, and if it’s too stressful, you’ve gone too far.

We planned our little ceremony around three of our life rules: no excessive waste, not too many people, and if it’s too stressful, you’ve gone too far.

I had a sustainable wedding and this is how it went
At the start of 2020 (which feels like a decade ago), we’d been engaged for two years and I knew it was time trap that man. We didn’t know what kind of wedding we wanted – we’re not exactly traditional folks – but knew what we didn’t want, which is arguably more important. We planned our little ceremony around three of our life rules: no excessive waste, not too many people, and if it’s too stressful, you’ve gone too far.

We considered eloping somewhere in the mountains but that seemed dismissive of our friends and family who are our relationship’s biggest supporters. We went for the next best thing: an intimate gathering in the in-laws’ backyard. We’re very privileged that they allowed us to use their beautiful home, and it helps that I married into a family of local art collectors, beekeepers, and natural vegetation gardeners. (#goals, amiright?)

Scaling down

With Coronavirus spreading around the world, a big wedding wasn’t just undesirable for us, but also irresponsible. We cut back our guest list to immediate family and three friends – plus a Maid of Honour who had to call in via Zoom because of the pandemic’s travel restrictions. On the bright side: fewer flights, fewer CO2 emissions.

Reduce, reuse, rewear

While there were some elements of a traditional ceremony I wanted to include, it was important for me to make sure that I wasn’t just doing something for tradition’s sake. I didn’t want to be “given away” to my husband, we didn’t want to end up in debt for one extravagant afternoon, and I didn’t want a white dress that I could only wear once. We also encouraged bridesmaids, groomsmen and guests to wear something they already owned or could borrow instead of buying something that would just end up in landfill later.

Tap into your contacts

I trade-swapped for my beautiful black Merwe Mode dress that I can’t wait to wear again and again. My husband (yay I can say “husband” now!) trade-swapped for our awesome cake. My bestie did my hair and makeup, which I guess I paid for with years of friendship. And our friends who own a catering company organised all our food in exchange for regular money – delicious finger foods made with locally sourced ingredients, served on regular dinnerware (no single-use plastic or paper!)

Keep it local

If it wasn’t something old or something borrowed, it was something local. My shoes are from Sweet Peas Handmade, a 100% South African leathercraft brand. My jewellery was also made locally by Obsidian, Famke and Yellow Jewellery. Click here for a list of sustainable jewellery brands close to you. The most local thing of all, however, must be our indigenous flower arrangements which were picked straight from the gardens of our friends and neighbours.

The result

I felt relaxed, happy and comfortable all day – no stereotypically overwhelmed brides here, thanks. I have a dress, jewellery and shoes that I can wear again at any time and feel amazing in. I have a clear memory of a connected conversation and time spent with every single guest. And most importantly, I have a partner for life.

Photos Hewitt and Anna Wright Dress Merwe Mode Shoes Sweet Peas Handmade Jewellery Obsidian, Famke and Yellow Jewellery.
At the start of 2020 (which feels like a decade ago), we’d been engaged for two years and I knew it was time trap that man. We didn’t know what kind of wedding we wanted – we’re not exactly traditional folks – but knew what we didn’t want, which is arguably more important. We planned our little ceremony around three of our life rules: no excessive waste, not too many people, and if it’s too stressful, you’ve gone too far.

We considered eloping somewhere in the mountains but that seemed dismissive of our friends and family who are our relationship’s biggest supporters. We went for the next best thing: an intimate gathering in the in-laws’ backyard. We’re very privileged that they allowed us to use their beautiful home, and it helps that I married into a family of local art collectors, beekeepers, and natural vegetation gardeners. (#goals, amiright?)

Scaling down

With Coronavirus spreading around the world, a big wedding wasn’t just undesirable for us, but also irresponsible. We cut back our guest list to immediate family and three friends – plus a Maid of Honour who had to call in via Zoom because of the pandemic’s travel restrictions. On the bright side: fewer flights, fewer CO2 emissions.

Reduce, reuse, rewear

While there were some elements of a traditional ceremony I wanted to include, it was important for me to make sure that I wasn’t just doing something for tradition’s sake. I didn’t want to be “given away” to my husband, we didn’t want to end up in debt for one extravagant afternoon, and I didn’t want a white dress that I could only wear once. We also encouraged bridesmaids, groomsmen and guests to wear something they already owned or could borrow instead of buying something that would just end up in landfill later.

Tap into your contacts

I trade-swapped for my beautiful black Merwe Mode dress that I can’t wait to wear again and again. My husband (yay I can say “husband” now!) trade-swapped for our awesome cake. My bestie did my hair and makeup, which I guess I paid for with years of friendship. And our friends who own a catering company organised all our food in exchange for regular money – delicious finger foods made with locally sourced ingredients, served on regular dinnerware (no single-use plastic or paper!)

Keep it local

If it wasn’t something old or something borrowed, it was something local. My shoes are from Sweet Peas Handmade, a 100% South African leathercraft brand. My jewellery was also made locally by Obsidian, Famke and Yellow Jewellery. Click here for a list of sustainable jewellery brands close to you. The most local thing of all, however, must be our indigenous flower arrangements which were picked straight from the gardens of our friends and neighbours.

The result

I felt relaxed, happy and comfortable all day – no stereotypically overwhelmed brides here, thanks. I have a dress, jewellery and shoes that I can wear again at any time and feel amazing in. I have a clear memory of a connected conversation and time spent with every single guest. And most importantly, I have a partner for life.

Photos Hewitt and Anna Wright Dress Merwe Mode Shoes Sweet Peas Handmade Jewellery Obsidian, Famke and Yellow Jewellery.

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