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10 Tips For Planning An Ethical Wedding

Updated: Mar 20

Planning an ethical wedding can seem like a daunting task. So much of our world is built around the exploitation of others and it’s hard to avoid at times. Add in a wedding to the mix and the stakes just doubled. It's so easy to throw everything out the window with wedding planning (especially with all of those Kmart wedding hacks on Pinterest!) but if ethical living in a big part of your life, it only makes sense that your wedding would reflect that!

Before you start planning, it’s important to remember that no wedding is ever going to be 100% ethical. Just like no person can ever live a fully ethical lifestyle - there’s just too many variables and tangents. But what you can do is work towards an achievable goal for you and your wedding. Follow these simple tips and you’ll be on your way to your best ethical wedding!

Buy from ethical brands

The best way to have an ethical wedding is by doing your research and buying what you need for you wedding from certified ethical brands. By buying ethical you’re supporting garment workers, farmers and makers with a living wage and safe working conditions.

I have written out list of ethical wedding dresses, jewellery and wedding attire to help you find your best ethically made wedding outfits.

Ethically made rings by Zoe Pook Jewellery

When in doubt, rent

When you don’t have access to an ethical version, rent it from a wedding hire business instead. Renting also saves unnecessary waste (ie it’s more sustainable!)

Choose vendors that have ethical values

When you choose vendors that ethical values align with yours, you can know that your money is going towards a more ethical lifestyle. For me, when my couples book me, their money is helping me to support more ethical brands that I use in my personal life which in turn, trickles down to people who will be working and creating for a living wage.

Choose vendors that are paying themselves properly.

Because ethical payment doesn’t t just apply to those making our clothes, it also applies to sole traders who need to make a living wage themselves.

It’s so easy to want to go with the cheapest anything and everything when it comes to your wedding. I get it! Costs add up and you’ll want to cut them anywhere you can. Does it matter if the photographer is only charging me $600 for a full day, second shooter and an album? Their choice right? What a deal!

Well...yeah it kind of does matter!

Someone paying themselves $600 for a full day is nowhere near making enough money to live on. By paying more, you’re supporting ethical wages for local vendors and supporting a healthy wedding vendor industry. What would happen if everyone was only booking $600 wedding photographers? No one would be make a living wage!

If you want, ask your vendors to break down exactly what their costs are so you can see how much they’re ACTUALLY making. If it’s not much, move onto someone else who will be charging enough to cover a living wage for themselves and anyone else who works for them. If you’re confused on what to look for, take a look at my breakdown of a photographer fee to see how much you should be looking at for ethical vendors.

Having an ethical wedding is possibly going to cost you more in some places, but you can be sure that you’re supporting vendors by paying them at least a living wage.

Consider A Vegan Menu

Vegan food is THE BOMB. There are so many options and so many choices when it comes to veganised food - and when it’s made by professional chefs, it’s 100% delicious. From dumplings to full on vegan roasts, choose a good vegan spread and even those hard core meat eaters will be digging in.

Find an ethical venue

An ethical venue? Whaaattt? What even IS an ethical venue?

An ethical venue can be one that gives back to the community (maybe a local church or hall) or a venue that directly supports ethical initiatives like The Freedom Hub who have patterned with initiatives to support survivors of and end human trafficking.

Have Your Ceremony and Reception in the same place

We all know that coal isn’t ethical. So reducing our consumption of it as much as we can is super important. Lower your entire weddings fuel consumption by having your entire wedding in one spot instead of having to travel between two venues.

Look into locally made and ethical alcohol

A lot of alcohol is made with unethical practices. From the farmers, to the distillers, it’s likely that the people making your drink of choice don’t have access to simple rights as a worker. Just check out this post from The Fashionable Thinker after emailing Cuervo Tequilla asking about their worker treatment and policies! VAGUE AF right?

Look around for a local business that can serve your guests ethical, locally made alcohol. Not only can you meet the people who actually made your drinks but you can reduce the carbon footprint of them getting it to you as well!

Instead of gifts, ask for donations

Most couples are living together before their wedding and already have the “house necessities”. No one needs another dinner set or another rice cooker. Instead, ask your guests to give money to your favourite charity. Not only will you be lowering your overall wedding consumption, but you’ll be supporting a cause near and dear to your heart.

Encourage guests to stay at eco accomodation

Encouraging your guests to stay at eco accommodation will help to offset any travel they way do to get to your wedding.

Eco accomodation could be solar powered (removing non-ethical coal), catered with local produce, supporting

Use a website like Green Getaways to find eco places to stay!

When your guests spend their money on eco and ethical accomodation options, they're using their money to support businesses that will in turn, support other ethical businesses. IT'S ALL A BIG ETHICAL CIRCLE.

As I said at the start of this blog post, it's not possible to have a 100% ethical life let alone a 100% ethical wedding. But with some thoughtful planning, it's easy to plan a beautiful celebration of your love while celebrating your ethical values.

Looking for an ethical photographer? Well look no further! Head to my past client galleries to see more weddings and contact me for info on how I can be your wedding photographer!