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An Ethical Alternative to the Conspicuous Excess of the Average Wedding

Many happy couples are turning their backs on the traditional wedding gift list in favor of a more ethical approach to their big day. If you are put off by the materialism and "me, me, me" aspect of modern weddings, then why not plan your day to reflect your personal philosophy and beliefs? It's not just gift lists that are being replaced. Conscientious brides and grooms are putting a lot of thought into making every part of their wedding day more ecologically sound, from purchasing fair trade flowers to using organic food in the catering.

With the cost of the average wedding reported to be around £17,000, a rising number of couples are beginning to question just where that money goes. In these times of environmental awareness and social responsibility, a lot of people are looking at how they can arrange their special day with these ethical principles in mind.

A growing number of wedding gift lists are being substituted for the more selfless idea of charity lists. The fact that many people live together nowadays before they get married, means that they already have all the household items they actually need. Rather than ask their guests for gratuitous symbols of consumption, some couples are choosing to support a good cause instead. Guests are asked to donate to charity in a range of ways, from buying a cow or a camel for a third world community, to planting trees to create a woodland grove.

"Green" issues can come into every aspect of wedding planning, from finding "conflict-free" wedding rings to environmentally-friendly confetti and wedding invitations made from recycled paper. More and more people are choosing to follow an ethically-aware lifestyle, so it makes sense for their wedding day to follow their beliefs. Ways to cut down on waste and food miles include using local and organic produce for the food, or even asking a friend or relative to make the wedding cake. Wedding flowers are another controversial issue, with many cheap non-fair trade flowers being flown in from abroad. Locally produced fair trade flowers are a more suitable option for the ethical bride.

When planning your wedding the wedding dress can be a huge expense. With regular reports of exploitative child labor in the clothing industry, ethical brides are conscious not just of the aesthetic appeal of their bridal gown, but the social and environmental impact of it's production. Fortunately there is a range of ethical wedding gowns on the market these days to meet this demand. Beautiful organic wedding dresses, made from organic cotton are a good choice, as are fair trade silk bridesmaid dresses. Some designers are creating wonderful unique wedding dresses from recycled fabrics such as vintage silk. Hemp is another popular eco-friendly material.

So, if the excess of modern weddings is not for you, you can choose to use your wedding day as an opportunity to give something back.

Simon Phillips is a successful freelance writer and regular contributor to, your one stop source for finding the best deals on wedding favors, bridal gowns, wedding accessories and more!

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