When you’re planning your big day, you want to leave a lasting impression on your guests, not on the ozone layer! But does this mean that you have to have everything second hand? The answer is no.
Vintage style is something that is very much on-trend at the moment and if you want to organize a vintage wedding then you can be reassured that you are dramatically reducing your carbon footprint. Being willing to re-use something that has already been created and used means that you are not paying for new things to be manufactured. However, there are plenty of brand new things that you can have on your wedding day that will not damage the environment.
The dress – vintage or new?
Any dress you choose for your day is one that you want to be eye-catching. Vintage gowns are all the rage at the moment and by shopping online or in specialist vintage stores you can pick up a bargain. Just remember that there are some eco-friendly dress labels that can create you a new gown using organic and eco-friendly materials so that your dress will not have the carbon footprint of a standard new gown.
The cars – vintage or new?
This is probably the one instance where a vintage car is not necessarily more eco-friendly than a new car. The energy efficiency of new cars means that they do not use as much fuel as vintage vehicles, so you are not adding to the destruction of the planet. You also don’t have the worry of the impact of getting a new item – the cars have already been built. You are not creating more demand for new cars, you are simply hiring the car that you like on the day. You are not causing a new car to be built, so the environmental impact of the manufacturing process is only a small consideration here.
The venue – vintage or new?
Older buildings tend not to have the energy efficiency of newer built properties. Country house hotels that date back 150 years or more are beautiful to look at and are wonderful backdrops for your photos but they are not built to modern-day green construction standards, even if they have included some energy efficient measures such as solar panels and recycling programs. On the other hand, most modern hotels have been built to comply with standards on eco-friendly building and include many more eco-friendly features that might include wind turbines, water recycling systems and a focus on the use of local suppliers.
These are just a few of the aspects of your green day that you might want to consider. Vintage implies a certain amount of eco-friendliness and a vintage wedding can be a beautiful event. However, vintage does not suit everybody. If you prefer to have a modern wedding it is good to know that you can opt for new on almost everything and still do your bit for the planet.
If you are planning the perfect eco-friendly wedding day then one of the main things you have to ensure is that your wedding dress is eco-friendly. We all know just how important the dress is. After all, you are the bride and it is only right that all eyes are on you as you walk up the aisle. You should never worry that going green means that you have to compromise on impact at all.
It is well-known that for many retailers it is far cheaper to have garments made in far-flung parts of the world and export them in than it is to have them made locally. However, there are dress-makers in every town and city that can easily help you to create your dream dress without the need for counting the air-miles.
Eco-friendly fabric requirements vary. You could choose fabric that is manufactured locally, although in most areas this is very hard to come by. You could also choose fabric that is made organically, so you are reducing the damage that is done by pesticides and other chemicals. You could opt for recycled fabric so that you are not adding to the planet’s problems and you are using something that you can find locally.
You might be able to find just what you need in a vintage store. Using a dress that has previously belonged to someone else is not something that you should dismiss. Vintage style is very popular at the moment and there are some exquisitely-made dresses from the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s that will be able to help you to make an impact on your big day. One of the saddest things about weddings in general is that most of the beautiful gowns that are bought will never be used again – but you could change that!
It is tempting to buy off the peg sometimes as this can save a great deal of money but remember that these are dresses that are mass-produced. It can be much more eco-friendly to look for something unique. Talk to a local dress maker about creating an individual dress, taking into account all the points mentioned above. Organic silk or recycled fabric can be used to create a beautiful dress that is unique to you. It is much harder to get an individual look if you go to one of the mainstream stores for your gown.
Before you hit the shops to find your perfect dress, have a look online to find out what eco-friendly options are available in your area. Consider the type of dress that you want and see if you can find a similar style in a vintage store. If you are clear in your mind about the type of dress that you want it can be much easier to work out how to find it!
One of the main worries for any bride and groom is that the wedding day is going to go smoothly. Remember that nothing is ever completely perfect and that there are so many variables that you cannot guarantee that things will not go wrong, but there are a few things that you can do to make sure that your wedding day has as few problems as possible.
These tend to be the biggest problem on the actual day of the wedding. It could be that your transportation is stuck in a traffic jam, or the catering could be late. Checking as early as you can on the day of the wedding that everything is running on schedule is a good idea. Ask for the transport to get to you a little earlier than you want to leave – this can help to offset any traffic problems that they meet. Talk to the caterers about how they are going to be working. Will they prepare the food at the venue or prepare it elsewhere and transport it in? Working at the venue can be the best option as it means they get there early and there should not be a problem.
Issues with dresses
A bride’s worst nightmare is that something is going to happen to the dress on the day of the wedding. It is very easy for the dress to be torn or pulled, or even have something spilled on it before or during the big day. Once the final fitting has been done and the dress is ready, make sure it is stored in a protective bag or case to give you that additional peace of mind. On the day itself there is no telling what can happen. Standing on the hem of the dress could tear it slightly and it is a good idea to have a small sewing kit on hand so that a quick repair can be made.
You might not think that you would have any problem with your shoes on the big day, but it can happen. It should go without saying that you should make sure that your shoes are relatively comfortable to wear before the day itself. So many people try their shoes on and just leave them until the wedding day. Find a good time to wear them for an hour or two (around the house, not outside!) and just wear them in a little so you can get used to them. Check that they are well-made too. If you saved money by buying a bargain or discount pair of shoes, then it’s a good idea to make sure that the heels are not loose and there is no stitching coming loose.
There are many other issues that you could face on your big day, but with careful planning most of them can be prevented from occurring. Just remember to have a contingency plan in place for them and you will find that your wedding will go just as smoothly as you dreamed it would.
Once your big day has come and gone, there will be plenty of things for you still to deal with. What are you going to do with that wedding dress? What about the bridesmaids dresses? The flowers? It can be tempting just to pack some things up and put them away for good, but the truth is that there are plenty of options for reusing and recycling some of your wedding items.
There are so many options here that there is bound to be one to suit you. You could have your wedding (or the bridesmaids dresses) made into a completely new outfit. If you are handy with a sewing machine this is something that you can do yourself or you can enlist the help of a crafty friend. Dresses can be shortened, sleeves removed or shortened and you can add all kinds of embellishments that will give the garment a whole new look. You could even have the dress made into a top and skirt so that they can be worn as separates and you can remove the whole ‘wedding’ feel from it by dyeing the material a different color. How about an adorable baby blanket and bear?
You could pass on your dress to another person who will use it. Maybe you want to put it away for another family member to use but remember that there are plenty of ways you can pass your dress on to other people. You could donate it to charity where it can be sold in a second hand store. Alternatively you could sell the dress yourself online and recoup some of the cost – remember that wedding dresses are not cheap and in most cases the bride is unlikely to wear it again.
Your wedding bouquet can be preserved so that you can keep it for a long time as another reminder of your big day, but the bigger the bouquet the more space you are going to need for it. You could just choose to preserve individual flowers from your own bouquet or the bridesmaids’ bouquets. These can be dried and placed in scrapbooks, frames or you can use them to decorate thank you cards to send to everyone who was kind enough to buy you a gift.
We have already mentioned creating a scrapbook of the day and to this you can add samples of all the wedding stationery used on the day. You may find that you have plenty of things to include like the wedding program. Once you have saved one of these in your scrapbook, send the others with your paper recycling.
On the day itself you should make sure that there is no food waste by ensuring that people take food home with them – providing doggy bags from an evening buffet is easy enough. Anything not claimed could be sent to a local homeless shelter or food bank.
You do not have to go to any great lengths to ensure that there is no unnecessary waste after the wedding. Why not make a plan before the big day so that you can put it into action if you need to?
The word ‘vintage’ has a very romantic connection to it and no more so than when linked to weddings. If you would prefer to shop vintage when it comes to your wedding dress then there are a few things that you need to keep in mind when making your choice.
Most stores or online stores that sell vintage gowns will not be selling damaged gowns, but you do need to check them over just in case there is something that they have missed. This is especially true if you are buying privately and in most cases you should make sure that you can inspect the dress in person before paying for it. Look for signs of general wear and tear, discoloration and stains. Areas to pay close attention to include the hems and underarms.
Get the right size
You really do need to keep in mind that dress sizes have changed a lot over the years so simply choosing a dress in the size that you are now will not do as the same size even 20 years ago was measured differently. Vintage sizes tend to be smaller. You need to try a dress on before buying it. It is also worth remembering that many vintage wedding dresses were made specifically for the person who wore it. Keep a note of your own measurements so that they can be compared to the dress.
Pick your era
Every decade produced wedding dresses in very different styles. Do a little research before you buy and work out which era you think will suit you best. In the 1920s, for example, dresses tended to have narrow shoulders and be designed in a sheath form. They flow naturally and are ideal for those who are slim and petite. Alternatively, the 1930s dresses are designed to fit the form better and are flattering on curves. Those who are tall and slim are ideal for a wedding dress from this era.
If you are considering a 1940s dress then you might find something with a sweetheart neckline and puffed shoulders. The peplum was also a popular design choice at this time. The shoulders help the waist to look slimmer and there is also a choice of skirt length on this era of dress. 1950s dresses tend to have a fitted bodice and full skirt. Full length skirts and tea-length are both popular and these are ideal for those who have an hourglass figure.
1960s dresses are currently very popular with empire-line waists, but there is also the short mini-dress version that was popular towards the end of the decade. These are fine if you have good legs but if you prefer to hide them then opt for the longer versions.
Research is essential for the perfect wedding day outfit but it does mean that you can have something that is not only unique but stylish and environmentally-friendly too!