More & more frequently, clients come to me looking for events that are green, vegan, or simply wanting to give back as part of their wedding day. The average wedding produces 400 pounds of garbage and the equivalent emissions of what 4-5 people would produce in an entire year. Additionally, the plant-based food sector grew by 20% in 2018, compared to just 2% for all other foods and up from an 8% growth in 2017! So while couples have always wanted their weddings to reflect their own personalities, it is no surprise that they are increasingly wanting them to reflect their values as well.
Many couples typically start their planning by selecting their style since that will dictate the type of venue, decor & ambiance they want. So for part one of this blog, I want to jump in with wedding fashion, options available to conscientious couples & things to steer clear of.
When selecting clothing, often conscientious couples want to make sure they are using cruelty-free products so I love the Cruelty-Free Fabric Guide over at The Compassionate Closet because it’s a fantastic, quick way to see which fabrics are vegan or not & theirs is the most extensive list I’ve seen (they also have some really cute casual clothing options as well)! Ahimsa (or peace) silk is also an option for some people, although ethical vegans may still wish to stay away from it due to exploitation of the worms used in the process. Soy silk is a a fantastic alternative to peace silk & is available to purchase online if you are considering having a gown custom made & can’t find it in a local fabric store.
For getting ready fashion, Sage & Stars offers gorgeous organic cotton & bamboo robes for you & your crew. One of our recent brides, Jeanne, used Eberjey for her bridal party robes which are available in earth friendly fabrics as well.
Photo: Dark Roux Photography
I also love the newest H&M Conscious Exclusive’s eighth spring collection because although it uses organic silk in some of the items, making it non-vegan, they are using some of my favorite products on the market right now such as BLOOM Foam made from algae, Pinatex made from pineapple-leaf fibers & Orange Fiber made from citrus peels. This stunning new collection features many items like a white suit, crop tops with skirts & other options which would work for both the wedding as well as other related events. Orange Fiber has been used for daily wear collections from Salvatore Ferragamo as well, & Pinatex’s list of designers can be found in the products section of their website.
H&M’s Conscious Exclusive collection
Of course, you can always purchase a pre-owned gown from many reputable sources like Once Wed, Pre Owned Wedding Dresses, Borrowing Magnolia, Nearly Newlywed, Still White, etc. if you are concerned about sustainability and on the plus side, this can sometimes lead to great deals on your gown as well!
However, if you want something a bit more custom, Wear Your Love creates custom made gowns made from organic cotton & bamboo & include some of the most beautiful laces on the market!
There are also several companies who make gowns from rescued deadstock & vintage fabrics such as Reformation, Katherine Feiel & Christy Dawn. Their offerings include bridal gowns as well as trendy jumpsuits & bridesmaid & party dresses as well. It should be noted that their products are not all vegan, as they do use silks in some garments.
We have also had clients use Rent the Runway for bridesmaid dresses and their bridal party loved that option! Sam’s maids selected these beautiful sequin gowns, however, they offer bridal services as well for up to two of your events.
If you are looking to rent tuxedos instead of dresses, local sources such as John’s Tuxedos not only provide fantastic service but fun local add-ons such as LSU socks, water meter cover cuff links & other cool gift ideas. One of our recent grooms, Dan, rented his suit online from The Black Tux and selected a stunning navy with tiny white dot design!
For ladies’ tuxedos, you can purchase from Little Black Tux which offers a variety of colors & options for fashion forward ladies, but if you want to rent, our go-to is local shop John’s Tuxedos who we already mentioned for men’s rentals. They also loves to fit women in the New Orleans area in tuxedos & have a great selection as well. If you are looking for an online/shipped rental option however, then Stich & Tie by Friar Tux is for you.
Little Black Tux
Stitch & Tie
If cleaning, preserving & storing your wedding attire after the big day isn’t your style, there are still options for you as well! Recent Alchemy Events bride Felicity plans on dying her Modern Trousseau gown to re-wear as a formal in the future and a friend of ours had artwork painted on her gown! Of course, there is always the ever popular “trash the dress” photography session where you can take all those photos you’d be scared to do before the wedding for fear of getting the gown dirty.
For accessories, Gunas has many amazing bags that would be perfect for pre-wedding functions & includes the innovative new MulbTex fabrics made from mulberry tree leaves that looks like leather. Lee Coren designs beautiful, unique bags such as the Dulce Clutch & Chain (shown in color Confetti Sand) which is a fun, playful glitzy look for any of your wedding related functions.
My other favorite clutches for weddings or other events right now are coming from Urban Expressions who has too many stunning styles to even begin to name but I’ll show you a few of my favorite here.
Urban Expressions styles Top Row L to R: Bahamas, Daze,
Bottom Row L to R: Peony, Rhapsody
Now you’ll need shoes. Vegan leather or other sustainable product shoes are fairly easy to come by if you’re looking for something basic. However, if you want something a bit more special, try Avesu Vegan Shoes, Beyond Skin or Lulu’s vegan selection. If you want a real show stopping blinged out shoe, though, certain styles of Blue by Betsy Johnson are vegan.
SB-Mari Champagne for Blue by Betsy Johnson
Of course, if comfort is your top priority & you’d like to purchase something you can wear again, you can’t beat Rothy’s which not only do NOT have a breaking in period (trust me- I live in mine!), but also use sustainable materials since they are 3D printed from recycled plastic bottles. The insoles contain recycled foam, while the rubber soles are carbon-free. The adhesives used are non-toxic and vegan. The packaging the shoes come in is made from post-consumer recycled materials, is biodegradable AND they come in children’s sizes. As you can see in the photo below, our recent bride Catherine had her flower girls in red colored Rothy’s for a fun pop of color at her Christmas wedding!
EDIT! As of October 2019, I am sad say that this company is no longer vegan. They are now using wool products, which also creates a large carbon footprint, going against using products that are earth friendly.
Photo by Crescent City Studios
Finally, jewelry! This is such a wide ranging topic that can get into environmental issues & human rights, among other things. To briefly touch on this, I’ve seen an increase in couples who are sourcing vintage jewelry from estate sales & vintage shops in addition to those who are opting to purchase newly produced ethical jewelry. Beautiful basic pieces can be found at companies such as Emma Aitchinson and Winden or for stunning gemstone bridal jewelry, Bario Neal & the ever popular Zoe Pook are great options. There are also a wide variety of Etsy shops or local jewelers who can work with you if you express your concerns.
Ring by Zoe Pook
Rings by Bario Neal
Check back in for our next blog post where we delve into part 2 of our Ultimate Guide to Eco-Friendly, Ethical Weddings & make sure to sign up for our email list with news, helpful tips & notifications on upcoming blog posts!