real life

Wedding ideas that will save the world (and your bank account).

Getting hitched?

We take a look at ways you can have the day of your dreams AND help people around the world.

1. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

More and more jewellers around the world are adopting a zero tolerance policy towards blood diamonds that help fund civil wars and other atrocities. Check out Tiffany and Zoara.

Want to reduce the environmental impact of your wedding? Opt for “pre-loved” wedding and engagement rings from local antique stores, Gumtree and eBay. Have a look before you dismiss this idea!

Buy your wedding bands from Do Amore – for every ring sold, two people in the developing world receive clean water, for life.

2. Strapped for cash?

The sensible bride’s wedding dress option is to buy second hand. You’ll only wear it once (hopefully) so why spend thousands?

But what if I said you can save some cash AND do your bit for the homeless? Well, you can! Vinnies now has an entire section of donated wedding dresses in one of its Sydney stores.

A quick Google search throws up countless websites and stores around Australia selling stunning pre-loved gowns at a fraction of the original price. Some of the best include I Do GownsSavvy Brides and The Barefaced Bride.

3. Buy a Fair Trade dress

Okay, so this one isn’t strictly Australian, but there’s one particular wedding dress company in the US that’s too awesome not to be mentioned.

Marcie Muehlke searched high and low for a wedding dress matching her human rights and environmental values but came up short.

To help other brides in the same boat, Marcie started Celia Grace. These gorgeous dresses are Fair Trade and eco-friendly and for each one sold, a water filter is donated to a family in need. Tingles!

4. Go eco with your invites

Want to go eco with your invites but fancy sending something a little more special than an email?

Visit Earth First for a huge list of eco-friendly stationary suppliers in Australia.

Also, if you haven’t been on Etsy yet, make that the very next thing you do! There is an endless supply of wonderful handmade save-the-date cards and wedding invites just waiting to be snapped up.

5.Re-think the wedding gifts

Greenhearts products are ethical and sustainable and profits go to the communities supplying the goods. They also offset their carbon emissions. Huzzah!

Another idea growing in popularity is to ask your guests to donate to a charity of your (or their) choice.

Donate to Amnesty International or any charity close to your heart.

6. Do me a favour

Donate the money you were going to spend on bonbonniere (wedding favours) because, let’s face it, no one really needs that keychain with the cute photo of the two of you in it.

Or if you really love the idea of giving your guests a gift to thank them for celebrating with you, there is another option. Make a donation in their name to Operation Smile, an amazing organisation that provides free surgeries to repair cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities for children around the world.


7. Eat and drink ethically

Consider going vegan or vegetarian for the day. If that doesn’t appeal to you, then just make sure your suppliers use local produce and free range meat.

To cut down your carbon footprint even further, buy wine and beer from the country you are marrying in. Oh, and consider buying organic or Fairtrade.

And don’t forget to recycle those bottles!

8. Brighten someone’s day

The average Australian couple spends around $919 on flowers for the big day. Yep, the best part of $1000 for one day. To cut costs, opt for seasonal flowers as they’re likely to be cheaper because of their abundance.

Other options include recycling your flowers or using artificial ones which can be just as beautiful as the real thing!

For that extra feel-good feeling, you could give your beautiful flowers to a local hospital or care home after your wedding day.

9. Over-ordered on the catering?

Your caterer should always ask whether you would like to keep the leftover food from your wedding reception. If you don’t want it, the food will either be given to the catering staff (fine) or thrown away (not fine).

There are so many people around Australia who don’t have enough to eat and that’s where you come in. To avoid chucking out perfectly edible (and probably expensive) food, arrange to donate your yummy leftovers to a homeless shelter.

For tips on how to do this in your area, check out Give Now.

10. Got your heart set on paradise?

Think carefully about into whose pocket your honeymoon dollars are going. Often, those destinations we think of as paradise can be hiding human rights abuses so do your research!

If you’re having your wedding somewhere exotic or guests are flying long haul to party with you, start thinking about your carbon footprint and visit the WWF to find out how to offset it.

Make your honeymoon a ‘staycation’. Whether you decide to help out the cute Ningaloo turtles in WA or mentor awesome Aboriginal kids in Arnhem, an Australian honeymoon would undoubtedly be special.

11. Here’s a wacky idea: don’t actually get married!

Make like David Pocock and Emma Palandri and don’t “officially” tie the knot.

The pair had a wedding ceremony in 2010 but won’t sign on the dotted line until marriage equality exists in Australia.

Despite around 65 per cent of the Australian population being in support of marriage equality, same-sex couples are still fighting for the right to have their love recognised in the eyes of the law.

This article originally appeared on Amnesty International, and has been republished here with full permission.

Katie is the Online Editor for Amnesty International Australia. Originally from a sleepy town in the north of England, she packed up her life and relocated to Australia with her fiancé in 2011. Since arriving in the country Katie has landed her dream job in human rights and embarked upon a one-woman quest to find the best lasagne in Sydney. Both are going well.  Follow Katie on Twitter: @KatieAmnestyOz
Would you try and organise an ethical wedding? Could you handle the extra stress?
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