Weddings can cost an absolute, tear-inducing fortune. But there’s one cost that should be in every wedding planner’s budget – the environmental cost.
My now-husband Pete and I celebrated our carbon neutral wedding at his family’s property in Victoria on 22 October 2022. Here’s what we did to reduce the environmental impact of our big day, and offset the difference.
As a sustainable fashion blogger, I was always going to be focused on finding and purchasing beautiful, ethical and sustainable garments for our wedding, but to tell the truth, I hadn’t thought much further than that.
With guests flying interstate, and food for almost 100 people, I quickly realised the environmental impact of our wedding was going to be substantial, which I wasn’t comfortable with.
I hadn’t considered the option of offsetting the entire carbon footprint until I came across Less Stuff More Meaning – an eco-friendly online wedding directory and carbon footprint calculator. This tool made it super easy to punch in and calculate the total carbon impact of our wedding, and recommended a company to offset that with.
I’m very happy to be sharing the finer details of my carbon neutral wedding with you. Read on to find out how I minimised the environmental impact and offset what was left.
I was really torn when it came to choosing my wedding dress. I wanted to find a dress or suit that was Australian made, consisting of natural fibres and in a style that I liked. I was overwhelmed with the number of styles to choose from but I couldn’t find anything that ticked all three boxes for me.
I was on the verge of buying a second hand jumpsuit on Stillwhite when I came across Kamperett – a luxury women’s wear and bridal label in California. When I found the Meiere Gown which I had spied on Hello May, I knew this was the dress for me. Kamperett’s garments are ethically made in California using quality natural fibres. In this case, a stunning silk organza. I bought the dress online and had some alterations made in Brisbane to make sure the size and length was right.
For my accessories I wanted something complementary but colourful, as the dress was quite simple in its design. I chose some bold, brass earrings from Dinosaur Design’s designer Louise Olsen’s collection. I wanted my shoes to match but I didn’t want to spend big so I bought some sparkly gold secondhand Loeffler Randall heels off Facebook Marketplace.
I had a similar issue with the bridesmaid dresses. I was thinking about Manning Cartell and Bec + Bridge as Australian made options, but all of the styles we liked were in synthetic fabrics, which I was really hoping to avoid. I broadened my scope and started looking at some local boutiques that stocked small international labels. That is how I found New York designer Rachel Comey. The Pout Dress in its cotton/viscose blend and beautiful brown and navy rose print was the perfect match to our English garden theme.
The groom and groomsmen wore M.J. Bale – an Australian formal menswear label that is now Climate Active certified as “Australia’s first fully carbon neutral fashion brand”. On top of that certification, the garments are a natural fibre construction with cotton-linen blend outer and Bemberg (semi-synthetic) lining, helping to further reduce the garments’ impact.
The rings! My partner was fortunate to have received some family jewels that we wanted to repurpose into modern pieces. We worked with Brisbane-based artist and jeweller Paula Walden to design and make my wedding and engagement ring from existing stones. My partner opted for a made-to-order titanium ring by Australian jeweller KAVALRI.
We were fortunate to be married at my partner’s family’s property in Mornington Peninsula. Here, flowers are plentiful, however we didn’t want to strip the garden of roses and such before the big day. The gardeners at the property had prepped the garden months in advance to ensure the roses and flowers would be in bloom at the right time. Instead we sourced locally grown roses via Tully’s Corner Produce Store and supplemented with garden flowers and greenery as required. We wanted the garden to do most of the talking but also wanted a few bouquets and table flowers for the reception. The flowers were expertly arranged by my close friend and florist, Abbey, and the property gardener and family friend, Tina.
Local Food & Drink
Our wedding included canapés after the ceremony and then shared dining during the reception. We worked with local caterer Finesse Catering, which sources local produce to reduce its environmental impact, but this aspect of the wedding was considered and offset accordingly.
When it came to sourcing drinks (mostly wine!) we were mindful to choose local producers, not only because we love Australia’s wine scene, but we were mindful of “drink miles”. Our wines were from our favourite wineries across South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania and the beers were from Queensland and Victoria.
In an effort to keep our carbon footprint down, we worked with local contractors including a caterer that was local to Mornington Peninsula and a Melbourne-based wedding photographer and celebrant. Other contractors included our cake maker, marquee and furniture suppliers (all local). We also managed to find solar powered port-a-loos with recycled Who Gives A Crap toilet paper that were both eco-friendly and chic.
Carbon Offset Travel & Accommodation
My partner and I live with our daughter in Brisbane but neither of us are from there, so there was always going to be an element of travel when it came to our wedding. This was easily the biggest environmental footprint of our wedding, as we had quite a few guests travelling from throughout Queensland and New South Wales, plus a few from overseas. This element of the wedding was considered and calculated using the Less Stuff More Meaning calculator and offset accordingly.
With all things considered, the carbon footprint was estimated to be 22,000 kgCO2eq or 220 kgCO2eq per guest. We could offset this by planting 100+ trees. Instead, we planted one tree during the wedding, and offset the total with Greenfleet for about AU$400.
Our wedding suppliers
Photos: Lei Lei Clavey Photography
Celebrant: Ceremonies With Sarah
Design and styling: St Clement Creative
Flowers: @abbeyhg & Tully’s Corner Produce Store
Hair and make up: Pink Gloss
Outfits: Kamperett | Rachel Comey | M.J.Bale
Rings and accessories: Paula Walden | Louise Olsen | Kavalri
Shoes: Loeffler Randall | RM Williams
Furniture and marquee: Peninsula Party Hire | A Day to Remember
Catering: Finesse Catering Group
Cake: Torte By Mirjana
Amenities: Gather Round