Updated: Oct 20, 2021
We are delighted to see the growing trend for sustainable and ethical weddings. This, with the need micro weddings at the moment, means that many brides are looking at sustainable, eco friendly, and ethically made dresses.
But where to start? In this blog we share our favourite tips for finding sustainable and eco friendly wedding dresses 1. Consider a pre-loved wedding dress
Second hand or vintage dresses are a great sustainable and budget friendly option.
One way of doing this is to borrow a dress from a friend or family member who is already married. Not only is this a fabulously sustainable option; but there is something magical about wearing a dress that has previously been worn by someone close to you. This nicely ticks the ‘something borrowed’ box too!
Princess Beatrice recently did this in style by wearing a dress borrowed from her Grandmother, the Queen for her wedding.
If borrowing a dress from someone you know is not an option, there are many companies who specialise in selling pre-loved dresses. You could try the fabulously cool Flamingo Bridal.
Also some charity shops have dedicated wedding dress departments. Or you try grabbing a bargain on sites such as Ebay or Depop.
2. Upcycling a bridal gown
If you can’t find exactly what you want buying pre-loved then upcycling a previously worn dress is another great option.
There are many specialist upcycling dress services and the possibilities are endless.
Alternatively, a good local seamstress can make any necessary alterations for you so that you get your perfect dress.
If you want to change the dress radically then it would be best to buy a dress that is a little too big for you to start with if possible.
You could try buying a second-hand dress with plenty of fabric (vintage 80s dresses are perfect for this); and ask your seamstress to create an entire new dress from this fabric!
If you would rather buy a brand new dress consider the following tips for sustainable and eco friendly options:-
3. Check who made your wedding dress and where it was made
These are the two essential questions to ask when buying a wedding dress if you are interested in sustainability and ethically made dresses. If you cannot get the answers to these questions (either because the shop doesn’t know or won’t tell you) then there’s a good chance that the dress will not be sustainable or ethically made.
A dress is more likely to be sustainable if it has been made locally, or at least in the same country as it’s being sold.
And it’s more likely to be made ethically if made by an individual known to the supplier; or a small independent business.
For example a dress that has been mass produced in China and shipped to the UK is much less likely to be a sustainable and ethical option than a dress made in the UK by a local seamstress or small manufacturer.
At Frock Goddess we only stock dresses and separates that have been ethically hand made.
4. Choose sustainable fabrics for an eco fiendly wedding dress option
Sustainable and ethical fabrics such as bamboo silk; peace silk; tencel and recycled polyester are starting to become more available for bridal gowns.
Also look out for dresses that have been made from ‘re-purposed’ fabric – i.e. fabric that has been given a new lease of life that may otherwise have ended up in landfill.
Our 'Carmen' dress pictured below is made from fabric which is 50% recycled plastic bottles (RPET) and lined with organic cotton.
5. Keep your wedding dress simple
The more lavish your dress is: the more fabric it will use; and the less eco-friendly it might be. Therefore, simple clean lines with minimal embellishments are a good option if you want to be more sustainable.
Pared back bridal wear fits nicely with the low key micro weddings that couples are having to opt for at the moment; therefore more options for this type of bridal wear are appearing.
6. Give the dress a new purpose after the wedding
After the wedding consider giving your dress a new lease of life. You could either sell it or donate it to someone else.
Or you could use the fabric of the dress to make an entirely different item. We’ve seen all sorts of items such as christening dresses for babies; or keepsakes such as cushions or soft bears.
There may be enough fabric in your wedding dress for a seamstress to create a skirt, top, or mini dress. Again this is where a good seamstress would be invaluable!
Depending on the style of your dress you could alternatively have it dyed so that you can wear it again as an evening dress.
7. Consider a non-traditional bridal outfit
You may be able to wear the outfit again if you go for a different colour to white/ivory; or if your dress is very simple.
Another option is to choose separates on your wedding day which can be worn with the rest of your wardrobe after the wedding.
This skirt and top combo would look great at a low key civil ceremony: and both pieces would work well with different items in the wardrobe after the wedding.
Shopping sustainably and ethically can sometimes take a little extra time but the chances are that you will find something unique, beautiful and budget friendly as well as the added bonus of having an eco friendly wedding outfit.