How Can I Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding? Part 5 – The Dress

By Ebony Porter, July 5, 2016, Green

As a Bride-to-Be myself, I want a beautiful, well-thought-out wedding. But as I started planning my wedding, the cost and disposable nature of most wedding supplies really dampened my excitement. As a lover of all things green, I sought out ways I could incorporate recycling, reusing, and resourcefulness to plan the best day of my life. With the Eco-Friendly Wedding series from Bounce Energy, we’ll show you how you can cut costs with your wedding planning, while making it sustainable, earth-friendly, and absolutely gorgeous. 

Say Yes to the Green Dress!

How Can I Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding? Part 5 - The Dress | Bounce Energy Blog

The Wedding Dress – “There can be only one!

Any wedding-themed series would be incomplete without discussing “The Dress.”

At the top of most bride-to-be’s list, The Dress can set the tone for the wedding. And outside of the food, beverages, and venue rental, it can be the most expensive physical item purchased for a wedding. So what can be done to make a Bride’s dream dress eco-friendly?

In the final installment of Bounce Energy’s Eco-Friendly Wedding series, we take a look at The Dress, and all the attire worn by the wedding party: the groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl, and ring bearer. It truly is possible to find a dress that is fairy-tale stunning (with stylish attire for everyone else) AND thrifty, eco-conscious, and classy.

The Dress

How Can I Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding? Part 5 - The Dress | Bounce Energy Blog

Choose the one that’s right for you, NOT the one that meets someone else’s expectations.

Contemporary designers go to the moon and back for bridal attire, including lace, beading and exquisite fabrics. What is also attached to that satin brocade is a massive price tag, without a care in the world for the environment. If there is one item in any wedding that combines over-the-top expense with being disposable, the wedding dress takes the cake – for most people, you only wear it once!

For your eco-friendly wedding, consider purchasing a used dress online. Such dresses exist, and some brides opt to sell theirs at a majorly discounted rate. Not only can you find a designer dress discounted, but you won’t be purchasing one that requires production from start to finish. Websites dedicated to selling used wedding dresses are the new thing, and we love it.

If your theme is more romantic and vintage, look for a dress that already has a story. Hop online to find a vintage treasure, a dress that you’ll never find in a regular brick and mortar store.

If you are having your dress made, consider using eco-friendly materials, fibers, and fabrics. Opt for organic cotton and linen, laces made from organic thread, and beads sourced from fair trade, environmentally conscious makers.

How Can I Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding? Part 5 - The Dress | Bounce Energy Blog

While we do NOT approve of this groom’s shirt, we do think the bride has the right idea for multi-use bohemian wedding dress.

If your wedding is rustic, low-key, being held outdoors, or taking place at the courthouse, then consider buying a dress that you would wear again. You don’t have to necessarily buy a wedding dress from a bridal shop. Something white and simple can be found in most department stores. Or if your wedding has a more bohemian vibe, opt for something akin to a Mexican style peasant blouse cotton dress. You will wear it again and again, and nothing says eco-friendly better than reusing an item over and over.

Lastly, if you’re a seamstress (or know someone who is), take your mother’s bridal dress and recycle it into something current that you would wear! And when you sneak a piece of blue ribbon inside the seam, you take care of the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” tradition in one fell swoop!

The Groom

How Can I Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding? Part 5 - The Dress | Bounce Energy Blog

There is nothing wrong with the groom wearing a stylish suit he already owns.

Renting a tuxedo costs money, and it’s money you will never see again. Get into the mind set of recycling and have the groom invest in a good suit. We suggest a suit made from organic fibers, but if this isn’t an option, then at least buying a suit that the groom will wear again and again is green (and economically sensible).

If he already has a sharp suit he can wear, you’re in luck! Remember, this is one day of your life. The Moment between the Bride and Groom and the energy of the attendees at the reception are what really matters – and all that anyone will remember!

The Bridesmaids

How Can I Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding? Part 5 - The Dress | Bounce Energy Blog

As long as all the bridesmaids are in the same color family, let them wear a classy dress they actually like instead of something you force upon them.

Here’s a tip: Let go of the “matchy-matchy” fashion tradition. Let your bridesmaids wear what they want, as long as it’s in your chosen color scheme. Women come in all shapes, sizes, and fashion sensibilities, and the cliche that Brides put their Bridesmaids in unflattering matching dresses they have to pay for (and will never wear again!) is true – because I have been one.

Allowing your Bridesmaids to wear a dress of their choosing means they’re purchasing something that they’ll wear again. Give them that freedom, and they’ll find a gorgeous dress in your color scheme that actually looks good on them.

The Groomsmen

How Can I Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding? Part 5 - The Dress | Bounce Energy Blog

Simply put – just have the groomsmen wear a black suit and give them a tie that employs your wedding colors.

Allow your Groomsmen to wear their own suit, as long as it’s the same color as the Groom’s. Connect the dots with a bow tie, tie, suspenders, or some accessory that uses your wedding colors. There’s really no need for each of them to rent a suit or tuxedo.

Opt for a tie made from organic silk, with silk dyed with natural dyes. Dyes made from natural plants, insects and minerals are better for the environment than synthetic dyes.

The Flower Girl

How Can I Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding? Part 5 - The Dress | Bounce Energy Blog

Why invest in a fancy dress for a flower girl she’ll probably outgrow soon? Choose a functional white dress she can wear several times before she hits a growth spurt.

Little girls look great in anything! Find out what they already have in their closet before having them waste money and resources on a new dress. Extend the life of little girl’s clothing because they grow out of them so quickly! The Flower Girl’s parents will really appreciate this.

Always check the tag for what fabrics are made with as these details tell you a lot about how the fabric will wear, and whether its fibers are from a plant.

For my Flower Girls, I purchased pure cotton dresses with some eyelet detail that they will wear over and over. The dresses costed only $12 each, and if the white stains over time, I will naturally dye them. Friendly on the pocketbook, friendly to the environment.

The Ring Bearer

How Can I Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding? Part 5 - The Dress | Bounce Energy Blog

What matters for the bringing of the rings is that it’s memorable and/or important to you and your partner.

What an important job this person has! But there’s no need to purchase a silly pillow you’ll only use once!

Transport the rings on a homemade platter of gathered foliage and flowers, or use a sanded and oiled piece of wood . Look around your home for objects that mean a lot to you, and figure out a way for your little ring bearer to deliver your rings with green style. Get creative with a special book or a family religious text to instill a more sentimental way to deliver your rings.

We hope that our Eco-Friendly Wedding series will help you plan the green wedding of your dreams! Check out all the installments:

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Born in Australia, Ebony has been in Texas long enough to consider herself a Texan-Aussie. Ebony has been writing for magazines, newspapers, and blogs, for more than 10 years. When she's not writing she's building quilts, growing her own food, or camping with her family somewhere far from the sounds of the city.

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