Above photo: Vintage long-sleeved and lace wedding gown from BirdyJames on Etsy; Handmade twig wedding band set in recycled gold by KristinCoffin on Etsy; Living succulent bouquet by SucculentByDesign on Etsy.
Often we think of weddings as taking place in the spring or early summer, but a fall wedding can be so beautiful. Today’s guest blogger Katie offers some tips for planning a kind fall wedding.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Planning an Eco Autumn Wedding
by Katie Gillespie
Autumn is a gorgeous time of year to have a wedding because of the natural beauty of the season. Early in the autumn, it’s still nice enough in many places to have an outdoor wedding. The changing leaves and crisp autumn air are amazing backdrops for wedding photos and for an open-air celebration. The bounty of end-of-summer harvest offers a spectacular array of food easily prepared vegan or Superhero. There are also many creative do-it-yourself ideas that can make your wedding more affordable and more kind. From the invitations you send—whether they are invites you send by email or made from recycled paper embedded with wildflower seeds—to the food you serve, planning an eco-wedding is an excellent way to expose all of your friends and family to your compassionate way of life.
Deciding on the size of your wedding and getting a location pinned down is often the first step in planning a wedding. Choosing a natural setting like a farm, an animal sanctuary, a park or the forest creates a beautiful built-in backdrop for a wedding. Choosing a place with lots of natural beauty also means being able to cut down on decorations.
Picking out a wedding dress can set the tone for your whole wedding. The rest of the wedding planning can evolve around the style of dress you choose. Is it vintage? Casual? Tea length? A formal gown? Whatever style you choose, there are different ways to ensure that you make a choice that does not exploit humans, animals, or the environment. The most environmentally friendly choice you can make is to use a second-hand gown—either one that’s in your family or from a friend, or a second-hand or vintage gown you find in a shop.
I love the long-sleeved vintage dress with lace pictured above. It is simple and feminine; it has a train, but is not overly fussy, and it is long-sleeved if you are outdoors on a cooler autumn day. Another kind choice you can make is to wear a handmade gown. Etsy is a great place to find handmade wedding dresses of varying prices. Be sure to talk with the designers about kind fabric options—like choosing organic hemp, bamboo or cotton fabrics and avoiding fabrics that contain silk.
If you choose an outdoor setting for your wedding, the natural beauty of the area can be enough without flowers. If you’d like to have a bouquet or flowers on the tables, consider using fallen leaves, pinecones, and other fallen autumn foliage that doesn’t harm the plants. The colors are brilliant and offer an earthy and vibrant touch.
Another idea is to use living plants—potted herbs or succulents as centerpieces that guests can take home, or a living succulent bouquet, pictured above, that can be taken apart and planted afterwards. Potting plants or collecting fallen autumn foliage is something you can do yourself and can be a very affordable option.
Many cut flowers are grown with pesticides, which is not kind to the environment, the growers, or your own health. If you choose to use cut flowers, use an organic florist.
There are lots of creative options for wedding favors. Because weddings are all about new beginnings, plantable gifts are one of my favorite ideas for a wedding. Organic seed packets are a nice, simple idea, particularly if you have guests who are travelling to the wedding. Or tiny potted herbs or succulents. Baby tree saplings are a beautiful gift for guests. You can find second hand containers at thrift stores or buy compostable peat pots at a garden store. We used compostable pots with organic soil and wildflower seeds wrapped in muslin for our wedding favors. An edible favor option is handmade jams. If you’re crafty in the kitchen, jam is a great thing to make ahead of time during the summer berry harvest. You can put them away and your favors are done months ahead of time. Cover the tops with a cute upcycled fabric and hemp twine.
For the Groom
Finding a new non-wool vegan tuxedo or suit can be a challenge for a groom and the rest of the wedding party. Luckily, The Discerning Brute has some awesome recommendations for kind formal fashion for men. Men can also look for beautiful vintage jackets and slacks, which lend a creative edge to men’s wedding fashion. Pick out an eco neck tie, like these 100% organic neckties from Rawganique or these vegan neckties from Jaan J. Or these fair trade ties by Cyberoptix, which are screen-printed and fully customizable (just be sure to avoid the silk ties).
For the Wedding Party
If you are going the traditional route and having bridesmaids, groomsmen, a flower girl and ring bearer, there are some fairly straightforward options. Groomsmen can seek out the same options as the groom (see above). If you have young boys in the wedding, there are easy rental and second-hand options for them as well. For flower girls, if you can’t find a second-hand dress that works, there are lovely handmade options on Etsy, like the vintage lace flower girl dress pictured above, which would be beautiful paired with a little cardigan. The most eco option for bridesmaids (and probably the most comfortable option for them) is to have them wear something they already own. If you want to do a matching bridesmaid theme, these dresses by ArmourSansAnguish are made using vintage slips and scrap fabric, making each entirely unique and eco-friendly.
Autumn is a season of bounty and harvest and the food at your wedding can reflect that delicious abundance. Think stuffed acorn squash, herb roasted root vegetables, kale salad, hearty bean chili and vegan corn bread, or whatever other harvest meal you can dream up. For dessert, if you have a friend who is great at baking, ask them to bake you a vegan cake or cupcakes as a wedding present. Or look for a vegan bakery that can make you a delicious cake or cupcakes. Alternatively, forego the cake and serve an array of fall desserts—pumpkin bread, apple or pumpkin pie, baked apples, etc. Or you can serve fondue with fair trade chocolate and an array of treats for dipping.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
These photos are beautiful…I especially love the dresses, succulent bouquet, and little favors. It’s all so pretty! There is also a great vegan dress lady in London named Lucy Tammam. Stay tuned for her guest blog coming soon!
What ideas do you have for an eco autumn wedding?
About Katie: Katie Gillespie is a PhD student in Geography, working on a dissertation that looks at the lives of individual cows in the U.S. dairy industry. In her free time, she writes the Seattle-based blog Serenity in the Storm, which features vegan news, recipes, fashion and animal advocacy-related topics, she is a contributor at Our Hen House and MindBodyGreen and she has just launched the fundraising project, Peppermint Patties for Pigs Peace.