WEDDINGS | The Unknowingly Ethical Wedding


Photo by Shaun Campbell/Creative Force Photography
As the seemingly insurmountable amount of planning for my wedding is prominently in full gear, my dear friend Alex L. decided to help me out by giving an account of her beautiful Greek Orthodox Wedding, to which I attended in Washington DC. It was enchanting and, most importantly, inspiring with some rather thoughtful ethical elements which she was able to incorporate in more ways than one. What follows is an introduction to Alex L.'s wedding and her "ethical shortcuts"

My So-Called Ethical Wedding
Obviously I am not as cool as Stacy H. when it comes to planning an ethical wedding.  I will have to plead ignorance, since I only heard of all of Stacy H.’s incredible plans a month before my own nuptials.  However, I think it is important to note that there were many things I did manage to do under the guise of being _____ (fill in the blank here: cheap, creative, crafty, funky, etc.) that I believe many people can embrace and incorporate into their own wedding plans without having to agonize over details or feel like they have to let their wedding completely take over their life.  Because let’s be honest with ourselves, your wedding WILL take over your life no matter what your intentions are at the beginning. Therefore, what follows are my ethical shortcuts to my wedding, which are simple and easy to incorporate into your own special day.
Alex L.'s Ethical Wedding Favours. Photo by Shaun Campbell

Here are my quick and easy ethical shortcuts that I inadvertently managed to incorporate into my special day:
  1. Lab-created stones.  See my upcoming brag post on my big pink rock that cost me less money than perhaps a literal rock.
  2. Brooch bouquet.  I did it because I thought it was incredible and because I have a raging pollen allergy, and who knew it was so green? You can ask your family members to lend or give you their unwanted brooches or you can go to a thrift store and collect discarded gems (please stay tuned for a follow-up post on this).
  3. Centerpieces.  I bought used Christmas ornaments in our wedding colors (balls, stars, other whimsical shapes) and put them in glass vases, and now every year my husband and I will use them on our Christmas tree. So cute it actually makes me slightly nauseous.
  4. Online RSVP and Thank You Cards.  All brides know that at least one quarter of your guests forget to RSVP anyway, or they throw away all those cards that come with the invitation and do not send them back (which is particularly annoying when you consider what you pay for postage).  Everyone is on their computer every day, so have guests RSVP using your wedding website!  I also sent Thank You cards for my shower gifts from Paperless Post.
  5. Flowers.  Please note my previous posting about my hatred of flowers; although I really do not like them, my mom insisted that they were necessary.  Thankfully, my florist was incredible and insisted on not specially ordering anything that was not native to our area or out of season.  For me, it was a godsend considering with those specifications and my color scheme it narrowed my choices down significantly so I did not have to spend any more time exposing myself to hazardous allergens (my skin broke out into hives on our first meeting from just being in their shop).
  6. Menu.  I did not even have to specially request that my reception venue use locally grown or seasonal.  I guess that is one perk of growing up in farm country, since that is the way people have been living here forever!
  7. Favors.  I cashed in on a connection I had established with a company called UPAVIM whose warehouse is less than 5 miles from my school that specializes in fairtrade artisanship from womens collectives in Guatemala.  I bought hand-carved birds that have a hole in the bottom, into which you can slip a piece of paper with a personalized message.  My message was informing my guests that a donation had been made to two charities that were important to my husband and me.  It also doesn’t hurt that my husband is Guatemalan.
The most enduring lesson that I learned from my wedding is that if you do what is natural and organic to you as a couple, then the natural and organic aspects of your wedding should just come to you!

About Alex L.
I am a high school language teacher who, due to educational budget constraints and general unfair pay for educators, has to be quite resourceful with materials!  I love to create homemade gifts for friends, and in my classroom we have made some incredible cultural artifacts using repurposed materials.  My favorite classroom projects have been making altars for deceased celebrities on the Day of the Dead, creating lanterns for the Lantern Festival during the Chinese New Year, and creating reproductions of the statues of the Ming Dynasty tombs using newspaper and shoe polish.  When I craft at home, I like to use the pages of old InStyle magazines and the beautiful patterns on the clothes in it (that I will never be able to afford) to use to make collages and backdrops for framing photos.  This summer’s projects are hopefully going to include creating a curtain out of used wine corks and free trade beads from Uganda, creating outlet covers out of magazine paper, and making a wreath out of an old shower curtain for my parents’ beach house.

(c) Photos by: Shaun & Nancy Campbell of Creative Force Photography, Inc.

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  1. What does a perfect wedding requires? Is it necessary to hire a wedding planner?
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    1. The perfect wedding is one where the bride and groom feel like guests to their own wedding, which is a representation of themselves. Hiring a planner is helpful as it is less stressful on the couple, but this all depends on whether you want to be fully hands on or not.

  2. I feel like you should only use a wedding planner if you are not into the whole process. I can tell you that a BAD wedding is one where the couple does things just because they think they have to - it comes off as really artificial and is so painful for the guests!