5 tips for planning a luxurious wedding with a conscience
Renee Harris is the founder and owner of Auckland wedding florist One Poppy, Auckland wedding flowers – operating since 2018. She has been in the floral industry on and off since she was 16, but after seeing the world, moving out to rural Kaukapakapa and learning of the detrimental effects the floristry industry can have on both people and the planet, she realised that there was no other option but to operate ethically and sustainably.
Hey change maker! You’re engaged – congratulations!
You’ve popped the bubbles, celebrated and told your nearest and dearest. Now where to start on the planning… and how to do it in an eco-ethical fashion… eeek!
Planning a luscious New Zealand wedding to suit both you, your partner and your venue and the planet is a big task yes, but you can do it. For most couples it’s the largest, most important event you’ll ever plan, but don’t worry we’ve got your back. There was a time not so long ago when having an eco-friendly wedding was a hippy, burlap affair (please don’t let burlap come back) – but these days there are many high quality, yet mindful New Zealand businesses making a difference in the wedding industry.
When kick starting your wedding planning, I would generally decide on a venue first as this will pin down a location and available dates for you to work with, however If there is a specific New Zealand wedding vendors you cannot live without – contact them first and go from there.
Our top 5 tips for planning a luxurious wedding with a conscience:
Consider an eco-venue or venues that will willingly work with you to make it more so. Little Wilderness in Huapai, Auckland is a wonderful off grid example. Venues that also create a more wedstival-type atmosphere such as Waterfall Farm in Kaukapakapa are also great as you can then bring in your own eco-friendly suppliers. For any venue, consider Kegs of Beer from Hallertau instead of individual bottles, and mindful caterers such as The Sustainable Food Co. Ask questions about where the waste goes – does the venue or caterer compost? What utensils and crockery are used? Are they reusable, recyclable or compostable? Where is the food sourced from? Do they recycle?
Of course, this is going to be my most passionate point. The easiest way to ensure your florals are ethical and sustainable is to buy locally and seasonally. Ask your florist what is naturally in season at the time you’re getting married and request that wedding flowers be from local sources and not imported. Imported flowers often have a murky supply chain, with some rather big issues – exploitation, detrimental environmental factors, air miles, preservatives. Another easy way to be more mindful is requesting no floral foam be used in any of your arrangements. Floral foam is unfortunately a carcinogenic microplastic that is highly dangerous to us and our environment. Ask if your flowers can be composted easily – often wire and foam are used throughout even the bridal bouquet and may hinder the compost process. Also consider re-using arrangements within the wedding. If the ceremony flowers are going to be forgotten once you’ve moved into your reception area – move them to the cake table, or the gift table, or the bathrooms. After the day – delegate someone or have your florist if they offer the service, to collect and gift your flowers to a local resthome, church or someone else in the community who would appreciate them. Preserving and drying your flowers is also a great option. Have them dried and recreated into a wall hanging, hoop or arbour.
Fast fashion is something that really needs to be avoided – an industry now widely known to be detrimental to both people and the planet. If you do not want to consider renting or buying pre-loved, ask questions of your designer about supply chains, who makes the garments and where are they made. Also consider natural fabric choices over synthetic. There are some extremely talented designers who are making waves here with a fantastic ethos and transparent, ethical supply chains. Think Kowtow, Kate Sylvester, French83.
Stylist, Wedding Planner or planning yourself
If your budget allows, I would highly recommend hiring a stylist or wedding planner to help pull all the elements together and liaise with vendors on your behalf. Sometimes a portion of this is included as part of your florist or venue fee, so just ask if they can help in this area, or if they can recommend anyone. Most wedding planners will have options they can offer, from simple liaising and planning to full on timetables, installation and managing on the day. Finding one you trust can minimise miles, paperwork and stress during the planning process, finding one who is also eco-minded such as Aroha Eco-Weddings is even better. If a stylist or planner is not in your budget, work with what your current vendors can offer you, and keep good tabs on budget and options yourself via an online planner or spreadsheet. Pinterest, while limited in images to choose from, is an easy way to make a mood board of styles or colour palettes you like to be able to refer back to and to send to your vendors.
Hire furniture and tableware
You can hire some pretty stylish goods now. Luxury furniture from event hire businesses such as Flock Events and LL Hire, and Tableware from The Pretty Prop Shop are all leaders in this area. Most hire companies will deliver direct and often have pack down options. It’s easy, affordable and negates the need to purchase new things which you’ll only to have to store or offload after your wedding.
As well as these points, buying locally also reduces airmiles and packaging and supports our economy (which needs us more than ever right now). Happy Wedding Planning!