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What makes a wedding dress sustainable?

Picking a wedding dress can be one of the most difficult decisions of the entire planning process. You’ll want it to reflect your personality and tastes so you can feel entirely comfortable on the most important day of your life. And with 15% of the average couple’s budget going towards outfits for the day, you’ll want to ensure you get them just right.


If you’re passionate about the environment and want to tie sustainability into your wedding celebration, finding a dress that promotes this aspect of your lifestyle is a great way to keep the eco theme at the forefront of the day. But what exactly is a sustainable wedding dress?


There are lots of different things that could constitute a sustainable dress, from the way it’s been made to its durability and lifespan. With more designers and bridal companies starting to offer more environmentally friendly options, eco-minded brides have more choice than ever when it comes to finding their perfect gown. In this quick guide, we run through some of the things that can boost the eco credentials of your all-important wedding day dress.



First and foremost, the types of materials used in the creation of a dress will be a major determining factor in how eco-friendly it is. Synthetic and man-made fabrics will naturally do more harm to the planet than organic, fairtrade and recycled materials. When starting your search, make sure you know exactly what has gone into making the dress, and where the materials have come from.


If you lead a vegan lifestyle, you might even want to incorporate this into your search. It’s becoming increasingly common for plant-based fabrics to be used in the manufacturing of wedding dresses, meaning you won’t have to compromise on your principles to look your beautiful best. Cruelty-free materials to look for include cotton and hemp. However, vegan alternatives to materials derived from animals can still use harmful, non-renewable fabrics, so make sure you do your research before falling in love with a gown.

Go for pre-owned


Buying a new wedding dress is not only the more expensive option, but it will also do more harm to the environment than a second hand garment. New dresses often rely on more natural resources being drawn from the environment, and the transportation costs must also be taken into account.


In comparison, opting for a second hand dress will help to limit the environmental impacts that are commonly associated with the manufacturing of a new dress, and it will also be the more economical option. Remember, when buying second hand, it may be worth booking in a fitting before making a decision. That way, you can check for any small issues, and ensure the garment is true to size.


There are plenty of places you can look for second hand dresses, but often a great place to start is at home. Speak to any family members that have previously gotten married to see whether they still have their dress. If you like the design, you can repurpose the garment for your own special celebration. What’s more, wearing a vintage or heirloom dress is a wonderful way to incorporate your family into your wedding.

Think about what’s important to you


The topic of sustainability encompasses so many things, and it can be difficult to try and cover all bases with just one dress. Instead of getting bogged down in all the minor details, think about the area of sustainability that’s most important to you, and focus on that when finding your dress. Whether you want to reduce the human impact of your dress or care most about being kind to the planet, think about your core beliefs and use these as a starting point to guide your search for the perfect gown.


And don’t forget, a great way to minimize the impact of your sartorial choices is to repurpose your dress after the event. To avoid having it lying in storage never to be worn again, you can consider donating it to a charity shop or selling it secondhand.


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