Congratulations! You’ve found the human of your dreams and are preparing for your happily ever after… you would be forgiven for thinking the search is over- but may soon find out, the end of one quest opens the door to a whole new one: I’m talking about the quest for the perfect wedding dress; a notoriously challenging search.

However, by thinking imaginatively and working the right people you can ensure you find a dress that is a true reflection of your unique personality for your special day- stunning and kind the planet all at once.

This guide to sustainable wedding dress choices offers a variety of ways to source and re-use your wedding gown sustainably- following these tips will ensure you feel doubly good about what you wear for your wedding.

As the saying goes: Something Old is a great place to start.

I believe one of the best things you can do for the environment, when choosing a wedding dress, is find something pre-existing, rather than creating from scratch.

I myself got married in a very simple, second hand silk gown that I bought on Ebay! I wanted something ultra-understated and non-fussy for my casual, little garden wedding so this was perfect for me. Second-hand dresses are a fabulous option for any eco-conscious bride-to-be who would prefer a modern look. While I got lucky with a site like eBay (I knew which dress I wanted already so was able to look for this style somewhat easily), I don’t expect everybody to be as fortunate with this approach. Not to mention, part of the joy for many brides-to-be is the experience of physically shopping for ‘the’ gown.

If second-hand fits with you, Melbourne based Love Me Twice is definitely worth checking out. Offering a curated collection of pre-loved, upcycled, sample and ethically made wedding dresses. Love Me Twice’s personalised, relaxed service will appease any shopping urges as well as sustainable pre-requisites.

For an online option I recommend visiting Still White, the largest global marketplace for pre-owned, used and second hand wedding dresses. It’s a double-sided marketplace so you can later sell your dress on here too! Once Wed is another online marketplace offering great used, sample and even new (unworn) designer dresses for less. Even if you’ve already purchased your dream dress- it’s well worth considering selling it on one of these sites so your gorgeous gown can be enjoyed by another blushing bride once you’re a new Mrs.

Had I planned a less-casual wedding, I’m almost certain I would have worn a vintage gown.

I love everything and anything vintage! The quality, the history, the lasting impression. But trawling through rack after rack of gowns in second-hand shops takes a particular type of patience, a keen eye and perhaps even, a hint of blind faith(!).

The shrewd vintage bride will visit an outlet with a dedicated bridal collection. My absolute fave is based right here in Byron Bay. Arcade Vintage Boutique, who individually select wedding gowns from around the world showcase a simply divine bridal range. Their garments are of the utmost quality and offer you a totally unique style for your big day. I must admit, I’m tempted to renew my vows just so I can wear one of these amazing pieces… (not kidding!)

For Sydney-siders, The Bare Faced Bride bridal studio offers a beautiful range of curated vintage dresses. The Bare Faced Bride also offer second hand and sample options so if you’re not quite sure which option is right for you, it’s a great outlet to explore.

Having said all that, ‘Something Old’ can’t be for everybody.

There are plenty of amazing designers producing stunning ranges of Something New while staying true to ethical, sustainable values.

Emma-Jane Christie makes Aboutphaedra dresses one at a time in her home studio. Her process is responsible, respectful and slow and her pieces exude artful femininity with the development of new texture at the core of Emma’s unique process.

Lenka Couture are known for being Australia’s first ethical Clothing Australia accredited label. The gowns are all about simplicity and elegance with substance and attract brides who love great designs, individuality and sustainability.

Lost In Paris is an ethical fashion label specialising in made-to-measure wedding gowns that each have a story to sell. Environmental sustainability lies at the heart of their business, with gowns hand crafted from antique lace, unearthed from antique stores and markets across Europe. They restore and refashion this lace in their gowns with gentle footprint.

These are just a few examples of the wonderful designers and creators working toward a more positive future with their output. For specific advice to suit your needs and location, don’t hesitate to get in touch, I have a little green book just brimming with recommendations for the eco-luxe bride.

As ever, I advocate the selection of natural, organic fibres, produced with minimal environmental impact.

Another direction well-worthy of consideration is that of Something Borrowed.

Grooms parties have been hiring suits for years now, and we woman are finally able to share in this opportunity. The ‘rent-a-dress’ trend is steadily on the rise so eco-conscious brides everywhere can consider hiring as a valid and extremely sustainable option.

Untold carry a broad array of beautiful pieces, suitable for wedding wear, engagement celebrations and even bridesmaid attire. With the option to try on pieces before committing and very affordable hire fees- this forward thinking business is certainly worth a look.

Similarly, Sydney-based formal wear rental service Glam Corner offer a variety of dresses to suit many tastes and occasions. They aim to introduce smaller designers to a larger market, while emphasising the importance of environmental sustainability.

Already have your dream dress? No problem! It’s so important to remember that sustainable decision making doesn’t end when the honeymoon begins.

One of the biggest goals for me as a wedding designer, is to eliminate unnecessary, one-time use. This applies with fashion as much as everything else.

Pearl Button wedding dresses are designed with a re-use focus. They use clever design to overcome the one-time wear issue associated with dresses; designing pieces that can be easily modified with hem shortening or dying, for example. They also specialise in layering and separates, allowing brides the option of changing their look on the day without the need for a second dress as well as the option to re-wear separates for years to come.

As I mentioned previously, on-selling your dress to perpetuate the second hand cycle is simple, sustainable and infinitely practical. An alternative, beautifully generous option though, is to donate your dress. Angel Gowns Australia is a nationally registered not‐for-profit charity that specialises in supplying angel gown garments to families that have lost babies. Donated wedding dresses are reworked by volunteers into burial outfits for grieving families to bury their children in.

Ensuring your dress is well-crafted from organic fibres will make it more suitable for re-use in any form, just another reason to keep this in mind when selecting your gown.

An experienced wedding planner will guide you through choices like these with ease and efficiency. An experienced sustainable wedding planner will make sure your decisions make you feel fantastic!

If you are unsure about whether or not to enlist a wedding planner to assist with the design of your big day, why not book a consultation? They’re usually complimentary, mine are, and give yourself the opportunity to explore your wedding goals and the best ways of achieving them.

Happy hunting ladies xxx

I have always felt that, as with all art forms, event design is an offering; a gift that can only be presented authentically from a place of love.

To meticulously execute a successful event, you must give your energy, your creativity, your focus and concentration. You must build an intimate understanding of your clients’ loves, needs, hopes and fears. You must guide your client toward achieving their goals, however challenging this may be and you must be honest with them, even when you know this will make you the bearer of unwelcome news or disappointment.

Sadly, occasionally disappointments do arise that are completely beyond our control.Weather is the most obvious example.

Picture unrelenting, heavy rain for the entirety of an event planned outdoors. The client has their heart set on celebrating under the open sky but we have no option but to proceed with our fabulous, but less preferred, wet weather option.

In such cases, it is the duty of the event manager to have prepared their client for this potential, devised an secondary plan that doesn’t feel like a compromise but rather, just an alternative and therefore equip the client to accept and even embrace any necessary changes to plans or adjustments to schedules with confidence and ease.

Having said this, in the words of Richard Bach “every gift from a friend, is a wish for your happiness” and there will always be the rare client who decides that what will really make them happy is, to be outside… despite the rain. It is now that your job becomes akin to that of a devoted friend. You gladly get soaked in the downpour while lovingly protecting your client with the umbrella. You smile and reassure guests while ensuring there are warm towels prepared for everyone’s immanent return to the comfort of shelter.

When all's said and done, you have to want, for your client, everything they want for themselves - and more. THEN, you have to look for ways to make their dreams reality!

That, in my opinion is the mark of friendship.

Everyday I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to choose my own clients. In offering complimentary, initial consultations both myself and prospective clients have the occasion to decide whether I am the right fit to assist with delivering whatever requests are brought before me. However, the initial consultation provides more than this. It is the chance to assess relationship compatibility which subsequently means, only those with whom there is a genuine connection, become my beloved clients.

What a total win-win! My job is made far easier when I truly care for those I'm working with and the whole process becomes exponentially more fun for everyone involved, which ALWAYS leads to a better outcome and of course, the forming of new bonds along the way.

So, if you're planning a wedding, celebration or business event and want a buddy to have your back - hit me up on the gram, email me or drop me a line... I would love to hear from you!

Cheers... to new friends x

Amid the devastating impact that the Australian bushfires have thrust upon our environment and communities this wedding season, I am renewing my vow to make sustainable events a reality and take progressive steps towards the future. It seems more important, now than ever, to share my sustainable wedding insights. Wedding celebrations are centred around love and on a day of such joy and gratitude, there lies an untapped potential to spread love even further by giving back to our planet as well as our guest list. Thankfully, more and more couples are following the green wedding trend and are planning sustainable events. However, forward-thinking couples who are moved to adopt this theme do not need to compromise on their wedding visions. You can have your Yuzu banana cake (with passionfruit curd) and eat it too!

My sustainable approach to wedding planning has simplicity at its core, centring around three key principles:

- Maintaining environmental compassion

- Sourcing local, seasonal and natural resources

- Reducing, reusing and recycling literally everything!

Upholding these values throughout the wedding design process takes time and requires commitment but it is certainly worth the effort. Couples planning sustainable weddings are able to create stunning memories and help to make the world a more beautiful place in the process. As a result, they feel extra fantastic about their big days. And that’s not the only joy when choosing a ‘green theme’ for your wedding! Sustainable weddings often cost substantially less than their costlier counterparts. Reduced shipping and transportation expenses alone can amount to huge savings. By selecting seasonal produce and locally sourced catering and florals, newlyweds will benefit from the best market rates and in minimising certain superfluous elements, couples can really focus on the aspects of the day that are most important to them and avoid forking out for those that are not.

Essentially, designing a sustainable wedding comes down to visionary creativity and conscientious organisation and with clear-cut planning in place, it’s never too difficult to achieve. Quite the contrary! Every couple can include sustainable practices into their big day and by applying a sustainable ethos to your planning, your wedding day doesn’t have to cost the Earth.

Sarah Lock Events offer innovative sustainable wedding design, planning and managment services to suit every couple. Contact Sarah & her team today to find out what they can do for you.