01// “Where did my diamond come from?”
There’s actually so much more than just “conflict-free” in the world of ethical jewelry choices but that is a great place to start. Beyond this, ask about the origin of your diamond or gem. Learn if it was extracted responsibly. Confirm it can be traced to mines without a track record of human rights abuses, worker exploitation, and environmental degradation. By choosing to buy from jewelry makers that ethically source their materials, both gems and metals, you are saying to the world that this is something important to stand by.
02// “Who made this gown?”
You’ve found THE dress! Congratulations! Take a second to ask yourself “Who made this gown?” “Who hand-stitched every tiny bead on this bodice or lace detail on this veil?” The answer is most likely a human. Find out if the artisans that produced your wedding gown are paid fairly and work in safe conditions. Learn about the fabrics and dyes or chemicals used, to see if they are harmful to the environment. Work, when you can, with small business owners for custom listings to promote local growth. Choose organic if offered.
03// “What meatless options do you offer?”
Livestock covers 45% of the Earth’s total land, uses ⅓ of the Earth’s fresh water, and contributes 51% of the global greenhouse emissions, which means that it literally impacts every part of the environment. Without going to a completely vegetarian menu, think about reducing the amount of meat you are serving, especially beef, the worst offender. Can you opt for plant-based appetizers, or add a vegetarian or vegan entree? Doing this for your entire guest list would result in cutting your wedding’s carbon footprint significantly.
04// “Is this seasonal or local?”
Eating seasonal and local food is a no-brainer. It’s better for your health, often your budget, and your community. Speak with your caterer about adjusting your wedding menu to include items grown locally so that you get the freshest foods, harvested at the peak of its season, and requiring the least travel time. Did you know some fruits and vegetables are shipped literally thousands of miles to get to you when they are out of season or not grown nearby. Give focus to supporting local farmers and businesses in your community through your wedding, many of whom are likely to produce organically and sustainably. Don’t forget, money spent locally stays local.
05// “Can this be reused?”
Honestly if something is disposable it is probably a waste. Try borrowing, renting, purchasing second-hand wherever possible. But in cases where you do buy things new, think about its life after your wedding day. Can it be reused by someone in a positive way or is it destined for the garbage can immediately? There are countless creative examples of swaps you can make for your wedding design choices but all of them can be prefaced with this simple question to make sure you are choosing thoughtfully about the waste you are putting back into the world, and the overall impact of your wedding day’s consumption.