The wedding industry has traditionally operated within the realms of luxury and excess, and the amount to which this plucks at one's conscience will vary from one individual or company to another. While no one can be perfect, many wedding businesses have a founding eco-ethical ethos, or are making profound changes to their practises, to ensure that their environmental impact is minimised, and their ethical duties are upheld. It's natural for such vendors to come together and support each other - and this is what you will find amongst our community of wedding creatives and professionals. We believe that eco-conscious and ethical weddings should be the norm, not and ‘alternative’.
My name is Gwenda and I'm the new owner/editor of GREEN UNION. I've got a lot of wedding industry experience (personally and professionally - above is my lovely husband Jason and I on our wedding day in 2018, beautifully captured by Cristina Rossi). I have been a floral designer and stylist since 2012, and have worked with over 200 couples. I took over in late 2018 as I was looking for a new challenge, but also one which had a positive impact on the environment, as well as the industry that I have long loved being a part of.
In large part, this desire came from my developing sense of horror at the impact humanity is having on the world. I eat a vegetarian diet (98% vegan, I’d say); I buy a good percentage of ‘new to me’ clothes; I recycle fastidiously; I’ve cut down on plastic; I use an ethical bank (check out www.triodos.co.uk); I use electricity from 100% renewable resources (check out www.bulb.co.uk); I use a search engine that gives back (check out www.ecosia.org); and I do my best to only buy eco-friendly and cruelty-free household products and cosmetics.
BUT I’m a million miles away from ‘perfect’. While I’d love to support more sustainable clothing brands, my pockets aren’t yet deep enough for much of that (although I’m always watching out for their sales!). The same goes for an electric car (lottery win, anyone?). I still get seduced by some of the latest tech, not to mention a spot of retail therapy - and until Costa puts soya into its petrol station machines, the occasional coffee on a long car journey will be my non-fully-vegan undoing.
You might wonder why on Earth I’ve indulged in the personal overshare — well, the answer is simple; just as my lifestyle is a personal one, which I have to balance with my conscience and my wallet, so it your wedding day to you! At GREEN UNION, we will never be doctrinaire - weddings are full of compromises and variables that have to be taken into account, and it’s not our job to make the process more difficult. On the contrary, we are an non-preachy, non-judgmental inspirational resource, here to help wherever we can with whatever you need.
Conscious wedding planning is a balancing act - but remember that even small positive changes will amount to a big difference, and it’s wonderful that you aspire to be a part of that.
PS. I thought you might like to know a little more about GREEN UNION’s eco-credentials and ethical standing:
The website is now hosted by EcoHosting (https://ecohosting.co.uk), a UK company who provide carbon neutral web hosting, powered entirely by renewable energy.
I have signed the Ethical Move pledges (https://www.theethicalmove.org/home), and subscribe to ethical transparency towards both pricing and marketing practices.
All banking is now conducted through Triodos ethical bank (https://www.triodos.co.uk).
For all Partner sign-ups and renewals, as well as additional advertising opportunities, I will make a donation to towards tree-planting schemes across the world through Treedom. To get the ball rolling, I’ve planted 29 trees - their ‘All Green’ package seemed particularly apt! You’ll find our community forest here: https://www.treedom.net/en/organization/green-union.