Kate Gumbrell, Ethical & Eco Fashion Blogger from New Zealand lives and breathes her passion; and we are so thrilled that we were a part of her wedding journey. She works really hard to incorporate ethical & eco practices in every area of her life and we are so happy that she was able to share her wedding tips with us.
The day has been and gone, my Celia Grace wedding dress hangs alone in the wardrobe, and my new last name is finally beginning to feel normal. On February, the 25th 2017 I got married to a man who shares the same passions as me. We strive to live ethically, with minimal waste and impact, and support local and fair-trade brands. We are building a life together full of thrift store visits, minimizing, and DIY. After returning from our honeymoon adventuring through Myanmar and cruising the South Pacific, we jumped straight back into life without little time to reflect. But here I am, cuddled up in bed, suitably wearing Azura Bay lingerie, and pondering… how do I sum up the best day of my life?
Our engagement was a beautiful reflection of how the wedding day and planning was going to pan out. I was led on a surprise human treasure hunt around a national park which holds many memories from my childhood. Little puzzle pieces of map were passed to me by every friend and family member I stumbled across, and at the end of my hike, I found my darling Tim wearing a suit, bowtie, and gumboots and asking for my hand. The second after Tim (my now husband) asked “Will you marry me?” and I replied “yes, of course!” I goofily proceeded to explain to him that it was the perfect day to ask me to marry him because everything I was wearing was ethical! That’s right, I got engaged in a Cosabella tan bralette, married in the Only Hearts thong, and went on honeymoon with my bag packed full of what felt like the entire Azura Bay store!
The wedding day was a dream. A literal, real-life fantasy. Everyone was so relaxed and confident, that whatever went wrong, was simply not meant to be. During our 9-month engagement, a lot of my time was spent researching how to curate an ethical wedding. I dug through blogs posts, waded through articles, and scanned through Instagram for hours on end. If I were to go back to the start and tell myself 5 things, here’s what they would be:
- Go without
If it doesn’t mean anything to you or your fiancé, then simply don’t do it. It’s not worth your time, it will probably just add to the budget, and no one will even notice it’s not there! (e.g. order of service cards and wedding favours).
- Delegate responsibly
Think: who in my life would enjoy doing this wedding task in lieu of a wedding present? It turns out most people would LOVE to help you practically with the wedding rather than buy you an ugly vase that will sit beside several other ugly vases and collect dust.
- Start planning as soon as you’re engaged
This may sound like a funny thing to say, but an eco-wedding involves the type of planning that requires time, not money. Starting to do little bits here and there from the very beginning also means that wedding planning does not take over your normal life. This is crucial to continuing relationships and spending quality time with your friends and family, rather than ignoring them and being swept up in a wedding cyclone.
- Be over organised
If you’ve been told his before, I’m telling you again. I made a spread sheet of EVERYONE’S numbers, down to everyone on the bridal team, parents, aunties and uncles, vendors and musicians. Heck, I would have put my dog’s number on there if he had a cell phone! You never know who needs to contact who, and handing this information out means that on the wedding day you know communication is taken care of- communication is often what saves the day!
- Think of your wedding as a party, not a life change
The last conversation Tim and I had before we got married went like this: “I already feel married to you, I’m already committed to you, and tomorrow is just a fun party to legalise our commitment and celebrate with the people we love!” Yes, our wedding day was the best day of our lives, but only because we spent it with our favourite people. Your marriage lasts a life time, and one day is just a drop in the ocean. Putting all your hopes and dreams on just one day is not going to go well for anyone.
Planning an ethical wedding was no small feat. As I look back on the experience, I realise how difficult it made simple decisions. Instead of buying or hiring glasses, I chose each one (all 88 of them!) from thrift stores. Rather than purchasing bunting from a store, I hunted down a local event planner who let us borrow her bunting for the day. Unlike the usual bride, I did not march around bridal stores trying on dresses, but found a company who aligned with my ethics and arranged for it to be bought over to New Zealand with some friends (lower your carbon footprint as much as possible!). I spent time researching eco-friendly food-trucks, and battling with the Auckland council to let us get married in a park. Upon reflection, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The difficulties were overpowered by the simplicities. Like the bridal team dressed in eclectic thrift-store and preloved choices, the amazing friends who made our afternoon tea, and the absence of time spent on choosing shoes- I had none!
MEET KATE HALL
Kate Hall (Gumbrell) is an ethical living/fashion advocate, eco wedding planner, and brand rep. Kate strives to promote ethical living in every way under the sun, and won’t stop at anything to make sure the planet and it’s people are being looked after the way that they should be.
Follow her on Instagram @kategumbrell
SHOP KATE'S FAVS:
Kate & Tim's Wedding Photography by: Ester Siraky
Azura Bay Shoot Photography by: Bethany Corin Photography