Congratulations, you’re getting married! My Green Australia is here to help you guide your way through the amazing amount of information about green weddings! Part 3 – The Dress
This is it -the DRESS. This is one of the things most brides dream about. You have a vision of the dress that you want, you have known in your mind for a while, what colour and shape you want, and now is the time to pick it out!

Well did you know, that for a dress that you will, in all honesty, wear for only 1 day can actually cause a huge amount of environmental damage – imported laces and silks, non-organic fabrics and the energy used to produce the dress. It all adds up. But do you have to skimp for your big day, the answer is No Way!

There are many options for the eco bride and many options for eco dresses!


Choosing dresses that use fair trade silk, bamboo, organic sateen, soy, and organic cotton patterns, hempcel (a mix of hemp & tencel), and hemp/silk blends are a great way to go. You can have the luxurious fabrics that don’t cost the earth, literally!

So when you are getting your dressed designed, make sure you ask to be supplied with these fabrics, or source only from designers who offer these fabrics.

Check out this gorgeous dress – The Chameleon Wedding Gown in organic cotton/bamboo jersey or organic cotton/soy jersey. This dress can be worn in a variety of ways, which you may be able to use after the big day!

If you want something more unique, try the “Pixie” gown – made in either a Matte Hemp/Silk Blend or a Hemp/Silk Floral Jacquard. It has a hand draped skirt with bows and hand gathered hemp/silk crepe “flowers above every other bow. CUTE! I love her bouquet too.


‘Something Old’ from the traditional wedding saying is something you can embrace for your wedding day. Re-using materials for clothing and jewellery not only helps the environment and saves you money; it can also provide a unique and sentimental touch.

Vintage is in and what better way to save precious resources than to re-use. With a little bit of research, you can find some incredible gowns at reasonable prices. Search online via eBay and even Etsy – or, ask around, someone may have their old wedding dress which can be re-used with a few alterations. You can easily modernise any puffy sleeves  and take up any hems and try removing some tulle and adding satin sashes – this can really down play some of the vintage “wedding cake” dresses into a new gorgeous gown.

Culture Bridal Couture uses fabric from vintage Japanese Kimonos and Obis, exquisite Indian Saris and delicate European laces.  You must check out their gowns, they are unique, beautiful and reusing fabrics. These gowns are really one of a kind.


Purchasing a gently used or recycled gown is an amazing way to reduce the impact of your bridal gown.

A lot of brides nowadays are choosing to sell their dresses after the big day – this way they get to recoup some of the money from the cost of the dress and also allow another bride a chance to wear a gorgeous dress at a reduced cost.

There are many sites that have second hand dresses, obviously does, but also check out bride specific sites such as recycled bride, I-do Gowns, Once Wed, Still White and Smart Bride.

There are some definite guidelines when purchasing a used dress, see below for the details but be sure you know what you are getting before you fork out any money. Weddings are expensive, and you don’t want to be heartbroken when receiving something completely different and then having to purchase another dress.

Oh, and check out this BEAUTIFUL hand made dress by Jessica (via that was created out of recycled lace and curtains! This dress is a LOVELY gown that can also then be reused after the big event.

Guidelines for Buying a “Once Worn” Gown

Buyer Beware. When it comes to purchasing a wedding gown from an individual or a third party, be sure to ask lots, and lots, and lots of questions.  It is a ‘buyer-beware’ type of purchase, and selling brides don’t generally offer a return policy if the gown turns out to be something it isn’t.  Many brides do take good care of their gowns and there are many sellers who do represent their gowns truthfully.  However, we have both acquired and consigned gowns that were definitely not as represented to us.  If a bride would have acquired the same gown, well, she would have freaked to put it mildly.

A Picture is Priceless. Make sure the selling bride offers photos of the actual gown she’s selling, and not just stock photos of the dress on a runway model.  These types of photos give the illusion that the gown is in runway perfect condition.  Plus, it is important to get full length and close up shots of both the front and back of the gown to determine that  the gown is, in fact, the gown that is being sold.

Authenticity Is Key. Unless you are in the market for a replica gown, it is important to get comfortable that the gown you are buying is the real designer deal.  Ask the selling bride for receipts from her purchase, or ask if she has the original store/designer tags to the dress.  Also, ask to see a photo of the designer label inside the gown.  If the seller balks at these types of requests, it’s just not the right dress for you.

Condition, Condition, Condition. It is a party, and all party dresses will have some wear and tear after the party ends.  Ask the seller whether she had the gown professionally cleaned and don’t be shy to ask whether she has the receipt for that cleaning.  Be sure to ask about material defects – tears, stains, rips, zipper issues, hemline imperfections or other potentially big ticket repair items that need to be addressed.  Any unknown can add extra expense to the price of the gown.  Remember, there is no such thing as a “perfect” once worn gown.  A “great condition” or “refreshed to look like new” once worn gown are more realistic and accurate descriptions.

Devil in the Details. Get a clear understanding of the altered measurements of the gown.  Confirm the altered bust, waist and hip measurements, and the selling bride’s height with heels.  Confirm the color of the gown, or the color combination in case the gown is made of multiple materials.  Also, if the bride is pictured wearing a veil, sash or other accessory, ask whether those items are included in the sale.  It never hurts!


This is another great option for brides who are looking to save money and also to lower the impact of her gown.

There is a huge range of dresses and companies that hire out bridal gowns. They offer many different styles and designs, so have no fear, you will definately find a gown that speaks to you and your figure.

Try After Six Brides, Total Image Brides, Gorgeous Gowns, Spurling, Afective Bridal and Ferrari Formal

By hiring a gown, there are many things you need to ask before signing on the dotted line, so check out tips before you make a decision.

Hiring Your Wedding Dress

Do your homework on the costs to hire the gown. Costs vary greatly depending on the style you want, what features the dress has and how old the dress is. The quality of fabric and adornments is what puts a price tag on a dress as well as who designed it.

Ask questions. Find out how many times it is being hired out before your wedding day.

When you have chosen your dress. Go over the dress your choose with a fine tooth comb make note of any marks. Ask what happens if someone damages the gown before you get to wear it on your wedding day.

Will the dress be professionally dry cleaned in the week prior to your wedding day?

Check before hand if you are required to dry clean the wedding dress before returning it. The place where you hire the wedding dress from may have arrangements in place with other dry cleaners and don’t require you to dry clean the wedding dress prior to returning it. Keep in mind that it is a lot easier if they organise this!
Will alterations be able to be made on the dress should you shed any kilos or heaven forbid! put any kilos on before the wedding day.

What happens if the dress is damaged on my wedding day.

What if I change my mind and go with a different dress.

It is highly likely you will be off on your honeymoon the day after your wedding day so make sure you enlist someone to get the dress off to the dry cleaner in the week after the wedding and return it to the shop that you hired it from, it will most likely be needed the weekend following your wedding day!

And becuase I can’t get enough of this lovely wedding gear check out these links!


Consider for your jewellry the “something borrowed” motto! Ask friends and relatives if they have a special piece you can wear on the day?

Even check out vintage pieces from Australian Etsy sellers such as Lulu splendor, Princess Allure and EMbridal


Via YJ Design on Etsy


Via Petite Bijoux


Via Aussie Etsy Seller Hopeless


There is a huge, huge, HUGE range of very reasonably priced bespoke bridal gowns on etsy. Have alook and see what is available. Most designers will be happy to use eco fabrics as requested.

Our Top Tips:

  • Search vintage and retro shops or specialised stores for fabulous reusable pieces. Look for bridesmaids and groomsmen items while you are there
  • Ask your parents or grandparents (and future in-laws) about what jewellery you could borrow for the day. You might be pleasantly surprised
  • Search for more modern, though second hand dresses, clothing and jewellery on online stores such as Ebay, Etsy, Trading Post
  • Hire suits and dresses through reliable companies
  • Find local designers to help you reuse material
  • Consider selling your dress after the day to recoup costs


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