Something Green: Environmentally Friendly Wedding Dresses

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Green Wedding Dresses
©Louise Fairburn
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something ... green?

Wedding season is here, and apart from wreaking havoc on your wallet, it can also cause some damage to the environment. An estimated 2.5 million weddings will be held across the nation this year, each of which produces 600 to 800 tons of waste, according to the Green Bride Guide.

But one in five couples preparing to tie the knot these days is trying to reduce their carbon print, a study by Splendid Insights reveals. Many have started to reconsider the traditional wedding dress -- expensive to produce, bleached starchy white and usually worn only once. But this doesn't mean that the eco-minded bride-to-be has to walk down the aisle in a burlap sack. Let these dresses inspire you to create your own affordable and environmentally friendly dress.

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Something Green: Environmentally Friendly Wedding Dresses

Champagne corks weren't the only things popping at Rachael Robinson's wedding. This Canadian elementary school lteacher's upcycled dress contained 13 feet of bubble wrap, a hint of white foam packing material, and a dash of candy wrappers. The gown was initially previewed at the school's fashion show on sustainable style, and students and parents came together to make it into the perfect wedding dress when Robinson got engaged a few days later. The dress popped with her down the aisle, and Robinson says she was grateful to have the bubbles to fidget with when she got nervous during the ceremony.

During World War II, Major Claude Hensinger ejected from his burning B-29. The injured flier spent the night under open skies, with nothing but the parachute that carried him down to keep him warm. He saved the parachute as a reminder of what saved his life during perilous times. A few years later, his future wife turned the material into a wedding dress for herself; her daughter and daughter-in-law (pictured above) wore it at their weddings too.

Louise Fairburn, an award-winning sheep breeder from a farm northeast of Nottingham, England, was inspired to design her own wedding dress entirely out of wool from her favorite sheep. The mission wasn't cheap: It took a spinner and dressmaker 67 hours and cost about $2,300, but Fairburn says it was worth the effort. The wooliness didn't stop there. Her groom wore a woolen waistcoat, and guests were handed sheep-shaped wedding favors. And the dinner? Cooked lamb, of course.

It took a lot of carbs and patience for this Australian couple to get married. Stephanie Watson started collecting those little plastic tags that seal bread bags and joked that she would marry her high school sweetheart once she had enough tags to cover a wedding dress. The joke turned serious when people heard about it and started donating their tags to the couple. A decade later, they were still short. That's when a local baker donated rolls of tags, which Watson, a fashion designer, sewed together into a beautiful dress for just $36.

Photo: Courtesy Stephanie Watson, Etsy

For the more traditional (and deeper-pocketed) eco-minded bride, the Morgan Boszilkov Natural Bridal Collection features dresses made of sustainable fabrics such as hemp, and the company donates 5% of profits to environmental causes.

Photo: Anne Almasy, Etsy Shop Natural Bridals

When they realized that 74% of the 2 million tons of clothes bought in Britain end up in landfills, engineering and arts students came together to create this ingenious wedding attire: the dissolvable wedding gown. It's made of an odorless nontoxic polymer that breaks down in water and doesn't harm the environment. However, it is advisable to keep the wedding indoors to avoid embarrassing situations.
The easiest way to keep your wedding attire environment friendly is, well, to wear nothing at all! Whereas most girls dream of the beautiful dress they will walk down the aisle in, some are fine with staying au naturel. There are even places that cater to nude weddings, such as this resort in Jamaica, or you can just bare it all down an aisle in Las Vegas.

Every year Charmin sponsors the Cheap Chic Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest. You might think that wearing a dress made entirely out of toilet paper is environmentally friendly: After all, a lot of toilet paper is made from recycled material, and the whole dress could be dumped in the recycling bin after the ceremony.  Turns out that's not the case.  Charmin is one of the few toilet paper companies that doesn't use recycled paper, which is how they keep their tissues so fluffy.  Also, the dresses can be put together with glue and thread, and neither of those things can be recycled with paper.

Photo: YouTube.com

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