Evites instead of invitations. Napkins made from recycled paper. Locally sourced cuisine. It's now easier than ever to have a green wedding. And thanks to a growing trend called upcycling, brides and bridesmaids can even extend sustainability to the dresses they wear.
"You usually spend a lot of money to wear this dress for only one day," says Rebekah Joy, a local seamstress. "The main idea of upcycling is to take a garment that would probably not be worn again, remake it and give it new value."
Environmentally or budget-conscious brides and bridesmaids can incorporate upcycling into a wedding in two ways. Either they can choose to craft a new dress from a secondhand garment or, after the wedding, they can take their store-bought dress and have it transformed into a less-formal garment, instead of throwing it away or letting it hang unused in the back of the closet.
"The trend means decreasing the amount of garments that end up in a landfill," says Joy. "It gives a garment a second chance to be useful and beautiful."
Upcycling can also apply to altering an older garment. For a wedding, a bride might update her mother or grandmother's old wedding dress. Brides without a family heirloom but who are still hoping to upcycle can scour local consignment shops.
Even though Joy specializes in upcycling bridesmaid dresses after the wedding, she says it's become more popular for brides to wear an upcycled dress on their big day.
"It's becoming more popular for brides to upcycle their mother's gown," says Joy. "They can even just take a part of it and incorporate it into their gown."