Looking for eco-friendly and ethical wedding dresses? I’ve got you covered with these gorgeous sustainable suggestions, so you can say yes to the ethical dress.

Let’s chat about ethical wedding dresses. But first, if you have arrived here through a search engine, then let me offer my congratulations to you and your partner! And also, let me congratulate you on your intention to put some ethical consideration into your big day. It’s certainly something to be commended.

Image from Cambridge Vintage Bridal* on Etsy

The wedding industry business is massive – think £14.7 billion sized – and geared towards excess. A lot of resources go into just one day. Of course, it’s not any old day, it is your one big day. However, that’s not to say that your big day has to leave a big footprint on the planet.

The Guardian has calculated that the average wedding in the UK will produce one-third of a metric tonne of solid waste and 14.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide in just one day. Looking to make your wedding more ethical and sustainable, and limit its impact on the environment, is certainly to be applauded.

I’ve got lots of sustainable wedding ideas for you to dig into. But I would say your wedding dress is a great place to start. Here are some gorgeous ethical wedding dresses that prove that sustainable doesn’t have to mean frumpy.

Where to Buy Ethical Wedding Dresses

where to buy vintage wedding dresses

Say yes to the dress with these shopping options for beautiful sustainable and ethical wedding dresses across a variety of price points:

eBay

At a time when the average cost of a wedding is £24,000, opting for a pre-loved wedding dress isn’t just good for the planet. It’s great for your pocket too. eBay* has a wealth of secondhand (but not second-best) wedding dresses for sale. Make sure you select the ‘used’ option in the filter, otherwise you will be presented with a load of new wedding dresses that are made in China.

eBay can be overwhelming. However, I have some really useful eBay buying tips to help you really narrow down your search to exactly what you are looking for. And even if you can’t find what you are looking for in your first search then don’t be disheartened. Good things come to those who wait, so take full advantage of eBay’s handy email alert function. Rather than spending all day every day searching for your dream dress, this function will send you an email for when your dream wedding dress is finally listed on the site. This frees you up to get on with all the other parts of organising your big day.

Etsy

ethical wedding dress uk
Wedding Dress from Cambridge Vintage Bridal

Etsy* has a fantastic selection of both vintage and handmade ethical wedding dresses in a vast variety of styles and sizes.  

This beautiful vintage 1970s number, above, for example, is from Cambridge Vintage Bridal* on Etsy. Cambridge Vintage Bridal specialises in vintage wedding dresses from the 1940s to 1980s, for something truly unique. The prices are also agreeable. At Cambridge Vintage Bridal, prices for preloved wedding dresses range from a more affordable £100 to £500.

Does Etsy overwhelm you? Again, Etsy has a really useful filter, where you can specify all sorts of wedding dress variables. From the maximum price you want to pay, to item specifics such as hem and sleeve length, colour, neckline style, and more. Get to know the filter, and you can really hone in on your dream wedding dress.

Oxfam Online

oxfam online sustainable wedding dresses
Wedding Dress from Oxfam Online

Think Oxfam is just for secondhand books and everyday clothes? You’ll be surprised to hear that Oxfam Online* actually has a fantastic selection of secondhand preloved ethical wedding dresses.

At the time of writing this post, over 300 wedding dresses are listed on the site, ranging in price from just £20 through to £1000 for secondhand designer wedding dresses. Covering sizes 6 to 24, in a huge range of styles, colours, and eras, you may just find your dream dress nestled amongst Oxfam’s virtual shelves. If not, check back on a regular basis, as stock constantly changes when new donations arrive.

Of course, if buying a wedding dress online gives you the fear then try one of Oxfam’s 12 specialist bridal boutiques across the country. You could even get a talented tailor/dressmaker to customise your preloved dress for something really unique and special.

By buying a wedding dress from Oxfam, you also help support Oxfam’s important work in helping to alleviate global poverty. This means your wedding dress not only looks good, but it does good too.

Vintage Wedding Dress Shops

Wedding Dress from Those Were The Days

Finally, depending on where you live, you may have a vintage wedding dress shop near you. My closest shop is Those Were The Days in Edinburgh, which sells beautiful dresses like this vintage number above.

Here they stock vintage wedding dresses which span from the Edwardian era to the 1990s. Each and every item is expertly cleaned and restored before it arrives in the store, meaning you won’t find any nasty surprises.

Do let me know if you come across any other ethical wedding dress retailers. I’m keen to expand this list to make it more useful for sustainable brides-to-be!

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A bride in a vintage wedding dress with a blue text box that says where to buy ethical wedding dresses for the sustainable bride.
image used c/o Cambridge Vintage Bridal

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