Fashion, Life & Style

Where to Buy Ethical Wedding Dresses for the Sustainable Bride

where to buy vintage wedding dresses

Looking for eco-friendly and ethical wedding dresses? I’ve got you covered with these gorgeous sustainable suggestions.

So, let’s chat about ethical wedding dresses. If you are have arrived on here through a search engine, then first let me offer my congratulations to you and your partner! And also, let me congratulation you on your intention to put some ethical consideration into your big day.

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 is to be applauded.

I’ve got lots of sustainable wedding ideas, but 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.

Ethical Wedding Dresses

where to buy vintage wedding dresses

Say yes to the dress with these shopping options for sustainable and ethical wedding dresses:

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, but good 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 wedding dresses that are made in China.

eBay can be overwhelming, but 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 there is even a handy email alert function for when your dream wedding dress finally appears.

Etsy

ethical wedding dress uk

Etsy* has a fantastic selection of both vintage and handmade ethical wedding dresses in a vast variety of styles and sizes.  This beautiful vintage 1970’s number, above, is from Cambridge Vintage Bridal* on Etsy. At Cambridge Vintage Bridal prices for preloved wedding dresses range from £100 to £500.

Does Etsy overwhelm you? Again, Etsy has a really useful filter, where you can specify all sorts of 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

Oxfam Online* has a great selection of secondhand preloved ethical wedding dresses. And if buying a wedding dress online gives you the fear then try charity shops, 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.

Vintage Wedding Dress Shops

Finally, depending on where you live, you may have a vintage wedding dress shop near you. My closest one 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!

Food & Drink, Winter

Brussels Sprout Gratin – Vegetarian-Friendly Recipe

brussels sprout gratin
brussels sprout gratin

Looking for a way to liven up brussels sprouts? Try this vegetarian Brussels Sprout Gratin recipe, for a comforting winter treat.

The humble, much-maligned brussels sprout is, I think, a fantastic winter vegetable.  In season from October through to March, these miniature cabbage lookalikes sadly suffer from a bad image problem.  

To many people, they are foul-smelling, sulphuric, and soggy poor relations of the cabbage. As such, they will only tolerate sprouts once yearly as part of Christmas dinner.  The problem, more often than not, lies in how they are cooked. Boil sprouts to within an inch of their life, and they just aren’t going to taste good. Cook them in cheesy breadcrumbs, like in this Brussels Sprout Gratin recipe, and I promise it will change how you look at brussels sprouts.

Try This Instead

This cheap, quick, and easy-to-prepare Brussels Sprout Gratin, made with store cupboard essentials, is a fantastic way to turn how you view the brussels sprout on your head.  Instead of seeing them as soggy and vile, the addition of the cheese and mustard sauce to the Brussels Sprout Gratin invites you to instead enjoy them as decadent comfort food.  It’s absolutely perfect for cold nights when you need something delicious and hearty to warm your cockles.

brussel sprout gratin recipe

This brussels sprout Gratin is great as an accompaniment to meat/meat substitute, or even a baked potato.  It’s also a good way of using up any bread that has gone stale, and additionally makes wonderful leftovers for the next day.

If you also omit the salt and go easy on the parmesan style hard cheese then it’s great for babies and toddlers.  My one year old daughter adores this dish!

Serves four adults

Brussels Sprout Gratin Recipe

best brussel sprout recipe
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Brussels Sprout Gratin

This tasty Brussels Sprout Gratin, with it’s cheesy mustard sauce, makes for a deliciously comforting winter treat, that is sure to delight even the most ardent Brussels Sprout hater!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 adults

Ingredients

For The Gratin

  • 500 g Brussels Sprouts buy locally grown ones if you can – washed, trimmed and cut into quarters
  • 25 g butter
  • 25 g plain flour
  • 100 g cheddar cheese or similar hard cheese grated
  • 30 ml whole milk
  • ground pepper and salt to season to taste
  • 2 spoons of mustard – coarse or smooth.

For The Topping

  • 30 g cheddar cheese or similar, grated
  • 10 g parmesan cheese grated (if you’re vegetarian Sainsbury’s sell an “Italian hard cheese” which is veggie friendly and similar in taste)
  • 30 g breadcrumbs roughly equates to 2 slices of bread (I use stale bread and a food processor to achieve a good crumb. It’s also less messy than grating).

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to gas mark 5/190 degrees C.
  2. Prepare your sprouts by washing, trimming and cutting them into quarters.
  3. In a large pan, bring a large amount of water to the boil and add your quartered sprouts. Once the water comes back up to the boil, let the sprouts boil for two minutes, then remove from the heat and drain.
  4. Melt the butter in a small pan, and then add the flour and milk, continually beating to create a smooth and lump free paste. Warning – this bit can get very very spitty so wear an apron and keep at arms length! If, once you’ve added the milk and the sauce is still very thick, keep adding a little bit of milk at a time until it’s smooth.
  5. Once you’ve got a nice consistency, lower the heat and add the grated cheese, the two spoons of mustard, and your salt and pepper (to taste). Give it a good stir to mix it all in.
  6. Add the sauce to your sprouts, stirring well so that the sprouts and sauce are well combined.
  7. Spoon into an ovenproof dish and spread it out so that it is evenly distributed.
  8. Mix your grated cheese(s) and breadcrumbs in a separate bowl.
  9. Cover the sprouts evenly with your grated cheese(s) and breadcrumb mix.
  10. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
  11. Serve and enjoy, and never pass on the sprouts again!

I adapted this recipe from the River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook*.  The original recipe called for infusing milk with bay leaves, peppercorns, and onion. However, I feel that life is just too short to spend it infusing milk!