The words ‘ethical’ and ‘wedding’ used to seem like a complete oxymoron. How the heck can a huge party of hundreds of people be ethical or sustainable?! Only until I planned my own eco-style wedding did I understand this is not true. That’s what Less Stuff-More Meaning’s Mindfully Wed event was all about: showing couples that a wedding which treads lightly on the earth is totally doable. As part of the Less Stuff-More Meaning (LSMM) team, I popped across the ditch from Auckland to Sydney to help facilitate the event and scope it out.
Mindfully Wed Sydney was one of the first of its kind, described (by me) as a wedding expo that doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus. You know those wedding expos where you have hustlers throwing brochures over at you like you’re some exotic dancer making money in a strip club, bright lights in your eyes, and immediate regret of ever deciding to attend? Mindfully Wed Sydney was as far from this as you can get.
Guests are welcomed
Couples were warmly greeted at the door by facilitators (including yours truly), given the option of a White Magazine or Mr Goaty gelato, and asked about their intentions for the event. Whatever their needs, the LSMM team made sure the couple had goals for the night, and checked in at the end to see how they got on. This warm and intentional strategy meant the $50 ticket price hit its value as soon as they entered the door. Advice from the experts, goal setting and achieving, VIP treatment, what more could you want? In saying this, when waves of attendees arrived at once, a few couples slipped through the gaps and missed out on the star treatment. As Mindfully Wed grows and continues to pop up throughout the country, the number of welcomers needs to increase dramatically to keep this great tactic working.
After I talked with couples at the door and walked them into the space, I could hear and feel their excitement. Vendors were set up around the outskirts of the room; their stalls curated immaculately in a boho-indie style, keeping class and professionalism, but adding creative flares. Paired with Pop up Garden’s plants dotted thoughtfully throughout the venue, and a large rustic table of Dan the Man’s zero waste catering, the vibe screamed ‘wholesome, peaceful, love’.
With nibbles in hand, couples were introduced to Rell and Co.’s ethical, sustainable, wedding hire and styling (along with their adorable pomsky pup – I died of cuteness overload), and Sarah Tolmie’s celebrant and relationship coaching services, all whilst serenaded by Larissa McKay Music, filmed by Cloud Herd and Lina Hayes snapping Kodak moments. In between marvelling at Ruusk’s handmade wedding rings or playing florist with Dancing Blossom, guests were invited to sit down and listen to four guest speakers. Along with a valuable Q+A, the speakers gave advice around wedding budgeting, what an ethically made ring involves, and even relationship advice. The panel line-up:
- Lenka Harvey from Lenka Couture: Australia’s first and only ethically accredited bridal designer.
- Tania Gnecchi-Ruscone from RUUSK: Jeweller using ethical materials and Australian gold
- Lee Holmes of Supercharged Food: Real ethical bride (planned her wedding for under $5000AU!)
- Sarah Tolmie: Celebrant and relationship coach
At first I was hesitant that the combo of speakers and vendors would take away from the time left to mix and mingle with LSMM’s eco-wedding experts, but the schedule worked perfectly. The speaking slots also allowed vendors to have a breather- something they weren’t used to at these bustling events!
Speaking of bustling, let’s talk attendance. For an event début, attendance was great at 50, but at times the room felt a little empty. LSMM were strategic in offering two for one tickets in the few days leading up to the event to ensure the space was filled. A brilliant decision that made all the difference.
Mindfully Wed looked after attendees throughout the whole event, but loved on the vendors too. For starters, there was only one type of vendor for each category. Blown Away Hair offered hair appointments, Jenepher Walker Millinery sold handcrafted hats, and Lenka Couture showcased her beautiful collection of bespoke wedding gowns. These vendors had no competition. Instead, they’ve now formed a tight network in Sydney who meet for catchups and offer each other support and referrals. This was a standout point of difference, created a positive energy, and showed Mindfully Wed are consistent in their values.
At the end of the evening, couples took one last look at Little Panda’s tempting vegan wedding cake, asked their final questions to the vendors and wedding experts, and left knowing that LSMM’s Mindfully Wed e-guide would pop into their inbox. Valued at $49 RRP, the e-guide was the icing on the cake to the affordable ticket prices, and allows couples to continue their eco-wedding planning solo.
To sum up the event in one sentence: It was a haven of like-minds, open to answering the hard questions, being realistic, connecting, inspiring, and knowledge sharing. Couples who arrived saying “we just really want to have a wedding that doesn’t produce lots of waste, and is different to the rest” left telling me they’d become best friends with the vendors and felt more inspired than ever in their eco-wedding journey. That is the real testimony, and that is what Mindfully Wed is all about.
Mindfully Wed Sydney was all that you’d expect it to be, and this won’t be the last of it’s kind. It is for couples who wish to have a wedding filled with purpose and love, that respects the planet and people in the process. Whether your budget is $100,000 or $500, Mindfully Wed can help. The LSMM team, alongside their vendors, offer insight into how you can use your budget to give back to your local and global communities, whilst making the day an ultimate reflection of you. From DIY couples, to those who just need a little support and guidance, Mindfully Wed is an inclusive and inspiring event teaching: You CAN have a wedding full of purpose and meaning, on a budget, DIY, extravagant or small, that treads lightly on the earth.
Check out Less Stuff-More Meaning’s growing eco-ethical wedding directory here.