FEATURE: Ethical Wedding Gifts
Slap bang in the middle of the wedding season, you're probably, like us, being faced with a range of wedding gift lists to examine and dissect.
A recent entry in the Observer's regular ethical living column, asked: ‘Can I say ‘I do’ with an eco wedding list?’, and proposed ‘offering up your wedding list to a higher purpose’ discussing the merits of an actual gift list versus a charity gift list where rather than buying gifts, guests donate to the couple's charity of choice.
The ‘eco-themed’ list, offering devices to help you make your home more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly was deemed a ‘lite-green’ option as opposed to the charity list which was termed the ‘true ‘ethical’ list’.
At Ethical Weddings we wholeheartedly approve of charity gift lists to replace the buying of goods when they are neither needed nor desired (we often use them ourselves for Christmas and birthday gifts) and The Alternative Wedding List will soon be appearing in our directory. However, we also see the ‘eco-themed’ (insert also fair trade, organic and recycled products) as an excellent one-off opportunity. Not only do you get to furnish your home with all those energy-saving devices that you always meant to get around to buying, beautiful organic bed linen and a complete set of fairly traded crockery to supplement the chipped bowl and plate you’ve had since your first term at university (ok, maybe just us!), but you get to showcase these wonderful products to your guests without preaching at them, and you are supporting small producers and community cooperatives who, given the choice, would probably prefer to earn a living from what they create than be the recipients of charity.
If you choose to do without a wedding list, that’s great. The only problem is, it’s a wedding, it’s a celebration, however much you tell them not to, your guests will still want to buy you something, and if you don’t give them a clue, that’s when you end up with multiple toasters and kettles. When it comes down to it, the invention of the wedding list was an exercise in sustainability – to avoid waste, avoid duplication by giving the bride and groom just what they need to set up home – and nothing more!
There are ethical gift lists out there of all shapes and sizes and to suit all tastes.
Ganesha is an Aladdin's cave of lovely fair trade items to make you and your home beautiful. Their wedding gift list launched in March and the happy couple can sign up here!
Greenfibres is a well-established online and high street shop in Totnes offering high quality organic and fair trade items for the home. They have an excellent gift list - guests could even contribute to a new marital bed! Find out more here.
For something a bit different, why not try Otterton Mill? A centuries old working water mill, their gallery sells work from a selection of the best artists from Devon, Dorset and Somerset. You can support them through The Otterton Mill Wedding List Service selecting unique works of art from the gallery to adorn your walls and surfaces.
Or for the eco gift list option, head for the Centre of Alternative Technology. Their wedding gift list has a massive range of products all aimed at helping you live more sustainably; from organic bed linen and towels, recycled wine glasses and bird-nesting boxes through to the UK's best range of environmental books.
And if you happen to be Stateside, why not check out one of these stylish eco-friendly stores. BTC Elements, based in California already has a gift list ready and waiting for you, while Greenjeans in Brooklyn are looking forward to launching their gift list later this year.
Happy wedding planning!