The royal wedding trend Aussies love
ON their wedding day, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle showed the world how to celebrate with meaning.
From the minimalist design of her gown, and the flowers Harry hand-picked from Diana's garden for her understated bouquet, to the powerful message of love from their presiding bishop.
When Princess Eugenie, 28, walks down the aisle tomorrow at her wedding to Jack Brooksbank, 32, in the same chapel as her cousin Harry, St George's at Windsor Castle, the ceremony is tipped to reflect the couples' values too.
Eugenie, an ambassador for Project O, an organisation that works to protect and restore the ocean, told Town and Country Magazine in August that she's so passionate about the cause she'd like her wedding to be plastic-free too.
"My whole house is anti-plastic now - and Jack and I want our wedding to be like that as well," she said.
The royal bride-to-be is believed to have hired Dutch-born London-based florist Rob Van Helden to do her flowers, according to Harpers Bazaar.
Van Helden is noted for his natural-looking arrangements, so we can expect a hand-tied bouquet rather than stems that are wired and taped together.
The florist told the magazine: "I love to work with a mass of one type of flower, as this is the way in which flowers tend to grow in the wild, and I particularly like to try to incorporate fruit, vegetables and herbs in to my work."
Eugenie is likely to choose seasonal British flowers instead of blooms grown overseas and her bouquet will undoubtedly have a sprig of myrtle as is the tradition for royal brides, dating back to the 1850s.
Both Kate and Meghan's bouquets included sprigs from a plant grown from myrtle used in the Queen's bouquet in 1947, as did Eugenie's mother.
Speculation is rife that Eugenie may follow in the footsteps of her mother and wear the York diamond tiara on her wedding day.
The delicate scroll tiara is set in platinum with leafy scrollwork, diamond collets and a large diamond of around five carats on the top.
Sarah, who married Andrew in Westminster Abbey on July 23, 1986 hid her tiara under a crown of flowers, only revealing it after signing the register, to symbolise her new royal status.
She wore the sparkling piece many times after and retained ownership of it following her split from Andrew in 1992.
The Queen and Philip also bought a diamond demi-parure from Garrard for their new daughter-in-law - a set that includes a necklace, earrings, and a bracelet. Eugenie could choose to wear pieces from this collection on her big day.
The princess will also have an array of alternative tiaras to choose from. The Queen often loans royal brides pieces from her personal collection.
The Duchess of Sussex wore Queen Mary's diamond bandeau tiara on her wedding day, while the Duchess of Cambridge wore the Cartier Halo tiara.
Sandra Henri, founder of the Aussie start-up Less Stuff - More Meaning which runs the Mindfully Wed E-Guide, says the young royals are leading the way in showing us how to be "mindfully wed".
"Never before have we seen our message of letting your wedding speak for a better world, embodied on such a profound scale," Ms Henri said of Harry and Meghan's wedding.
"The humble, genuine and relatable couple have used the voice given to them; their wedding."
Aussie couples are increasingly opting out of large and luxurious weddings in favour of minimalist celebrations that are light on earth.
The directory receives about 1000 visits a week and word is still getting out.
"It's not about making people feel guilty. It's more about giving them choices and giving them information. It's about saying, did you know you can get a conflict-free diamond? Did you know that you can source sustainable floristry? There are so many options out there that people don't know about," Ms Henri says.
Ms Henri spent 15 years working as a wedding photographer before launching the start up.
Her business received resistance from within the wedding industry initially but, after three years, she says it's finally at a tipping point.
"When I first put it out there I did get a lot of criticism especially from the wedding industry. 'Why would you want to encourage people to spend less?' they would say.
"(But) It's gradually been building, it has been in the last couple of years. The more I speak to people, the more they say yes the wedding industry needs this. We are helping a whole new niche in the wedding industry to thrive."
Ariana Neuman married her husband Angus Greenwood in an eco-wedding in Sydney on December 2.
The ceremony was held at the Balmain Rowing Club and the celebration with 130 guests at Angus's parents' home in Roseville.
The couple, who met in a bar while holidaying on the Gold Coast, were both passionate about having a meaningful wedding that environmentally friendly.
"I work at Greenpeace and my now-husband is in the construction industry.
"We're both passionate about reducing our impact on this world and wanted our wedding to reflect that," she said.
"For us, it was really important that the majority of our vendors shared our values."
Their caterer, photographer and DJ were all local.
Her dress was ethically made from Lost in Paris, a Sydney atelier that unearths lace from antique markets in the city of love and is then restored and refashioned into one-of-a-kind wedding dresses.
She borrowed her jewellery from her dad, a jeweller, for the day.
All gifts given to friends who had travelled from overseas, as well as her Maid of Honour, were handmade and purchased from Etsy Australia.
The couple hired recycled timber furniture and even made their own with second-hand materials.
"My husband built the majority of the trestle tables we used for grazing tables from recycled timber. We found couches on the roadside or picked up unwanted ones from our friends and family, and styled them with drop-sheets," Ms Neuman said.
Anything the couple could do themselves they did starting with the invitations.
"We designed and printed our invitations on recycled paper," Ms Neuman said.
They also avoided plastic in their floral arrangements by sourcing locally-grown options.
"We went to the flower market a few days before the wedding to source a few decorative flowers, but the emphasis was on the flowers already growing in the garden," she said.
The couple purposely under-catered to avoid food waste and all wine was bought from an organic vineyard that's better for the environment and the people that live and work on the farm.
Their cake - vanilla with white chocolate icing and lemon with meringue icing - was homemade by a family friend.
The groom's mum bought photo frames from Vinnies throughout the year and then over one weekend leading up to the wedding, the couple printed their avourite photos of every single one of their guests, framed them and hung them near the dance floor as a feature.
"The idea was that people could take them home at the end of the night if they wanted to."
The couple also booked two buses from the ceremony location to the celebration, to encourage people not to drive.
Having a 'mindful wedding' reduced costs but involved effort, the couple admit.
"We definitely saved, especially by making our own furniture or salvaging it," Ms Neuman said.
"But the trade off is a lot of time and labour over many weekends in the lead up".
Brooklyn Arnot and Nick decided to have an eco-ethical wedding because they wanted to show people that weddings can be done differently.
"Weddings don't have to be about showcasing 'things'," Ms Arnot said.
"Nick and I are both very passionate about the environment and about reducing consumerism, so a simplistic and environmentally friendly wedding was important to us. Focusing on our love, our family, our friends and our God, rather than spending lots of money made it a far more meaningful day," she said.
The couple held the ceremony and celebration with 170 guests at Alison Homestead in Wyong NSW, a quaint, colonial museum, reminiscent of a fairytale cottage, for just $250.
They went plastic-free and had a pot-luck style picnic dinner - that is every guest had to bring a plate of food to share.
They also sent out digital, self-designed invites which helped bring the total cost of the wedding down to only $3570.
"Having an eco-ethical wedding involved a lot more emotional and organisational work than I expected," Ms Arnot admits.
"Nick and I had a picnic style, pot-luck dinner, which worked fantastically! However deciding what to do for plates and cutlery without plastic was problematic."
The couple initially asked friends and family to bring their plates and cutlery, but after much resistance changed their minds.
"We toyed with the idea of biodegradable plates and cutlery, but didn't stick with it, as they would still end up in landfill. We finally decided to hire plates and cutlery, which was more expensive than we would have liked, and involved more washing up, but it was worth it for the positive environmental impact it had."
One way they reduced plastic and consumerism was to give everybody an op-shop mug with their name painted on it.
"This meant we didn't have to buy cheap cups or use plastic, disposable ones. This was a great favour for guests to take home at the end of the night," she said.