‘I transformed my friend’s eBay wedding dress into my sustainable bridal gown – with zero waste’
Sustainable weddings: Zoe Graham of P.S. Bridal revealed her two wedding dresses and her bridesmaid Ellie Goulding’s dress were environmentally friendly.
More and more couples are looking for ways to make their wedding day sustainable, but there’s nothing quite like getting advice straight from a real-life bride.
Zoe Graham, co-founder of P.S. Bridal and VIP stylist, chatted to HELLO! about exactly how she made her big day environmentally friendly, from recycling her friend’s wedding dress to giving her mother’s engagement ring a modern upgrade. She even asked her bridesmaids, including her close friend Ellie Goulding, to wear mismatched floral dresses they already owned or could rent – how clever! Take a look at Zoe’s sustainability secrets and prepare to take note…
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The recycled wedding dresses
“I HATE waste so it just felt crazy to be spending so much on things that potentially wouldn’t get used again,” began Zoe, who added her love of the natural world came from her grandfather, explorer Tom Stobart.
Both Zoe and her husband Ben Sullivan work at P.S Bridal, the company responsible for helping celebrities such as Binky Felstead find their dream wedding dresses, so we’re not surprised she had all the contacts and knowledge needed to create her gorgeous two bridal gowns without any waste.
Zoe wore two beautiful eco-friendly bridal gowns
Her first gown featured a V-neck, long balloon sleeves and a mermaid skirt with a leg-split – a look she designed herself and had made using eco-friendly crepe material.
“I worked with the very talented Grace Lane London on my dresses, she gets my style and is also passionate about sustainability. She already works and sources sustainable fabrics like deadstock fabric, crepes that use less water in production and viscose made using waste cotton, all with Global Recycled Standard Certificates,” Zoe said.
“There is a lot of greenwashing out there so it’s important to be savvy when you’re researching your fabrics.”
For other brides interested in sourcing similar materials, she recommended searching P.S. Bridal and The List which has a sustainability filter, or trying a rented or remade dress.
Zoe took her own advice for her second gown, which was the first ever P.S. x Grace Lane London bridal remake, using her friend’s old wedding dress. Explaining the design process, Zoe said that her friend was planning to take her eBay gown which she wore to her low-key civil ceremony to the charity shop when Zoe intervened – although, the original design wasn’t exactly the designer’s style!
“I liked the silky fabric and the corseted bodice but everything else I wasn’t a fan of (sorry!),” she joked, adding: “I’d sketched my design based on what we had to work with the fabric and corsetry.”
The designer’s second wedding dress was the first P.S. x Grace Lane London bridal remake
Zoe continued: “We only had to do two fittings for the second dress, at the first fitting Grace had used the lining of the dress to make our first toile, so absolutely nothing was wasted.
“Then by the second fitting there were only tiny tweaks and everything was made using the main fabric from my friend’s dress,” she said.
Following the “extensive transformation”, as Zoe described it, the final result was a silky strapless gown with a structured corset bodice, off-the-shoulder fluted sleeves and a daring front split, which was perfect for her evening reception.
Next to stunning wedding snaps, she told her Instagram followers: “I’m a big fan of a long sleeve and I couldn’t decide whether I wanted it short or long. So with the help of @gracelanestudio we made it so it could be both short and long! Super comfortable and looked great with trainers too.”
If you’re in love with the frocks, you might even be able to wear Zoe’s exact gowns on your big day since she plans to rent them on By Rotation or Hurr. “My remade second dress I would wear again, it feels like it would be a great date night dress and isn’t too bridal, so it’s very versatile,” Zoe said.
The floral bridesmaid’s dresses
Zoe’s bridesmaids, including Ellie Goulding, wore unique floral frocks
In a similar vein, Zoe wanted each of her bridesmaids to be able to re-wear their dresses, which were all unique floral designs in similar hues. When asked if she gave her bridal party any rules when it came to picking their frocks, Zoe replied: “I did. I wanted the florals to be on darker backgrounds so dark greens, navy, black etc.”
Mission accomplished! Singer Ellie – who works with the UN environmental programme – was reportedly “more than happy to support” Zoe’s sustainable wedding. She looked radiant in a black midi dress with a high neckline and a pink floral print, while another of her bridesmaids went even more colourful with striking orange, pink and white ditsy print on a deep forest background.
“I wanted to go with something I knew they’d feel comfortable in and that most girls probably own already. If they didn’t I knew they could rent or lend it from a friend!” she said.
The heartfelt wedding rings
Zoe’s wedding rings weren’t only environmentally-friendly, but they were also very sentimental as they were made using her family’s existing jewellery – much like Meghan Markle’s ring which features Princess Diana’s diamonds.
Jeweller Phoebe Walsh, who has also collaborated with P.S Bridal to remake rings, was responsible for designing Zoe’s “personal” new rock. Zoe said she “used my mum’s old engagement ring and recycled the gold and diamonds.”
The local wedding flowers
Zoe also opened up about the other aspects of her wedding that had a sustainable focus, including her wild wedding flowers. “Our flowers were grown by a local lady who produces everything in her own garden using no pesticides or mass farming, we used whatever was in season and wild!
“The flowers sat in jars and bottles on the tables that I got my friends and family to help me collect, and of course now they have all gone to be recycled again.”
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