Ask the experts

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Hampshire and Dorset Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yourhampshiredorset.wedding

To view more Q&A's on a different topic, please select one from the list below.

Hot topic: Wedding worries

Local experts advise on all things wedding

The write stuff

The write stuff

Q. We want our wedding to be as eco-friendly as possible without compromising on the things that are important to us, like having lovely wedding stationery. How can we marry the two?

A. Gemma Jellicoe says: With climate change being such a huge concern, it's even more important to start looking at ways we can reduce our carbon footprint in the wedding industry. There are many things we can swap to be more sustainable and this applies to the wedding stationery too. Here's some of my top tips on what to look out for:

Find a supplier that offers recycled card If you fall in love with a range you've seen, ask the designer if it's available in recycled card. Be aware though that it does normally have a slight fleck in it because of the nature of the recycling process. For many of the more rustic designs though, this works perfectly.

Look for a business that uses FSC certified card If recycled isn't your thing, then look for a stationer that works with FSC certified card. This means they are sustainably sourced and certified as eco-friendly. ISO is another good certificate to look out for, because it means they have a very low carbon footprint and use low-waste materials.

Reduce waste This may seem like a very simple step, but it's easy to get carried away when choosing your wedding stationery. Think of ways to cut back on any unnecessary items, like having an RSVP postcard, so there's no need for an envelope.

Sweet greens

Sweet greens

Q. We're massive cake lovers and want a real showstopper for our big day that not only tastes delicious, but has eco-credentials too. Can we have our cake and eat it?

A. Lucie Rumsby says: Choosing a vegan option for your wedding cake is a kinder, greener choice and a great way to reduce the carbon footprint of your day. What's more they taste great and most people can't tell the difference, so it's a win, win. Instead of animal-derived ingredients, I use natural plant-based alternatives as a more environmentally-friendly option for my vegan wedding cakes. Other smaller things that make a difference include wrapping samples with compostable cellulose, using recycled cake boxes, printing marketing and business cards on recycled card using vegetable inks as well as eco-friendly cleaning products which can be refilled to avoid plastic packaging.

Dressing the part

Dressing the part

Q. I don't know where to start when it comes to choosing my wedding dress. I want to not only look fabulous, but also keep the planet in mind. What would you advise?

A. Erica Arnold says: Buy from a British manufacturer to cut back on transport miles. If you have the time and the budget, there are still a few companies in the UK that can weave silk or cotton to order for a bespoke gown.

Go for a design or separates that you can alter to wear again or change the colour using a low-impact dye. If you choose a pre-loved dress that needs sprucing up before the big day, look for a specialist company that offers an eco-friendly alternative to traditional dry-cleaning methods.

If you're looking for something different, our Pure range of vintage dresses are cleaned and restored before sale using environmentally friendly methods. For the modern bride, our Evolution collection of contemporary dresses are made from re-worked vintage dresses and fabrics. Any new material incorporated in the designs is ethically sourced including quality 'end of run' fabrics and remnants.

Flower power

Flower power

Q. I'm always looking for ways to change my shopping habits with the environment in mind. How can I reflect this in my choice of wedding flowers?

A. Sarah Diligent says: If you haven't already set the date, choose the season when your favourite flowers are in bloom. If you love roses, beautiful home-grown varieties are available from May to October, if peonies make you weak at the knees, May and June are the ideal months to get married, or for sweet peas from April to August is ideal. Think of the difference between imported strawberries from a supermarket chiller in February compared to those harvested by hand at a pick-your-own farm in the summer – the same product but completely different! Every season is special, and each one brings with it new and gorgeous combinations. I suggest:

❤ Check out Claire Brown's The British Flowers Book (www.thebritishflowersbook.co.uk), it's a really useful guide to when different blooms are available throughout the year.

❤ Seasonal British flowers will have the smallest carbon footprint and you can find growers near you by using the Flowers From The Farm Map (www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk).

❤ Ask your florist not to use floral foam in any of your designs, it's a single-use plastic which isn't biodegradable and although it's been the norm in the floristry business for the last 70 years, things are changing and there are many alternatives.

❤ Have your bouquets delivered in vases or jars with water rather than plastic aqua packs.

Something gold

Something gold

Q. We've just embarked on planning our big day and are looking for greener options for as many things as possible. Can this include our wedding rings too?

A. Charlotte Cornelius says: Of course, remodelling old family or sentimental jewellery is not only a great way to recycle broken and forgotten pieces, it will also add a special personal touch to your wedding. We love nothing more than to transform unworn, damaged or out-dated heirlooms into fabulous and meaningful jewellery to be enjoyed and cherished every day. You can be part of the design process too, incorporating your ideas and personal history, use precious metals or stones from pre-loved or inherited jewellery for a fantastic new handmade creation full of memories and meaning that will endure for future generations to treasure.

Just in case you don't have inherited jewellery to remodel, we can also supply recycled gold, repurposed diamonds and ethically sourced precious stones to create bespoke rings.

Our on-line advertisers

When it's time for you look for local businesses to help you with your wedding, take a look at our advertisements below. Most will have links to their own websites. These advertisements are updated regularly so please revisit often and mention Your Hampshire and Dorset Wedding when making any enquiries.

Oakley Hall
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