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Working on The Green Issue has been such a joy. Talking to and learning from eco-friendly wedding vendors has truly been eyeopening. I love that no matter who we are or what we do, we can always find ways to do things better, smarter and that have less of a negative impact on the environment.

Today I am delighted to introduce you to the super knowledgable Yvette van Schie of Ethix Makeup Beauty & Styling. When I came across her gorgeous work and realised she specialises in cruelty-free, vegan, mineral and organic makeup, it was clear we needed her voice and wisdom in this issue. Prepare to be inspired and rethink your beauty routine!

How long have you been a makeup artist?
Thirty-three years!

Where are you based?
Southern Highlands of NSW.

You specialise in cruelty-free, vegan, mineral and organic makeup. Can you tell us more about that?
I trained as a beauty therapist before training as a makeup artist, so have always been concerned about what I put on my face as well as others.

For quite a few years I worked for a skincare company who were one of the forerunners in the whole cruelty free, Australian made market – we used to proudly promote that all products were tested on people, not animals. I became very involved with product development when I was their National Training Manager – and in this time I learnt about the side effects certain chemicals had on not only people’s skin, but their whole body – remember the body is the skin’s largest organ!

Buying natural makeup used to be nigh impossible, although cruelty free makeup was easy. But then big brand highly popular makeup brands started shipping to China and lost their cruelty free standing – suddenly making it very hard to find products which fell into this category.

I am loving the vegan movement (I personally am a dairy free vegetarian)– as vegan makeup is very easy to purchase now, as are natural based products. Good organic makeup which goes on and stays on well, is still a challenge for me, mainly the foundations, but the lipsticks and eyeshadows etc are fantastic!

Images: Hilary Cam Photography

Is it difficult being an eco-ethical makeup artist? What challenges do you face?
The biggest problem I face is buying everything eco-ethical. I have overcome the mascara brush debacle – I hated throwing plastic disposable brushes into the bin after each use – so now have a set of mascara brushes I clean like all my other brushes after each use. I hate how much plastic packaging is used and how many cotton tips I throw away every wedding (the plastic in the middle does not break down). I don’t use plastic bags for my rubbish – I just pile it up and put it in the bin, or use a paper bag.

How do you select and source the makeup you use?
I trawl the internet and constantly talk to other suppliers about what they use. Every now and again I get sent products to try – love receiving those – it feels like Christmas!

Why is it important to use natural and cruelty-free products?
There is no reason why any animal should suffer for us to look gorgeous – we do not need to test on animals – humans are better at telling you if a product is irritating or not – and to be really honest – we are not coming up with anything really new in the makeup market today which uses ingredients which have not been used before. Organic of course is ideal – as it leaves a smaller footprint on our planet, as do vegan makeup options and any form of natural product. But people should be aware – not all vegan makeup is natural – it just does not use any animal by products, and none of the ingredients are tested on animals before being used by the manufacturer.

Image: Lilli Kad Photography

What are some of your favourite products?
I ideally try to buy Australian owned and made – again because of the green footprint, and I feel we should promote our own businesses.

I am a fan of Ere Perez natural makeup – all of the ingredients treat the skin whilst you use them, and their lip colour range is fabulous! Edible Beauty’s skincare range is divine – it is actually edible as it is so natural – their Angel Drops give the skin the most amazing glow when applied mixed into the foundation or before applying he foundation. I love Harlotte’s foundations, they give amazing coverage and the colours are spot on. Their lipsticks and eyeshadows are wonderful too – although the products are not natural, they are cruelty free and sensitive skin friendly.

Do you tend to attract bridal clients who are environmentally conscious?
Unfortunately not as many as I would like – I attract a target market who love my clean luminous looking makeup which I achieve through the makeup I use and my application techniques – but I am disappointed that brides when it comes to their wedding day, sometimes are not as eco-ethical as they would normally be in their day to day lives. The market is growing – I am starting to be being booked by girls who love that my products are natural and ethical.

Image: Cee and Zee Studio

Tell us about some of the eco-friendly weddings you’ve worked on
I actually had my first eco-ethical wedding only a few weeks ago. The bride wore a beautiful wedding dress which was her mother’s which she had altered to suit her and today’s style. Her maids wore their own favourite dresses. The groom’s suit was new (as he needed a new one for work) and the grooms men wore their own suits. The flowers were from an eco-ethical florist who only used locally sourced flowers – all wrapped in string. There was no plastic to be seen at the wedding and the venue was a friend’s beautiful garden. The left-over food was to be fed to the chickens or composted (it was all vegan), and everything they needed had been rented or borrowed – it really felt like an old style country wedding.

Are eco-friendly weddings more common now than when you first started out?
There is a growing awareness now – but we still have a long way to go.

Besides makeup, what are some other aspects of the wedding where bridal couples can make more ethical choices?
They can choose a florist who is eco-ethical, buy a second- hand wedding dress, or one by an eco-ethical bridal gown designer, they can choose a sustainable venue, or simply, have a smaller wedding – the amount of food wasted, and waste created for one special day is staggering. The venue’s bins after a wedding explode with waste.

Images: Dan Cartwright Photography

Do you work closely with any other likeminded vendors?
Unfortunately, not as much as I would like – most like-minded vendors are not in the Southern Highlands – or I am not aware that they are eco-ethical. I do recommend eco-ethical suppliers to my brides – but it is up to them to choose them or not.

How far in advance does a bride need to book you in for her wedding?
It depends – most people book me 18 months to two years in advance – but sometimes a bride can get lucky and get me eight weeks out! It depends on when they are getting married. From 2020 onwards, my bookings are limited as I have closed my books for certain weekends – so it will be a first in best dressed situation – and I am more likely to take a booking from a bride who is having a eco-ethical wedding.

What’s the process? Do you offer trials?
They fill out a booking form and pay a $100 deposit.

I will not book a wedding without a trial. The trial is very important not only for the bride and I to work out how to achieve her dream look – but also for us to meet and get to know one another. I also offer a free holistic skin consultation when they come for the trial so that the bride’s skin glows from inside and out on her wedding day. Sometimes a bride wants to have a hairstyle which her hair will not do – so a trial is important to work together to try to achieve something we can do. I am also a trained stylist, so I work with them to get the whole hair and makeup look to work with with their dress styles and the colours of the flowers.

Images: Hilary Cam Photography

What’s your philosophy when it comes to creating makeup looks for brides?
I love a glowing skin – created without the overuse of highlighter, and a more natural, yet glamorous makeup look. I like the bride and maids to look absolutely stunning – but still like themselves – just better. I started my makeup career in fashion, so do not do a stock standard makeup – every face is different, every person is unique – so I ask the bride for a hair and makeup brief at their trial – and we work together to create something which she can relate to, and which makes her look uniquely like her. I use a technique which I have perfected working as a commercial makeup artist which lasts, even in extreme heat but is not caked on. I do not believe that makeup should be applied so heavily that it can be seen in pictures – photos of the bride are supposed to be all about the bride – not the makeup artist’s handy work.

How do you approach the wedding day?
I like to allow plenty of time for each and every person – just in case I need extra time. I do not like to rush things as it is important that everyone, not just the bride feels gorgeous – it ensures that they all smile with happiness at the camera. I am aware that I am the first step of the wedding day – if I run late, then the whole day runs late. I also ask who the photographer is – so I know how early I need to have the bride ready – as each and every photographer works somewhat differently.

Images: Across the Forest

Most memorable wedding day experience you’ve had?
The most positive memorable wedding day experience I had, is when I arrived on very early morning to do hair and makeup on an artsy bride. I was exhausted as I drove into the driveway – berating myself for saying yes to a wedding the fourth day straight with a 6.30am start.

As I arrived two lovely guys strode out and unloaded my bags and chair.

As I set up I was offered breakfast and coffee, and the bride announced that she liked soothing music (thank you!). Everyone was in great spirits, just happy and laughing. The photographer although professional was also a friend – so started photographing in her pyjamas. Everyone was just happy and laughing – I was able to do a makeup and hairstyle I really loved on the bride as I had been given complete creative license – she loved my work and told me what she did like and did not like and gave me free reign – due to this – I was able to do something really beautiful for her.

Thank you Yvette for letting us into your world and shedding some light eco-ethical makeup practices. I’m so impressed with how you’ve found ways to rise to the challenge. It is very inspiring, so let’s hope others start to follow your lead! Find out more about Yvette and the gorgeous work she does over at the Ethix website.

Headshot courtesy of Ethix

Held in one of Sydney’s lushest gardens, Carlene and Martin’s wedding has all the elements of a fairy tale. The sounds of harps in the air, delicate lace billowing in a soft breeze, and opulent florals as far as the eye can see. Letting their imagination flow wild, the couple celebrated their special day with a towering sweetness of Croquembouche, magical entertainment, and a vintage ride.

When the two met through their shared passion for Latin dancing, little did they know that some years later they’d be twirling around Springfield House Function Centre’s dancefloor, commemorating their first dance as a married pair.

Lovereel’s videography team was there to capture the romance, and how even a cast arm can still lead. Showing that not everything might go to plan, but it is perfect nevertheless.

Ms Zebra Says: You can feel the love as you watch Carlene and Martin on their special day. Well done to the team at Lovereel as they showcase another beautiful wedding!

About Lovereel: With various wedding film options to choose from and all the raw footage at your fingertips, Lovereel offer an affordable yet highly professional wedding videography experience.

Polka Dot Dream Team...

The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!

Credits

This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.

The conversations around climate change, plastic pollution and the war on waste is enough to make anyone planning their wedding day want to be more environmentally friendly. I know it was for us. When we think about weddings the images conjured up are usually far from eco. But what if I told you a wedding with no rubbish is possible and can be a way to help fight climate change.

My husband and I live a zero-waste life, this means we aim to send nothing to landfill. You might have heard it referred to as low-waste living, waste-free, minimal-waste or low impact living. Whatever the title, each one has the same goal of diverting what we can from landfill by refusing, reducing, reusing, composting and recycling as a last resort. Our wedding produced a handful of rubbish and nothing ended up in the recycling bin either.

Breaking the day into categories helped us figure out where waste would be created – communication, food and entertaining, gifts, decorating, attire and entertainment. We also set out questions to be applied as we worked out the logistics and our aim to reduce waste in each category:

  • Can we hire?
  • Can we make it?
  • Can we borrow?
  • Will anyone miss it?
  • Will we be sorry we didn’t have this at our wedding in five, ten or fifteen years’ time?
  • How was it made?
  • What will happen at the end of its life?
  • Can it be reused?
  • Can it be composted?
  • Can it be recycled?

Before you run off thinking that’s impossible, let me assure you planning a wedding to be almost zero-waste is easier than you think. Here are my top tips:

There is no one size fits all for an eco-wedding

Do an internet search for eco wedding inspiration and you will no doubt find images of ceremonies set in a rural location, everything is small, handmade, home brewed beer, vintage wedding dress with a boho or hippy theme. The thing is an eco wedding does not need to be any of these unless this is how you want your wedding day. We had a large wedding, in the suburbs and were still able to keep to our low waste goals.

Comparison is the thief of joy and a fun day

Like each couple getting married, each wedding should be unique. Find a style that works for the two of you. After all, it’s your day. If you’ve read about other eco weddings where flowers were foraged locally or you are having no luck finding a second-hand wedding dress, don’t stress. Look for other ways to be sustainable during the process. Read other stories for the ideas, not as a rule book.

Compost

Up to 40% of our household bins are made up of food. And at a wedding, it’s even more! There is a simple alternative that can help keep that food from being waste in landfill, which is a good thing because food doesn’t break down properly in a landfill site and creates something called methane gas.

Methane is a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Keeping organics out of landfill will also help put much-needed nutrients back into the soil and into our food. And it’s not just food that can be composted. Flowers from your big day can also be composted. Most cities have an independent compost collection service or you could reach out to a local farmer. Make sure to tell your caterer or venue you would like to compost any uneaten food. They might even have suggestions on how to reduce food waste by choosing certain dishes.
 

Local food and flowers

Serving seasonal, local food to your area will help reduce the energy and even packaging needed to transport the food your guests will enjoy. You could also choose catering companies that support community or charity initiatives like the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

Did you know many of our favourite flowers are imported from overseas? Choosing locally grown flowers that are in season requires fewer fossil fuels to get them shipped to our country.

Hire instead of buy

If you want to have a wedding with a particular theme or style, see how you can do it with less waste, by asking some questions like; where was this item made, where will it end up at the end of its life cycle and can it be reused. Most props used to style weddings can be hired or borrowed out from professional event businesses, friends, family and even on Facebook Marketplace.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Assuming and not asking questions of suppliers will lead to unexpected plastic waste. Most of us have never planned a wedding before, nor an event for over a hundred people. So asking those tough eco questions is a must! Plus you could inspire the venue or caterer or wedding planner to take these changes on permanently!

Eco-stationery

While we were able to design and print our own material for the wedding, I understand most don’t have this option. If you are going to have material designed and printed for your event, simply ask your designer exactly what you can do in terms of a sustainable end product. Most designers and printers will have a good idea and contacts to help. If you are fortunate enough to have access to an office printer, or simply want to print at home, then finding 100% sustainable recycled post-consumer paper is not difficult. All specialty paper stores will either have it in stock or can source it for you. I’ve seen many invitations with seeds infused into the paper allowing your guests to plant them after.

If you’d like to keep it paper free, go the electronic route with a company like greenvelope.com.

Gifts

There are many different ways to offer gifts to your wedding guests that are low waste and plastic free – plants, homemade jam, seeds; Pinterest has numerous suggestions! Consider making a donation on behalf of each guest to a charity of your choice, like SeedMob or a local Landcare project.

Hire or rent your wedding dress

Rather than buy a brand new dress look at hiring or buying second hand. Think about the resources that go into creating a new dress worn for one day only; growing fabric, shipping it around the world, electricity used to sew it together. This is why hiring and buying second-hand are great eco choices as it’s extending the life of these valuable resources and also the work someone put into making your dress or suit.

Here is a list of companies that offer bridal dresses for hire: Sunset Bridal (Melbourne based bridal boutique), Something Borrowed, Rent My Rack, Glam Corner, Runway Collection.com.au.

There are several options to hire formal dresses that would look great as wedding dresses too. Hiring is a great option as you don’t have to worry about storing the dress either. There are many beautiful pre-loved wedding gowns on I Do Gowns or Still White, and at Love Me Twice Bridal. You can then sell yours on after your big day.

When it comes to shoes and jewellery, ask friends if they have anything you can borrow. You would be surprised by what people will offer too!

Choose reusables

Avoid the throwaway plastic tableware, and hire ones that can be washed like real cutlery, plates, glasses and cloth napkins. No plastic straws either! Don’t just limit yourself to the crockery also consider how else you could get something like beer and wine. For instance, try buying it in kegs instead of individual glass bottles as the energy to refill the kegs is far less than recycling bottles.

Our wedding day was a big success. We achieved a close to zero-waste wedding without anyone knowing they had even been at an eco wedding which is what we wanted. While our aim to create a day that reflected our values was important, the main intention was for it to be as fun for everyone. And it was one of the best days of my life, just without the rubbish.

About the author Erin Rhoads of The Rogue Ginger: Erin has been writing about her zero-waste journey since 2013. Her blog, The Rogue Ginger, quickly became one of Australia’s most popular eco-lifestyle websites, and Erin is now a prominent commentator on zero-waste living. She is on a mission to engage with individuals to redefine what is waste and how to create less of it in her booked-out talks and workshops around the country. Erin is the author of Waste Not: How to Make a Difference by Throwing Away Less (Hardie Grant), was a consultant on Australia’s popular TV show War on Waste and is a regular contributor for ABC Radio. She has been featured on BBC World, The Project, Sunrise, Morning Show, Marie Claire, Australian Women’s Weekly, the Age, the Guardian, Peppermint magazine.

Polka Dot Dream Team...

The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!

Credits

This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.