Infusing the essence of community into your wedding. By Kate Gumbrell.

Infusing the essence of community into your wedding. By Kate Gumbrell.
February 12, 2017 Sandra Henri

The phrase “it takes a village” embodies our wedding, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m a people person. Tim’s a people person. Our wedding is built on people. We feel our wedding extends beyond the two of us.  For us a wedding means bride plus groom plus community.  The more enriched and enthused our community is, the more wholesome and delightful our wedding will be.Whether emphasising your community simply eases your anxiety around being in the main spot light, or helps make your day less stressful, here are a few examples we’ve considered when turning our wedding into a celebration of community.

Home grown

I’m obsessed with sunflowers. Ever since I was younger, I knew that they would be a key feature at my wedding. I have been able to turn this passion into something far more than just ‘wedding flowers’. It started with my secret dream of being a florist, and my dad’s extraordinary green fingers. Together, we picked the varieties and found free plots of soil wherever we could find. A French couch surfer even ended up digging a new garden in the middle of our backyard! You will now find sunflowers planted all throughout our community. From my ex-neighbour’s garden, to my sister-in-law’s vegie plot; we have filled approximately six garden plots in our local area. Sunflowers have taken over, and are being cared for by different individuals and families.

Bridal Team

Tim and I have been together for over four years. Our friends have merged, and we have created a little ‘chosen family’ who we simply could not pick apart. Hence, the idea of a bridal party has changed into a bridal team. Each team member is contributing to our day in some special way. Some will sing, some will create signs, some will be the MCs, and one is even the celebrant. We love each of these people for who they are. Therefore, they can wear whatever they want to express themselves to our guests in a way that THEY want to.

Helping hands

As a budding sewer, I planned to make my own bunting that would be strewn through trees and poles to create the festival vibe we plan for. *Light bulb! I gathered the lovely ladies in my life to join me in a bunting bee. We bought together our scraps of fabric, odd buttons, and offcuts to create a long stream of bunting whilst nibbling on lamingtons and drinking champagne. My friends who had never sewed before found themselves beaming with joy. They successfully used sewing machines for the first time, and created beautiful unique triangles for Tim and I to enjoy for the rest of our lives and remember those who invested.

Contributions in lieu of presents

We have called upon sewers, musicians, artists, and organisers for our big day, but what about the bakers? Our ceremony is simple. It’s in a park, rope lines the aisle, and shoes are optional. To thank our guests and treat them to some sustenance on a hot summers day, we have asked 14 of them to bake a sweet treat in lieu of a wedding present. The bakers leapt at the opportunity to join in, and the process of choosing their dishes and testing recipes has made the wedding countdown something everyone is joining in with.

Giving back

Community is not limited to our geographical surroundings. Without recognition of our global community, the vulnerable and the helpless would be forgotten. To give back to our global village, Tim and I have teamed up with Offspring. Offspring is a not-for-profit organisation working with survivors of sex trafficking in Kolkata, India. The wonderful team at Offspring crafted us a large throw made from recycled saris. This throw will hang at our wedding for all to see, along with more information about their work, and a way for our guests to discover more. The throw will then keep us warm in winter, brighten up our home, take us back to our wedding day, and remind us of global issues that should continuously be challenged and battled against.

Perhaps an ethical wedding shouldn’t be boxed into the corner of second-hand table decorations, compostable plates, and fair-trade dresses. An ethical wedding should embrace the idea of morality that we find in the meaning of the word ‘ethical’. To me, these principles of morality include our humanistic drive to live as a group; to rely on others, and reach out when in need.

Yes, our wedding is full of second-hand decorations and compostable plates, but the sentence: “If you need my help for anything at all, just let me know”, has turned this wedding into all that it is.

Kate x

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