Princess Beatrice's trend-setting lacy bridal dress is paving huge change

 Princess Beatrice attends the annual Serpentine Galley Summer Party in white wedding dress in July 2014
Princess Beatrice wearing wedding dress (Getty)

The wedding industry is shockingly unsustainable. One celebration can produce as much as 20kg of plastic waste and the average UK wedding has a carbon footprint of around 14.5 tonnes, not to mention the one-time use bridal dress.

While high street fashion is becoming increasingly planet-conscious, with resale sites eBay, Vinted and Depop reigning supreme and rental websites surging in popularity for special occasions, wedding dresses are – quite franky – wasteful. "Wedding dresses are one of the most unsustainable parts of the wedding industry," Jennifer Katherine Crooks, founder and managing director of bridal seamstress company The Modiste explains.

Princess Beatrice wearing white lace bridal dress and matching fascinator to Ascot 2023
Princess Beatrice wore a Monique Lhuillier bridal dress and a matching fascinator to Ascot 2023 (Getty)

But change is slowly and surely afoot, with a host of famous faces leading the way. From Jennifer Lawrence to Beyonce and Emma Watson, not to mention our very own Princess Beatrice, famous faces have proved that beautiful bridalwear shouldn't just be resigned to one day and are finding new ways to make it look fresh and occasion-appropriate.

The stars paving the way

Spotlighting celebrities who are helping make a change, Jennifer explained: "Some examples spring to mind. Princess Beatrice wore a wedding dress to Ascot last year, wearing it like a normal dress by styling it for the occasion. And Emma Watson wore a dress made out of ten different dresses from Oxfam when she went to the Earthshot Prize Awards."


Princess Beatrice is the royal queen of wedding sustainability, of course, having reworn her grandmother Queen Elizabeth II's Norman Hartnell wedding dress for her intimate pandemic celebrations with just a few minor alterations. But she's bucked the trend again since.

7: Emma Watson attends the Earthshot Prize 2021 wearing dress made out of Oxfam wedding dresses over black flares
Emma Watson wearing a design crafted out of repurposed Oxfam wedding dresses was a moment in 2021 (Getty)

Cast your mind back to last summer when Princess Beatrice chose to wear a long-sleeved, lace dress with floral applique by bridal designer Monique Lhuillier.

She accessorised the £2,705 garment with a pearl-detail Anya Hindmarch clutch bag, JBH Millinery hat and nude Gianvito Rossi satin pumps, making it race-day appropriate.

rincess Beatrice attends the annual Serpentine Galley Summer Party at The Serpentine Gallery on July 1, 2014
Beatrice also donned a Nicholas Oakwell bridal look to attend the Serpentine Galley Summer Party in 2014, with pastel accessories making it occasion appropriate (Getty)

She also donned a Nicholas Oakwell bridal look to attend the Serpentine Galley Summer Party in 2014, styling the beautiful A-line dress with organza floral applique on the skirt with bold accessories.

A slick of scarlet lipstick, an 80s-inspired bouffant bun, lilac heels, and a lime green clutch ensured the dress looked anything but wedding-appropriate.

As for Harry Potter star Emma, the look was a moment for the history books. The custom creation by Harris Reed, made in collaboration with Oxfam, was created almost entirely from second-hand wedding dresses, repurposed lace bridal veils and morning jackets.

The frothy tulle design with delicate lace detailing on the back hit headlines the world over thanks to eco-pioneer Emma's red carpet moment.

vintage sustainable fashion rack of wedding dresses
Rewearing and repurposing the outfit is key – and it takes star power to lead the movement (Getty/Catherine McQueen)

"It's about trying to break down the barrier of what's a wedding dress and what's a normal dress. Just because it's white [doesn't mean it's a one-time wear] – and you can also dye it and turn it into a different colour!," Jennifer explained.

Banishing the one-time wear concept

Rewearing and repurposing the outfit is key – and the more brides who follow suit after seeing their favourite celebrities on the red carpet, the better.

Haute couture designer making wedding gown
The wedding industry is catching up - but not quickly enough (Getty/Rossella De Berti)

"The great thing about fashion (and we don't take advantage of it enough) is that it comes back around. All this stuff I was wearing in the 90s is suddenly popular again. Maybe the wedding industry should use that idea," Jennifer says.

Jennifer's atelier The Modiste specialises in bespoke dressmaking, bridal and bridesmaid alterations, and the art of re-cherishing your wedding dress thanks to their Modify concept, which reimagines your gown and allows brides to value it for years to come. Think turning it into a silk slip, a jumpsuit, a party mini dress – even swimwear for your honeymoon.

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"The industry is catching up, there's movement into sustainable materials. But at the end of the day, the fact that you've made another thing in the world and only used it once is where sustainability stops," Jennifer says. "We're trying to change the movement."