Wedding dress shopping is meant to be a fun experience, but it also poses a number of ethical issues.

If your budget is modest, you're hard pressed to find an affordable dress off the rack that wasn't made overseas by overworked seamstresses on appallingly low wages.

Then there's the fabric: silk, traditionally the default material for wedding gowns, is rarely ethically made. Though natural, the source from which it comes from hardly gets to live a full and natural life. Ordinarily, once the silkworm has spun its cocoon, it transforms into a moth and flies away. But farmers don't want this to occur as it damages the cocoon.

As such, they disrupt the process by boiling or gassing the silkworms while they're still alive. (According to PETA, it takes about 6600 silkworms to make just one kilogram of raw silk.)

Another issue is the sheer waste. How many brides are willing to pay $2000 for short bridesmaid dresses uk they're going to wear only once before stashing it in a closet for the next 20 years?

If you're on a tight budget and you want the dress to be beautiful and ethical – both in its materials and the way that it's made – then you may find your options limited.

That's where high-street companies such as H&M and Reformation are hoping to change things. They're dipping their toes into the lucrative wedding market, becoming one-stop shops for ethical bridal wear.

H&M has three bridal styles priced from £149.99 to £399.99 ($315 to $840) as part of its conscious collection. Constructed from sustainable raw silk and lace, it includes embellishments such as intricate beading made from recycled glass.

The designs appeal to a wider audience, too, not just strictly eco-conscious brides-to-be with hippie-boho sensibilities. Every look is thoroughly fashion forward, from the modern A-line cut classic to the floor-grazing, high-collar dress with long sleeves and Edwardian undertones.

And the unprecedentedly affordable price point sure flips the proverbial bird at the great, almighty Bridal Industrial Complex.

Laidback chillzillas may look to Reformation, who has recently released a collection of streamlined, understated, achingly cool wedding gowns for eco-minded fashion fans, all for under NZ$1500. (No pouffy skirts in Disney princess-sized proportions here.)

By using second-hand and surplus materials, and producing out of a sustainable factory in Los Angeles, Reformation has managed to drastically shrink its carbon footprint while keeping prices reasonable thanks to its direct-to-consumer business model.

As Reformation states – in its typically relaxed tone – its elegant and eco wedding collection "is made up of chiffon bridesmaid dresses uk that will keep you looking like you on the big day — not a weird Pinterest version of you".

Sourcing a dress made by an ethical dressmaker to exact specifications can be a costly exercise, so we're thankful that there are more accessible options entering the market. It's good to know that saving money on dress doesn't mean leaning on innocent critters, the environment or some of the lowest paid workers in the world.