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Wedding planning website Hitched has marked Freedom Day with the unveiling of an upcycled wedding dress fashioned from 1,500 discarded face masks.

The redundant sanitary ware has been given a new lease of life to raise awareness of the growing waste mountain composed of unwanted face coverings, as well as invite couples to step down the aisle in style now that wedding ceremonies and receptions are back on in England.

An estimated 100m single-use surgical masks are being thrown away in the UK each week during the pandemic, the vast majority of which end up in landfill.

Redirecting a small portion of these, Hitched aims to bring the issue to public attention, while also encouraging couples to take advantage of easing restrictions to cement their partnerships in style.

Hitched editor Sarah Allard said: “We’re overjoyed that weddings will be returning in England without legal restrictions. With thousands of weddings set to take place this summer, couples can now look forward to dancefloors reopening, standing drinks receptions and photographs full of smiling faces with PPE restrictions lifting.

“However, we cannot ignore the waste problem that has been created as a result of the pandemic, and now that the guidance on masks at weddings has finally changed we wanted to create a garment that not only symbolized how far we’ve come both as a united industry and as a nation, but also puts those unused masks to good use.

“While masks are no longer a legal requirement, we recommend couples, guests and suppliers exercise judgement on the wedding day, but we cannot wait to see dancing, hugging and joyful reunions once more.”

The painstakingly-assembled frock employs no less than 1,500 knitted face masks for brides wishing to dress to impress on their wedding day.

Weddings have long provided fertile ground for marketers, with the likes of Taco Bell, Ikea and Burger King targeting the happy day for their own promotions.