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28th June 2013, the date of my wedding, almost two and a half year later and I’m still a happily married woman. Planning a wedding is a stressful process, and yes many times expensive and requires lots of energy and time to get everything done properly. If on top of that we add the fact that we don’t want to impact the environment in a negative way in order to celebrate the event, this might lead us to think is just too much work. Let me lighten up those thoughts, is much more simple and even cheaper than we imagine, at least some of the details.
Here are some tips for an eco-friendly wedding, based on my own experience:
This is the first thing you have to do, because all the ideas of decoration and everything else will revolve around the site, plus you have to do it with enough time so you can book the date. We wanted to do it during the afternoon-evening hours, mainly because I function better during the day. This was a great plus to us since we could do the ceremony with the daylight, this helps to get gorgeous pictures, besides you don’t spend so much in lighting and therefore we used less electricity. We picked a vintage house, in a hill, that had lots of trees and the views were stunning, all of this saves you so much money in decoration and of course it helps diminish all of the waste that is produced when decorating. In addition, the place was located in an area with a cool environment, meaning we didn’t need air conditioning to keep people comfortable.
Well, this is something that is up to the couple’s tastes, depending on what do you want to serve your guests, maybe it would be some sharing platters or maybe an entire menu. My advice it would be to consider the gastronomy of the place where you are planning on celebrating the event, from savoury to sweet, it can become an experience of tasting the typical food of the region. I got married in Venezuela, so we decided to serve sharing platters, a table full of fresh typical cheeses, tequeños (which is a pastry with cheese, very famous at our parties), guava sweets and chocolate from Venezuelan cocoa.
How does this help the environment? For starters, you are supporting the businesses of the people that lives there, the farmers, the producers, every person in the chain that makes possible the food you are buying. The other important thing is the fact that you are diminishing your carbon footprint because you are buying food that is made locally, so you don’t need to bring them from another country by plane or boat or any means of transportation.
This is an unfamiliar subject for me since me and my husband aren’t use to drinking too much, we are social drinkers (like once a month or so). Nevertheless, it was a party, so we decided to do the celebration with national brands, like Ron Sta Teresa (rum), artisan beer, and a couple of wines made in Venezuela.
As long as you buy local you will be diminishing your carbon footprint, since you are saving fuel in transportation, and the plus is you are supporting the national production, so is a win – win. We gave the empty wine bottles to the people from whom we rented the place for the wedding, they then use it as vases or in other ways to decorate future events.
The invitation for the wedding is the place where people show a bit of their personality as a couple. On the other hand, we need to think the use of that card afterwards, many of you want to have the most beautiful card of the world, but few stop to think what would be the destiny of it. It might be true that our mothers and maybe some of our relatives could save it as a souvenir, but let’s face it, not all of your acquaintances will keep it for their albums. My suggestion is: Go and do something different!
- E-invitations or electronic invitations. Nowadays are very trendy, and they are easy to send by mail, Facebook, Whatsapp, etc…… You can even make a video (with all the amazing apps that exist in the market nowadays) or a slide show with effects, a movie, a song, let your imagination fly. However, if your Mums and Grannies are old-school, you can print a couple of invitations just for them.
- Souvenir invitations. You can make your invitation into something people want to keep. In our case, my husband and I have a very old fashion family, so we made an invitation with a picture of us both, that was easy to frame. We just printed the pictures for those who we knew were going to save it, and for the rest of them we send it as an E-invitation. Besides, on the back of the invitation was printed the info about the place, the date and hour of the event, saving us some paper.
The Centre Piece
Wow, what a headache for us, especially for people like me who is not really too much of a party planner, and this detail was just like “why do I have to care what goes in the middle of the table?”, but it was part of the decoration so my husband and I were committed to making a centre piece that would last longer than one night.
We decided to make a terrarium, we got our inspiration in this post, and in the fact that my husband has an uncle who has the abilities to do such stuff, with his help we did it ourselves. With a little soil, some pretty stones, a few plants that wouldn’t grow that fast, all of this inside a glass bowl. These little fellows don’t require too much attention, you put some water every once in a while and since they have their own micro-clime and water cycle you just open the bowl when you see the plants are too high and require a little trim. You can keep them in a corner where they get light and shadow, giving a little bit of green to your space. In our case, everyone loved the centre pieces, they asked about it and found it truly interesting.
There are many ideas like this one: you can put a plant in a beautiful clay vase, or a mini-garden, you can put some candles that people can reuse them in their house or office. Let your imagination fly, you could be creating an art piece that would last in time, and that people will take with them to decorate a space if is something with plants that could fill rooms with more green, better!
The Wedding Dress, also shoes, brides accessories and the Groom outfit
Is the Day! You want to look beautiful, because, besides the pictures, all eyes are on you and your partner, this also has to translate into how do you want to look like, this really is up to you, your personality, the most important thing is feeling comfortable. So let’s think about options according to styles and budgets:
These options are cheap and friendly to the environment:
- Using one from your parents, or grandparents, maybe you like that style or you like the tradition and you can give it a twist that adapts to your own style
- Buy it in a Vintage store.
But if you decide to buy a brand new dress, you must consider what would happen to it after the wedding day, because is just a day after all. The shoes, accessories and the groom outfit can be used in other occasions, I suggest that you buy something comfy, and easy to match.
Now, you might not use the dress again, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t have another life, it could dress to another bride who wishes to look beautiful too. My suggestion:
- If you like traditions you might want to save the dress for your daughter, although I do think this is a risk, considering that your child may want something different in the future.
- Sell it. This is a favourable option for your finances and also for the planet. You will recover part of your investment, and if you sell it to shops that rents dresses you will help many brides in distress that doesn’t have enough for a new dress. This was my decision, I sold it for very little because I wanted to help a bride with a tight budget.
- Modify it. Some brides dresses are too bridal, but there are others that are not, therefore the latter may be considered to dye it with a colour, or modify the cut, and you can have a brand new dress, maybe to go to another wedding?
- Donate the dress. Chances are you have the means to have the wedding of your dreams, so maybe you could help that bride with a very tight budget to get a lovely dress.
The idea is, don’t leave it in your wardrobe with all the dust, and let it lose all that glow, you have options, you don’t have to throw it away in a couple of years. Find something to do with it!
I hope this post helps to those couples, that like me want a healthy planet, with less waste and, still wish a beautiful celebration that is also friendly with the Earth. What about your ideas on how to make an eco-friendly wedding or event? Comment below and share with your friends!
Love conquers all things; let us too surrender to love. Publius Vergilius Maro