Something green, something blue, something borrowed… something reused?!
Of course, you knew it before you get engaged… the troubling, tricky but unavoidable fact is that throwing a wedding is an expensive exercise! If you are anything like me, then as you delve deeper into the wedding planning process (and the bills start to pile up) you can’t help but feel a little guilty at the thought of spending so much money on only one day – when a lot of what you’ll buy will eventually go to waste. According to Green Bride Guide, each wedding produces an average of 2-300kg of rubbish!
Money’s not the only thing that goes to waste. With all the excitement and beauty of weddings, you probably haven’t stopped to think about what happens after the last dance, and what you are going to do with all of the left overs. I’m not just talking about the food (those left-overs I can handle), but the decorations, the flowers and even the wedding dress. Most likely, many of these things will end up in bins or taking up space in the back of closets til they’re forgotten. This just makes me sad – for such beautiful and special things to be hidden in the dark, forgotten space under the stairs is as wasteful as the 200 white balloons released at the ceremony.
Thankfully, even on this special day there are some small tips and tricks that can also give back to the environment, reduce waste and also save you some serious pennies. Here are our top tips to reuse, recycle, reduce waste and save money on your wedding day:
Save a tree!
In the digital world we live, it’s hard to believe there’s still so much wastage of paper! Do your bit for the environment and use recycled paper for save-the-dates, invitations, RSVP cards, seating programs, menu cards, seating cards, thank you cards, and more. You can of course go one step further and use electronic invitations, and display seating programs and menus at the reception on recycled chalk-boards like this cute Rustic Military Wedding.
While we’re on the subject of paper, ask your gift registry to go sans wrapping for your gifts – you save your guests a few dollars on wrapping, save yourselves a lot of waste after the wedding, and save a tree too.
Reuse, Donate or Sell
This is a motto to live by. Be conscious of your purchases, and make sure that that everything you buy can be sorted into one of these categories. This will at least make you think twice about unnecessary items, and make sure you are consciously purchasing only what you really need – follow this tip and you’re guaranteed to save money.
Shop Second Hand for your Wedding Decor
Seek for items in unusual places – second hand shops, garage sales, or even ask a friend. You can pick up some seriously cool and chic items for your wedding: jars, vintage tins, antique vases and really special fabrics which can with inspire your whole day, or add a “something borrowed” twist – and you may even keep and use around the house. Some things you might consider keeping and using at home are: cake stands, chalk boards, string lights, handing lanterns and candles.
Wedding Favours that last
Be more creative with your wedding favours and give your guests a jar with their name on it and a packet of seeds. This means they have something to keep and reuse themselves. Better still, save money on wedding favours and invite guests to wrap up a posie of the table flowers to take away with them – helping you with the clean-up and reminding them of your special day for a further week.
If you still have flowers remaining, you can also preserve them and turn them into a piece of art, or donate them to a local rest-home.
While many brides can’t bear the thought of parting with their wedding dress, keeping it at the back of your closet also seems to be a bit of a waste. There are many options which can maximise your wedding dress and make it worthwhile – Whether that means that you dial it back and find your wedding dress at a cheaper price, or even have it tailored or dyed afterwards – i.e. turned into a cocktail dress, so that you can wear it again and again. You could even turn it into a christening gown for your future little ones, or make décor pillows and bring It with you into your new houses and future adventures.
Alternatively, if you’re ready to part with it, you can donate it, or sell on auction sites like Trademe or wedding-dress specific Still White.
An easy but significant way to go green at your wedding is ensuring that the food and drinks you serve are locally sourced (also meaning they’re in-season and thereby possibly cheaper!). If you think you might end up overcatering, you could always let your guests have boxes and take the remaining food away with them (a tradition at Rarotongan weddings) or donate it to a local shelter.
Of course you have to be careful with food to avoid any potential food poisoning, so ask your wedding caterer what their policy and ability is to pass on any uneaten food. Either can be a great way to get the extra food eaten up with nothing to waste.
Just remember that after the last bottle of bubbles is popped (and your head has come back down to earth) that you want to look back on the day and know that you spent and saved sensibly. Balancing a bit of extra spend on something special, and what is really reasonable to splurge on – you don’t want to have regrets on cost.
The best way to avoid this is to do your bit from the beginning, so go green and get planning!
Now check out the wedding planning index and get your hands on a copy of the little white book (this is one bit of paper that won’t go to waste)!