Every bride-to-be has a vision for their perfect wedding. From the elegant invitations to the sparkling centerpieces, these choices are a reflection of each couple’s individual tastes, as well as the traditions that they hold near and dear.
However, the price tag that comes along with a bride’s perfect vision can often be steep, and many couples will find themselves spending money on things that they will never even use after the big day. According to author Kate Harrison’s Green Bride Guide, the average wedding produces 400 lbs of garbage, nearly all of which will end up in a landfill.
Couples who are working with a tight budget but who are also concerned about the impact their big day will have on the environment are often faced with a dilemma. How can they bring their vision for the perfect wedding to life, without causing a ton of waste or blowing their budget?
Thankfully, there are more options available than ever for an eco-friendly wedding that doesn’t break the bank. Here are some helpful tips to help you create the wedding of your dreams while still being mindful about the environment.
Opt for Recycled Paper Products
The EPA states that each ton of paper that is recycled and reused rather than thrown away saves over three cubic yards of landfill space. That’s more than an entire pickup truck’s worth of space! It also saves 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water.
Using recycled paper for your invitations, place seating cards, and menus can greatly reduce the carbon footprint of your wedding. Placing a paper recycling bin nearby in your venue can also help your paper goods to be used again in the future.
While recycled paper goods can sometimes be more costly than virgin paper, you can easily offset this cost by using fewer paper items. For example, providing your guests with your seating chart digitally rather than using place setting cards costs you nothing, and saves a lot of paper.
Choose an Outdoor Venue
While indoor venues can often be very beautiful, they also require a lot of energy. Electric lights, air conditioning, and other costs are all factored into the cost of renting an indoor venue, and can quickly increase the carbon footprint of your special day.
Outdoor venues rely on the beauty of nature and your surroundings to make your day magical, without the need for running electric lights or heating and cooling all day. The natural beauty of an outdoor venue often requires much less decoration, giving you the opportunity to reduce the use of things like garlands, balloons, or other disposable items.
When the sun goes down, many outdoor venues can be lit with solar-powered lights that don’t need to be plugged into an electrical source. This creates an enchanting atmosphere without running up the power bill.
Purchase Pre-Loved Decorations
Disposable decorations such as balloons, garlands, centerpieces and table settings can often be found very cheaply. While this may be a tempting option for couples on a tight budget, this greatly contributes to waste and guarantees that your purchases will end up in a landfill. Instead of filling up trash bags full of cheap plastic, look for gently used items that other couples have either donated to thrift or charity shops, or placed for sale online.
There are even marketplaces online where you can shop specifically for pre-loved items, including table settings, favors, linens, and even the wedding dress itself! It’s easy to find items for the bride and groom, the guests, and even accessories to match your hand-picked bridesmaid dresses.
Wedzee and Wedding Recycle both contain thousands of listings for wedding items that you can purchase much more cheaply than buying them new. You can even re-list the items after your big day, so that someone else can have the chance to use them too.
Keep It Small
When planning your wedding, all of the costs adding up around you can seem overwhelming. It might be helpful to stop and take a breath, and think about what is most important to you as a bride. Many couples are finding that smaller, more intimate ceremonies with friends and family are just as fulfilling as a grand celebration.
It’s also important to remember that the more people you invite to your wedding, the greater its environmental impact will be. More guests will produce more waste. All of your guests will also need to travel, and some may have to come a long way, which will result in a lot of fossil fuel use.
Keeping your ceremony and reception small will help to keep your environmental impact to a minimum. It will also help you keep to your budget and reduce the stress of planning for your special day.
Weddings are very special days, and it can be tempting to go all out when planning for your celebration. But if you play it smart, it’s easier than you think to both save money and create the eco-friendly wedding that you’ve always dreamed of.