I wrote this post in 2014 and it was never published. I thought there might be some good tips here! I don’t really want to comment on what I’d do differently but I’m sure if I was getting married now that I’m living a zero waste life, some things might change. I’m so happy with the decisions we made, though, and would likely want pretty much everything to stay the same. ~Meredith
Weddings are such an incredible time for so many reasons. And, they can be a huge financial and emotional investment. For my wedding in 2013, we wanted to put our money and time where our mouths are.
Location: We chose a location that cares a lot about the environment and environmental impact. They care a lot so we didn’t have to worry about it, if that makes sense.
Food: We selected a caterer that has the same commitment to local, organic, high-quality food as we do. Since the ingredients were more expensive at times, we chose simple fare. We dedicated the majority of our budget to food.
Attire: We both chose American-made designs, because it was important to us to support US manufacturing. I think renting or buying secondhand or vintage is also a great choice.
Decor: Decide what you actually need to to do to make the space feel as festive as you want. We chose to focus on plants and a few chalkboard-style signs. We rented small potted trees from a local greenhouse and we put succulents on each table instead of cut flowers. Starting a few months before our wedding, we propagated the succulents from plants we and my mom already had.
Rentals: Instead of buying disposable cups, etc. we decided to rent glassware for our cocktail hour and dinner. We worked with our caterer to figure out what to order. We also rented linens.
Paper: For a moment I thought about not using paper at all – for invitations, save the dates, programs and place cards. Who really needs it? As tempting as a friendly e-vite and no paper at the wedding was (both on the wallet and the environment), we are happy with our decision to go with some paper. Since our wedding was a destination for nearly everyone, we decided to send out a save the date magnet seven months before our wedding, as well as paper invitations 2-3 months prior. To limit paper products at our wedding ceremony and reception, we didn’t use very much disposable paper decor items/etc. We used chalkboards to display the menu, program and other information.
In the end I have two huge pieces of advice for anyone planning or involved with a wedding. Number one: don’t sweat the small stuff. Ughh I know, you’ve heard that a million times. But really take it seriously. There were times where we couldn’t find an option that was as eco-friendly or _________ as we wanted. I just had to let it go. Second: do sweat the stuff you should sweat. I was so obsessed with making my wedding and wedding planning a stress-free experience that I didn’t let myself feel anything at times. Robot bride is not a good look, trust me. Stand up for the stuff you want to stand up for, and allow yourself to get emotional. Be a jerk and blow off steam if you need to. Again, a wedding is a huge emotional and financial investment and you are allowed to break down and let your emotions take over on occasion.
Want more wedding stuff on this blog? Let me know in the comments!