The following is a guest post by Christina Friedrichsen, www.intimateweddings.com
Can couples on a tight budget have an eco-friendly wedding? It’s a question that many couples face during these tough economic times.
The answer? A big fat resounding yes. In fact, eco-friendly weddings are often more economical than their less earth friendly alternatives. Why? Green weddings are conscious weddings. Couples who go this route are often acutely aware of what they consume and generally, less is more. Eco-friendly weddings are not usually over-the-top, extravagant events – but that doesn’t mean they can’t be hugely creative and downright wonderful.
Here are 10 ways you can have an earth-friendly wedding on a budget:
1. Go Small. The fewer guests you have, the less fossil fuels that will be used. You’ll also consume less, and create less garbage. Having a small guest list will also give you more choice of wedding venues. Why not have your small wedding at a designated green bed and breakfast or have a restaurant reception at a restaurant that serves local food? Besides, less people, less money.
2. Buy or Make Consumable Favors. Consumable favors are fun, fabulous and earth-friendly. Some suggestions include DIY favors such as homemade jam, chocolate, cookies, candy, free-trade coffee, beeswax candles, handmade soap or lotion. If you still want to take the non-consumable route, what about cloth shopping bags, reusable produce bags, or other products that will help your guests pursue an eco-friendly lifestyle? Don’t forget to include information about local shops that carry eco-friendly products along with your favors.
3. Don’t buy any favors. Another wonderful option for favors is to donate money to a charity in the names of each guest. The guest receives a card that informs him or her that instead of a favour, money was donated to a specific charity. Read more about favor donations.
4. Be a ‘Locavore’. Choose a caterer or restaurant that sources ingredients locally. Buying local ingredients supports your area farmers, as well as decreases your carbon imprint. Even better, choose locally sourced organic foods, and offer vegetarian choices for your meat-free guests. If you are on a tight budget, consider having a cocktail or brunch reception highlighting local foods.
5. Have your Ceremony and Reception in the Same Location. This will mean less travel for you and your guests. Many inns and bed and breakfasts can accommodate both the ceremony and the reception. This will save you money in transportation costs, as well as decoration expenses.
6. Use Potted Plants instead of Cut Flowers for Centerpieces. I admit, I’m crazy about fresh flowers, but I also love the idea of being able to enjoy my centerpieces long after the wedding. Potted flowers are lovely – so are potted herbs and saplings. Once again, this is a more economical alternative.
7. Buy a Second Hand Wedding Dress and Bridesmaid Dresses. Have you seen some of the gorgeous vintage gowns at www.vintageous.com? Not only are they lovely, they are less expensive than new gowns.
8. Ditch the Disposables. Don’t even think about having disposable cameras at your wedding. Chances are your guests will bring their own digital camera. You can even remind them in your invitation that you’d love for them to capture their wedding with their own camera and send you the images. And don’t forget the DIY wedding photo download station.
9. Don’t use Throwaway Dishes or Flatware. Use china dishes, flatware, cloth napkins and glasses instead of plastic cups. Not only will this save a ton of waste, it will look more elegant.
10. Scrap the Balloons and Confetti. Do you really need confetti? If you feel it’s a must, then use flower petals. Avoid balloons when decorating, as well as any other landfill bound decorations.