Sunday, March 4, 2012

Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue for a thrifty and Green wedding

When my husband and I started planning our wedding we both had a few goals in mind.  My goals were to create a beautiful, memorable event that was as environmentally friendly as possible.  My husband’s goals were to keep it within our budget and keep it green as well.  To meet both our goals we worked hard to make as much as we could on our own and before we purchased anything we asked ourselves, “Can we re-use this in the future?”  Simple as that sounds it was vital to us that we be able to either reuse or recycle the majority of what we used in order to minimize our wedding waste.  If you have never planned, hosted, or cleaned up a wedding before, you may not realize just how much is thrown out after the big day.  From decorations, to food, to wedding attire that is only worn once, there is an excess of waste generated from the wedding industry.  Even if you are not interested in keeping your big day green, you should be interested in saving green, and all that waste can equal a ton of wasted money.

In order to help you out in both areas here are some things we used to help us for our wedding and for some others I’ve helped out with in the past. 

Something Old

(Bible borrowed from Grandma O’Key)

Chances are you know someone who has had a wedding or another big event in the last few years.  Think back on their decorations, serving pieces, or accessories anything you liked?  Perhaps your family has pieces passed down that would give a personal touch that a new piece could not.  Ask them if they wouldn’t mind lending it to you for your big day.  Obviously you will treat this item with the utmost care, so that you can return the items better than when you borrowed it in the first place.  This is especially true when borrowing accessories the bride might have worn, or heirloom pieces, these are items to be treasured and possibly passed to another bride in the future. 
We did this in several areas; the brooch that secured the ribbon on my bouquet was my grandmothers and my sister used it for the same purpose in her wedding.  My husband wore his father’s cuff links, my sister let us use her cake serving platter and cutting tools from her wedding, we asked our officiate to hold my husband’s grandmother’s bible,  some of the tables were covered in borrowed linens (everybody has white table cloths, ask before you rent).  Not only did this help us save money, and decrease our wedding’s carbon footprint it also included our loved ones in our big day and created lovely traditions our family can share.

Something borrowed….

(Rented columns, chairs, and sashes)

Renting is another great way to reuse items that you wouldn’t normally use again in the future, i.e. cake stands, silk arrangements, chairs, table cloths, lighting, giant columns, etc.  Unless your planning on redecorating your home and the homes of your friends and families in a your wedding decor, consider borrowing or renting items like these to save you money and sanity after your day is over.  Remember whatever comes up, must come down and either be thrown away or put away.  No one has room for a hundred silk centerpieces, or wants that many. 
Most towns have at least one, and this can be a great resource for those supplies.  Some rental companies even offer delivery and pick up, which could come in handy when you’re renting tables and chairs for a large event, but you have no access to a truck.  Of course depending on how far away your event is from their warehouse there will be a charge for delivery, but with everything you will have going on that day, this is something to consider and can be well worth the expense to save you precious time and sanity.

Something New
(New pieces; flower tins, branches, and pumpkins that can be reused in the future)

One of the great things about weddings is that no two are a like, that can also be a bad thing when trying to decorate on a tight budget.  You’ve already exhausted all your resources from recently married friends and family, and you can’t afford to rent all the pieces needed for your vision.  Luckily if your somewhat crafty, or know someone who is, you can make your decorations using existing repurposed pieces at a fraction of the cost! 

Luckily a big trend right now in decorations is branches and twigs.  Florists have been using these in arrangements to create visual impact in normally ordinary arrangements, and so can you.  We used this concept for some of our aisle decorations that doubled as our centerpieces.  Branches can be purchased at most any craft or home decorating store, but if you’re really thrifty, and a little outdoorsy you can make them for free if you go get your own from Mother Nature.  Again, I’m sure it goes without being said, but I’m going to say it anyway, please do not go chop down your neighbor’s trees, or worse yet a tree in the park.  I know how the wedding frenzy can take over, but just because it’s the biggest day of your life, does not give you license to go crazy and hack apart your mother’s beloved magnolia.  She won’t appreciate that, and niether will the poor tree, try to use some restraint.  I suggest looking in your own backyard, ask friends and family that have some wooded property or in my case I pruned my uncle’s weeping willow for him and saved the branches.  Everybody wins!  I will note that the orange blooms seen in the picture shown above are not original to the branches.  In my own personal mania to create the perfect wedding I wired silk flowers to the branches.  If you would like to know how or are interested in a tutorial, message me and I’ll get to work on that!    

We also used a mix of pumpkins on the tables and scattered throughout, for these I purchased forever pumpkins from craft stores, not my cheapest decoration for as many that we used, but they will go to good use for all of our fall decorations.

To keep your pocket book from getting Blue from spending…

(Chair sashes used to dress up plain metal chairs)
A few quick tips;

-Reuse all those wedding gift bags to corral all your essential items (shoes, accessories, makeup, rings, vows, etc) for you and your wedding party to keep you organized for the big day.

-If your venue has chairs, but they’re not the prettiest (metal chairs), instead of renting the fancy ones that will cost you an arm and a leg.  Consider renting chair covers, or even just the chair sashes to dress them up.  No, it will not make them as nice as the expensive rentals, but you will find that once people fill the space and the chairs, no one will notice that they’re only metal chairs.

-Lanterns, lanterns, lanterns!  These are a great way to add instant impact for oh so little dough!  And, if you take good care of them you can use them over and over again for other events!
-Hold onto that scrap fabric if you are having anything custom made, my clever sister used the extra fabric from the flower girl dresses and even some from her wedding and made fabric flowers for wrist corsages and hair pieces for the wedding party.

Just remember, that while this will be one of the biggest days of your life, it is after all just a day.  And when it’s all said and done you will walk away that day with a partner for life, and hopefully beautiful memories of your loved ones that came to support you.  Those things are far more important than any decorations, clothes, or accessories worn during it.  So don’t stress my lovely bride, do what you can, forget about what you can’t do, and soak up every second of this beautiful moment.

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