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Off to a Good Start: Designing Eco-Friendly Weddings on a Budget

by Jennifer Dawson, Freelance Contributor

An estimated $72 billion is spent on 2.4 million weddings each year. The amount of waste wedding ceremonies generate is horrendous with more than a billion tonnes of trash and 66 tonnes of CO2 produced in just one day. More couples also spend time on planning an outstanding guest experience to make their weddings memorable. If you are planning to tie the knot soon, why not opt for a green wedding? Contrary to preconceived notions, eco-friendly ceremonies are not as difficult to organize nor are they more expensive than traditional ones. It is possible to plan a green wedding on a reasonable budget without going into personal loans and debts.  

Work on a Budget

Like any other event, a budget is important for you to define which activities and stuff you can do. Write down what is needed to organize the wedding from invitations and flowers to venue and food. Assign a budget for each item so you’ll know if you are operating within your means or not. Use credit card rewards programs for purchase to accumulate points that you can redeem later. Restrict the number of guests and consider a small ceremony that includes family and a handful of very close friends.

Start with the Venue

Outdoor venues such as gardens and parks may cost you less than big hotels and banquet halls. Hold your wedding in the early afternoon to make use of natural light. Choose a local venue that is accessible to your guests to reduce carbon footprint by decreasing commute times. Combine the ceremony and reception in one location to avoid traveling from one place to another. The Travel Industry Association of America indicates that only 33% of ceremonies take place in religious venues.

Invitations, Flowers and Wedding Favors

Wedding invitations alone can set you back a hefty $750 according to the weddingreport.com. Cut down costs on invitations by making your own invites or enlisting the help of an artistic friend. Flowers can be sourced from local florists using blooms that are in season while wedding favors can consist of sustainable gifts such as native plants.  

Use Local Caterers Who Work with Local Farmers

Catering per person costs $71 per head (TheKnot, 2016). Bring this down by using a local caterer who works with local farmers. You are not only supporting local producers that adopt sustainable farming practices but also ensure that your ingredients are wholesome. In season fruits and vegetable also make your dishes taste delicious.   

Recycle a Bridal Dress, Rent or Buy Second Hand

If you love your Mom’s wedding gown, use it. Consider vintage and secondhand shops. This will already save you the average cost of a wedding dress which is $1,564 according to a survey of TheKnot. If you really want a new gown, there are plenty of inexpensive ones that are made of organic fabrics if you are not picky about brand, styles, and color.  

At the end of the day, organizing a green wedding on a budget is not that difficult. With some clever planning and a willingness to substitute stuff, there is no reason why you can’t have the best day of your life off to a good start. And if you are looking for a memorable guest experience, nothing beats a green wedding that is put together well.

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