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GREEN Wedding Ideas
I know everything you’ve heard about eco-friendly weddings. You must think they are lots of work, require tons of planning, and in the end, cost more money than necessary, but it’s simply not true. There are so many ways to amazing GREEN wedding and still save tons of money!
In this article, we are looking at the cake, the dress, the honeymoon, the linens, weekend activities, photography, and even the wedding party. Stay with me, and keep up to date on all of my other articles, and you’ll see how to have an unbelievable event for next to nothing, and do something for the environment as well, in every category.
I know that I’m breaking one of my biggest rules here, but we hired one of our friends, who is an up and coming baker, to create our wedding cake. At the moment she is just getting started and trying to build up her portfolio, so she didn’t charge us anything for the cake.
Very risky you say? Definitely! The cake could have been an absolute disaster, but I was more concerned with making her feel good and she was so excited, that I wasn’t too concerned with the outcome. I can’t wait to get our pictures back!
We knew that she made some really amazing cakes, because she was begged by all of us to bake every time we had a party or get together. She had also had professional training in making cakes and had baked layer cakes like the one we were requesting before. She was wonderful and baked us several “tastings” ahead of time so she could adjust her recipe appropriately before the big day.
Come the big day, not only did we get the PERFECT wedding cake, but we also had tons of gorgeously done handmade sugar hydrangeas all over our cake that really put the cherry on top for us! It was gorgeous and it was free!
This was a great story! My Maid of Honor and I traveled all over trying on wedding dresses from Phoenix all the way to Flagstaff to make sure we found the right one. What was better is that I found it almost immediately at a David’s Bridal down in Phoenix, AZ one afternoon we were just playing around. However, David’s Bridal was charging $1,200 for it. That would not do in our $1,000 budget.
So for the next few weeks, both of us searched high and low on the internet to find it for cheaper and then one day Katie sent it to me from an online dealer in Shanghai for only $158!!! Really!
The trick was that they would be making it by hand and then sending it to me in the mail. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out but you bet I tracked it all the way through the process and to my house. The one kicker was that I was to try it on immediately when I received it, and if it wasn’t perfect I could ship it back to the company for a full refund.
Thank goodness it was perfect! I think I paid $75 to have it altered for me. Even better! I borrowed the underskirt, the bra and the veil to make the dress a total of $233!! What a deal!
Ideally what we wanted to do was a two-week roadtrip across the West Coast from our home in Arizona, up through Colorado and Montana, over to Washington, and then back down the California Coast Highway and through Utah back home.
We were considering renting an RV so that we would have a vehicle, a place to stay and food all in one and save some money. We also considered taking our vehicle and finding camp sites all along the way to save some money. Unfortunately because of the cost, neither of those ended up working out.
However, we registered for our Honeymoon so our guests could donate to our Honeymoon fund in place of a physical wedding gift. With that we got a whopping $1,000 for our honeymoon and decided to use it to take a trip we had missed out on the last Christmas.
We drove up to Williams, AZ stayed in a beautiful hotel that provided dinner and breakfast for us, took a train trip out to the Grand Canyon, where we were able to hike and sightsee to our heart’s delight, and then took a train trip back to Williams for an amazing Mexican food dinner before coming home.
It may not have been what we had originally planned on, but we definitely made some great memories and had a nice vacation before returning to normal life! And we didn’t have to pay for anything!!
This is one of the decisions every bride and groom has to make for their wedding. Do we need table cloths, cloth napkins, and chair covers? We did and usually so does everyone else.
The chairs and tables that venues and even rental companies usually provide and older and beat up because they use them quite frequently for weddings and other events. Not using linens means using these beat up chairs and tables without covering them. Not an option. If you get lucky and your venue provides furniture and the linens to cover them, count yourself lucky! If not, you’ll need to find a great place to rent them.
Fortunately the chairs our venue provided were gorgeous and didn’t need covering and then we had hay bales we were using for our ceremony. With a lot of research and cost comparing, you can find some really great places that will provide linens for you.
This is how we originally found the company that provides all of the linens for the weddings we plan as a company. For our wedding we simply ordered them from our company linen provider for real cheap. Don’t start thinking that this is not something that’s available to you! It just means that you would have to buy them.
Our provider doesn’t rent linens. But we also spent $60 total, I think, for all of our linens. This was napkins and table cloths for 50 people. It was a really great deal! We’d be happy to rent them out to you too for a really great price!
Our Weekend Activities
We didn’t want just the typical wedding where everyone comes into town, comes to the wedding the next day, and then leaves right after the wedding. We wanted to have some time to spend with friends and family while they were in town and truly wanted it to be a celebration, rather than an obligation.
We decided to have a whole weekend of activities provided for all of our guests but didn’t want to pay a great deal of money entertaining everyone. Problem solved. We rented a rental house for all of our out-of-town guests to stay (and they all pitched in to pay for the house) all weekend and designed all of our activities around the theme of our wedding, which was nature.
Therefore, we went hiking one day, canoeing the next, shopping and swimming in Sedona (which was an absolute blast by the way!), and then Sunday evening we “provided everyone a really nice dinner” that just happened to include cake and dancing. lol
So all of our weekend activities culminated in a really nice wedding, with the reception Sunday night and the ceremony the next morning! Everyone loved it! They could attend the activities they wanted, and had a nice home to stay in if they didn’t.
We stocked the rental home with tons of easy to make meals like PB&J and tons of fruit and veggies, and everyone could easily head back home after the wedding. We proved that a weekend affair didn’t have to cost anything at all, beside some sunblock!
What would you trade services to get?
The Photography (Aris Affairs Photography)
Once again we broke the rules and hired a great friend of ours that also happened to be a professional wedding photographer. You’re probably thinking that there’s no possible way we could get around paying an exorbitant rate for our wedding photography AND videography from her. lol
Normally we wouldn’t have, but we talked to her about the budget we were working with and ended up agreeing on a service swap. Basically what this means is that I promised her services in exchange for her services. For you this might mean getting your vendor a discount on plan tickets, free meals at a restaurant, legal services, accounting services, a free rental car, etc. The options are endless.
Consider who you know, who you are related to, and what you do for a living. Do any of your vendors need something you could provide them? Maybe you could swap services to get your ______________ (fill in the blank) for free.
It just so happened that she was also getting married and needed my planning services. Therefore, I am planning her wedding for free, and she provided my photography and videography for free! You could also consider adding this charge into your wedding registry to get help paying for it from your friends and family!
Thinking out of the box is the key to this if you haven’t already noticed!
The Wedding Party
Purchasing bridesmaids’ dresses and groomsmen suits is usually not the responsibility of the bride and groom, but if you really think about it, it’s a big responsibility for those friends and family members that you ask to be in your wedding party.
With the way the economy is going today and the thousands upon thousands of people out of work or making much less than they’re used to, money is tight. Wouldn’t it be sad if those you asked to be in your wedding party had to resign simply because they couldn’t afford it? That’s how we felt about food and lodging for our out-of-town guests.
Therefore, instead of making anyone pay for outfits on their own, we got creative. Pooling our resources we had a variety of gift cards lying around that could be used for the purchase bridal party wear. We even scouted out all of the thrift stores in the area that carried quality clothing.
You’d be really surprised at the great items Goodwill carries. Don’t be afraid to check out some alternate methods to saving money. By using what people already had in their closets, borrowing, visiting thrift stores and using gift cards, no one had to pay for any of their attire for the wedding. Tim even wore some nice khakis and a really nice button-up blue shirt for the wedding.
Like I’ve already stated, saving money is about being creative and thinking outside the box. Don’t be too proud to frequent thrift stores and garage sales. These places don’t carry trash, simply items that people are no longer using that might be perfect for you! Stick around and keep reading and you’ll get to meet all of our wedding vendors and see our final wedding budget! Exciting!