Saving Money Tips - Green Weddings
Easiest way to save money and have a green wedding: Elope!
The number one way to save money: elope! While this may be the most practical way to save money on a wedding, many people do choose to have some sort of ceremony and celebration.
By eloping, you can save money and have a green wedding by:
- Using a local venue: the court house is likely located nearby, saving time and money for gas and parking.
- Keeping the guest list small: two witnesses are all you need, and you can likely enlist people already at the court house to serve as witnesses.
- Supporting local businesses: while you may not need invitations, flowers, programs, or new clothing, you may want to celebrate with a meal following the event at one of your favorite local restaurants.
- Recycling jewelry: you can purchase wedding bands second hand or wear family heirlooms that have been passed down.
How to save money by throwing a green wedding
If eloping isn't really an option or preference, there are many ways to save money and stay green. Typically, one thinks that going green costs more money. In the case of planning a wedding, it can actually save you money.
Following are some ways to save money while planning your wedding ceremony and/or celebration. The more of these tips you apply, the more green your wedding will be.
- Choose a nearby location (both to you and your guests). Lower your carbon footprint and travel costs by choosing a venue that is closest in proximity to you and the majority of your guests. If you have the ceremony and reception at the same location, then you also save on travel costs (gasoline, hired cars) between the two events. And many venues already have tables and chairs, on-site catering, etc.
- Use local vendors. This applies to catering, table/chair rental, flowers, decorations, hair/make-up, music, and event planning. If your vendors don't have to travel far, they may pass along part of their savings to you. For decorations, consider items you already own and/or are free/easy to gather (fallen leaves, pebbles from a nearby stream).
- Stay seasonal. Use flowers that are readily available and do not have to travel hundreds of miles. If your wedding and ceremony are at the same venue, you can use the same flower arrangements for both events. When planning your menu, consider seasonal ingredients that also do not have to travel far to reach the event. By lowering your vendor's costs, this may lead to savings for your wedding.
- Green catering. China, stemware, and silverware that are washed and reused are great options. For those using disposable items, plates made from pressed leaves, bamboo utensils, and paper straws are a few ways to keep your wedding meal green. And providing an edible party favor, such as a few macarons, is another way to keep your wedding green.
- Recycle: attire. Wear a family member or friend's wedding dress or buy a gently-used one from a consignment shop. This can apply to bridesmaid's dresses as well, else, let the bridesmaids where dresses they already own and/or would wear again.
- Recycle: jewelry. For the engagement ring and/or wedding bands, use a family heirloom or purchase gently-used ones. Given the economy, many people are selling their wedding jewelry on sites such as Craiglist and eBay, and you can often purchase engagement rings and wedding bands at a fraction of the original price. If you want a new ring with a diamond, consider purchasing conflict-free diamonds and/or ones that were mined in sustainable ways.
- Recycle: invitations. Have you been saving all of those holiday cards for years without knowing why? Now you can use them to create your own wedding invitations. You can purchase lots of vintage cards at flea markets or online (again, Craigslist or eBay). If you want new cards, consider using recycled paper and soy-based inks. Else, go really green and paperless and just out electronic invitations.
- Recycle: planner. No need to purchase a fancy wedding planner. Scope one out at a book store for ideas and then create your own with a binder and tabs. To go green and paperless, create an online planner.
- Honeymoon. Consider staying local, else to save money, use airline miles, hotel reward points, or find cheap vacation packages online (through Orbitz, Kayak, Expedia, Travelocity).
For more green wedding and money saving tips, please see links below.
Defray Wedding Costs
To help save even more money, you can ask others to help defray part of the costs of your green wedding. Customized registry sites allow you to personalize your requests and receive cash. Attendees (and non-attendees) can sign up to purchase some of the flowers, pay for some of the decorations, pay for wedding gown cleaning/storage (even cheaper: donate or sell the wedding dress after the wedding), honeymoon travel or lodging, etc.
Please see links below to MyRegistry and Zola, which allow your wedding guests to purchase items off your customized registries.
Green Bride Guide
Links to green wedding sites
- Green Weddings: Your Eco-Friendly Wedding Guide
Planning a "green wedding" doesn't have to be hard. Get the best eco-friendly wedding ideas—they're all easy to implement.
- Wedding Registry, Baby Registry & Gift Registry | MyRegistry.com
Zola, the wedding company that’ll do anything for love, is reinventing the wedding planning and registry experience with a free suite of planning tools.
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© 2011 Delia Egan Schaffner