Our Cost-Saving and Planet-Friendly Wedding Choices

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It’s also been one month since Josh and I got hitched. It’s been a whirlwind, but as things wind down, I’ve had some time to reflect. Our wedding was everything I had dreamed. It was super casual and fun, everything looked exactly I wanted it to, our photos turned out beautifully, there was no drama, and there were donuts. So. Many. Donuts.

I’ve especially been thinking about all of the ways that I tried really hard to both make our wedding eco-friendly and find ways to cut costs. This week, I thought I’d pass along my wisdom to future brides and families. The choices I made aren’t necessarily the right choices, they were just the right choices for us and our wedding. Maybe they’ll be for you, maybe they won’t. But here we go.

All photo credit to Anna LaRae Photography. She’s a dream if you need a photographer!

Rings

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We’re not really into doing things the traditional way. We also decided to take a non-traditional route for our wedding rings. We found them at Pretty in Patina, a local store that specializes in vintage, one-of-a-kind jewelry. Our used rings couldn’t be more beautiful - I love my 1940s diamond band, and Josh’s platinum ring was exactly what he wanted. Their quality is impeccable, and we are more than happy to give new life to these pieces and continue their story, whatever it may be.

No Save the Dates and Electronic RSVPs

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Because we fell in love with our fairly small venue, Josh and I decided to have a wedding with fewer than 200 people, only inviting those who knew us best. Because of this, we opted not to send save the dates and save both that cost and that paper.

To make sure we were giving people plenty of time to make their plans, we sent out our invites three months in advance and had our website up even earlier. We also decided not to use paper RSVP cards and just use The Knot to collect them electronically, again saving both paper and money.

Dresses

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I’ve always struggled with bridesmaid dresses. They’re really expensive, and even though everyone says you will, you never wear them again. It’s also really, really hard to pick a dress that looks perfect on everyone. So after the wedding, they just sit in your closet for years or maybe get one more wear if you donate them for a prom or something.

I didn’t want to make my bridesmaids go through this. So I let them pick their own dress and price point and just gave them a color scheme to work within. My hope is that they actually will have occasion to wear what they picked again and keep that dress from being something that sits in a landfill after one use. It worked out perfectly, and I loved the results.

And my dress. It was very, very difficult for me to think about nearly $1,000 on a dress that I was going to wear one day. I know it’s a special day, but I’m just too practical for that. So one day, from the comfort of my living room, I went shopping on BHLDN, Anthropologie’s wedding line. My dress was on sale for $200, and I could not have been more in love with it. I received so, so, soooo many compliments that night. It was unique, had a vintage feel, and was exactly right for me. I hope to one day pass it along to another bride who will love it as much as I did, but I’m not quite ready for that yet.

Decor

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Here’s where we saved the most money. We didn’t buy much new decor. We were able to attend bridal re-sell fairs where we picked up pieces like our arch, votives, and more for way cheap. Those products are also not going to a landfill after their original bride’s wedding, and we plan to re-sell everything so they can get even more use.

I have to give credit to my mom for our decor. She is a queen of design, and knows how to make things beautiful on the cheap. Our head table was decorated with a bunch of different pieces from our two homes, making it feel really eclectic, and we used the bridesmaids’ bouquets as the table decor, as well. They weren’t using them after the wedding, anyway, right? Instead of real florals on the guest tables, we used really nice-looking fake greenery that we can resell for another person’s use.

Florals

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Speaking of florals - I already mentioned who we didn’t purchase florals for use as decor. I also was able to keep floral costs way down by using primarily greenery in what we did have. It was filled with a few blooms, but that fresh-picked from a field look with a couple of roses spattered in here and there is so much less expensive than a bouquet of pure flowers. I’m still swooning over the succulents in my bouquet.

Grand Exit

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I wanted to do a big walk out after the ceremony, but I couldn’t make myself buy confetti, bubbles in individual plastic bottles, or anything similar.  I liked flower petals, but man, they are pricey. The solution? Our guests threw birdseed. It won’t hurt the planet at all, and some birds got a nice snack out of it. It wasn’t super fun picking it all out of my hair, but to be fair, confetti would have been the same thing.

Never Pay Full Price

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I can’t buy anything without searching a hundred different websites for a discount code first. And boy, I found them. In the end, I probably saved a couple of hundred dollars combined by taking a few minutes to hunt them down. Never underestimate the power of a coupon or discount code, my friends.

The Bottom Line

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Most weddings are both expensive and wasteful, and frankly, ours wasn’t any different. We worked hard to make it as affordable and eco-friendly as possible, but we know we weren’t perfect. We felt good about the choices that we did make, though, and I hope that some of these decisions help you, your friend, or family member looking to get married soon!