Going green for your wedding doesn’t mean wearing a hemp dress or toasting the bride with dandelion tea – unless you want to – but celebrating your special day in a way that’s not only right for you but also the planet – and might even save a few pounds too.
When my partner asked me to marry him the second time – the first time I thought he was joking and laughed it off with a flippant Jerry Maguire-style “show me the ring!” which he did later that same day – I was like a rabbit caught in the headlights (nice romantic image there).
So. Many. Things. To. Organise.
After a brief bridezilla period imagining a castle, Vera Wang dress, 15 bridesmaids in various pastel colours and Jimmy Choos all round, I remembered that in real life none of those things really appeal to me (although I’m partial to visiting the odd castle) – and definitely not for my husband to be.
I calmed down, took a breath and set about organising a wedding which actually fit us; one that was as sustainable as possible for me and cheap for him (I jest!) and that actually achieved the most important thing – joining us together forever.
We will have been married for five years in August so here are my five top tips for anyone interested in organising their own green wedding.
- The dress. During my bridezilla phase I went to an assortment of posh dress shops with my mum and squeezed myself into some amazing creations, which would have cost thousands of pounds. And I admit it was fun, sort of, but what I enjoyed more was when my £30 pre-loved dress I bid for on eBay arrived and was perfect. It didn’t even need altering. There are some beautiful dresses for sale which have only been worn once for a few hours so why not save some pounds and help the environment.
- Invitations. I love paper almost as much as I love my husband (not even kidding) but remortgaging our flat to buy beautiful gold embossed invites that people look at once and then recycle (best case scenario) seems daft – not to mention wasteful. We only had 30 guests (mainly because we could only have 30 people in the register office) so I emailed those I could and then handmade the rest using recycled products where possible.
- Favours. When my mum first mentioned them I looked at her like she had just started talking in a foreign language. Huh? Those little packets of things on the tables at weddings are for you to take? I thought they were part of the decoration! I was all for not bothering with them but because it made her happy (and I needed her help – see item 4) I ordered seeded boxes, filled them with Fairtrade chocolate and asked people to take them home and plant them (after eating the chocolate, of course).
- Flowers. In return for doing the favours I asked my mum for one in return; to do the flowers. Our choice was almost made for us because my husband has terrible hay fever so real flowers would just have made him miserable (cue a joke about having me to do that for the rest of his life). My mum is something of a whiz at flower arranging so I bought second-hand silk flowers and got her to sort them into some sort of order for my bouquet and the table decorations (in vases sourced from charity shops) . The benefits are that they live forever, you can recycle them into new bouquets or give them away to be reused again.
- Photos. We found a photographer who didn’t print the photos but instead copied them all on to a CD. That way we, and our families, could just print the ones we wanted. In our case we made a book to keep and as thank you presents for our parents.
I could go on and on. I haven’t even mentioned transport (we arranged for people from my side to travel by bus together) but I’ll have to wait until we’ve been married for longer and I have more room for tips.
What was your wedding like? Did you have a bridezilla moment or were you always relaxed about the big day?