I have a confession to make: we did not choose every greenest option possible for our wedding. Like most couples getting married, Mr. Savvy and I had a budget, and had to compromise on quite a few of our choices. Was it beautiful? Yes. Did we end up married at the end? Yes. Did we have fun? Well, you be the judge:
The day started with a hair appointment with my sister and a friend, and lots of smiles. We used hair products we already owned. They weren’t natural or organic in any way, but they also weren’t new. (Second confession: I have a habit of keeping hair products I don’t use, sometimes for years. My hair just does its own thing. I try not to get in the way.)
My dress was made from bamboo, with a polyester lining. My sandals were leather and new. I’ve been wearing them nonstop for the past two weeks, so I’d consider them a good return on my investment. There was also quite a bit of tape involved in keeping the back of my dress up, which was unfortunate, but necessary as I’d lost a little weight and things didn’t fit quite right. Oh, the best laid plans…
Mr. Savvy’s outfit was entirely new, but one that he’ll use again. We don’t go shopping often, see, so we didn’t have many nice clothes, and didn’t mind spending a little dough on things that we know we’ll reuse.
Our rings are one of my favorite parts; mine belonged to my grandmother, and Mr. Savvy’s was made from wood and recycled white gold. My engagement ring is made up of two recycled emeralds, one new emerald, some recycled diamonds, and white gold.
We asked our attendants to wear a particular color, but gave them free range inside of that so they would pick something they’d wear again, or something they already owned. I think we turned out well!
We used a florist who dealt only in local and organic flowers, and cut way, WAY back on the number of flowers we used. The venue was already gorgeous — no need to dress it up any. We either owned or rented the vases and baskets involved. Our one splurge was a basket full of flowers so guests could tuck a flower behind their ear.
No placecards meant less paper used overall. We created small signs printed on paper we already owned for the four reserved tables. We did end up going with programs, something which we had hoped to avoid because they are such a waste. In the end, we decided that saving paper took a back seat to explaining the fact that both of us changed our last names to something completely new.
Our caterer was kind enough to source local vegetables for us, especially once we explained we wanted to keep things as in season as possible. We offered one meat and one vegetarian dish, served family style, and I believe none of the food was organic. Our cakes were made by a friend, and our pies were brought by guests in lieu of presents.
Of course, not everyone brought a pie. But in our Alternative Gift Registry (please note that the link points to a sample registry!), we specified that we already had so much Stuff from living together for four years that we didn’t need a wafflemaker and another set of wineglasses. Instead, guests brought us handmade items, consumables, and gifts made by local craftsmen. We ended up with many unique presents, including some vintage family things and a donation to Heifer International. I was truly touched by the thought that went into the gifts we received; people went out of their way to give us something creative.
We had a kids’ table full of toys we’ve amassed over the years and leftover art supplies from my collection. It was a big hit, and cleared out some of our clutter to boot!
We didn’t give out favors, (although there would have been some plant centerpieces to give away if I had remembered to pack them in the car…) and I don’t think anyone missed them. We had a few things for people to take home, however: we included a basket full of flip flops so our guests could play outside without getting their good shoes dirty, and a bin of temporary tattoos for everyone to have fun with. I gave my bridesmaids vintage presents, although you don’t get to see a photo or know what they are — handing them out slipped my mind on the day, and I still have one left for my friend who reads the blog.
We used recycled seed paper for our invitations, sealed with cotton thread and a flour/water paste. They were made to fold up so that there wasn’t a separate envelope. We opted not to include an RSVP card, but had our friends and family call or email us, and we relied heavily on our wedding website to disseminate important information. Our save-the-date cards were postcards, printed on regular paper in the interest of time and money.
We decided to step away from the traditional guestbook and asked our guests to write their names and a note on a square of fabric that we then tied into a handfasting cord. Now that the wedding is over, I’ll sew the squares into a quilt that we can show off in our home. We used one yard of new fabric and a bit more than one yard of vintage fabric.
For our honeymoon, we drove the three hours to a greenish hotel in Vermont. I say greenish because they’re not LEED certified, but they do compost, grow some of their own food, encourage recycling right in the guest rooms, and ask their guests to consider reusing their towels. They also donated some of their 2700 acres of land to the town’s conservation program so that it would never be sold for development. I’ll give you a hint as to where we stayed:
Phew! And that’s it in a nutshell: nine months of planning summed up in one post. Any questions?
©2009 at Simple Savvy, the simple living blog where I wonder why tearing down trees and putting up concerete buildings and roads is considered “development.” Images of the wedding are courtesy of Andrew Coutermarsh, a fantastic photographer and friend. If you would like to contact Andrew for your own photography purposes, let me know and I’ll set you up! All other images belong to me.
PLEASE NOTE: I normally don’t have any comments policy (although I will delete spam). But for this blog post, I reserve the right to delete comments that I think are rude and derogatory. It is my wedding we’re talking about, after all.