In fact, choosing to shift your wedding plans in a more budget-conscious and eco-conscious direction aligns perfectly with the broader cultural shift that’s happening in wedding planning right now. For starters, the pandemic has made it more normal than ever to reduce the size or scope of your wedding and even to uninvite guests you have moved away from. (And, of course, fewer guests is both economical and environmentally friendly.)
More broadly, however, the pandemic has also “made it much more socially acceptable to do things your own way,” says clinical psychologist Jocelyn Charnas, PhD, previously told Well+Good. This change of mood might give you more freedom to simply cut out some expensive and environmentally damaging wedding reception elements that you never really liked, anyway. (Goodbye, oyster shell escort cards.)
Wedding vendors have raised prices in light of inflation, high demand and supply chain issues.
When it comes to finances, in particular, there’s also a pressing reason to adopt some sustainable and money-saving wedding tips now: weddings are currently very expensive, as vendors raise their prices in due to inflation, high demand and the supply chain. issues. In fact, according to a survey by registry site Zola of 3,309 couples who got married in 2022, 69% said they spent more on their wedding than originally planned.
To spare yourself the same fate and also minimize your impact on the environment, read on to save money and sustainable wedding advice straight from expert planners.
Here are the top 7 budget-friendly and sustainable wedding tips for a low-impact dream reception
1. Design with intention
It’s always easier to start out with an environmentally and money-conscious mindset than to adopt one once you’ve already put some effort into (no longer wasted) planning efforts. So if it’s not too late, hit pause before diving into the planning and craft what Greater Good Events co-owners Justine Broughal and Maryam Shariat Mudrick call a wedding vision statement outlining the vibe you imagine for your big day.
“Throughout the planning process, you can then revisit that statement and ask yourself, ‘Does this particular item align with our vision for the event?'” Broughal says. “Then you can confidently say, ‘Yes, renting a disco ball will bring some fun and whimsy to our space!’ or ‘No, we really don’t need custom hand-calligraphed signage; it doesn’t contribute to our vision for our event.” This is a simple strategy to keep things focused, which not only will you will save money on material excesses and unnecessary expenses, but will also help you maintain your mental health.
“The goal is to do your best to make thoughtful choices and to remember that the magic of reuniting with your loved ones is valuable in itself.” —Justine Broughal, co-owner of Greater Good Events
That said, it’s important not to feel guilty about the things that To do make it your priority list for your event design. “The goal is to do your best to make thoughtful choices and to remember that the magic of reuniting with your loved ones is valuable on its own,” Broughal says.
2. Minimize paper consumption
At first glance, you might not think that cutting wedding paper would have the biggest impact on the environment or on your bottom line. And on that, planners say, think again: skipping paper invitations alone could save you, on average, $5,000 to $8,000 if you invite 100 people. And the sticker shock doesn’t stop there; of course, this price only increases once you add ceremony programs, escort cards, place cards, menus, etc.
As for invitations, you can reduce your usage by simply opting for digital invitations from a site like Minted or WithJoy, which “both offer wedding website hosting, so you can easily collect RSVPs. through an integrated system,” says Mudrick.
And for the event itself? Be strategic with signage. You can create a single panel listing guests’ table assignments and allow them to sit anywhere at their respective tables (rather than putting business cards at each setting). You could also have a large menu in the center of each table instead of a small one for each person. “Some of my clients have opted out of using printed paper programs for their ceremony instead of using a giant panel, which can also be purchased second-hand, along with an easel to place it on,” the wedding planner explains. Lindsay Nickel, founder of Lovely Day Events. .
3. Choose second-hand items first
Weddings are such a special type of event that they often come with similar elements – things like “reserved” signs, anything with “M.” or “Mrs”. tops, and other wedding-related accessories. These items tend to show up on resale sites like Facebook Marketplace (as well as wedding-recycle.com and wedzee.com) in near-perfect condition because, well, they’ve probably only been used once. from a previous marriage. Therefore, buying used for decoration and signage is one of the best sustainable and budget-friendly wedding tips in the book.
In fact, once you step out of the wedding-specific setting, you’ll find even more opportunities to shop second-hand for your event. “You can also look for things like picture frames, votives, candles, a card box, or a basket to put your cards in,” Nickel says. The same goes for large mirrors and window frames that can be “reworked into a tasteful, photo-worthy ceremonial sign,” she adds.
4. Rent (instead of buying new) where you can
Again, many wedding decor items are event specific rather than something you could easily incorporate into your home as an afterthought. So, it can be eco-friendly and economical to simply rent these rooms when possible.
For example, you can usually rent containers and candles from your floral designer, says Broughal. This way you don’t have to gather the candles at the end of the night or throw them away, and you can guarantee that the ones you use will be reused again and again. “You can also rent backdrops and signs from event rental companies or hand lettering artists, who often keep a stock of pieces like mirrors to use for welcome signs and plan displays. room,” she said.
5. Use seasonally available items
Food and flowers that are in high season at the time of your event and growing near your venue can be purchased more economically and sustainably, says wedding planner Elise Handler, founder of Keen Events , “So think local and seasonal when deciding on your menu and your flowers. In other words, you could opt for carnations and tulips in the spring but not necessarily in the fall; and you could choose to serve squash and Brussels sprouts in the fall, but probably not in the spring.
Of course, spring, summer, and early fall will all offer more options in the flower department than winter. (However, Mudrick and Broughal love the look of holly and green garlands for an eco-friendly winter wedding.) Either way, your florist can tell you which flowers are most readily available whenever you choose. to marry and can guide you to a color palette that complements these flowers.
6. Give up the favors
Your guests will remember the event, not the trinkets you sent them away with at the end of the night, according to Handler. And for how small these favors are, they tend to create an outsized ecological and fiscal burden: Each item of a physical favor for each guest comes with its own per-piece price tag and often excessive packaging, says Handler, adding that many guests end up leaving favors behind or forgetting about them altogether, anyway.
7. Sell items in good condition after marriage
Remember those items you bought second-hand on resale sites like Facebook Marketplace? Well, you can put your own new or used wedding items on (or back on) one of these sites, assuming they’re in good condition after your event.
“It’s a great way to participate in the planet-saving circular economy and make some money, too,” Nickel says. Good candidates for this include any signage or decoration that isn’t personalized and wedding-specific props like, say, the white umbrellas used at an outdoor summer wedding, she adds. Another option? Just consider donating these unwanted items to your local nonprofit resale store, says Mudrick.
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