08 Feb Zero Waste Wedding
“We’re going to do a Zero-Waste Wedding!”
Since we live on the West Coast and both our families live on the East Coast, we decided to forgo a large reception in lieu of multiple family days leading up to the wedding.
This gave us quality time to spend with our loved ones and immediately cut the cost of the wedding since the reception is the most expensive part. We had homemade meals prepared by our families and served at the dinner table with no waste to be found!
I rented my dress and veil from a local small business that specialized in bridal wear and my husband rented his tux from Men’s Warehouse. I wore comfortable flats that I already owned because I hate walking in heels and didn’t want to be in pain all day. I found some jewelry pieces at the Renaissance faire that I could wear with other clothes I currently own and we bought our rings on Etsy.
We decided we didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on our rings because it didn’t make sense to us to invest that much money in small, easily-lost items. *cough* I lost my ring set less than 2 months later in an airport bathroom and was very thankful we’d made this decision! I had my aunt do my hair and my mom do my make up the day of to save on the cost of a hair dresser and make up artist.
“…the greatest advantage to spending so little on our wedding was paying off all our remaining student loan debt – almost $15,000!”
For our “bridal parties,” we asked 3 people to stand on the stage with us, no specific color or dress required. Same went for our guests – whatever you owned works well enough for us!
Instead of a giant wedding cake that would need cutting, plating, and utensils, we chose to do a donut display, so our guests could pick whichever donut flavor they wanted (we had 8 different choices) and wash their hands in the bathroom afterwards if needed. We also got a small 6-inch cake from our local grocery store sans decorations to be eaten after lunch with family.
We topped it with two flowers and foliage left over from the flower arrangements. We finished the ceremony with a send off using wands made of sticks and colored string that were collected and are now being reused at other weddings the same way.
The After Party
The most unusual part of our wedding was definitely a “friends only” after party that we hosted at our AirBnB house. This was our way of spending quality time with our friends, most whom we hadn’t seen in 3+ years! We purchased alcohol and taco ingredients the day before to serve to all our friends using the tableware found in the kitchen.
Other than 2 broken glasses (sorry!!) which we offered to pay for, everything went great! We set up a friend’s bluetooth speaker with a house party playlist I curated and outside our AirBnB had great tailgate party games set up like cornhole/bean bag toss. It was a great night and we were able to catch up with all our friends in a more relaxed setting than a reception.
If I could go back…
- Borrow Jewelry from family members or friends instead of buying them new.
- Provide real glassware for the toast. Despite my attempt to reuse glasses from a previous family event, these little plastic toasting glasses made it in.
- Nix the luncheon. Our family members were tired after an early morning of getting ready, taking pictures, and enjoying the ceremony.
- Assign someone to donate flowers other than the groom. He’s got a lot going on that day!
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