Tips for inexpensive, earth-friendly options for your nuptials
by Rhonda Walinga, Guest Blogger
Your wedding is probably the most expensive party you'll ever throw, and for most people, it's also the most wasteful. Just think of all those invitations, placeholders, plastic bubble vials, tulle decorations, professional bouquets ... the list goes on and on.
Keeping it Casual
It's tough to be a friend to the environment on a budget and also have the wedding of your dreams, right? Not at all! In fact, there are tons of ways in which you can be green - and save some green - on one of the most important days of your life.
Following are a few ideas that have proven invaluable to me with both weddings and bridal showers, and hopefully they'll inspire you to go dig up some of your own inexpensive green alternatives for your nuptials!
If you're looking for inexpensive alternatives for your wedding, you're probably already considering locations that are either free or super cheap to rent. For those lucky enough to live near the beach, an ocean-side wedding is ideal (as long as you don't mind the wind attacking your hairdo) and it's usually a free location. For the landlubbers, public parks are typically inexpensive or free to rent. Using yours or a friend's backyard is not only free, but will give the wedding a more casual and family feel.
Guest Gifts They'll Remember
For any of these locations, a fun idea is to put out baskets of cheap flip-flops for your guests to don before the ceremony. Afterward, they can either keep the flops as gifts or you can put out a collection basket for flip-flop recycling. The Flip Flop Recycling Company, a member of the Ocean Foundation, accepts used flip-flops and recycles them into all sorts of neat items such as ornaments, door beads, game balls, stationery, fashion accessories and more. The only catch is that the foundation is located in Kenya, so you want to make sure to send a bunch of flip-flops in order to reduce the carbon footprint created by shipping.
Speaking of guest gifts, making little takeaway presents for your friends and family can mean so much more than the generic throwaways found in many wedding shops. For example, for you crafty brides-to-be, you can easily make a big batch of bath salts, and package them in little, recyclable glass jars. Jars can be found at a dollar store or your local grocery store where you find the ingredients for making preserves. Tie off each jar with a bit of ribbon and a piece of recycled paper with you and your mate's names and wedding date, and you have a recyclable and useful gift for everyone. You could even get a little more creative and scent the bath salts with an essential oil derived from one of the flowers from your bouquet. Lavender, eucalyptus, basil and geranium are just a handful of essential oils that also look beautiful in a bouquet.
Beautiful and Original Bouquets
Should you live in an area with farms nearby -- especially farms that participate in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program -- you can probably purchase wildflowers from them. Wildflowers are great companion crops, bringing in all sorts of beneficial insects, and more often than not, the farms will not only sell you fresh-cut flowers, but they'll also arrange them for far less than a florist would charge. And you'll avoid using the typically imported, pesticide-laden flowers found in many supermarkets and flower shops.
If you want to take it a step further and avoid cutting flowers altogether, consider making your own bouquet. Again, if you're near the ocean, it might be fun to make your own palm frond roses. They're very easy to do, and you and your bridesmaids could make a day of it with a Rose Party. No palm fronds available? Try making your own creative bouquet with brightly colored magazine pages, or try your hand at origami. The palm fronds are naturally biodegradable, and the paper flowers can be made from recycled paper or recyclable magazines.
This list is only a start, but hopefully it will inspire you to go out and find other ways in which you can green up your wedding while saving some green in the process. Good luck and feel free to share your creative and inexpensive wedding ideas with us!
Rhonda Walinga is a Content Strategy Manager for
. With 20 years of writing experience behind her, Rhonda spends a great deal of her time researching the wedding industry and writing about it at
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and posting and uploading photos and wedding product images at