Andrew and I, we’re a simple couple. And we brought the same simple mindset when it came to our wedding.
Part of living a minimal life is reducing the amount of waste you produce and most times it happens naturally when you’re purchasing and consuming mindfully. So our simple wedding not only saved us money but was also kind to our good friend Planet Earth.
Here are 11 ways we kept our wedding eco-friendly.
1. A wedding website
I still liked the thought of a tangible wedding invitation but wasn’t a fan of the mound of paper waste that often accompanies it. We sent out an invitation card with a smaller detail card that directed our guests to our website courtesy of The Knot for more information on accommodations, directions to the venue, and anything else they needed to know. It was free to create and we were able to update it when our venue changed last minute.
2. Online RSVPs
Our website also served as our RSVP tool and it made collecting our guest list a breeze. We were able to set a guest count for each party, collect dietary restrictions, and receive messages from people. None of our guests had issues with RSVP’ing but you could always leave a phone number as an option too.
3. Buy used and sell after
I sourced a good chunk of our decor through wedding buy/sell groups you can find all over Facebook (my personal favourite is GTA Wedding Marketplace). A lot of our decor also came from Ikea but at the store I made a list of the items we needed and searched for them on Kijiji. Now that our wedding is over, we’ll be selling and offloading most of this stuff the same way we’d purchased them.
4. Borrow stuff
Even better than buying used is borrowing. I reached out to our vendors and fellow engaged friends to see if there was anything from their personal inventory stash we were able to borrow.
5. Buffet dinner
Buffets are cheaper since they require less manpower and food to run. The other advantage is that your guests can control their portion and you end up with less food waste. We brought home four trays of food that didn’t end up being served and had leftovers for days!
6. Edible wedding favours
Trinkets are cute but everyone loves to eat. We gave out two-packs of Krispy Kreme donuts and they were a hit! Needless to say we didn’t have many donuts leftover.
7. Potted plants
Fresh-cut flowers are beautiful but unfortunately they don’t have a long shelf life. We had flowers for the bouquets and boutonnieres but used potted succulents for the centrepieces. After the wedding we gave some out to friends, kept some for ourselves, and will be selling the rest.
8. Rent linens
Our venue came carte blanche so we had to source everything from a speaker’s podium to forks. We considered buying our linens but after weighing our options I can tell you that renting is definitely the way to go. With whatever money you save by buying, consider the fact that you’ll need to wash your linens, iron them, and wash them again afterwards. Not worth it!
9. Digital photos only
We opted out of the photobook and photo prints offered by our wedding photographer and will be getting all of our photos via USB. In the seven years we’ve been together we’ve printed out two photos of us so I don’t know if we’d actually do anything with our wedding photos. The option is there though but in the mean time, all of our photos will stay digital.
10. Local vendors
Keeping it local supports the community and reduces traveling costs. We hired as many vendors in downtown Toronto as possible, including my regular hair salon who is right down the street from our apartment.
11. Focus on what we really needed
I’ll admit, it’s hard not to get sucked into Pinterest-level wedding aspirations. But with time and financial constraints, we focused our energy on the must-have’s with whatever leftover on the nice-to-have’s. If an idea doesn’t happen, just scrap it and move on. Quality over quantity wins on this one.