Sustaining

Eco-Friendly, Cost-Saving Wedding Ideas

Despite the ravages of COVID-19, couples are still falling in love, getting engaged and married. So, how do you share this joy without summoning a large gathering, all the while saving cash and befriending the environment? Yes, there are ways to do it all; some of these tips are worth incorporating into the wedding of your dreams during this pandemic (and some of them are great even long after we’re through this).

For the moment, typical big weddings are a no-no. The smaller the scale, the better. All that’s needed is the bride and groom, an officiating minister, and maybe parents, or siblings as a bridesmaid and groomsman. And maybe a singer/pianist. On the other hand, the attendees list need not be pared down thanks to online viewing options such as Zoom, live-stream Facebook, Instagram, or other links. Of course, it’s not the same thing as being there but we are living in the age of technology and improvisation.

With online viewership, Mr. and Mrs.-to-be can set up a slideshow of pics from childhood to the present day before the ceremony begins.

Eco-Friendly Tips

Consider using a website service such as Greenvelope to email your invitations or save-the-dates. If you prefer the traditional snail mail, companies like Botanical Paper Works use paper embedded with seeds, so your invitees can eventually “plant” their paper invitations, reaping a small bounty of flowers, herbs, or plants instead of tossing it away into (eventually) some landfill. Word it so that your physically-absent guests know the seeded invitations are doubling as party favors, sort of “thanks-for-your-gift-and-watching-our-special-day.” How’s that for multi-purposing?

Speaking of flowers, the wedding industry, including florists, has been heavily impacted by COVID-19. With the money saved by skipping the big reception, etc., why not splurge a little on flowers for some beautiful wedding venue scenery? Afterward, donate those blooms either for composting or to a local nursing home to cheer up residents.

As lovebirds are able to move towards a more traditional affair, here are some additional tips on the budget-saving side. Your wallet will thank you.

Magnolia Leaves

Rich in a bold green color, these large hearty leaves are excellent for decorating and will cost you nothing, if trees are nearby. Their magnificent white blooms also provide a very sweet fragrance for any room. You can also inscribe names on the leaves instead of buying place cards. Another item usable for inscribing names and substituting as place cards are oyster shells (on the inside). So, don’t throw those away, especially if you’re favoring a beachy, seaside theme.

Catering

Whether you’re having a very small and socially distant setting with four (“and no more”) or waiting until the coast is clear to have a bigger reception dinner, food is always part of the celebration. Look for farm-to-table caterers. The ingredients will be fresher.

Related: “The ‘Bites’ App: Bringing Foodies, Friends, and Farmers Together”

Candles

For candlelit ambiance, go with soy candles. They burn longer and are energy efficient.

Venues

People can safely space themselves apart in the great outdoors. Besides, places like beaches and vineyards are perfect destinations — and don’t forget all that natural lighting from the sun. There are also eco-friendly hotels around for the seriously green-conscious-minded person.

Engaged? Our current situation dictates that one must plan their wedding with extra precautions in mind. Hopefully, by the time your Big Day arrives, life will have returned to normalcy — or at least as close as we can get it.

-Sharon Oliver

Photo by Liz Martin on Unsplash

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