15 ways to throw an *affordable* eco-friendly wedding

By on Mar. 24th

goats eating the seating the day before

Often times, okay, for the most part, eco-friendly means CRAZY expensive. And though you may not be able to afford the organic soy votive candles, or the disposable bamboo plates, I have compiled a list of actually affordable ways to go green on your wedding day. Some of these tips may seem a little strange to your guests, but since we are offbeat brides, we're not afraid to look a little strange in order to help the Earth, amahright? So let's get down and dirty…

  1. Email your invitations and direct guests to your wedsite for all your wedding info. And for the very few non-internet friendly people out there, invest in a few sustainable and eco-friendly paper invites.
  2. Wearing my mother's dress

    "Wearing my mother's dress" by Aga Images

    Rent, buy used, or purchase wedding clothes that you know you'd wear again. Look into wearing your mother's wedding dress, or, if your mom's dress looks as ugly on you as my mom's did on me, see if you can't create a new one out of the fabric.
  3. Ask your friends and family to donate a piece of their old gold jewelry to the environmentally-friendly jeweler, greenKarat, instead of giving gifts — greenKarat will then melt them down to make your wedding rings. This has the added benefit of, not only being eco-friendly, but also enabling you to keep a piece of your family and friends close to you at all times.
  4. Recycle bottles and cans to pay for your wedding.
  5. For bouquets, use wildflowers that you gather yourself. Common sense alert: make sure you're picking flowers that aren't endangered, someone else's property, etc.
  6. For centerpieces use potted plants, especially ones that you already have. One OBB used the succulents from their own collection as the centerpieces.
  7. Repurpose stuff — Go thrifting for your decor, use the bridal party bouquets as centerpieces for the reception.
  8. Choose a venue in which you can hold both the ceremony and reception to cut down on traveling. If that's not possible, then make sure the two venues are within walking distance from each other.
  9. Buy local and organic products and foods whenever possible. Weekend farmers markets are great places to get ahold of such things.
  10. Request only digital prints from your photographer — no wedding albums, no proof sheets, etc. And then ONLY print out the few photos that you're going to have framed.
  11. Have your wedding in someone's backyard. We have tons of backyard weddings to use as inspiration.
  12. Set up composting bins during the reception.
  13. Use thrift stores dishes and silverware at your wedding and then donate them when you're done.
  14. Instead of favors, make a donation in your guest's names to eco charities, or use Ariel's "muglies" idea.
  15. Repurpose your seating. One Offbeat Bride started collecting chairs, stools, etc. that had been abandoned. Another one asked the school she works for to let her borrow their chairs, and my favorite example — use hay bales instead of seats, then let the goats eat them!

Like always, if you have more suggestions, feel free to leave 'em in the comments!

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About Megan Finley

Megan Finley is the Associate Publisher for the Offbeat Empire. When she's not slaving away for the Empire, she's sharing her dork side on her own blog, Twitter @meganfinley, and Instagram @meggyfin.