Just when it felt like the wedding industrial complex was winning, the DIY Bride went up against the Bridezilla. She opted for simple over lavish, sentimental over flashy.
The fact you’re even reading The Green Bride Guide suggests you are one of the brides turning her back on a wedding that costs the earth.
You may currently be outnumbered, but there’s still hope for the smaller, simpler affair! Not only does it reduce the cost to your bank balance and the earth, it might just make you happier too.
Image Credit: Earth911.com
Share your wedding dress: Most women buy a second hand dress because it saves money or lessens the load on landfill, but did you know that sharing a wedding dress with another woman can be an emotional journey too? Josie Daga founder of PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com initially thought the site would be filled with gowns from broken engagements and divorce – but she discovered the opposite! Happily married women sell their gowns because they love them. They would rather see another bride enjoy it than tuck it away, unused, in a closet. In many cases, women develop friendships over the shared love of a shared dress, according to Josie.
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Do away with gifts: According to TheKnot.com, the average couple getting married this year will register for 151 items, with baking goods and other kitchen and cooking supplies leading the list of most requested items. Who needs this many items... and who has time to bake?! Many couples have no need for consumable gifts these days, but might be saving for something more meaningful, like a down payment on a house. A new gift registry from Betterment allows guests to give the gift of an investment – a contribution toward an important goal in their lives. If you're the sentimental type attached to the idea of giving a physical gift, view it this way: that $100 worth of baking supplies could earn the happy couple an average annual return of eight percent. That's $466 in twenty years, or a nice anniversary dinner at a time when all other wedding gifts are likely long forgotten. That beats filling the drawers with bakeware.
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Allow others to contribute: Involving family and friends in the big day is a big part of what makes any wedding special – but don’t stop short at bridesmaids and chapel readings, allow people to contribute in more meaningful ways. Take friends up on their offers to photograph your wedding. You could divide the task up between two or three people so it doesn’t become a chore and they’ll get to be intimately involved in the ceremony. It can also be fun to have a sibling do your makeup instead of a professional. And rather than paying for a venue or equipment hire, consider hosting the wedding in a family member’s garden and mix-matching tableware from close friends. The key here is closeness of course! You couldn’t ask these favors of just anyone, but of people who want to contribute to your big day. You’ll save money – but the biggest reason to do it is for the special memories.
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Do it yourself: 78% of couples plan their weddings online, making bookings; using social media sites like Pinterest for inspiration; and connecting to smaller, greener suppliers on sites like Etsy. The plethora of wedding resources out there today means you can learn to do a lot of the preparation yourself. The Green Bride Guide has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the DIY wedding. Try making your own signage, garden lanterns, or photo booth.
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However you reinvent your wedding, focus on creating an event that speaks to who you are as a couple. Many people lose sight of that when planning a wedding – which is just what the industrial wedding complex is hoping. Here’s to a simple, greener day!
Article by Johanna Scott, Community Manager of online investment account Betterment.com. She likes to see people making the most of their money and their lives.