The average cost of a wedding in North America is approximately $33,400. However, it’s fair to say that costs vary a lot depending on where you live, as well as how many guests you’re inviting, the type of venue you’ve chosen, and even the time of the year. Couples in New York are expected to pay around $77,000, while couples in New Mexico can get away with only $17,500. Yep, you read it right: Getting married in the Big Apple is the last thing you want to do if you’re working with a tight budget.
It’s not uncommon for couples to put themselves in a difficult financial situation to afford for a magical wedding day. The bride and groom typically contribute 41% of the cost, while the bride’s and groom’s parents cover the rest. Nevertheless, for a young couple, the expense can be enough to tip their finances overboard. Your big day can lead to dramatic debts.
However, even cost-conscious couples tend to ignore the bigger picture. Indeed, a wedding doesn’t only has a dramatic effect on your savings, but it also affects the environment. Indeed, from the fancy dress to the magical venue above the sea, your carbon footprint increases dramatically. Then there’s the flight, the hotel, the food, the rings, and the overall waste to take into account. To put it in clear terms, your white day is not green at all. The question for modern brides and grooms is not whether or not to cancel the wedding for fear of environmental consequences, but instead how to make your party eco-friendly and sustainable. Can you get married without putting the survival of the planet at risk? The answer is yes, as long as you’re prepared to make some sacrifices.
Replace your floral centerpiece by a sustainable alternative
If you’ve been dreaming all your life of throwing your bridal bouquets for your guests and bridesmaids to catch, you might want to consider options. Indeed, the typical wedding bouquet has a high environmental cost. Indeed, for a start, how many brides pick seasonal and local flowers? The answer is so small that it almost doesn’t count. Tropical flowers do look exciting, but they also generate a high carbon footprint throughout the production and shipping processes. Additionally, you also need to consider the whole transportation strategy with your florist; most florists are involved in the preparation of the venue, the rehearsal and the final touches on the morning of the big day. In other words, your florist spends a lot of time driving around. While you may not want to cancel the flowers altogether, you can look for alternatives such as services that rent flowers for wedding days. Using fake flowers that are sent to you a handful of days before the wedding can completely transform your environmental impact. Another excellent idea for your decoration is to use potted plants as centerpieces, as you can then use them as favors for your guests.
A bridal dress shouldn’t cost the earth
How much should a wedding dress cost? The answer is: as much as you can afford! However, when it comes to the environment, you need to keep your eyes open for sustainable alternatives that are just as elegant and sophisticated. Reformation is an LA-based brand that uses eco-friendly methods of production and materials as well as rescued deadstock and fabrics. If you prefer a dress with a history, you can turn to Etsy and Once Wed to find beautiful second-hand and vintage dresses that will not break either the bank or the environment. Finally, why buy when you can rent your gown with a company such as Rent The Runway?
No, the OTT makeup is not what Mother Nature wants
Foundation, concealer, contouring, highlights, blush, powder, mascara, lipstick, etc. Which bride doesn’t want to feel beautiful on her big day? But beauty, as it happens, comes at a cost. Our favorite makeup kits sit in plastic packaging and contain plenty of harmful chemicals – that we happily put on our skin and then wash away in the sink directly into the water. It’s fair to say that on your wedding day, you might be wearing a little more makeup than usual. After all, it’s the big day, and therefore, you’ve got a unique look in mind for it. But ask yourself one question: Can you use eco-friendly cosmetics instead? Indeed, you’d be surprised to know that eco-friendly products are not only gentle on the skin, but they also come in sustainable packaging and don’t need extensive makeup removal care either.
Invite the environment to the wedding
If you’re planning with the goal to keep your carbon footprint to a minimum, you will be forced to embark on a greenification campaign of your big day. Can you go eco and maintain the magic? With a little effort and creativity, you let your love for each other and the environment win. An intimate wedding with fewer guests than you first planned will make a significant difference to the carbon footprint of the day. Indeed, there will be fewer cars on the road, less prep on your end, and fewer overnight accommodations. A local venue will also reduce travel time. However, depending on where your respective families and friends are based, the best option may be to meet half-way. If this is the case, you can opt for an eco-friendly venue with sustainable energy consumption and storage.
Forget the sophisticated meals
Last but not least, finding a catering company that understands your desire to keep the menu options as environmentally-friendly as possible is not easy. But it isn’t impossible! More and more caterers source their ingredients from fair-trade farms and producers, ensuring that everything is traceable. Because they choose fresh products that are seasonal and local, they also reduce their carbon footprint. It’s a good idea, as well to enquire about their waste strategies, as it’s not uncommon for catering teams to use everything from root-to-veg in the meal prep. For instance, beetroot leaves could be served as crisps alongside the beetroot dish, making such the entire vegetable has been repurposed sustainably.
Can a wedding be sustainable? Of course, it can. It makes no doubt that with a little creativity and DIY, you can throw an unforgettable party that is gentle on the environment.