Whether you’re engaged, a professional wedding crasher, a borderline pro on Pinterest, or somewhere in between, chances are, you’ve been to a wedding (or a few), and you’ve taken notice of some of the stylistic choices made by the hosts. But no matter where you fall on the wedding continuum—spending money on your own nuptials, for the events of all your friends, or just taking note how much the world at large is spending on matrimony—it’s undeniable that the wedding industrial complex is horrifyingly real.
According to WeddingWire’s 2019 Newlywed Report, the average wedding ceremony and reception costs about $29,200. It’s so easy to get sucked into the trend vortex (hello, celestial everything), but it’s also worth noting that in the process of shelling out all this cash, wedding hosts are also throwing out an estimated 400 pounds of garbage, according to The Green Bride Guide. This sustainability issue provides some context that makes a lot of details feel like…not a waste, but certainly wasteful: Everyone wants a very special day, no one wants to go broke in the process, and, also, the planet is burning.
So if you’re looking to save money and also Mother Earth, look no further for intel about how to be eco-friendly at a wedding (or at least more eco-friendly). The top tip for achieving this, according to event planner Elizabeth Tulipana, founder of Chicago-based Anticipation Events, is to commit to reusing decor in one way or another. “It’s time to say goodbye to one-time use wedding decor,” says Tulipiana. “[We] always encourage our couples to reuse their wedding decor and keepsakes as home decor, and vice versa.”
“It’s time to say goodbye to one-time use wedding decor.” —Elizabeth Tulipiana, event planner
What does that mean for you? Well, let’s say you’re in the process of creating your wedding registry (or just have a separate secret Pinterest board labeled “Dream home”). In this case, you probably have an idea of the aesthetic you want in your space. So, pick out the decor you want for your nuptials with your home in mind. For example, a vintage mailbox for collecting cards is certainly a cute touch to have at your reception, but before buying one, reflect on whether you actually have room in your one-bedroom apartment to house it after the wedding. If the answer’s no, and your plan was to toss it after the wedding, pause and consider how important it actually is for you to have the accessory at your event.
On the flip side, also consider using the decor you already own or even borrow items from loved ones to blend in with your other wedding features. For example, before splurging on a vintage mirror on which you’ll write the dinner menu, check family attics where there may already be a perfectly good antique just waiting for some calligraphy that reads “Chicken Marsala” and “Filet Mignon.” “Bring that amazing punch bowl that was your grandmother’s to use as a card box instead of buying one, or incorporate pillar candles from your wedding tables into a centerpiece at home.” Tulipiana says.
Borrowing heirlooms with baked-in sentimentality and purchasing wedding-decor items that you plan to bring home and live among for the foreseeable future is a great strategy to keep your wedding magic alive for years to come by imbuing the items with the memory of your special day—and it’ll save you some money in the process. “I love the idea that your wedding day is incorporated into your home decor in subtle, less obvious ways.” And, of course, it’s a great tip way to be eco-friendly at a wedding.
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