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How to Plan a Sustainable Wedding on a Budget

Updated: Mar 21, 2023

Modern brides and grooms really want just one thing for their wedding day; for it to be perfect, sustainable, and all of that on a budget.

That’s one thing, isn’t it?

All jokes aside, it can seem overwhelming to try and pack so much into one day, particularly when you’re looking to plan a wedding with strong eco credentials. Did you know that the average wedding creates about 20 kg of plastic waste? That’s a lot for couples putting such importance on celebrating their love in a sustainable, eco-friendly way. Trying to avoid a wedding that’s harmful to the planet can get expensive, which is where many get stuck in the turmoil of ‘how can I make this work?’.

Fear not, there are plenty of options when it comes to celebrating a wedding that is truly perfect, fits into your budget and is eco-friendly to boot. Below, we show you just how to get your perfect sustainable, pocket-friendly wedding day.

1. Decide your budget and stick to it

It may sound like a no-brainer, but before you can start making plans, you should decide on your budget. Start by working out who is contributing to your budget, whether that’s just yourself and your fiancé or your family as well. Once you’ve found out how much your maximum possible budget is, sit down and have a heart-to-heart discussion about how much you are actually comfortable spending. Above all, try to steer clear of poor financial decisions that lead you into debt and planning choices that don’t align with your values.

2. Don’t buy planning equipment you don’t need

We know glossy wedding magazines and cute planners are tempting, and by all means treat yourself to one, but leave it at one. Instead, try hitting up your local library to explore wedding planning advice. Here you’ll be able to sift through lots of ideas and quickly dismiss what isn’t helpful, without having spent any money. Another great option is Pinterest, where you can create a dream wedding ‘board’ for free and collect ideas that suit your style. This is a particularly fun activity to share with friends or bridesmaids, too.

3. Choose a venue that’s eco-friendly… or your own!

Many venues now offer sustainable services such as donating leftover food from their celebrations and composting/recycling. If you find a sustainable venue that is local to you and works for your budget, great! If not, why not consider hosting your reception at home? If you have a garden, you can get really creative by modeling your wedding decorations on your surroundings. You may even wish to grow your own flowers, especially for your big day.

4. Grow your own decorative flowers

Carrying on from the previous point, growing your own plants for your wedding can be a wonderful and sustainable way to decorate. If you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry. Most garden centers and online gardening retailers will be able to advise you on what’s easy to grow. They’ll also be able to tell you when plants are in season, so you can grow flowers to be ready just in time for your big day. What’s especially lovely is that you’ll be able to enjoy the seeds you’ve sown for years to come – a seasonal reminder of your wedding day.

5. Reuse and recycle signage and decor

Some wedding decorations can be expensive, and you (hopefully) will only ever use them once. Rather than spend a large percentage of your budget on things you’ll never look at again, visit your local charity shops. You’ll often find quirky decorations, mismatched (but cute) tableware, and more. Recycled wood and even suitcases can be made into fabulous signs or guestbooks. These aren’t expensive and reuse materials that may otherwise have ended up in a landfill. If you’re particularly savvy, you may even find a way of incorporating a family heirloom that’s been gathering dust.

Sustainable celebrations on a budget

If having a wedding that’s both eco-friendly and budget-friendly is important to you, rejoice. You’ll find from our list that this is entirely doable and even fun. So start by setting your budget, and then dive into growing, crafting, and exploring. Enjoy this very special time, and rest assured that your wedding won’t have a harmful impact on our planet.

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