So You’re Planning an Eco-Friendly Wedding…

By Outreach and Operations Associate, Lisa Seyfried

I’m getting married later this summer (which is suddenly fast approaching!) and I thought I would share some of the tips I’ve learned about trying to plan an eco-friendly wedding! We also made it a crafty wedding, including making all the bouquets.

From the beginning, we made it a priority to use as little new stuff as possible.  Why buy fancy vases when you can reuse wine bottles from your recycle bin? Why buy plates when you can find so many at thrift stores?

There is so much out there about what you need to buy or have to make the perfect wedding, and the truth is you don’t need any of it! All you need is what will make the atmosphere you want, and that is simple enough to find recycled.

So here’s what we did:

  1. Almost all of our decorations (center pieces and various decorations around thevenue) were made from recycled materials. We saved wine bottles to use for the center pieces, old jars to use as extra candle holders, and made art out of canvasses that we already had and wine corks.  There were a few things that we bought like the tulle to hang on the ceiling beams, but we did our best to make something new out of something old.

    Wine Bottle Candle Holder

    Part of the centerpieces, minus the gravel and the painting. But you get the idea!

  2. Our cups, napkins, and forks are all made from biodegradable or compostable materials.  We were not about to try to thrift 130 plates and 130 glasses (ok, what held us back was the thought of washing 130 glasses after the wedding…) so we looked around for other options.  We found a number of great places online to buy eco-friendly party wares
  3. We thrifted for our plates and vases to use for outdoors.  This was a ton of fun for us! We scoured thrift stores to find funky plates for all our guests.  We had planned to find our tablecloths this way too, but found that the places we looked didn’t have tablecloths that would fit our tables.

    Thrifted Plates

    Just of a few of the great plates we found. We have almost every color and lots of great patterns in our plate stash.

  4. Our paper for the invitations, programs, menus and anything else was all recycled paper.  We couldn’t find a way around not having programs, so we did the best we could here! We also encouraged guests to RSVP online to save a little extra paper.
  5. Our caterer uses only locally sourced, in season foods to make up the menu. Some of the places that they purchase bread/meat are the same places that we shop at the farmer’s market.  I call that a win.

There are definitely places where we just couldn’t think through any more options, and so did not get as eco-friendly as we’d like.  It’s also a lot to go up against – everyone has opinions about what you need to have and how it should be.  Some things were just battles we were ok not winning (recycled paper napkins are almost as good, and much less hassle, than buying 130 cloth napkins!), and others we put our feet down.  It’s all about what matters most, and what makes the most sense for you to spend time/money/energy on!

Wine Bottle Candle Holder

We even found a use for the tops of the bottles!

What are some of your eco-friendly wedding tips? How do you think we did?


Paper bouquets

By Outreach and Operations Associate, Lisa Seyfried

I’m planning a DIY wedding in a few months, and one of the crafts we decided on was to make all the flowers.  Instead of having real flowers that will surely wilt in the August heat, or pretending that our flowers were real when they were really fake, we decided to just scrap it all and announce it!

I found a whole slew of instructions and patterns on Pinterest, but I found this pattern to be the easiest, and the prettiest looking. And the great thing is that this pattern allows you to print out the flowers on any paper you’d like, in any size, cutting out the need to trace anything!

Printed patterns on colored cardstock

Printed patterns on colored cardstock

Cutting out all those petals takes a really long time.  I found it’s best to cut out a bunch of flowers at one time, so you can put them all together without having to stop and cut out more petals.

The instructions are really easy to follow – cut out the flowers, curl the edges, then glue onto a piece of wire about 12 inches long.  I’ve been using hot glue to glue them on.  I was afraid that the strings from the glue would get all over the bouquets, but it has been pretty easy to just get a drop on there and not have big clumps of glue all over.

The beginning of gluing the flower together.  You can see the scraps in the background!

The beginning of gluing the flower together. You can see the scraps in the background!

I really love the way these came out.  I think they are bright and sturdy and catch the light really well.  Against the bright colors of the women’s dresses, these flowers will really stand out.

I’ll be covering the “stems” with ribbon and a few beads to hide the edges.  I’m thinking about making the men some kind of pin on flower that is similar, but we’ll see if I can find a great pattern for that!

What I think I love most about these flowers is that they will last.  I’ve made a few out of recycled paper (mostly old grad school papers!) and they came out really lovely looking.  And they will stand out among the several bouquets that I’m sure people have from other weddings – at least I save them all!

The final bouquets!

The final bouquets!