24 Creative & DIYable Wedding Ideas That Won’t Cost The Earth
Style is definitely a contributing factor to my love of vintage, but there is another reason I adore all things aged! Yes, I love their sense of history and their quality, but its the fact these things were made to last I love the most. I hate today’s fast moving fashions and the throw away culture they have created. And I am incredibly conscious that this industry in particular is guilty of wanton waste… which is why today I couldn’t be more thrilled to be sharing some fabulous ideas from Custommade for creating a more considerate wedding…..
“Wedding planning can be really (really) stressful. For earth-loving folks, the process can get even trickier, as most classic wedding decorations, favors, and traditions are far from eco-friendly. Luckily, a DIY attitude is all you need to create a wedding celebration that is unique, true to you, and kind to the earth. Whether you’re knee deep in planning, or daydreaming about future nuptials, we hope you find this selection of environmentally friendly wedding ideas inspiring….. “
Recycled or Plantable Paper
Any time you choose a paper product for your wedding, seek out recycled or plantable options. Plantable paper products are infused with wildflower seeds and the paper completely decomposes within the soil, which makes them a great, and rather lovely, choice!
Plantable ~ Belly Bean Cards & Recycled Invites ~ Honest Paper Shop
Whether it’s an engagement announcement, save the date, shower invitation, wedding invitation, or thank you card, you can go greener (and save a ton of money) by choosing paperless e-vites. There are plenty of companies now that all offer pretty, functional digital invitations that save you from spending hundreds of dollars on stationery and postage. Companies such as Pingg, Evite, My Punch Bowl, and Green Envelope and Paperless Post who have beauties such as these…..
Ditch the plastic confetti and choose lavender or seed-embedded paper confetti. Both biodegradable choices cut down on waste as well as the energy and natural resources it takes to produce plastic products. In the case of seed-embedded paper confetti, you’ll actually give back to the earth by sowing flower or other plant seeds.
Photography ~ Lee Weston via From The Potting Shed
Decorations and Signage
Mason Jar Hanging Lanterns
They’re pretty, economical, and low-waste. Borrow or buy small glass jars, fill them with coffee beans (extra sustainability points for choosing used grounds), place a tea light on top, and attach twine to the lid. Hang the lantern from a tree, beam, or other sturdy surface. Find detailed instructions at Glue and Glitter.
Photography ~ Brett and Jessica via Bridal Musings
When it comes to pretty paper garlands, repurpose is the name of the game. Turn newspaper or used books into works of art that’ll last for years. These garlands are low waste, low cost, and easy to make. You will find lots of styles, sizes and shapes on Etsy, or round up some recycled paper, scissors, tape, and twine, and then follow these instructions at Project Wedding to make pinwheels, fringes, or other shapes of your choice.
Heart Paper Garland – Bookity
Flowers are a wedding mainstay, but instead of paying only to throw them away the next day, why not craft some that will last long after the big day? Paper roses can adorn virtually any wedding. Recycled old books, magazines, or newspaper pages create elegant “floral” arrangements that cut down on waste and can be lovingly rediscovered on anniversaries – or christenings! Or if you’re feeling creative they may take a little practice before you get the hang of things, but the final product is pretty impressive. You can find some step by step instructions at HGTV.
Paper Rose Bridal Bouquet ~ Lace Pearl & Paper
This one’s easy: Instead of decorating the venue with balloons, which are both wasteful and can be harmful to birds, sea life, and other animals; decorate with suspended vintage umbrellas. It may require a little digging to find what you’re looking for, but you can rent or borrow colorful umbrellas instead of buying new ones.
Photography ~ Brighton Photo via Chic Vintage Brides
Keep wood scraps out of the landfill and save cash: Turn those cast-offs into handmade signs that direct guests to your wedding, the beverage table, the restroom, or anywhere else they may need to go.
Photography ~ Chloe Luka Photography via Chic Vintage Brides
Photography ~ Taylor Lord Photography via SMP
Window Seating Chart & Menus
Raid a construction scrap pile for old windows. Though they may be past their prime, old windows make for beautiful display boards for your seating charts & menu. Simply write your message, table assignment or courses in the window’s various panes…. or find someone else to do it for you! Choose washable paint or markers and you will even be able to reuse the window down the road – a kitchen message board perhaps?
Photo by Christina Carroll Photography via Style Me Pretty
Centerpieces & Place Settings
These quick and elegant centerpieces can double as wedding favors at the end of the night, which ups functionality and cuts down on waste. Write a thankyou message inside the cover of each and your guests will be sure to treasure them always.
Photography ~ Chris Spira via Chic Vintage Brides
Chalkboard centerpieces, be they flower pots, mason jars, bottles (like these) or buckets, provide three great functions as well as looking fabulous! They can double up as table numbers, place names, decoration and favors – the perfect money saver! Green Bride Guide has a great little DIY for small terra cotta pot favours! Or take a look at Heart.Love.Always for a sweet mason jar centrepiece DIY.
Photography ~ Ryan Ray Photo via Wedding Sparrow
Natural Name Holders
For a simple, low-waste place setting idea, look no further than your garden, or the local park or wooded area. Gather a few fallen twigs (or small branches you can break into twigs), cut out pieces of recycled paper in the shape of leaves, and write a name on each slip of paper. Then poke one of your collected twigs through each “leaf” to hold it upright. You can find more detailed instructions at Centsational Girl, but it really couldn’t be easier. Or for a softer look collect as many leaves as you will be having guests, and simply calligraphy each of your guests names on a leaf (gold or silver ink looks especially pretty)
Photography ~ Ann Kathrin Koch via Lamplighter London
Photography ~ Austin Gros via SMP
Painted Pumpkin (or Butternut Squash) Flower Vases
Perfect for fall weddings, these vases come straight from the earth. Be sure to choose one with a flat end so that it can stand upright, then simply paint your chosen colour, hollow out and fill it with pesticide-free flowers (for extra sustainability, choose organic, native flowers). You could even bake something delicious for the festivities with the flesh you removed! Then after the event you can toss it and the flowers into a compost pile. Who says you can’t have your centerpieces and eat them too? For a fabulous DIY take a peek right here on Chic Vintage Brides.
The smaller ones make rather cute escort card and place name holders too!…..
Photography ~ Sarah Tew Photography via SMP
Rustic Plant Centerpieces
Start by selecting several plastic containers from the recycling bin. Then collect fallen bark from a local park, forest, or backyard. Wrap the bark around the containers, plant some herbs or local flowers inside, and voila! While these instructions call for cutting the plants and inserting them into floral foam, you can plant them in soil for a lasting (and less wasteful) gift.
Button, Bead or Brooch Bouquets
These beautiful, one-of-a-kind bouquets will never wilt, which also means you will never have to throw them away. Made from buttons, beads, and brooches, plus any odds and other decorative ends you happen to have lying around, they are also a great way to incorporate family heirlooms, mementoes – include one of your grandma’s favourites, or ask for a donation from all your female relations.
Photography ~ Baylee Rae via Chic Vintage Brides
Inexpensive, no-waste, and relatively sturdy, a newspaper bouquet is a fabulous alternative to the traditional floral bouquet that only last a few days. And you can always personalize the bouquet by choosing pages that represent you! After the big day you can keep it on display in your home to remember the occasion. You will find detailed instructions on how to make one at PopSugar, or you will find lots of pretty examples on Etsy like this one from Anthology on Main….
Paper Flower Corsage and Boutonniere
And it doesn’t have to stop at the bouquet! Why not create matching boutonnieres for your beau and his groomsmen, and pretty corsage for your bridesmaids? Because they don’t perish after the nuptials they will make lovely lasting keepsakes from your special day. They would be especially kind to the earth if created with recycled paper – you will fine the below DIY at Lia Griffith.
Cookies in a Jar
This simple mix looks pretty in a glass jar wrapped up with ribbon and will keep well until your guests are ready to chow down on a tasty cookie and relive the fun of your wedding. Choose organic and local ingredients whenever possible for an even more Earth friendly favour. Find the DIY + free label printables over on Intimate Weddings.
This favor would be great for a summer wedding, when fresh fruit is abundant and in season. Repurpose old glass jars as jam containers and choose organic and local ingredients when possible. And depending on your color scheme, you can match the jam color to your wedding colors. Find full instructions for making a tasty jam at The Kitchn.
Photography ~ Die Hochzeitsfotografen via Bridal Musings
Seedlings, Herbs or Succulents
Nothing could be cuter, or easier to make! But if you’re not green fingered these, these and these are all reasonably priced.
Photography ~ Bella Reese Photography via SMP
This gift is functional, cute, and sure to be universally loved, since almost everyone loves a sweet smelling parcel of prettiness! And best of all they will fragrance your guests rooms (wardrobes or drawers) for years to come, ensuring your wedding is never forgotten. There’s the perfect little DIY for a slightly simpler version of the below here on Food52. Or if you’re short on time (or inclination) to make your own, you will lots of lovely options here – just remember to shop local!
Photography ~ Wookie Photography via Chic Vintage Brides
Choose an Eco-Conscious Designer
Just a few years ago even, finding an eco chic wedding dress was a challenge! But with a rise in couples looking to celebrate their love without destroying the Earth, has come an increase in demand for wedding dresses that fit the eco-conscious brides personal values, as well as her personal style! Allowing creative designers to flourish with a focus on sustainable by using textiles such as hemp, peace silk, organic cotton and bamboo, as well as repurposing beautiful vintage gowns and fabrics. So today’s stylish yet environmentally aware bride has a choice of designers and wedding dresses that are far from frumpy. You’ll find four just such designers here, including the fabulous Celia Grace…..
Waltz down the aisle in a treasured family heirloom or a give a gorgeous but neglected gown a second chance to shine by choosing Vintage – both a stylish and guilt-free choice for the eco conscious bride! And 2016, with the fashion brigade’s growing love for all things Victorian & Edwardian, is the perfect year to do it….
Whether you would describe yourself as being eco-conscious or not, wouldn’t we all like to know that our big day isn’t literally costing the earth! So why not save the world as well as a few pennies, by utilizing a few (or all!) of these eco-friendly, DIY wedding ideas. It will guarantee your wedding will make a lasting impression on your guests, while leaving Mother Earth free to do her own thing. It’s a win-win!
The lovely people over at Custommade created a fabulous infographic that succinctly conveys all of the above, plus some interesting numbers, which you will find at the bottom of their post here.