wedding planning

Meet The Less-Wasteful Vendors of My Wedding

It’s the nitty-gritty of wedding planning. Less than 30 days left until the big day.

We got our marriage license, we are making our final payments, and I am picking up my dress in 2 weeks. Crazy crazy!

I wanted to recap some of the unconventional vendors I am including in one of the most important days of my life and why it’s important to support these types of businesses.

My wedding is by no means zero waste, but I did my best to include more conscious decisions while planning and even applied it to my shower and suggested it to my maid of honor for my bachelorette party (We shall see how she does. Love you Britni!).

You kind of need to pick and choose where you really want your less-waste decisions to shine or it will drive you insane. For instance, I would rather have something visible like composting than something no one would notice like using all natural, vegan, organic makeup.

So here it is.

My Less Wasteful Wedding Vendors

(And Also Those That Aren’t) **

**I have said this before, obviously, the most zero waste option would be just get married at City Hall in an outfit you already own and be done with it, but I am having a ceremony, with a reception, with guests, in a large city. #sorrynotsorry

Venue: The Joinery

I booked our wedding at the Joinery well before it became a green event space backed by the Green Wedding Alliance. The building was saved from demolition, therefore keeping construction materials out of the landfill.

the joinery front

Source: The Joinery

Dress: House of Brides Couture

My dress is not vintage or reused, but bought from a standard bridal store chain. I had mulled about doing a vintage dress but ended up falling in love with one at a store on a whim visit with a friend from out of town. So that was that.

Hair

It’s my stylist that has been cutting my hair since I was sixteen years old. She uses standard hair products, so no “natural” hairspray over here.

Makeup

All regular. Full of chemicals.

Florist: Avium Flowers

I previously posted about my wedding flowers from Avium here. This small, women-owned business will locally grow and put together my wedding flowers. Afterward, the flowers that don’t get taken home will be composted.

avium flowers2

Source: Avium Flowers

Food: Big Star

Instead of the standard wedding fare, we opted for food we knew our guests and ourselves would be excited to eat. It was soothing to know that one of the biggest pieces of your wedding budget was going to go towards food people have literally been talking about since we signed the contract a year ago.

We are having tacos. That’s right. Big Star tacos. ūüĆģ

big star tacos

Source: Big Star

They were happy to accommodate my requests for no straws or plastic water cups. Additionally, since Chicago has strict laws about donating prepared food, Big Star agreed to provide my guests with takeout containers to take some tacos home, if there are even any left.

If there are some taco stragglers at the end of the night, they will be composted. More about that below.

Waste Disposal: Healthy Soil Compost

My normal compost pickup service also composts at events, so it was only natural that I chose Healthy Soil. They will drop off and pick up the bins, hauling whatever is left over to be eaten by worms and turned into fertilizer.

compost HSC

Source: Healthy Soil Compost

Invitations: Minted

While I opted to use an online service for our invitations, I did pay the additional fee to use recycled paper and print an extremely tiny, barely visible, recycled paper symbol on the back of them.

Day of Coordination: Prickly Pear Events

All of my vendors are then being coordinated by Green Wedding Alliance member, Prickly Pear Events, who so far has kept me thinking of different ways to incorporate less waste into my event.

That’s it! Catch up on the rest of my wedding planning journey with Waste Not Want Not Wedding.

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Double Duty on Wedding Purchases

Getting married is hard.

There are so many decisions, so much research, and so many opinions.

While making decisions on physical purchases, I have been keeping one question in mind:

What purpose will this serve after the wedding is over?

For example:

What purpose will this shirt that says “Future Mrs. X” serve after the wedding is over?¬†

The answer is none. Please, no one ever buy me this.

lantern.jpg

What purpose will these gold lanterns we scoured multiple Targets for serve after the wedding is over?

I plan on keeping a few and then selling the rest!

What purpose will these koozie favors serve after the wedding is over?

None because there will be no koozies.

Don’t hate me for hating on the koozies. I have a million of them. They get tossed into a cabinet, and I never use them. So no they serve no purpose for me.

I want my purchases to serve double duty, so I am trying to avoid anything that blatantly says Mr. and Mrs, or is obviously wedding related. I want to wear my wedding shoes again! I want to be able to use the bulk thank you cards I bought on Amazon for any other situation post-wedding!

Some people might say, “But it’s your wedding! You only get married once!

Yes, and because of that I want to be able to have a regular use for anything from that day, so I can always be reminded of it.

Doesn’t that make more¬†sense?

 


If you are interested in more, I’ve previously posted about renting versus buying¬†wedding decor and buying wedding decor secondhand.

 

On the Way To A Less Wasteful Wedding

135 days to go until our wedding day.

Less than 5 months.

engagement3

That doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you start¬†this wedding planning journey a whole year and a half beforehand, it’s a lot.

Plenty of things have been crossed off the to-do list, but there are still many more tasks to go.

Here is a roundup of my less wasteful wedding planning experience so far:

Yet there is still so much to do!

 

wedding dress

This is NOT my wedding dress. Just one I tried on.

 

Save the Date with Less Waste

We received our save the date postcards in the mail the other day.

Now, all we have to do is slap some stamps on them and bring them to the post office!

There is no envelope stuffing required because we went the less paper (and easier) route of doing postcard save the dates. Recipient and return addresses are already printed on them!

save the dates

I already have a thing about envelopes. People instantly toss them in the trash and maybe (probably not) the recycling bin.

So I figured we could go without them!

I know, I know, I could have just emailed everybody about the date, but that is no fun. No one is going to print out my email and put it in their fridge.

But if you are a reader who happens to receive one of these babies in the mail, put it on your fridge and stare at it for the next 8 months, and then please properly dispose of it in your recycling bin! K Thanks!

 

Finally Found Our Venue

It’s been a journey so far, but our venue and date have finally been decided on.

We looked far and wide, from suburban to urban options.

Should we go farther out into the suburbs for a better price, but more complicated transportation for everyone?

Or stay in the City with easy access to transportation, hotels and other things to do?

In the end, we decided to stay in the City, but still make the budget work for us.

The venue is an operating dance studio (which I love because I danced all they way through college). It is not a super common venue for a wedding, which I also love. When I mentioned it to a few other vendors, they had not heard of it as an event space (which can be good or bad, I guess).

We can choose any vendors we want and it is BYOB!

 

latin rhythms

The location in dance studio mode

 

It is an intimate timber loft with string lights already strung across the ceiling and wrapped around the beams. The hardwood floor and exposed brick complete the look I was going for, without the large price tag attached.

There won’t be much to decorate, just a bit here and there.

We just need our long banquet tables for our family style dinner (either BBQ or tacos) and I think it will be gorgeous!

Green Wedding Resources

As I go about this experience of planning a wedding, I have attempted to compile some information and resources for other ladies and gents who are taking in consideration the footprint of their big day.

Resources for Anyone Anywhere:

A Practical Wedding

This amazing website and book tell you basically everything you need to know. In true fashion, I ordered the book secondhand from Amazon for about $4 and devoured it in 3 days.

apw

via Amazon.com

APW is focused on creating a culture that supports laid-back, feminist weddings. All that stuff wedding media tells you that you have to have? We think you
don’t have to have it (unless you actually want it). And we don’t believe that all those things people tell you are tradition
s actually are traditional. -APW

Craigslist

I live for Craigslist for all of my furniture (I have several tabs open as I type this), so there is no reason not to turn to it for wedding materials. All you need to do is search wedding and there will be tons of results for local brides selling items they used only once. From crafty DIY materials to table runners and decorative pieces, wedding dresses & rings, Craigslist has it all.

craigslist

Thrift Stores

Are you pining for that mismatched vintage look? Head over to your local thrift stores to see what little pieces you can start collecting. For your tables, look for glassware, plates, platters, serving trays and cake stands. For decorations, look for old books, candlesticks, globes, and frames. Your purchase may also support a local charity!

Resources for those in the Chicago area:

Green Wedding Alliance

GWA is a group of eco-friendly vendors in the Chicagoland area. They put on great events like the Committed Wedding Event and the Great Wedding Recyclery.

green-wedding-alliance

Chicago’s Green Wedding Alliance connects a growing community of environmentally and socially responsible event vendors with the conscious consumer for¬†mindful weddings, commitment ceremonies, and social events. The Alliance is a collaborative network of over 50 member vendors who strive to grow and inform their responsible business practices. -GWA

Do you have any other suggestions that I should be aware of? Let me know!

I’d Rather Job/Apartment Hunt than Wedding Venue Hunt

Two weeks into being engaged and I am already considering hiring someone else  (or preferably have them volunteer) to figure this whole wedding planning thing out for me.

 

venue-search

Helpppppp Meeeeeeeee!

 

K and I have created a modest budget that we really want to stick to, so finding a venue in Chicago is pretty darn hard. It is more important to us to use that money towards our first house than on a lavish wedding reception. Therefore, we are additionally looking around Wisconsin, Michigan, Chicago suburbs, and Indiana.

I have already torn through The Knot‘s venue search option and am spouting traditional wedding etiquette facts from the number of wedding planning books I have received.

Chicago’s¬†Green Wedding Alliance has some good resources, but their list of venues is pretty small (There will be a post on eco-resources soon).

There are just so many factors to consider:

  • distance
  • waste collection/diversion
  • food quality
  • price
  • a space¬†that feels like us
  • a lot of other important factors I haven’t¬†quite figured out yet

But there are also so many other things that we don’t actually care about:

  • wedding cake
  • the day we get married (Friday vs. Saturday)
  • the season
  • favors

Hopefully, all of the things that we don’t care about will help us save money in the long run.

Do you have any suggestions on an how to secure an affordable wedding venue in the Chicagoland area?

I will keep you updated as we start to narrow down some options. We probably should figure out which geographic location first! Ugh!

 

Introducing “Waste Not Want Not Wedding”

Over the weekend, I got engaged.

Holy Moly!

It has been a crazy whirlwind so far and I am finally feeling the weight of planning such an important life event.

I have been a bridesmaid 5 times already (it will be 6 in July), so I am no stranger to weddings.

bridesmaids

For my own wedding, I am excited to incorporate my eco-friendly lifestyle and chronicle all of it here for you.

However, I do feel that the wedding industry has gotten a little bit out of control (apologies to anyone who has opposite views of me on this topic).

For instance, the perceived need for all of these things:

  • engagement photos
  • engagement parties
  • wedding planners
  • save the dates
  • photo booths
  • over the top centerpieces ¬†and flowers that get thrown out the next day
  • favors no one takes home
  • wedding hashtags #NO
  • matching bridal party shirts you will never wear again
  • “future Mrs. ____” apparel or items you will never wear after getting married

These are not necessities to getting married. Social media (specifically Pinterest) has lead us to believe we need all of these things for a successful and Pinterest-worthy wedding.

Last time I checked, the most important part is the act of getting married.

Going forward with wedding planning, this is what I want:

  • this to be easy
  • this to be simple
  • to avoid unnecessary¬†costs
  • create the least amount of waste as possible
  • do what I can do myself
  • to use local services and goods
  • to use friend’s and family as much as possible

I want my wedding to be an event put together by people who are important to me.

Obviously, I understand as I go through this process, I may change my mind about everything. For now, though, this is my initial stance.

How do you feel about weddings these days? Do you think they can be quite wasteful?