One idea I considered was rather than sending out formal invitations was to send out an email to everyone referring them to a website. I know that quite a few people have had success in doing this. However, time constraints and a majority of elderly guests who wouldn’t know how to get to a website meant that it was better to send out invitations.
I also minimised our enclosed items by combining items such as the list of hotels and directions on one double sided page of recycled paper. As we were giving people options for food I also enclosed an RSVP postcard so people could just send back the card in the post with no need for an envelope. Despite this effort some guests, still preferred an envelope: obviously they didn’t want the postman to know what they were eating at our wedding.
I tried to continue the theme on our invitations throughout the wedding. I decided as we were having a civil ceremony an Order of Service wasn’t necessary and would be a waste of paper so just put a few posters up around the venue telling people the estimated times for events.
There is an astounding amount of choice when it comes to wedding dresses, from the sublime to the ridiculous. The most ethical and economical option is of course be to source a second hand or remade dress. Zero impact on the environment. No, its not boring, and yes you can have loads of fun doing it!
My cousin when she had her two piece wedding dress made for her requested that they make a shorter skirt as well as the long skirt so she could wear it to functions afterwards. When I saw her at my wedding she told me that she had just retired the outfit last year- a good eight years of wear! So try and get something that you can either wear again or alter and wear again.
My mother and I decided that we would do our own flower decorations (although we weren’t brave enough to go as far as the bouquets!) The difficulties of ordering locally grown, seasonal flowers for your wedding cannot be underestimated. Some flowers clock up energy-guzzling carbon miles to reach the wedding reception.
For the vases, we had used olive jars I had collected over the few months up to my wedding. Just a few bits of decoration to the jar and no one noticed the difference. For ours we used raffia and some ivy leaves. This also meant that when I was offering the decorations to the guests to take home as a little present I didn’t have to worry about them returning the valuable vase, although I suppose I could start worrying about if they would deliver it safely to the bottle bank after use!!
And cut flowers are not the only option. You can think about buying plants and then they can be kept as a reminder of the day. We got a pair of olive trees from the market as decoration for the day and some daffodils in pots. Even better with pots you can send your guests home with them as a reminder of the day. Also, think about growing some of the decorations and flowers in your garden. I spoke to one person who grew hanging baskets for her daughter’s wedding. For my main table decoration and decoration for the cake, my mum picked some wild flowers from the garden- some forget-me-nots, apple blossom and cowslips and all the greenery. Its all about thinking outside the box.
Confetti can also be considered when talking flowers, now there is a great choice of dried and fresh petals that can be used. There are quite a few suppliers out there, Shropshire petals can do them in most colours and will mix them for you see www.shropshirepetals.co.uk. We had dried rose petals and felt much happier in the knowledge that they would decompose slowly rather than end up in a soggy mess. Another suggestion I heard recently is bird seeds.
When it came to food the hotel already had a policy of sourcing the food locally, so that fitted in nicely. So make sure that you ask the venue to source locally and organically. Also think simple – what do you love – Lancashire hot pot? Paella? Cream teas? What about elegant cucumber sandwiches and Pimm’s? One of my parent’s friends had a picnic in the local park. Obviously what you do depends on the number of guests you have – but however you choose to cater, don’t be put off by tradition.
Venue and transportation
The best thing about having it in one venue is that it avoids the need to travel to and from places. We chose a hotel where we had both the ceremony and reception.
Wedding list and favours
For our wedding list we decided on having cash presents as we already have a home together and have all we need. We are hoping to use this money to put towards our next home, a much more helpful present from all our guests.
Share your photographs with your friends. Set up a website where everyone can upload their photographs and video clips and with our new world wide family this helps keeps us all in touch. Finally, make sure that those who were unable to attend get a piece of wedding cake. In our case, the cake was made locally by a farmer’s wife who also runs a catering business. A superb work of culinary art delivered in time despite the lambing season.