Going Green… Saving Green!

With the average cost of a wedding being at about $25k these days, every bride comes to us asking how to save some money.  Many brides will first turn to those cost-saving books (on which you normally spend about $15K, practically negating the cost-saving idea anyway…), but those book suggest ideas that just don’t apply to many people:  “Considering having your wedding on a Tuesday.”  “Don’t offer alcohol.”  “Buy an off-season white dress instead of a wedding gown. “ “Serve breakfast after a morning ceremony instead of dinner or appetizers.”  “Keep your guest list small.” One or two of these options certainly work for many brides and they have wonderful results! But for others with varying priorities, religious requirements and family dynamic, these may not be feasible.

Move cocktail hour mason jars into the reception. Photo Credit: RubySky Photography

First step: Prioritize. Come up with four of five things on which you, your fiancé and families are not willing to compromise. Are you music buffs who demand a great band? Is a huge buffet and raw bar very important to your family? Have you always dreamed of getting married outside under a giant tent? Figure out what is important to you and budget those first. And know that it’s ok not to compromise on your priorities. Your coordinator can help you find the best vendors in town that are within your budget.

Second step: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!  These days, everyone is “going green”… why not “save some green” while you’re at it!  Below are some ideas on how to reduce costs by using your 3 R’s.

Have a friend or family member make the wedding cake and then decorate it with flowers or a cute topper. Photo Credit: Natalie Bell Photography

Reduce: Many brides are choosing to forgo traditional wedding details to save some money. Go back to your priorities and think about the other weddings you have been to. Some brides choose to do away with favors. Some will minimize the cost of flowers by designing centerpieces with other materials or creating their bouquets and centerpieces themselves by flowers purchased at a market. Others find that they don’t need the chivari chairs. By thinking about other weddings you have been to, you can help narrow in on what you think is important to guests. Did you notice the tablecloths or chairs? Did they go with the black and white dance floor or the plain wood? Keep with your aesthetic, but understand that you don’t need to have every single thing that you read about on blogs, find on Pinterest, or see in your bridal magazines. Many of your guests won’t remember these tiny details; they’ll just remember how beautiful you looked and how much fun they had!

Do you have unique pieces of furniture? Maybe use your cute nightstand as a cake table. Credit: Joyeuse Photography

Reuse: Maybe this should be called “Repurpose”. These are so many ways to combine aspects of your wedding to save money!  Want to have flowers hanging on shepherd hooks down the aisle? Move them to your centerpieces and cut your flower costs in half. Bridesmaids’ bouquets can function similarly. Doing a buffet dinner? Clear the tables on which you had your seating cards and gifts and use those for your buffet to cut down on rentals.  Check with the venue as well: if another wedding is being held there the day before or after, maybe you and the other bride can split the cost of lighting, rentals, a dance floor, etc. Many companies, including Amore Events by Cody, have vintage decorations for rent (or free if you book with us!) Things like apple crates can be used to hold blankets for ceremony guests for outdoor fall weddings, and repurposed as a cake stand later that night. Many Charlottesville vineyards will also let you use wine barrels for décor. These can function as an altar for the ceremony before switching to a cocktail table during the reception. Instead of buying your own décor items from yard sales and antique shops, consider renting from a company in town.

Being resourceful ~ I cut this red bud from trees in bloom the day of the wedding. Photo credit: Joyeuse Photography

Recycle: This can be interpreted a couple different ways.  First, think of all those DIY ideas you have probably found online or pinned to a Pinterest board. Many of them are made from materials you already have. Recycle those old mason jars to use as vases. Save those wine corks throughout the year to hold up table numbers. Post the funny comments that you received on your reply cards as decorations around the venue. Second, consider selling some of the items you do end up buying after the wedding. Many brides are selling their wedding dresses instead of holding on to them and having them preserved. Did you end up recycling and collecting dozens of mason jars? Sell them on ebay.  There is a whole section on ebay for used “Wedding Supplies”. End up with a bunch of extra fans or bubbles? These are always in high demand by brides and they will certainly be snatched up online. You’ll get a bunch of money back in no time.

Re-purpose corks for your escort card holders. Photo Credit: Natalie Bell Photography

Whatever you decide, know that every bride is looking for ways to save money. Many are buying used dresses or supplies online. Even more are opting for the modified bar of beer and wine only instead of going for the full bar. Don’t feel that you need to compromise on your priorities. There are so many facets to a wedding that you’re bound to find some areas in which to go green and save green.

Get Creative! Photo Credit: Joyeuse Photography



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