Last weekend Benji and I finally tied the knot…and I don’t mean the bowline, zeppelin bend, or square knot. I mean we got married!
We celebrated our wedding at my sister’s home in Northern Michigan. It was a beautiful location with a fish pond, cows, and garden of lilies.
It just so happens that Ben and I chose the most popular summer weekend to wed and now share an anniversary with thousands of other people. But what we didn’t want to share with most of them is the amount of money spent or waste produced. I read in the newspaper yesterday that the average wedding costs 25k dollars and produces 400lbs of waste. It’s easy to lose sight of what we value most and instead get caught up in trying to have the perfect wedding. But Ben and I both wanted to have a beautiful wedding without excessive waste and costs. While some of my family were a little resistant at first, eventually they loved the idea. Everyone pitched in to help pull off a perfect night, with the most important things being the ceremony and the fun!
These are five things we did to try and keep the values of simplicity at our wedding:
1) We delivered our food and compostable dinnerware waste to a local organic farm/composting facility. They were delighted to have our compost. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement.
2) We recycled as much as we could including the centerpieces, which were reused spaghetti sauce and pickle jars.
3) In 2006 the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released a report that said the meat industry is, “one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems.” I know we can’t do everything to reduce our impact on the environment. But one thing Ben and I can do is think consciously about eating meat. Therefore, we chose to serve only vegetarian fare at our wedding, and commit ourselves to eat consciously, which for us means we currently follow a vegetarian lifestyle.
4) We purchased our wedding bands from Etsy, a website that allows artists to sell their handmade or vintage items. We selected an artist that works with recycled metals and while we did consider a conflict-free diamond, ultimately we chose not to purchase a diamond at all.
5) We supported the local food co-op that stocks food from organic and local farms. The delicious pies we got from Oryana Natural Foods Market were the best part of the meal!
6) We chose to “register” at an alternative gift registry site where our guests could choose to contribute to gifts that complimented our lifestyle, such as solar panels for our future boat or bicycle gear.
I’m sure there are a lot more ways to reduce waste, spend consciously, and still have a beautiful wedding. I’ve heard some wonderful ideas from my readers in the past. Please add your suggestions below!
And, of course, a wedding would not be complete without an effort to air drum to Rush’s “Tom Sawyer.” I’m not a drummer, but I play a mean air drum!