Upcycled weddings are the new thing. They’re trending among eco-friendly communities and not so environmentally savvy people alike, whether or not you’re into the DIY look. According to The Green Bride Guide, the average wedding produces around 400lbs of garbage and about 63 tons of carbon emissions. That’s reason enough to try and make your wedding as eco-friendly as possible; so upcycling wherever you can is a great way to ensure your wedding’s ecological footprint stays at a reasonable size.
Whether you’re looking for something rustically charming, modern and chic or classically elegant; there are so many upcycling tactics and ideas you can use to ramp up your wedding day. It’s amazing how budget-friendly upcycled weddings can be – leaving you more cash for your honeymoon!
Non-Traditional Wedding Favours & Invites
An average wedding involves a lot of paper; with party favours, save the dates and invites adding to your wedding’s footprint. If you’re happy to forego the traditional paper invite, then you can use Paperless Post. However, if you can’t resist having traditional invitations with calligraphy to boot; then be sure to choose your paper products from recycled materials or seed paper.
If you’re not too fussed when it comes to party favours, then it’s best to give them a miss, as most party favour items end up in the trash anyway. Alternatively, you can send your guests away with little potted plants to add more green to their lives!
Eco-Friendly Flowers & Crafty Décor
Floral arrangements for table settings and the wedding party have quite a large ecological footprint, and most of the flowers, sadly, end up in the trash. However, there are ways you can reduce the waste and upcycle more!
For all of your large arrangements, make sure you only select native or seasonal flowers from your florist in order to avoid a larger footprint. You should also have a plan in place for preserving or reusing them after the wedding, by either handing them out to guests or even have them pressed or framed. You can also opt for less flowers in the bridal party, or double up and repurpose the bridesmaid’s arrangements at the ceremony as table centrepieces at the reception.
Aaminah, 28, minimised the extravagance of her wedding flowers –
“It was cheaper and better for the environment to cut down on the flowers. The bridal party only had single stems, while my arrangement was made up of very few flowers. None of the groomsmen had boutonnières, only the groom. The arrangements still looked good, we just didn’t go overboard. When it came to the décor, we used LED fairy lights, not flowers.”
Taylor, 25, went for a larger arrangement for both the wedding party and the table settings, however she found a way to make sure her flowers were upcycled –
“I teamed up with another bride I had connected with online. We were both getting married on the same day, in the same area and had quite similar taste. So, we decided to go splitsies on most of our flowers. After my wedding – I paid more than the other bride because my wedding was earlier in the day, so I got the flowers first – the florist drove all of the flowers to her wedding. Splitting the cost of flowers is so good for your wedding budget and it minimises the waste factor. But, it is a bit more difficult to organise and you have to have the same taste as another bride.”
If you’re flexible with your floral arrangements, want to save some cash and have the ultimate upcycled flowers at your wedding, you can also rent your floral arrangements from websites such as Something Borrowed Blooms and Wedding Flowers For Rent.
There are so many upcycled bits and bobs you can put together for your wedding décor. From turning old wine bottles into table numbers and using vintage fabrics to create some romantic bunting banners, to creating a vintage bathtub bar and a vintage luggage card table there’s no end to the kind of knick-knacks you can upcycle into some wedding delights!
Have a browse on Pinterest and see which ideas take your fancy.
Do your research and investigate whether there are any advertised eco-friendly wedding vendors in your local area. Many of these vendors do everything they can to avoid waste and may even be approved by environmental groups. However, if there’s a particular wedding vendor you want to use, don’t be shy about asking them questions such as what kind of carbon footprint they leave, if they recycle and if they use solar power or wind power.
You can also try your luck at finding a local farm to table caterer so that your food doesn’t have to be sourced from far away. Where possible, you should opt for organic food to avoid those pesky pesticides.
The bride and groom, (as well as bridesmaids and groomsmen) usually only wear their wedding day attire once – on the big day. That’s why is makes so much economic and environmental sense to go for preloved options over store bought or specially made. You can find beautiful designs, styles and colours in amazing brands made from high quality materials from online second-hand wedding stores. Even though it can be slightly riskier buying an expensive wedding dress online without ever having tried it on; it can be a great experience and extremely cost-effective – just so long as you do your research!
Aaminah, 28, found her dream wedding dress at an online store for preloved wedding dresses and at half the retail price –
“I found my dress on Still White. I was sceptical about it fitting me just right as my bust and hips aren’t exactly proportionate. But my uncle, who’s a tailor, had a look at the dress online and said it wouldn’t be particularly difficult to alter. Luckily, when the dress arrived, it only needed slight alterations and it wasn’t too expensive. My advice would be to do your research, shop around and know your budget.”
Meantime, Taylor, 25 had peace of mind forking out over $2,000 for her second-hand designer dress without even seeing it in the flesh because the seller provided plenty of photographs and all of the exact measurements –
“The seller on eBay was really helpful and showed me the dress from different angles with heaps of photos. She also provided the exact hip, waist and bust measurements, so I was confident that it was going to fit me. The day it arrived, I was blown away and knew I had made the right decision. It was like the dress was made just for me!”
eBay, Etsy, Gumtree & Facebook Marketplace
You’ll find a huge selection of amazing designer and bespoke wedding dresses for sale at online platforms such as eBay and Etsy as well as Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace. With probably the biggest international range in all shapes, cuts and styles; it will take some hunting and culling, but if you invest some time into research then you’ll save yourself the expense of buying retail or bespoke.
There’s also a bunch of bridesmaids dresses, suits and accessories for sale on Etsy and eBay, sometimes at only 10 to 20 percent of their original price. Just make sure the seller is highly rated for your own peace of mind.
Preloved Online Stores
There are dozens of local and hundreds of international online stores with preloved wedding dresses for sale. For something unique and elegant, browse what’s on offer at Preowned Wedding Dresses, Easy Weddings, Capriess, Once Wed and Still White. For the groom and groomsmen, have a look at My Own Tuxedo.
For the ultimate upcycled attire, you can also rent dresses and tuxes at stores like Rent the Runway, Glam Corner and Ferrari Formal. You only wear your wedding gear once anyway, and it saves you the hassle of re-selling!
Mum’s or Gran’s Dress
The most sentimental and upcycled garment you can wear on your wedding day is a preloved dress handed down from a woman in your family. Perhaps you mum or gran still have their wedding dress and would love for you to wear it? If you love the dress, but aren’t sure if some of the vintage flourishes suit your style, then see if they’re open to you having it altered. That’s upcycling at its finest!
- Clean Origin Lab-Grown Diamonds: A More Affordable, Ethical Alternative to Mined Diamonds
- Ingle & Rhode: Ethical and Conflict-Free Engagement Rings, Weddings Rings and Fine Jewellery
- For the Eco Bride: 7 Tips To Help You Stay Present On Your Wedding Day
- 10 Online Clothing Rental Places So You Can Sustainably Indulge in Your Love of Fashion
- 69 Facts and Statistics About Fast Fashion That Will Inspire You To Become An Ethical Fashion Advocate