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How i planned a socially conscious wedding

The realism behind wedding planning is that it’s costly, time consuming and a lot of hard work.

I spent months trying to plan my perfect day. Hours on Pinterest. Weeks chosing and changing themes and far too many days worrying over silly details that were inconsequential in the end.

The truth is we all have a different idea of what perfection is , so no two weddings are the same.
Here’s how I planned my wedding to be socially conscious.

Mission statement

It’s so easy to get caught up in the wedding fever that hits you shortly after your flashy engagement ring is placed on your finger.

I chose to place a mission statement to my event long before I chose a theme. 

It was important to me that I:

  • Supported local traders as much as I could.
  • Support homemade small businesses, and thereby uplifting families.
  • Chose items of clothing and decor we could repurpose.
  • Find a ceremony venue that the money we paid would go back to the community. 
  • Custom make as much as possible to  create a unique reflection of who we are as a couple and individuals.

Budget

The total budget for our wedding did not exceed R40 000 for 100 guests and this included clothing , decor, cake, venue, drinks, food and vendors.

I would never, as a mom with children, be able to justify using more than that for a days event. 

A beach ceremony

We chose a beach venue, which believe me is not as easy as it sounds. Aside from checking that your designated beach is actually able to accommodate you , You also need to apply and pay for a permit. These vary in price depending on what you want to do on the beach.

The good side to this is that all money’s paid for your permits go back into the South African parks group for maintaining our beaches.

Eco conscious

Knowing that we would be borrowing nature’s  environment for our big day, I felt the need to respect Mother Nature by not polluting the beach with petals and confetti …we chose birdseed. Our guests were asked to please remember to throw their packets in a bin and our scrolls were redeemable for a welcome drink.

A clean up crew ( my kids ๐Ÿคฃ) ensured no litter.

Our beach decor was simplistic, blending with the environment around us and I chose to forgo huge loud speakers to minimise noise pollution and savour the oceans tranquility.

A little coloured sand

To symbolise our union we used coloured beach sand from the beach we married on in a sand ceremony. I made this myself by hunting down the correct jugs and bottles in a charity store and using non toxic food colourant to colour my sand.

A walk to our reception

We held our minimalistic reception a few steps away from the beach. This meant that we didn’t expect our guests to drive to a separate venue , nor were we creating extra traffic or adding to our carbon footprint.

Casual 

We wanted a simple ,casual ,comfortable reception, so opted for a pizza buffet. This meant no major decorating to the tables. We also ditched the seating plan so that our guests could comfortably chose where to sit.

Our welcome drinks were craft beers for the men to support our local breweries and blue champagne with cherries for the ladies.

Instead of champagne toasts we served our signature shots in take home shot glasses.

Decor

All my decor signage  was printed by a friend. Each sign would later be reused.  Several in my home as decor and those I couldn’t repurpose,sent to bears school to be painted on for the school Christmas concert.

My table decor was small printed lighthouses with beach rules, these were sent home as keepsakes with our guests who had traveled far to attend our wedding.

Each table had custom handmade lighthouse lanterns made by a mommy supporting her family.

The wooden flowers I had scattered around were custom made from a handmade group of crafters on Facebook.

My backdrop of macrame dream catchers was made by a friend of mine who has a small business making macrame products.

I had ordered a wooden arch for our ceremony and that now proudly stands in a friends garden.

Thank you gifts

Our thank you gifts were intended as sentimental.  Most of the groom’s friends enjoy a beer and so a bottle opener was a good choice. We ordered these and our mini shot glasses from the same small start up company.

The ladies were given a piece of our wedding. I filled small bottles with sand and sea water from the beach we were on.

A few stickers printed to say thank you and all it took was an hour of my time to stick one if each onto the gifts.

Guest book alternative 

For a guest book I asked each person to sign a beach stone we had collected. These are proudly displayed in a container in our home.

Flowers 

For flowers  I kept with the simplistic theme and grabbed two bunches of daisy and a handful of lavender. These became small bouquets for the ladies.

I carried an orb with a succulent that I now have growing in my kitchen.

Wedding attire

Our wedding party wore white shirts and blue jeans, this way no one had to specifically buy a new outfit they would never wear.

We wore barefoot sandles gifted to me as a wedding gift by a friend and there was no requirements with make up and hair as I wanted everyone to look natural.

I had boho inspired jewellery made for everyone and the blue of the leather of set beautifully with the white.

My dress

My dress was repurposed from a friends dress and as a wedding gift from one of my bridesmaids we altered it to show my personality… something old and something new ๐Ÿ˜‰

The cake 

I won my cake and was delighted at how simplistic it was. In order not to be eating caramel wedding cake for a week , we chose to use the cake as desert.

A box of weddings

The few items I can’t reuse , like my cake knife set, buntings,ect have been boxed to give to my daughter for her wedding in two years.

Amazing people

I was amazed at how giving our circle of friends were and we were able to enlist the help of so many wonderful friends who assisted with music to transport to help make our day amazing. 

All in all , my day was perfect. If I had my day to do over again … I wouldn’t change a thing!

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5 best couple gifts

I’m not a big fan of gift registers for many reasons .

Whilst I understand their function I was brought up to believe a gift is given from the heart and so you should be great full for what you recieve.

I also feel it rude to demand a particular gift and quite uncomfortable for those who can’t afford items on your list.

As for the tradition of asking for cash ….that just makes me cringe. 

Whilst planning our wedding goodies I happened to find some fantastic ideas to gift couples that I thought I’d share with you for if you like me and prefer to just ignore the registery and buy a gift to give.

Couple shirts

These are too cheesey not to be cute. Not sure if I’d personally find them that adorable to wear out in public but they’d be great for a photo or seven.

Personalised scatters

These are my favourite and I plan on having some printed for us. Such a thoughtful and practical way to remember a special day.

Sensory gifts 

Gift the couple a gift to  match each sense.for example sound …a favourite cd,  sight…a photo of them in a cute frame,  smell …a Reed diffuser for their room,  taste …a box of chocolates and touch …a fluffy throw for the bed.

Shell and stone pictures

Make a romantic image by using shells and stones to form a romantic picture. There are many examples online.

Word images

These can be created using free image generators online and can incorporate the couples names and sentimental details.

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100 day countdown

Today marks an official 100 days until we say I do

As time slowly ticks by I feel less and less prepared.

Not for marriage … we’ve been living together long enough for our wedding to be an official seal on our commitment to one another.

For the actual ceremony !!!!!!!

Who knew that planning a wedding could be so exciting sentimental, nerve wracking ,daunting and exhausting all at once.

Just the logistics are enough to make you scream and then there’s matching everything to its colour scheme and the nightmare of a seating plan.

Oh my garter in a muddle.

Thank heaven’s you only get married …twice (in our case)

So with 100 days to go I can safely say …I still don’t have a dress and am starting to panic that I may run down the aisle naked if i don’t find one soon ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

But I did find this awesome timer at Mr price home to watch my hours tick away ….

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Daddy here comes mummy

This is one of the cutest signs I’ve seen and I’ve had one ordered so that bear can walk down the aisle carrying it.

Although he will only be 14 months old (and hopefully walking) he will be walking with Kiki and his third cousin N . 

He adores both girls and so I’m trusting that he makes it all the way down the aisle with both rings and without causing too much chaos between the top half of the beach and where his papa will be standing.

I’ve ordered the cutest shirts for our mini ring security and have a little wooden box to keep the rings in. 

I think some dark shades should just finish the look . ๐Ÿ˜Ž

I’m quite prepared as the bride to lose the lime light to my red haired bear .๐Ÿ˜