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.
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.
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.
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 🤣) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 😉
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.
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!