Named a community service pioneer by Time, Katie Fewings knew brides blow serious coin on their weddings — the American average is now $28,000. She launched ethicalweddings.com, a British site, in 2005 after she used fair-trade wine and a gown made locally of organic poplin for her own ceremony.
I love this one, held in Denmark — check out the Legos on their cake.
When I married, I wore a vintage dress from around 1905 and my maid-of-honor a Victorian dress, both bought from local vintage clothing stores; total cost, less than half what one new gown would have been. I didn’t do it to be green or PC. I hate white satin and felt weird wearing a traditional dress; something comfortable and pretty and distinctive worked well. Instead of cut flowers, I used ivy topiaries in the shape of hearts and potted red geraniums. The reasons were budgetary, but the effect was charming. Our budget, more than 15 years ago, was less than half of what brides today are spending, but we had all the elements that mattered.
My marriage? Brief and not happy. But, hey, a stylish affair on a tight budget — one that many friends planning their own weddings borrowed ideas from. At least we got something right.
There are many ways to have a fun, chic, cool wedding without buying into the bridal arms race, described by New Yorker writer Rebecca Mead in her 2007 book “One Perfect Day.” From Publishers Weekly:
In its nascence in the American lexicon, the term “Bridezilla” has inspired articles, reality television and watercooler tales of brides gone mad. This phenomenon piqued New Yorker staff writer Mead’s interest, sending her on a three-year investigation of the current American wedding and the $161-billion industry that spawned it. “Blaming the bride,” she writes, “wasn’t an adequate explanation for what seemed to be underlying the concept of the Bridezilla: that weddings themselves were out of control.” Interviewing wedding industry professionals and attending weddings in Las Vegas, Disney World, Aruba and a wedding town in Tennessee, Mead ventures beyond the tulle curtain to reveal moneymaking ploys designed around our most profound fears as well as our headiest happily-ever-after fantasies. Goods and services providers alter marital traditions—and even invent new ones—to feed their bottom line. Stores vie for bridal registry business in hopes of gaining lifelong customers. Women swoon for what retailers call “the ‘Oh, Mommy’ moment” in boutique fitting rooms—an unsettling contrast to the Chinese bridal gown factory workers who make them possible, sleeping eight to a room and scraping by on 30 cents an hour. Part investigative journalism, part social commentary, Mead’s wry, insightful work offers an illuminating glimpse at the ugly underbelly of our Bridezilla culture.
Any tips from your frugal/green wedding you’d like to share?