Ultimately, the biggest party I have planned in my life to do has been my wedding. Which took a full two years of organizing, searching and stressing out. And that's what everything except for the ceremony of a wedding is: a huge party where you and your partner are the hosts.
(our ceremony. It was hurricane weather until I stepped outside- it cleared only long enough for the ceremony on the ocean.)
Unfortunately, our wedding wasn't as green as I would have liked. Believe it or not, because we decided not to elope, we had to accept that it was our decision to involve our families... which meant certain compromises had to be made (like having a cake, not announcing both our hyphenated last names and having a dance).
That said, we did manage to sneak in a bunch of eco-friendly party tricks that I actually don't think many people even noticed the difference... (which for both our extremely conservative families, is a big deal).
1. No Save The Dates (or STDs in wedding land. No seriously, they are referred to as STDs lol). Ok, that's a slight lie, we only sent STDs (ugh) to relatives who were old school AND we made them extremely small (business card sized) to save on paper. Everyone else was prompted to email or call. Unfortunately barely anyone did... but from what I hear that's fairly common even with STDs. My mom was pretty darn excellent at tracking people down- so it worked.
(Our invitations. Because of the drama around our last name fusion, we left that off for the invitations too. Turned out alright for a DIY and someone with zero design skills!).
3. Guest Gift Packages: this was a silly idea, but I filled locally gifted and scrounged mason jars with locally roasted fair trade organic coffee, local pears from the farmer's market, local free newspapers and homemade delicious granola made by moi and gifted them to all the guests who were staying in cottages overnight for the wedding. The guests loved it, but delivering these packages the day before and morning of my wedding during hurricane rain storm weather resulted in some tears...
4. We requested that all our food and wine be local. It wasn't 100% unfortunately, but a lot of it was bought at the farmer's market. (The lack of local wine even though we specifically requested it is my biggest disappointment).
5. Flowers were all seasonal and from a local flower growing dude 5 minutes away from our venue. Since no one really remembers flowers and I just needed something to grip onto while I walked down that aisle. My friends helped me arrange my bouquet (less difficult than you think) and shove them into white wine bottles Andrew and I had been collecting for the past year (buying wine for the colour of the bottle is NOT the best idea...).
6. My dress was made in Canada using non synthetic fabrics. It wasn't organic, nor was it a sustainable fabric, but it wasn't made by slave labour using petrochemically derived thread. Which was my compromise since I was unwilling to buy a wedding dress online without first trying it on.
Our Guest Tree in action. The frame on the left was an old childhood "art" in my room that I repurposed to explain our favour-donation in memory of our loved ones who had passed. The two columns list them on each our side.
The Guest Tree mounted in a shadow box. The cost was still cheaper than buying a fancy photo guess book and looks beautiful :)
Our cake! On which we broke my Tante's 27 year old crystal wedding knife :S
10. Instead of favours we donated money to the Canadian Cancer Society in memory of family members who had passed. All the money raised for the "kissing" part was also added AND we encouraged guests to donate to a few different charities for their gifts. In all we raised over 350$ (with our contribution), and we only had 50 guests. :)
I'm very happy with our mostly Green wedding, but my absolute favourite part of the entire experience was the 20 minute ceremony where we read our personalized vows to each other. Which really drives home that the most important part of a wedding isn't all the fooffy consumerism stuff, but the love and commitment made between two people and witnessed by their family and friends.