I am so happy I get to pause, and re-live our wedding details through this post. Even though I’m glad the planning is over (and you will be too), I do miss the anticipation; and I loved having an entire gathering based on us.
My first post was all about the planning process. The timeline and budget can seem like boring topics, but they are essential for any wedding. In this post, I want to walk you through what we did for everything. Okay, maybe not everything, because I’m sure I will forget things, but feel free to reach out to me for questions.
This list is for the earth conscious, badass brides and grooms that need help with navigating the wedding planning world!
Family + Friends: Draw from other weddings, and gather ideas from other couples. Ask for their favorite vendors, too!
Off Beat Bride: This was a great resource towards the end of planning. When it came to some details, I was a little confused, so I went to Off Beat Bride and participated in message boards.Our Theme: Some couples pick colors and elaborate themes. We just wanted our wedding to be centered around sustainable, local items that celebrated the Fall season. So our motif quickly became based on Northern Michigan, and living a zero waste lifestyle.
Sustainable Rings: Did you know that a single wedding ring produces 20 tons of waste. That’s right, 20 tons. On an annual basis, mining companies use 182,000 tons of cyanide to dissolve gold and silver from Earth mined ore; this makes our water undrinkable and kills species living in the water. Conflict free diamonds are not necessarily “conflict free” either.
We purchased my engagement ring and both bands on Etsy. Opt for rings that are made from gemstones, second hand, or made with alternative materials. We looked at antique stores too, but fell in love with the engagement ring on Etsy. This will save you a ton of money, and you are doing what’s best for the environment!
Simple + Handmade Invitations: Since I’m obsessed with typography, I wanted to send paper invites. You can save big by using Green Envelope, or a similar evite service.
If you want to send paper, I used Silk & Willow’s amazing recycled cotton rag paper. I also used their plant dyed ribbons for the invitations, our bouquets, and other details. I just wish I had taken better pictures before sticking them in the mail!
Venue: Just because we’re locals, we had a list of possible venues before we even started looking, but that quickly changed when we received prices and contracts. The only venue we looked at in person was our venue, The Cathedral Barn at Historic Barns Park. It met everything on our checklist, and was the perfect fit for our up north themed wedding! Stephanie + Kayla were so helpful and kind, and genuinely love working with couples. Because we chose an off season date, the venue made our budget more flexible.
Photographers: J will attest, the photographers were my number one concern, and Allen Kent Photography made it so easy. They captured our favorite moments, and were willing to help with so many details. They are both super easy going, so posing for pictures was actually fun, and we could just be ourselves.
Local + Simple Food: We didn’t have a formally catered wedding, or a caterer in any sense. When I started gathering quotes, we realized we couldn’t make $5k-10k work for our budget. And every caterer was at least that much. So instead, we choose some of our favorite local places, and created our own menu, our own buffet, and just had simple food, that supported local restaurants.
We had a heavy cocktail hour, with simple skewers and finger foods; and as it got later, and the party was in full swing, our friends at The Filling Station dropped off flat breads! If you want a full list of places we used, and the menu, let me know!
Since we’re not meat eaters, we opted for a mostly vegetarian menu. We ended up having a couple of dishes with meat, but ultimately, we decided we just wanted a simple menu that had options for everyone.
Local + Simple Desserts: I am such a dessert person, so I was so excited about putting a dessert bar together for our wedding. Sticking with our Fall theme, Sweet Tartlette created a naked pumpkin cake topped with fruit. It was so good. I still have dreams about it. She also made us some cheesecakes, and we got pumpkin and apple pie from The Pie Company. To top it off, Third Coast made us amazing vegan and gluten free donuts. If you haven’t tried them yet, you need to.
Local + Simple Drinks: We love our craft beer. Going on beer and wine tastings for the wedding was probably Jeremiah’s favorite part of the process. Being a zero waste wedding, we wanted as minimal recycling as possible, so we opted for kegs instead of bottled beer. Once we got our deposits back, it was a lot cheaper than bottles would have been.
We used three local places to supply our alcohol: Rare Bird, Earthen Ales, and 45 North Winery. The plan was to stick with beer, cider, and wine, but last minute, we added two signature cocktails to the menu. Jeremiah’s pick was an Old Fashioned, and my pick was a Moscow Mule. We also had herbal infused water and La Croix at the bar.
Handmade + Sustainable Bar: Our venue didn’t come with a bar, so we were going to rent one, but J built one! It was the perfect touch to add to the wedding, and something we can still use. He used leftover wood from job sites that would have been sent to the landfill; the only thing we purchased were the screws, so the bar was an instant money saver.
Sustainable Dress: I thought I was going to have to go downstate or to Chicago to find a dress. All the dress shops in TC were a little too stuffy for me, and I wanted to get something that was fun, with a little bit of hippie. But then, One Oak Bride opened right after we got engaged! I really didn’t want to shop for a dress (by that I mean go to a hundred different stores). As soon as I walked into One Oak, I knew I would find my dress. Annie + Renee were super helpful, and easy going. I ended up getting Truvelle Gown, and it fit our Northern Michigan theme perfectly.
Centerpieces: We bought everything secondhand at thrift stores and flee markets. It was cheaper than renting items, but it meant I went to different stores once a week to get enough vases.
Flowers: Like our food, we used a mixture of flower vendors. Even though we wanted to go 100% local for the flowers, it was difficult finding a vendor in late Fall, and this was a part of the budget that we decided to cut.
We started growing Eucalyptus in the Spring, and we actually grew a ton! Our house smelled like a dream for months. We also used one of my Mom’s friends, who has a florist license. She was able to order some more Eucalyptus last minute, we had a mixture of silver dollar, seeded, and gunnii. We ended up ordering some wax flowers and Ranunculus from Fifty Flowers. I wanted a ton of flowers, and we actually made it work on our budget! My sister and I put all of the centerpieces and bouquets together.
I’m sure I’m missing something, but I think that covers the big things. In the final post about our wedding, I’ll go over some zero waste details!