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Planning a Thoughtful Wedding

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Weddings are full of decisions. Are you making yours thoughtfully? Check out these ideas for planning a more thoughtful wedding.

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For most people, their wedding day is the most expensive day of their lives. We’re all budget savvy folks here, so we’re not as lavish as some couples—but still, the $10,000 that’s considered “budget” in this industry is a lot of money.

This gives couples a great opportunity to stimulate the economy in ways that are meaningful to us. We don’t claim to be economics experts, but we do understand that if a business doesn’t make money it’ll close down. And so, in a sense, we’re constantly voting with our money.

Booking vendors and buying things with our values in mind looks different for every person because everyone’s values are different. Here are just a few of our ideas on how we can vote with our money by Planning a Thoughtful Wedding:

Conscious Engagement Rings

This part definitely isn’t budget-friendly, but it is human-friendly. If you opt for diamonds in your jewelry (wedding band, wedding-day jewelry, etc) then we urge you to consider certified conflict-free, lab-grown, or Canadian-sourced diamonds. Consider shopping for your engagement ring through Blue Nile, Clean Origin, or James Allen, for lab-created diamond options. Alternatively, you could choose wedding rings that are made from recycled metals with no diamonds.

If you don’t know what we’re talking about, watch Blood Diamond (bonus: Leonardo DiCaprio eye candy). And for a dose of diamond humor, watch this.

Thoughtful Wedding Venue Choices

This is probably going to be your biggest budget item, and so it’s where you can make the biggest impact. You could choose to set aside a donation for the church where you’re being married. Or support your favorite independent bookstore as an offbeat option. You could also choose to go with a state park, especially if you are big believers in the importance of natural spaces being kept freely open and available to the public. The best part? You’ll likely save money if you select an alternative wedding venue, maybe even a tiny fraction of what you could have paid to a traditional wedding venue!

Conscious Wedding Food Ideas

This is one of the big-ticket items that you may choose to be very intentional with. If you’re passionate about the sources of your food and supporting local farmers in your everyday lives, it may also be important for you for your wedding. The farther away the food is coming from, the bigger the meal’s carbon footprint is, and when you’re feeding 100 people that can add up. Plus fresh and local is so much tastier than far away and out of season.

When it comes time to get a cake, check out the small family-owned bakeries in your town. Supporting a local family-owned business rather than a big-box store. You may also opt for vegan desserts for a smaller environmental impact.

Thoughtful Wedding Registry Options

Well, it’s someone else money when it comes to gifts, but still. Most engaged couples these days have already been living outside of their parents’ home for many years, and many even live with their partner already. They probably don’t need a colander or a set of silverware, and so registries focused on those “traditional” items are generally more about upgrading or replacing. There are other options! Here are just a few that we found:

Nearby: For those of us that would prefer unique items from local stores, there’s a registry for that! Instead of registering for a tablecloth potentially mass-produced in a sweatshop, you can register for a tablecloth from a local textile artist.

So Kind Registry: It’s a very open-ended registry where you can register for wedding help, charity donations, cooking lessons, or whatever else you can think of.

The Good Beginning: A wedding registry for conscious couples. An invitation to begin your marriage by doing good– choose a charity, register your event, and allow your guests to allocate gift funds to a good cause!

Thoughtful Wedding Vendor Selection

Consider hiring diverse vendors and supporting small, local businesses to make an even bigger direct impact. From supporting women-owned wedding brands to seeking out BIPOC service providers, you can help promote and uplift marginalized communities by seeking out vendors who reflect your values.

Thoughtful Sources for Wedding Decor

Etsy: support independent artists and get one-of-a-kind items at the same time! $150 to David’s Bridal is hardly noticed. $150 to an artist on Etsy and you’re helping them buy groceries or pay their phone bill. You can find anything here from invitations to sashes to centerpieces.

Tradesy: One of a few different websites where you can find gently used or bought-and-changed-our-minds items for a discounted price. Eco-friendly (less waste!), budget-friendly (discounted prices!), and bride-friendly (help a fellow bride make some money back!)

thrifted wedding vases, averaging at about $1 apiece
thrifted wedding vases, averaging at about $1 apiece

Thrift Stores and garage sales: Collect vases from your local charity thrift store. Sure, you could go to the dollar store and spent the same amount, but by going to the thrift store you’re:

a.) supporting a company that does good work in my community  
b.) getting a fun variety
c.) getting higher quality than dollar store vases.

If you find it at a garage sale you’re helping your neighbor make some extra cash (plus you could probably bargain with them.) You may find an old canvas with a frame that you can paint over as a wedding sign, or a variety of other treasures. What aspect of your wedding décor could be found at a thrift store or garage sale?

Personalized Wedding Hashtag

Celebrate your wedding with a personalized hashtag that is perfectly YOU. Wedding hashtags ensure you can always look back on photos and videos from your big day, making it the perfect touch for your thoughtful wedding. If you’re struggling to come up with a hashtag, let the team at Wedding Hashers take over! They will get to know who you are and what you’re looking for in order to offer a truly tailored approach.


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Making things over

Upcycling: With this one you’re voting with your money by not spending it on things that you already have. There are many free items to be found in your house, on the street, and on Craigslist. Do you really need to buy a card box when you have that cute basket on your shelf? Maybe your neighbor just put a bunch of scrap wood out that you can make wedding signs with? Maybe you’re a wino? Type “wine craft” into Pinterest and you’ll have a ton of different ideas to sift through. Think about your wedding décor and look around your house. You can probably save a lot of money this way.

Weddings have a lot of pieces, and we think if you are extremely values-conscious with every single detail, you may lose your minds and spend more money than you have trying to do it all “perfectly.” But we truly believe if you do what you can with what you have to plan a thoughtful wedding, we can all make a difference in our communities.


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The Budget Savvy Bride is the #1 Online Wedding Planning Resource for couples who want to plan a beautiful wedding on a budget they can actually afford. Check out our best-selling book on Amazon, The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer!