Category Archives: Thrifty Wedding

Peas and Carrots: Our Eco-Thrifty Wedding

Way way back, at the beginning of this whole process, over nine months ago, I wrote about how our goal was to have an amazing wedding that celebrated us. By celebrating us, I mean celebrating who we are, what we stand for, how we live. Our lifestyle. A lifestyle of living simply and lightly on the planet.

The Veggies on 350 day last year (personal photo).

I’d like to pretend that this was easy, but the pull of the wedding industry is strong. Actually, maybe that’s unfair, because it’s not just the wedding industry. I am a girl who grew up in a state known for its highways and malls, in the highest consuming nation on the planet, during an economic boom. I was given Barbie dolls, and movies starring Disney princesses, and cassette tapes of Debbie Gibson and told by society, that like them, I too could have it all, especially on the biggest day of my life, my wedding day.

A princess bride? (Oh Darling Photography)

So, yes, even though my heart and my head knew the boundaries that I wanted to play within when planning our wedding. And even though I created those boundaries, not anyone else. Even though deep deep down I wanted simple, and thrifty, and eco. Somewhere even deeper, laid a girl ready and waiting to buy into all of the hoopla.

Beautiful hoopla. (Personal Photo)

So, if my recaps seem a bit schizophrenic… If you wonder why we were so staunch about non-paper invitations, and then printed out eight page programs… If you wonder why my dress is re-used but my flowergirls are wearing new Chucks, all I can say is it was a struggle. It was a struggle between us and what we thought our families wanted, between us as a couple, and between myself and my inner diva.

The Veggies de-stress the day before the wedding. That’s some good teamwork. (Photo by Mamma Veggie)

And as I sit here in my gumboots, wiping the baby duck pooh off my workpants, sorting through wedding pictures to put with this post, I am happy with the balance we struck. In the end, I think we came out on top. We didn’t end up with the thriftiest or eco-iest of weddings ever on the whole planet, but we sure gave it a go. And we did end up with a very eco-thrifty wedding, one that was also very us, and made us very happy.

Happy Veggies. (Oh Darling Photography)

I will try to give out any eco and thrifty tips that we picked up along the way as I go through my recaps, and I will definitely give you both and environmental and financial tally of the event at the end.

P.S.- Wanna see a picture of our new baby ducklings?

I thought you might! (Personal Photo)

Did you have battles with yourself or your SO while wedding planning? What were some of the things you got pulled into that you wish you hadn’t? What are some things you were happily able to resist?

Grow With Love

Update on my life: Mr. Veg and I had a romantic reunion at our friends’ Dave and Heather’s lakeside wedding, I passed my written test at the RMV and am now allowed to drive in the USA (with a licensed adult), I have scoured FMIL Veg’s house and barn for wedding items, and thanks to the Salvation Army Mr. Veg finally has something to wear to the wedding.

And now I find myself with a few minutes of down time so I thought I’d keep good on my promise to delve into more detail about our seed packet favors. I’ll let you read the story behind them for yourselves, but I’ll give you a little background on the steps involved.

We bought all seeds in bulk from The Territorial Seed Company. They were very friendly and helpful on the phone. The seed packets from Territorial are so cute that I contemplated using theirs, but buying the seeds in packets is substantially more expensive than buying them in bulk. Like 10x more expensive. So, of course, we went the DIY route.


I designed the packets on good old trusty MS Word with fonts downloaded from DaFont.I then went on an odyssey to find the right paper. It was important to me that the paper was 100% recycled and bleach free, but also that it was thin enough to fold and glue easily. Trust me, if you’re thinking about folding and glueing 160 envelopes, find the thinnest paper available. So I looked in every office supply and craft store I could think of, but kept coming up empty handed. The best I could find was Paper source paper for about 30 cents per sheet. That seemed awfully expensive.

Finally, I stopped in an art supply store near where my sister lived and found handmade paper that was 100% recycled for only $8 per pack. I bought two packs and the lady gave me a 40% discount with a coupon she had behind the counter. Woo hoo! And the best part was that it was already cut in half vertically (hot dog style, not hamburger), so it saved me a bit of time. When do you ever find 4 x 11 paper? Perfect. I love when things like that happen.

So anyway, I know you’ve already seen this picture, but here is the end result.


10 days out now. Yee haw!

I get by with a little help from my…

…newly-found-internet-acquaintances. Such a catchy tune.
Last week I was the recipient of some major bee love.
There once was a girl so nice that she volunteered to help with cutting and glueing, the two most evil most dreaded wedding crafting jobs. Who is this saint? This happy little crafting elf? This magical crafting fairy-godmother? Why she’s EAQ219, (A.K.A. Em) wedding bee afficionado. We met at the D.C. Bee meetup two weeks ago and she volunteered to help me finish up some projects. You know I wasn’t going to let an opportunity like that slip by. So I invited her over for an afternoon crafting session while my nieces were supposed to be napping.

Still smiling even though her fingers are blistering.
Let me tell you something about Em. She is hardcore. Some people might head for the door when greeted with a pile of 160 envelopes to fold, glue, and stuff. A lesser woman might have balked at cutting corrugated cardboard when the only scissors I could find were hot pink kiddie safety scissors. Not this girl. She is epic. And, not only did she show some mad crafting skills, she also passed on some good words of advice, as only a recent DIY bride could.

Trace. Cut. Glue. Repeat.
Also, on the way back to DC from my bridal shower I swung by Mrs. Trail Mix’s house. While my nieces fought over who would get to walk her ah-dor-a-ble little puppy, her and I loaded my trunk with boxes of café lights. 500 feet of gorgeous little beauties, all in two nice nest-like bundles. If you enjoy rubix cubes, do I have a good job for you. Then, because she really is so super sweet, and was about to move into a new apartment in 3 days, she threw in some paper lanterns too. Nice! Gotta love the leftover wedding goodies. After a mere two nights of So You Think You Can Dance, I had those babies untangled and ready to hang. I am so excited about them. Like really really jazzed. Pumped, even.
Three weeks to go and I am loving the bee love. Thanks Trail Mix, thanks Em, I will be sure to pay these favors forward.

Archaeologie

On my recent travels up and down the east coast I stopped in Baltimore to hang out with Veggie Sister Carrot. During my visit we went to a nice big Anthropologie store, a special treat for me since they have yet to expand to New Zealand. (Anthro- If you’re looking for a kiwi store manager, I could be convinced to take on the job). I wasn’t really looking for anything particular, but if a dress happened to fall into my arms that could work for one of two upcoming friends’ weddings, my bridal shower, or our rehearsal dinner, I wouldn’t turn it down.

Going into that store is a huge excercise in self-restraint. So, before going in I had to give myself a little motivational speech. I reminded myself that between my four sisters and the superbly fashionable Momma Veggie, I have five closets worth of dresses that could work for these events. I reminded myself of the US-Kiwi exchange rate, which is not that favorable for purchasing yummy frocks on my meager NZ salary. I reminded myself of the things in my life that make me truly happy, and make me feel beautiful. And then I tried on about a dozen dresses. 🙂

I ended up with two contenders:

and The Two-Wheeler Dress (which has very little arm holes that would have needed some tailoring to fit these Veggie guns).

Sorry if these are old news for you, but they were brand new for me. Turns out that Anthro doesn’t put everything on their international site that they have on the US site. So you lucky ducks have access to some exclusive items that us Anthro-philes abroad never even get to see. I liked both of these dresses, and could see either of them working for at least two of my upcoming wedding events, but I walked out of the store empty handed. I thought I would just think it over a bit first. Good Veggie.

And good thing I did, because when I got up to Momma Veggie’s house in NJ she took a look at the pictures and said, “Oh I have something like that in my closet”. My rehearsal dinner dress hunt went from an anthropologic expedition to an archaeological dig through the depths of Momma Veggie’s closet. Turns out that “something” was a vintage dress that belonged to my Great Grandma Veggie. Doesn’t it look weirdly similar to the orange anthro one? Sweet!


Add a black grosgrain ribbon around the waist and pin the lapels open and I am all set. Woo hoo! One more family treasure that is making its way into our wedding. Hooray for free recycled beautiful things.

Have you been on any archaeological expeditions into your parents’ attics or basements for wedding goodies? Were you pleasantly surprised or did you find some things that are better off staying in the past?

Map Maker, Map Maker, Make Me…

A map! Or two or three.

So on a 13 hour flight you have a few options. You can watch 7 movies, listen to one of 12 pre-programmed airline radio stations repeat the one hour playlist 13 times, play a few thousand rounds of video games, or make maps for your wedding guests.

What would you choose?

Before my NZ-LAX flight I went on mapquest and downloaded some maps that I thought would be useful to our guests. Then I did a little MS Word artistry at 30,000 feet and this is what I came up with.

A far far away map.

A bit more detailed map.

And a very detailed map.
The process was fairly simple, if a bit time consuming. But like I said, I had some time to kill. First I took a screenshot of the mapquest map (on a PC you could use the “print screen” button) and then inserted the image as a picture into a word document. I then traced the roads that I wanted with the line drawing tool, labeled them with text boxes, and labeled important points of interest. I then deleted the original map and added a rectangle behind the lines and filled it with a texture I liked.

And now I have three maps to put on our wedding website. I don’t know that they’re the absolute most useful maps, but they sure are pretty.

Since You Asked

When I first wrote about our decision to do e-vites and then posted the final product many of you asked what we would do for relatives that didn’t have email. It’s not super glamorous, but I thought I’d take a minute to show you the seven snail mail invitations that went out.


Yep, that’s right. Seven. Out of 200 invited guests. Turns out our families are all pretty email savvy. The five paper invites I absolutely needed to send out went to my paternal grandparents, a great aunt on my mom’s side, my maternal great grandmother, long-time family friends of Mr. Veggie, and my dad (he has email, but doesn’t really have a good handle on the internet yet). Then once I got going I thought that Mr. Veggie’s parents and my mom and stepdad would probably like to have a paper invite too, so I made each of them a set to keep.

A warning: we spent lots of time and energy on our e-vites so, I have to admit that I didn’t have much remaining enthusiasm for the paper invitations. These are definitely low-quality, low effort paper invites (but grandmas and grandpas wont care, right?). And really, in the end I think they turned out kind of pretty, considering I didn’t actually buy any supplies and just used what was laying around Veggie Sister Kale’s house (my U.S. home for the summer).

Here’s a step by step tutorial on how I made these fabulous-impromptu-home made paper invites:

Step 1: Print out e-vite onto cardstock.
Step 2: Try to use Veggie Sister Kale’s rotary cutter.
Step 3: Fail at rotary cutting.
Step 4: Allow Veggie Sister Kale to take over rotary cutting and watch her complete the task about 100 times faster and better than I could.

Veggie Sister Kale workin’ the rotary cutter in her PJ’s. Aww yeah.

Step 5: Ponder why the craft gene seems to be absent from my DNA.
Step 6: Print out engagement photos to add in the envelope. Grammies do love photos. Cardstock + home printer= bad quality pictures. Grammies wont mind, right?
Step 7: Dig through Veggie Sister Kale’s craft room to find envelopes. Hmm… red or green?
Step 8: Green.

Step 9: Tie with grosgrain and stuff into green envelopes. Lick and Seal.
Step 10: Call Veggie Mamma for addresses.
Step 11: Realize it would have been much easier to address the envelopes before they were stuffed.
Step 12: Have your hopes dashed when you find an empty packet of beautiful king and queen stamps in the junk drawer, and hope no one notices the Christmas stamps you are forced to use by your strong desire not to have to bring a two and three year old to the post office.

A Thought: When I am married will I finally be grown up enough to have things like a craft room and a complete list of family addresses?
Probably not.

So there’s the quick and dirty low down on the paper invites. We also assigned an internet savvy friend or relative to set up a lunch date with each of the paper invite recipients to show them the e-vite, video, and website. This way they wont miss out on the full experience and will get to have a lunch date with someone fun. I think this will all work out really well. Worst comes to worst, I can always give them a call to make sure that they received their snail mail.

By the way, apologies for not posting more for the past two weeks. I arrived in the U.S. one week ago today and have been quite busy making cupcakes, singing songs, tickling, and giving raspberries to bellies. Life is good.