Yes, it can be achieved and beautifully too.

If you’ve started to plan your wedding you have no doubt already shuddered at the costs and gasped ‘How much?!’ And understandably so.  However, it doesn’t need to be that way.  You can still have your perfect day on a budget and helping the environment.

Believe it or not, I had as much of a sustainable wedding as possible in 1985 (yes, I was a child bride!)

Read on for ideas that may tickle your fancy in the 21st century!

I soon discovered that friends and family were delighted to be asked to take a special role in our wedding so I began to think about the talents they possessed – and discovered they were a rather creative bunch of guests!


One guest was an avid photographer so BINGO! Their role was sorted and the photos taken were amazing! 

Oher guests were asked to snap away (I wouldn’t put our friendly ‘official’ photographer into this category for fear of offence as they did model themselves more on the David Baileys of this world)

All the photos taken were so natural, happy, candid, entertaining and special.

Saved a fortune straight away.     

Wedding cake

Do you need one? Well, we decided yes and one of our guests was an expert cake maker so they made the cake, decorated it and delivered it– plus it was their wedding present too.  Money saved all round.


Home made and hand made with confetti inside to throw at us on the day.  Sadly, the confetti was the paper type (we are talking many years ago) however bio-degradable flower petals are easily bought or made today!  Most invites were hand delivered too – saved a fortune on printing and postage.

Transport to the ceremony

There was a shortage of parking so lift sharing was encouraged.

And the for ‘main players,’ as I like to call them?

We asked friends with reliable cars to drive us! My old 2CV would probably have broken down so reliability was the name of the day! The friend who drove me brought me to tears as they insisted on collecting me 30 minutes early, all was to be revealed when he drove me on a trip down memory lane – past the hospital I was born in, past my schools, past my favourite boozer and onto the ceremony.  They had also put together a cassette tape (1985 don’t forget) of all my favourite music to play on the journey. I wouldn’t have received those personal touches with a private hire car!

The ceremony

Yes, the most expensive part – however the most important part too. I can give you lots of tips as to how to keep your 21st century ceremony to a respectful, meaningful and memorable budget.

The party

We chose to have our ceremony at 5.15pm and afterwards went straight into a celebratory party. No need for day guests and evening guests – just one big shindig! Saved on catering and bar costs too.

The drink

We set up the bar – saved lots! Or ask guests to bring a bottle!

The catering

Tricky one, I opted for a group of youth offenders who were on a government run catering course. I did receive a few shocked looks prior to the ceremony however I had met with them and their tutors on many occasions and trusted them. Did they let me down as some feared? NO!  They took such pride in every aspect of the job from budget to taste to presentation. Just wonderful.  And as they were training, the fee was reduced too. 

A thought for present days – ask your guests to bring a hamper picnic, the crockery and cutlery and even a picnic table and chairs!  It does work, shows their individuality and they can even become a little competitive with each other as to who has created the best-looking table – friendly competition of course, no profiteroles at dawn!    You could also ask each guest to bring a piece of cheese for the roving cheese board – let the battle of the cheese board begin!    


Easy one – ask everyone for their favourite song and play during the festivities, Spotify nowadays. Not so easy in the 1980’s but we managed!

The dress

Oh boy, this proved a tad of a nightmare but all was OK on the day! I knew the style I wished for but the budget did not cover it nor would I have spent so much on a dress. So, bought a low-cost dress with a view to alterations, additions and amendments! Found a dressmaker, what could possibly go wrong! Dress handed over to lovely dressmaker. This poor person then fell off her moped and her partner broke off their relationship!  Perfectly good reasons why she was not returning my landline calls as she was not at home! Luckily her mum came to the rescue! With two weeks to the wedding the unaltered dress was given back to me! The hunt for a new dressmaker who could create my dream dress began!  Bear in mind this was an August wedding, dressmakers are either full or on holiday! As luck would have it, I found one, an amazing lady who made my dream come true within a week to go to the big day – Cinderella really did make it to the ball!

And for brides, grooms or any of your party I would thoroughly recommend visiting charity shops, some of the large charities even have dedicated shops to wedding wear – I don’t like to say bridal wear so as to include all.

Overall, shop local as much as possible – save your money, save your time, save our  local businesses and save the planet! Win, win for everyone!

Please feel free to contact me for a no-obligation chat and I can share even more tips and ideas.

PS – Two of my three children have married or are due to be married.  Did they follow all of my suggestions? No! Some? Just about! Did I wish they had followed more? NO! I’m proud that I’ve raised three children who listen (possibly to pacify me!) however overall know their own minds.  Please, also look upon this article as suggestions and, most importantly, have a wonderful day… your way 😊