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Wedding Tradition Versus Eco

2/2/2010 4:18:01 PM

Tags: save-the-date cards, conventional wedding, eco-friendly wedding, RSVP, bridesmaid dresses

Hello! This update finds me in a much happier wedding-planning state than my previous. After some harried e-mails and phone calls, we've settled on a new NEW date for our wedding, which is now in late May. Having to change the date at what felt like (but really isn't) the last minute meant some of the biggest stress so far in Wedding Planning Land, but we've settled on a date that works for all of our bridal party members. Luckily, the later date means it will be much easier to find local flowers, too, so I'm happy to not be stressing over that. Buying thousands of dollars worth of chemical-laden bouquets was definitely not on my to-do list, but getting into organic flowers takes a whole new twist when local farms are out of the picture (see my previous post). The change of date also left me saying, "thank goodness we didn't do save-the-date cards." Which leads me to the subject of this post: I am forgoing a few "traditional" wedding things in the hopes of saving resources (not to mention, money). But I'm sure some brides and mothers-of-brides would faint at the suggestion of skipping these most conventional of wedding customs. So I'm wondering, what do you all think about this? Is it ok to forego wedding tradition in the name of eco-friendliness?

It helps that I'm not a person who is particularly attached to tradition, nor to the idea of a traditional wedding. I want to create a fun, memorable event. I want to celebrate the start of a new phase of my fiance's and my lives with our family and close friends. And I want it to be beautiful and unique to us and our vision. But I don't really care if it lives up to anyone's expectations of what a wedding is supposed to be. Still, I felt trepidation at dispensing with some of these most basic of wedding traditions:

1) We are not sending save-the-date cards. I can see how save-the-dates are good and useful. It's nice to give your family plenty of time to prepare. Still, I have reserved hotel rooms, and everyone will have their invitation a full three months before the event. I decided if that's not enough time to plan and prioritize coming to our wedding, it's probably not that important to you. It helps that we are inviting family and close friends, and that we put out a verbal "save the date" through our families months ago. But, no, there will be no paper used and no postage paid to send a formal pre-invite invite.

2) We are having guests RSVP by e-mail or phone calls. I'm sure some people will really balk at this one. I was a little nervous about this one, too. But I decided, again, why waste paper and postage when it's just as easy for guests to shoot me an e-mail or dial the phone to my mother or I as it is to drive to a mailbox and drop in the little card. I also decided this option would give me a little more personal communication with my guests. Rather than dropping that anonymous little card, guests are now encouraged to drop a line, say hello, ask questions.

3) I'm not having matching bridesmaids dresses. I will admit: I didn't find bridesmaids dresses I liked made from eco-friendly materials. But I was committed to choosing bridesmaids dresses that are actual cocktail dresses my bridesmaids will wear again. Part of doing that, I felt, was letting them choose colors and styles they actually liked. My six beautiful bridesmaids come in different shapes and sizes and skin tones. I knew pale colors would work on some, but not on others. That super cute strapless would be great on this one, but definitely wouldn't work for that one. The solution, for me, was to choose a designer and fabric and color palette (I chose four complimentary colors) and let them pick the dress they liked within those parameters. It worked out that they chose dresses that work great together. I hope it worked out that they are all walking away with dresses they like and will use again.

I'm sure there are other traditional things I'm skipping or missing, but you get the idea. Like I said, it helps that I and my family are not particularly attached to the idea of a traditional wedding, but I'm sure many of you out there are. How do you deal with this? Ideas? Thoughts? Am I missing the boat on these conventional wedding must-haves? Have you had family conflicts over these issues? I'm curious!



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