In the United States alone, weddings are the focus of a multi-billion dollar industry. With the average cost of a wedding in the States hovering around $30 thousand, it’s no wonder so many vendors are eager to break into the nuptial game. But while weddings may be heading in an increasingly lavish direction, a new trend in sustainability and mindfulness has brides and grooms being more choosy about their vendor decisions. Indeed, many of these customers are millennials, a group notorious for its environmental consideration and overall make-the-world-better mindset. In order to attract this new subset of wedding spenders, vendors must be more than just talented.
If you’re hoping to land new clients in the wedding industry, the following story of a bride who made mindful decisions when planning her wedding may be helpful.
Ian and I became husband and wife on November 22, 2014. That’s us in the above picture.
Our wedding was fun, special and a day to remember. Planning for the big day, however, was stressful—as most tell you it will be. Weddings are expensive. There really is no way around it. You can invite fewer people, keep it low-key, and budget the heck out of it—but at the end of the day you will still be spending a big chunk of money.
Spending so much money on a one-day event didn’t sit easy with me. We had a modest guest list, low-key tastes and did a lot of things ourselves, but we still knew it would cost a lot.
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Worrying about all the money we would be spending got me thinking: what if we could funnel that money into the best sustainable companies, and to the hands of vendors and businesses that we believed in? What if we could pick companies that we knew were making a positive impact through their business? Suddenly, spending money for the wedding became more meaningful than just buying from random companies and hiring random vendors found at a wedding expo. Every dollar spent (okay, maybe not every one, but a lot) now had purpose.
We did as much as we could ourselves: desserts, programs, guest book, handmade wooden table numbers, picture frames, seating board, etc. Next, we focused on using local businesses we knew: family friends and acquaintances that lived close to us and work hard everyday in our community. Our florist, photographer, seamstress, caterer, and DJ all came from people we knew locally.
For everything else, it only made sense to focus on buying from Certified B Corps – the best sustainable companies we could find. Working to serve these companies everyday at B Lab made me want to support the community of Changemakers. These companies helped make our day a day to remember—I hope that by sharing them, I can inspire you to think about new ways you can incorporate them into your buying lives.
Looking around our ceremony and reception and being proud of the companies involved in our special day made it even better.
The micro-businesses presented on Etsy are simply beautiful. We took advantage of the diverse, handmade offerings for a variety of our wedding needs:
• Handmade wire cake topper
• Hand painted Fern Champagne glasses
• Ian’s sterling silver wedding band
• 100% recycled invitation envelopes, green twine, and plantable paper hearts for our invitations
We really wanted to print our invitations on recycled craft paper, and we picked Greenerprinter to do the job. My cousin designed the invitations for us (olivearts.com) and Greenerprinter made it super easy to proof and order! They turned out great.
Raven and Lily
I love ferns. I used ferns at my wedding instead of flowers, and when looking for a rehearsal dress I really wanted something green or fern-esque in design. Raven and Lily’s eco-friendly, comfy Fern Dress was perfect for the occasion. I love their mission to employ at risk women by working with local workshops in Cambodia. Their dress was something I could feel comfortable in and be proud to wear, knowing the impact it created.
King Arthur Flour
As I mentioned, we made all of the desserts served at our reception ourselves. My aunt, who is an amazing baker, helped us make a dessert menu from lemon squares to pecan bars. I made sure that we used my favorite flour to do it all—King Arthur Flour!
When picking my bridesmaid dresses, I wanted to pick something that was affordable, simple, and something my girls could wear again and again. It was a no brainer that I would use Patagonia’s wide variety of sustainably-made dresses—all in black, of course. They were comfy and fun (I own some myself).
One Village Coffee
This company is special because they are both local to us and one of the best sustainable companies, part of the B Corp community. When we found out they did wedding favors, Ian—being the coffee lover he is—was very excited. They let us taste test their coffees and pick the one we loved the most—a mild, single-origin organic coffee from Honduras that was fair trade certified. Letting us customize the sticker made it even more fun. They even gave us some old coffee to use as decorations around the tables!
I wanted something special to give my mom the day before the wedding. As a big fan of Dogeared, I knew they had a bridal collection complete. I chose this “Mom” pearl necklace and she absolutely loved it!
Perhaps you too can use your dollars for impact. I would recommend start by making a list of things you need to buy for the event. Anything you can borrow or make yourself can be checked off. Next, research B Corps in your area or ones online that would fit those needs. Have fun with it and rejoice while enjoying your event, knowing that good the best sustainable companies have helped you make it possible.
Surely your event will be a B-eautiful one too!
This blog post originally appeared on the B Corporation blog.