Wedding planning? I just went through it, and yes… organising a wedding (or any event) can get tough; especially when you are at the mercy of venue providers, caterers and so on and you want to make sure it’s as eco and ethical as possible! I found it was very easy to slip and give in to the ‘norm’. Yet, earlier this month, my husband and I experienced the most magical moment of our lives! So I decided to share some tips along the way, that may help you get ready for the big day.
As we continued to organise what I thought would be a very small and no-fuss gathering to celebrate our union, many more details began to pop up: Who is going to make my dress? Who is going to make the invitations? What’s the colour scheme? What deco items should we have? Pressed for time, I tried my best to stand my ground in ensuring our boho beach wedding was eco-friendly and ethical.
Here are some tips and features that made our celebration so magical.
Food & Drink
Unfortunately, the venue did not have sustainable straws available so, with not much time left to order, I asked to have them eliminated! They thought I was crazy when I said: “if you don’t have an option, then no straws at all!” Have people forgotten how to drink from the glass, what’s the big deal? We came to a compromise and served some drinks with paper bio-degradable straws. If you have enough time, seek bamboo or stainless steel straws that can be re-used.
Food wastage: This especially applies for a stand-up reception. Our wedding had two feature stations: BBQ live station and Nepali/Asian table, along with a 25-piece bite-sized menu going round throughout the night. I was very concerned about food wastage as the caterer insisted on catering to the total number of people for each table. This, in fact, did result in food wastage. (FAIL – my guests were more into the cocktail bar than the food perhaps!)
Tip: when you plan your event be sure to insist on and discuss reducing the catering number to something realistic. It saves you money and reduces excessive wastage.
Know your guests and what they eat and drink: When it comes to food selection, caterers often give you their standard menus. Check it, try it, discuss it with your chef to make sure the food is as per your taste and that of your guests. Consider dietary requirements (vegan vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free…). We were lucky to have a motivated and creative chef who, for every query or change we proposed, had a vegan/vegatarian solution ready. No fuss. Ready to accommodate. So when selecting your venue with catering, check out the chef who will be handling your menu changes!
Collect your guest’s email addresses and send a SAVE THE DATE as an e-invitation. There are loads of free (and paid for) sites that have this organised for you! Super simple to use. To be honest, I stuck to a good ol’ email!
If you really wish to send an official invitation – let’s be honest we all get nostalgic receiving post other than utility bills – source handmade, artisanal, and sustainable invitations. I worked with Marina Vaptzarova to custom design our handmade Daphne paper invitations that are sustainable and ethical from plant harvest to finish.
Thank You Cards
I often receive cards that I’ve had to throw away which I don’t feel good about knowing the person took time to handwrite a message to me to express thanks. Turn your thanks into something creative that does not need to cost so much money. Something that might prompt your guest to keep as a memoir of the time they spent with you.
Since my husband is a photographer, we printed selected photographs from his collection that depict the scene of where we live. This way people receive something from us that can be pinned up on a board, or framed or used as a bookmark! We enclosed them in handmade Daphne paper envelopes from Nepal to keep the theme and ensure that the paper is biodegradable.
TIP: Have these ready and start writing them immediately as you receive the gifts to reduce the post-wedding work! You really want to be relaxing and enjoying your new married life – perhaps on honeymoon – at this time.
Confetti: seek from nature!
We had a very strict rule: no confetti and popper things that spurt plastic and micro bits into the air! This became more important to me as we got married by the sea.
TIP: replace confetti with fresh petals. The effect is softer and continues to bring natural elements from nature around you.
Seek a florist that speaks your language and who brings good energy in to your ambience. It’s not just the flowers but the devotion that went into their assembling too. Make sure they understand your style and know your character. If you are opting to have a bouquet I think it can really say a lot about you. Well, mine did: wild, colourful, and soft. The ceremony arch, cake, my bouquet, and other garment accessories were decorated with fresh flowers provided and decorated by Alistair Floral Design (Malta). I can’t recommend him enough if you choose to have a wedding in Malta. With fresh flowers, everything remains biodegradable and lush!
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Preserve your guests’ blessings and wishes
Guests were asked to leave a message and their blessings on a beautiful handmade vegetal leather guestbook that we bought from Marina Vaptzarova. All handmade and ethically made from cover to internal pages finished with a lovely handmade brass element. It was accompanied by a handmade recycled wooden sign hand painted and gifted to us from a friend, Zen D’Amato Gautam, Maltese artisan and entrepreneur. I continued to seek these lovely additions from nature for our eco-friendly wedding. It brings a sense of calm to us in many ways.
We all love to have a good party and get some good old glitter splashed onto our faces creating a magical festival vibe to party into the night. Enter Eco-Glitter Fun: biodegradable glitter and guilt-free sparkles! We can’t have an eco-friendly wedding without them.
In Malta, it is customary to hand out souvenirs, usually to all the ladies. Again we wanted to give our guests something that they would remember us by and at the same time an item that is ethically made and gives back. This is why I chose custom made bracelets from Crafts by Maya Universe. Each bracelet, made with love in Nepal, helps to provide access to quality education in rural villages in Nepal. Profits from the sales of bracelets go to Maya Universe Academy where I had the pleasure to volunteer with over the last 5 years. We got tags printed in Nepal using refined Nepali paper and gathered some of my mum’s friends to tie them to the bracelets with hemp string (from Nepal). It’s a great pre-wedding gathering team-work effort that includes others into the preparation.
TIP: Source ethically made gifts or GET CREATIVE! Maybe you can make something yourself!
It’s YOUR Wedding
Enjoy every single moment and keep reminding yourself to take moments to soak it all in.
Take your time and don’t forget to check in with your partner because this experience will not happen again (well, for most at least).
TIP: After taking the standard photographs with the family, take a short walk (in my case it was along the beach) to check in with each other. This was one of the most beautiful moments we shared. Remember to step aside from the madness and the overwhelming showers of blessings, wishes and compliments.
Celebrating my marriage to my ‘already’ husband was exciting, daunting, and stressful at times! But we are so glad to have experienced it. It is everything everyone says it is to the tee. When all the small details and everyone’s hard work came to play together, it was simply magical. A lot of credit goes to the natural beauty of the location itself!
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Do you have any other tips you would add? Comment below, I’d love to hear them out.
Venue: Ramla Bay Resort, Malta
Photography: Dragana Rankovic
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