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Simple beginnings

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A collection of vintage and thrifted dishes and cutlery set the stage for sweet tablescapes. Photo: Janette Downie

A wedding that really plans for the future

When you already embrace a sustainable lifestyle, chances are your wedding day will reflect those values. Married two years ago, Franny Rutchinski and Zakary Miller didn’t plan an eco-conscious wedding.

They married in Blomidon, N.S. in June 2019.  With some help from wedding planner Sarah Anderson, owner of East Coast Pop up Weddings. Rutchinski says their special day embraced local and sustainable ideals they’ve always held.

“Looking back, I never would’ve categorized it that way, but I guess in the grand scheme, yes it was super eco-friendly and economical,” says Rutchinski.

By gathering the help and talents of their Annapolis Valley community, the couple pulled off an inexpensive, sustainable, and local wedding.

Rutchinski upcycled her mother’s old wedding dress from the 1970s and turned it into a skirt. She then thrifted a vintage blouse at Daisy Roots in Wolfville, the same place where Miller found his suit jacket. 

Rutchinski began collecting glass and dishware for the wedding at local vintage stores which she says became like an addiction. Friends and family began to add to the mismatched glassware collection and threw in tablecloths and napkins.

“We [didn’t have] a lot of money to throw around, so that kind of guided us. That being said, even if our budget was twice what it was, I would’ve done things the same way,” she says.

The important thing when planning a simple wedding, Rutchinski says, is to figure out what’s important to you and cut the rest. This will also help keep the planning clear and stress-free. 

Rutchinski says she went down a rabbit hole of things she thought she needed to have at her wedding, like confetti.

“You get sucked in thinking that you need certain things. Not to toot my own horn but I was told our wedding was very fun, so would that have made an ounce of difference if I had spent a $1,000 on pieces of paper to throw in the air? Probably not.”

Rutchinski also suggests that once you decide on a location, whether you’re travelling around the Atlantic bubble or not, find out what small businesses you can support while you’re there. Their flowers, food and alcohol were from local businesses and breweries in the Valley. 

Rutchinski and Miller are now in the early stages of designing and building a small house. They’re keen on solar energy and implementing a green water system
if feasible.

“The theme of my life at this point is just living as simply and small as possible. The wedding was a good example of that.”

Tips to reduce your wedding carbon footprint

Want more tips? Wedding planner, owner of Elegant Productions and co-author of East Coast Wedding Planner, Katelyn Hipson is the expert on green weddings. She has compiled a list of tips to reduce your wedding carbon footprint from invitations to confetti.

Between wedding announcements, save the dates and invitations, there’s so much information to share with your guests, and so much paper. Sending your information electronically or directing guests to your wedding website is the new norm. Evites are more affordable while reducing the unnecessary manufacturing and shipping process.

A good question to ask your florist: “Do you work with foam?” 

Floral foam is a block of sponge-like foam that florists use to create bouquets. Harmful to the environment, floral foam is synthetic, non-recyclable plastic that doesn’t fully dissolve in water or degrade in landfill or soil. The other scary side to foam is that it contains formaldehyde, a hazardous substance that has been proven to be cancer-causing and used to preserve cadavers the same way it preserves the bloom of a flower. Hipson suggests skipping the foam and talking with your florist about alternatives.

Hipson’s rule of thumb: “Rent, don’t buy. And glass over plastic.” Renting things like glasses rather than buying plastic ones that will end up in a landfill is the more sustainable approach.

You can find many great businesses in your backyard. Look for catering companies that offer and market local food sourcing and work with local farms in Atlantic Canada, says Hipson.

Opt for an edible wedding favour rather than a trinket that gets left behind or thrown out at the end of the night. Hipson says she ends up collecting half of the favours at the end of the night and returning them to the company. 

If the confetti tossing is a moment or a photo you’ve been waiting for, Hipson recommends going for a biodegradable option. Things like dried rose petals or lavender buds, even herbs that can be tossed up in the air will give a similar effect and even better scent. 

East Coast Living