I love weddings. Attending weddings, watching royal weddings on tv, stalking people’s wedding pictures on Facebook, watching reality tv shows about weddings and wedding dresses, you name it! Above all weddings I loved the one where I got married to my dear husband. I really loved planning our wedding too (and wasn’t a horrible bridezilla, right bridesmaids?) and I really enjoyed incorporating recycled and second-hand items into our wedding.
A lot of weddings nowadays revolve around consumerism. People want expensive rings, expensive clothes, a fancy venue and all that. I always feel that less is more, and I would have felt uncomfortable at a wedding that was more about things than about our relationship and spending time with people we love. Concentrating on the ecological side of our wedding was important to me, because it wouldn’t have felt like my wedding at all if I hadn’t. And I felt like the recycled things at our wedding were more special than if they would have been bought new: recycled things have a story. I didn’t feel at all restricted by concentrating on ecological items, on the contrary actually. If I had bought my wedding dress from a regular store unused, I couldn’t have afforded the dress I bought second-hand. I feel our wedding was really a success as a party (I don’t even need to say how successful and wonderful I thought it was as the day I got married to my best friend), and aesthetically it really worked. We had a sort of vintage/rustic theme, so second-hand items were a natural part of that and made our theme more authentic.
My whole wedding outfit was second-hand (ok, except for my underwear). The shoes I bought from a flea market already a year before our wedding. The veil was from my big sister. The dress was from a second-hand wedding boutique in Helsinki called Lovebirds. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a wedding dress. Like I wrote in my post about evening gowns, people don’t wear clothes like that much. A wedding dress is used once, so if you buy it second-hand, it isn’t exactly worn out. The dress I bought was from the previous season, so it wasn’t even old. And luckily my godmother is a seamstress, so she made some adjustments to the dress to make it more unique. Second-hand wedding dresses are about half the price of a new one, so it can really help with your wedding budget, or help you save up for your honeymoon or your future life together as a couple. And there are so many second-hand dresses being sold. A shop like Lovebirds is one option, but wedding forums are also full of people selling their old dresses. Some people might find it awkward to have a wedding dress that has already seen one wedding, but it doesn’t show from the dress at all, so I don’t really get how that can be disturbing to anyone. It’s a new dress for you, and you look amazing in it: that’s all that really matters.
A lot of the decorations at our wedding were second-hand as well. Instead of place cards, I made customised coasters for each guest. I bought left over tiles from a recycling center and printed each guest’s name on them to make them individual. The point was to have place cards that can be used outside our wedding as well. I don’t know if any of our guests have used these as actual coasters after our wedding, but at least they could have.
As tablecloths, we bought bed sheets. They were new, but now they have a new life as actual sheets at my husband’s grandparents’ cottage. The real reason we bought sheets instead of real tablecloths was that I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I wanted tablecloths that were as simple as possible, but pretty much all of the tablecloths we looked at had some sort of pattern embroidered into them. Sheets are pretty much the same thing, I mean its just a piece of simple cloth… I don’t think any guests noticed any difference!
I made table runners out of pages of books I got for free at a recycling center. I got the idea for a table runner out of book pages from Pinterest. Pretty much all my ideas for our wedding came from Pinterest. I’m actually amazed by how people were able to plan weddings before Pinterest. How did they manage?! I sort of felt bad ripping out pages from perfectly fine books, but at least they got a new life. Lord knows how long they would have just been in a pile of free books at Kierrätyskeskus otherwise!
As flower vases we used old bottles bought from second-hand stores. I later sold these (mostly for a profit) at another second-hand store. Flea markets are full of really old, thick bottles that people have for whatever reason. They gave a nice rustic feel to our wedding, especially since they were all a bit different.
We used picture frames for our programmes and menus, most of which were bought second-hand. I couldn’t find enough frames at second-hand stores, so some of them I had to buy new. However, after the wedding I sold them at a second-hand store, once again for a profit actually. You see, this second-hand shopping thing works both ways: you can get money for your old stuff!
One of my favourite little details at our wedding was our cake topper. It’s this adorable vintage wedding couple that was originally used at my grand-parents’ wedding. After that it has been on the top of my parents’ wedding cake, and on the tops of my aunt’s and uncle’s and brother’s and sisters’ wedding cakes. It looks a bit worn out already, but I love items with a story and I can’t get over the adorableness of the fact that this cake topper has been at my grandparents’ wedding way back in 1960.
Writing this post was actually pretty emotional. It’so our two year anniversary in two months, but looking through our pictures and thinking about that day makes it feel like it was yesterday. Our wedding felt so warm and loving: all our guests were just the best, and the speeches and surprises they had arranged for us were amazing. I’ll never forget the feeling and the love that was present at our wedding. A big part of that is how beautifully our photographer captured our day. If you’re as in love with our wedding pictures as I am, go check out Eetu Linnankivi‘s website to see even more stunning photos.