How We Planned a Zero-Waste Wedding With a Budget of $2,000

That Hippie Family
by That Hippie Family

Hi, I’m Ashley and I’m going to share the details of our wedding so you can see it’s possible to have a fantastic event that you can afford while being mindful of sustainability too.

It was a zero-waste wedding and we did it with a wedding budget of $2,000. I’ll give you a complete breakdown of our wedding budget and how we stayed zero waste or at least low waste.

How to have a wedding for under $2,000

We had a budget of $2,000, which may seem crazy to a lot of people. But if you’re engaged right now and want to get married, but it seems too expensive or you think your dream wedding isn’t possible, I want to remind you that a wedding is to get married.

The wedding industry is so consumer-driven and there’s so much waste that goes into a wedding. I didn’t want to contribute to that, so I planned this low-waste wedding.

I want to inspire you just to get married! You’re in love, right? Nothing else matters anyway! Have an intimate wedding so you can tie the knot because that’s what matters.

Zero-waste wedding flowers and vases

1. Flowers and vases

All of the vases we used are secondhand and were used for another party. A friend painted them blue for us. We did buy the flowers for about $200. But they were zero waste because I composted them. We are also going to press and keep a few.

Total flowers: $200

2. Dishes

All of the beautiful dishes we used were Chad’s family’s dishes so we didn't use any disposable dishes. We brought everything we needed so we didn’t need to go through waste like disposable dishes.

3. Decorations

We didn’t use any disposable decorations. We only used flowers and the napkins were cloth. The only thing I brought with us was a tapestry we used for picture-taking.

4. Furniture

We didn’t have to rent any furniture at all which was amazing because the venue, which is an Airbnb that we stayed at overnight, had all we needed. 

5. Small guest list

Chad and I are going to have a big party one day to celebrate our marriage where all of our friends and family can attend. It was tough not to have all of our loved ones with us on that special day. But we had a strict rule that we were going to keep the wedding to parents and siblings only. I wanted to have my best friends and family but the invitation list can snowball. 

6. Wedding outfits

Chad already had his outfit. His shirt was the theme of our wedding. The shirt was a cool vintage shirt that he had for a long time. That’s why the color theme of our wedding was navy blue. The moms wore dark blue and the boys and dads wore light blue.

My dress was a fiasco. I ordered it online, spent $100, and it did not come in time. So my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and mother-in-law spent an entire day looking for a dress on Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji. I luckily had a dress gifted to me in time, but I still paid for the other dress so it’s included in my budget.

Our baby Floyd’s outfit was $15. I went to a children’s secondhand store and got him a onesie and a pair of nice overalls.

I also bought the shoes I wore, which were like white sneakers, from a store, but I’m returning them. I’m returning them because I’m never going to wear a pair of $40 white shoes like that again, and I wore them inside for a few hours. Yes, it’s cheap, but let’s be real. So, zero dollars on shoes. If I could have borrowed a pair of shoes, that would have been ideal.

Total wedding attire: $115

7. Hair and makeup

I also did all of my hair and makeup myself. I didn’t buy any new makeup and I cut my bangs myself.

Total hair and makeup: $0

8. Travel

It cost us $70 for our ferry ticket one way and it cost $100 for a ferry ticket on the way back because of the time of day. It was $250 in gas on the way there and back. So it was about $500 in gas. 

Total travel: $670

9. Food

I heard food was $120 total to feed everybody. My father-in-law did all the cooking for everyone and he gifted the food to us. Even though it was gifted to us, I’m keeping it in the budget. The food packaging was really the only waste from this wedding.

Total food: $120

10. Accommodations/venue

It was great to get married in an Airbnb and stay in the same place. It was $1,200 for the accommodations, split four ways which came to $300 each couple, but our part was gifted to us by my parents. Our family made this day so possible and we are so grateful. We were able to spend quality time with our family in the Airbnb together and it was so much fun.

Total accommodations/venue (our portion): $300

Gifted wedding bands from family

11. Wedding bands

Chad’s wedding band was a family heirloom and he got it sized for $200. My mother gave me my wedding band which was part of a ring set that she had. So mine cost me nothing.

Total wedding bands: $200

How to plan a zero-waste wedding for $2,000

Zero-waste wedding for $2,000

It’s absolutely possible for you to have a wedding for under $2,000. Stop overthinking when and how you’re going to get married. Please let us know in the comments what you think of having a zero-waste wedding or a wedding on a small budget!

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2 of 4 comments
  • Sandra Seymour Thompson Sandra Seymour Thompson on Sep 05, 2022

    Very good ideas, I got married outside at my house and had my church family life center on hold in case of rain (free). I also made my own three tier cake, maybe $25 and groom's cake was $10. I made a platter of fresh fruit and a friend made a cream puff tower. Nuts and mints. Iced tea and coffee and pitchers of punch. I made small baskets of silk flowers for maid of honor and bridesmaid. I used crepe myrtles flowers for the flower girl. I got the baskets from thrift stores and flowers from $1 tree. My dress was $9 at thrift store and attendants dresses were $1 a piece. We already had shoes. About 50 guests. I had tablecloths. I did use paper plates and napkins and plastic forks. I borrowed chairs and tables from church. Free flowers from yard. You can get married inexpensively if you want.

  • Nanci may Nanci may on May 09, 2023

    Extremely bad to return worn shoes.