Permaculture for the Society

A Permaculture Wedding

It is no secret that our society LOVES weddings! The average cost of a wedding in the United States is between 25,000- 30,000 dollars. The wedding industry is enormous and well-established—magazines, websites, stores, and Pinterest can prove that point. 🙂

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Photo: Tres Jolie Photography

I argue that the wedding industry needs a ‘permaculture makeover’. Weddings are religious ceremonies of marriage. Combining lives in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship, is spiritually based. Biblically, a wedding is meant to represent God’s relationship with His church (Ephesians 5). Scripture is abundant with images of weddings, brides, and bridegrooms, and Jesus performed his very first miracle, on earth, for the continued celebration of a wedding feast (Matthew 22 & John 2) I argue that weddings should be as varied as the people God created in this world, but that they should also glorify the God who established their purpose.

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Photo: Magnified Joy Photography

Here are some principles that I believe should guide wedding planners who are seeking to plan frugally, creatively and in such a way that glorifies God. I am unashamedly using examples from my own wedding this past August, but please recognize that these principles do not necessarily create cookie-cutter weddings! You can be creative and unique, while still upholding these principles!!

1. Keep costs low. Be willing to compromise. This is hard. Most of us have an ideal ‘dream wedding’ and we want to make every piece fit perfectly. I was two months away from my wedding when I had a break down about not finding my ‘perfect’ dress. I decided to take a hiatus from dress shopping/trying/looking/thinking, and on that hiatus I was able to realize that my dress was BY FAR not the most important part of this day. Yes, God wanted me to feel beautiful and loved, but an expensive dress should not induce those feelings! I was not going to spend a ridiculous amount of money on something I would wear for one day. In addition, there are so many other things that money can be spent on that are much more important to me (food, health related endeavors, missions, traveling, water for villages that have none…etc) Long story short, I ended up using a dress I ordered for $150 from an overseas company and then my parents helped me redesign it by taking off the sleeves and creating a new neckline. It turned out to be a gorgeous dress, even though it was FAR from my “dream dress”.

This is just one example of an area I compromised in to make my wedding fit a certain budget. I recommend praying about areas you could/should compromise in. The venue? The make-up? The Photographers? The flowers? The dress? What areas can you compromise in? God respects frugality, and if you are planning with Him at the center, I KNOW He will make everything beautiful. Sometimes He makes miracles from our sacrifices, and often when we think we are compromising, He makes things better than we originally designed.

(As a side-note my wedding cost about 8,000 total…a wedding can be done for an affordable price!! We had just under 300 people, and you could cut down your costs a lot more by cutting the amount of people you invite :))

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Rest of the photos: Magnified Joy Photography

2. Seek to use food and decoration that is in season, and local. This is important for frugality, but also for practicality. Certain foods and flowers can come in great abundance when you are conscience of what is in season.

When choosing your colors, look to see what sorts of flowers and arrangements are in bloom during your chosen date. I did not hire a florist, or purchase flowers (I did get some seeds to grow my own). Instead, I expressed my desire to find flowers from friends and family and just created my bouquet and decorations based on what I could procure. I was AMAZED at how many people generously gave flowers from their own yards and fields. Like I said, I did grow some specific flowers, myself, but I don’t recommend counting on growing ALL of your flowers, because you can never be sure what will take and what won’t. As your wedding draws near, keep your eye out for beautiful flowers and fields…you would be surprised how many flowers you can get donated for a wedding day! 🙂

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In addition to flowers, we also did the food for 300 people, on our own. We decided to use a lot of tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, and onions (which were all in season, and growing in our garden). We served a “Haystack” (a fancy name for a taco salad), which was a tortilla chip base, chili bean mixture, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, peppers, cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole….and other various toppings. If you are using a caterer, ask if they have any menu options that are in season. If you are doing your own meal, then do some research to find foods that are naturally abundance during that time.

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3. Utilize talents in your community of friends or family. This is self-explanatory. If possible, ask friends or family to help in areas they are talented in. A wedding is an opportunity to bring family and loved ones together. A permaculture wedding requires a community who is willing to give of themselves to make something great, and if they need some sort of compensation, at least you can hope they are giving the best possible rate.

I had a super wonderful and artistic aunt help with flower arrangements, signs, and various decorations.

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I had a young cousin in beauty school help my bridesmaids with hair and make-up. I decided to do my own, because I LOVE doing my own hair and make-up.

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I had a family friend who was great with horses prepare my Morgan horse, and drive her for the carriage rides.

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I had my amazing church youth group help with catering and running food out to be replaced and renewed.

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Photos: Edgar Balisnomo

I had an awesome brother in Christ play all of the processional music and another beautiful couple sing during my ceremony.

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I cannot even adequately express my gratefulness for all the selfless and wonderful help we received, nor can I possibly hit all of the specific areas we received help in. But my encouragement and advice to you remains; I believe there are good and generous hearts all around us. Pray about who can be of assistance at the wedding, and God will bring the right people to mind.

4. Avoid drunkenness and reckless partying. God loves joy and celebration, especially in relation to the institution of marriage. However, the Bible is quite clear about the fact that drunkenness and debauchery do not glorify God (Ephesians 5:6; Proverbs 23:31)

The idea of a ‘permaculture wedding’ is one which goes back to its natural roots and produces the most nourishment for everyone. Our wedding was dedicated to the jubilation that comes with combining two lives and representing God’s love for His church. Therefore, we did not want people to destroy their livers and dull their senses on our special day. We wanted the day to be rejuvenating to mind, body and soul. Therefore, alcohol had no invitation, as it does nothing to benefit its receiver.

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I will admit that many thought our lack of alcohol was a strange practice, but afterwards I had MANY people tell me that the day was a delight and that they enjoyed the quality time spent with quality people.

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5. Choose a location that allows for easy preparation and cleanup. This is HUGE! If you are doing a lot of DIY things for your wedding having to travel a long distance or go through a lot of traffic is going to be super stressful. Try to find a location that allows for easy access before and during the wedding. We did our wedding in a park directly behind my house. I loved being able to run back to my house when I needed something. 🙂

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6. Give God center stage. Pray from the moment you decide to plan a wedding to the moment the wedding day arrives. Let God lead on everything. He will not let you down.

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Photo: Noreen Johnson

These were some of the principles I followed and recommend to create a ‘Permaculture Wedding’. 🙂 Please feel free to comment any questions you may have and/or post comments or pictures about your ‘Permaculture Weddings’!!

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