Written By: Rochelle Byrne (Archibald), Executive Director
Planning a wedding is no small task. From food to flowers there's a lot of time and thought that goes in to creating the perfect day. As Mike and I went through the list of things to do we realized that there were a lot of ideas or traditions that didn't fit well with our lifestyle. We made a big effort to make our wedding as environmentally friendly as possible and eliminate wasted resources. After a full year of planning our day came and went and it was absolutely perfect!
We decided a destination wedding was what we truly wanted, and while travel might not seem sustainable we were determined to make it work. We worked closely with different vendors in Prince Edward Island to ensure that we could come up with solutions that met our needs and were possible to achieve. We were pleasantly surprised when we realized how eco-friendly PEI is as there wasn't very much that needed to be specially requested. As far as weddings go, the planning process couldn't have gone any smoother!
Prince Edward Island National Park is where our ceremony took place. It was a free venue and we left no negative impact on the local environment. We used a speaker with a rechargeable battery for music and a camcorder to livestream the ceremony for family back home. Other than that there was no electricity used and nothing but photos taken and footprints left behind.
We rented our chairs from a local supplier. This made everything really easy on wedding day because they dropped them off and picked them up. There are lots of vendors that rent out tents, gazebos, tables, dance floors, arbours and anything else you could imagine for a wedding. Reusing furniture reduced our carbon footprint and saved us money!
None! We used the natural beauty of Prince Edward Island and the venues we chose. A cliff-side ocean view doesn't need decorations. For our reception the pavilion we rented came decorated with white table linens and lights and that's all that was needed to make the night magical. This also made it really easy to clean up afterwards, and we used no extra resources and saved loads of money.
Instead of flower bouquets the bridesmaids and I carried cedar saplings. These were planted in the park right after the wedding ceremony (with permission of course!). The saplings were donated by the provincial nursery so there was no cost! We all know how expensive flowers can be! This is one of the best environmental choices I made for the wedding. Fresh cut flowers use a lot of resources and are generally discarded the day after the wedding. Plus we have trees to visit when we go back to PEI in the future!
Head to toe my bridal attire was second hand or borrowed including my accessories. The dress was purchased second hand from stillwhite.ca and also purchased locally so I could try it on. Not only did this save a lot of money, it also prevented a dress from sitting lonely in a closet. The shoes were a special find; $1,000 Manolo Blahnik's found at Value Village for $12.99. The jewelry was borrowed from my Mom and the pearl hair piece from my mother-in-law. The only thing that had to be bought new was dressing tape to keep me in the dress.
Our wedding rings are from Do Amore. A company that provides clean water to two people for life with each ring sold. Money from the rings bought is combined to drill wells in communities where clean water isn't locally available.
Both of our wedding bands and my engagement ring are from Do Amore. Mike did all the picking and I am so happy with the choices he made. My engagement ring has a moissanite stone, a gemstone born from the stars, originally discovered as part of a meteorite.
Food & Drinks
We hosted our dinner at Fisherman's Wharf Lobster Suppers because we wanted an authentic East Coast experience. Our guests had the choice of lobster or steak, and/or the 60 foot salad bar. Guests could choose their portions and what they liked best in order to minimize waste. We requested local wine be served and the tables were already set with cloth napkins, we couldn't have asked for more! It was a nice surprise when the staff came out singing and handing out their signature strawberry shortcake just for us! Everyone was happy and full when we left the restaurant!
We purchased enamel camping mugs for all our guests. These were used at the reception to eliminate the use of plastic cups at the bar. Guests could bring their cup up for a refill of mixed drinks, wine, hot chocolate, coffee, tea, or water. Plus they're a functional item that our guests will be able to use for years to come.
We have some extra cups and we're excited to take them on all of our future camping trips. They will be a nice reminder of all the fun we had at this memorable event!
Our guests stayed at Stanley Bridge Resort which is also where we held the reception. Guests shared cabins which was a big save for the environment. We had five cabins which accommodated 24 people!
The reception was hosted in a pavilion next to the cabins. Our vision was to have a campfire themed party. Everyone enjoyed late night snacks that were campfire and vegan friendly while speeches were given around the roaring campfire under millions of stars. Fiddling, drinks, and dancing finished off the night. It was a perfect day that turned into the perfect night.
It's all the little things that add up to make a wedding special. We were very happy with the simplicity of our wedding, it made it easy to plan and saved money in some areas so we could use it for things that were more important to us. We hired a top notch photographer and videographer to capture all our memories, and as an amazing added bonus they also donate 10% of their income to help build homes in Haiti.
In order to tackle the extra carbon emissions emitted by flying to PEI we purchased carbon offsets. We bought 5 tonnes which covered all of our guests travel emissions as well as any emissions created by the wedding. We made sure we purchased offsets that go towards a project in the East Coast.
The wedding was everything that we could have imagined and we're sad it's over. But you know what comes after the wedding? THE HONEYMOON!!! Details on that coming soon!
A special thank you to:
Parks Canada - PEI National Park
J. Frank Gaudet Tree Nursery - Saplings
Caseley's - Chairs
Diana Lariviere - Marriage Commissioner
Simon Reid - Photographer
Shannon Reid - Videographer
Fisherman's Wharf Lobster Suppers - Dinner
Stanley Bridge Resort - Accommodations and Reception
Marsha Weeks - Fiddler & Wedding Planner
Hair By Michaela - Hair