My eco(ish) wedding

Oh hai.

The reason I have been away for about two months is that I have been planning my wedding. When Chris and I decided to get married we made a pact that the ceremony should be as simple as possible but the party should be the one people talk about for years. We didn’t want to bother with the formal traditional sit-down dinner and reception; BORING! We wanted to have a tasteful cocktail party with some live performances and, of course, some wicked DJs. We also wanted our wedding to be as clean as possible, generating little to no garbage. This is the story of my eco-ish (let’s be real) wedding and some pointers for all you  environ-concious brides out there.

THE ring

I have never been a fan of diamonds. I feel that they are overused and definitely overvalued. The idea of a clear rock on my finger was never exciting. I also hate the idea of the pollution and environmental stress that extra mining causes our land. This is exactly why we have searched high and low for the perfect vintage ring. Why not? Most of them have never been worn or come with a cool story. Moreover, you’re not supporting gold and diamond companies who profit on your happiness. I found an amazing antique store that is quite popular in Toronto called Cinthia Findlay Antiques. I picked the perfect engagement ring and later, we picked our wedding rings from the same place as well. All of our rings come from the 1950’s and have never been worn. I love them! IMG_2499

THE dress

I have never been one of those girls who fantasized about their perfect wedding…until I became engaged. All of a sudden that wedding section of Pinterest and the magazine shelf became relevant to my life. I always found to be drawn to older styles of dresses (I do NOT mean crazy 1980’s poofy sleeves.) I imagined my dress to be covered in beads and be cocktail length. I found the perfect one at Cabaret Vintage. A nice 1920’s look-alike, not inspired by The Great Gatsby, though the movie was beautiful. If you want a truly eco-concious wedding dress shop around for vintage dresses. Not only are they unique but  you’re not supporting a whole wedding industry that is notorious for being wasteful. Chris had his tux custom-made in Thailand for 150 dollars. He was already there and he supported a local businessman instead of a giant corporation who pays their workers close to nothing. My make-up and hair was done by myself on the day of the ceremony. My hair was taken care of by Blo on the day of the party and make-up was done by a great friend. That same friend made the headband I was wearing. SHe is amazing and you can find her here.


THE ceremony

We opted for simple city hall ceremony. It takes so much in decoration, energy, and man-power to set up a special ceremony that only lasts a few minutes. Ours was simple but perfect. City hall was elegant and clean. The vows were beautifully simple. The emotions were overflowing. I loved my wedding ceremony. I briefly thought of a more “special” locale for the ceremony but reconsidered it upon seeing city hall and asking a few questions. For us the ceremony was just a warm up to a fantastic party.



THE reception/party

Our venue was a great historical building in old Toronto.  We made it absolutely clear to the venue that we did not want any plastic present anywhere in the hall. We ordered extra glasses for the guests and had tags made for guest to attach to their glasses in order to encourage multiple use. Most of the decorations consisted of reused decorative pieces from the hall, ball jars with candles, sticks from the nearby park, and 20 flowers from Poppies, a flower shop across the street. We got very lucky as the venue co-owner was a friend and the flower shop turned out to be another friend; they followed our instructions to a T and we got a  bunch of freebies :). Here’s another tip; ask around for anything that your friend might contribute. All of the looking around will add to savings in your pockets and cool discoveries you would miss if you go the traditional banquet hall route. Meanwhile, you’d be supporting a local business once again.


THE entertainment

We are the artsy types, therefore, we’ve got a bunch of artsy friends. Our entertainment part of the night consisted of our friend playing piano and my girlfriend singing live (including an amazing fiddler!), a wonderful photographer (David Shuken) set up with a photo corner, as well as awesome DJ friends who took the night into the late hours. Again, ask around and try to make your wedding as unique as possible, cutting emissions in the meantime.

Bits and bobs

Our guest book was a vintage map of the world as well as an old book of Russian Love poems. Nothing new bought there.

Our gift “box” was an old bird cage I borrowed.


Our hor d’oeurves were completely vegetarian. The greatest thing you can do for the environment is to reduce or eliminate the meat from your diet.


Our desserts were vegetarian and made by a friend and my mom. A cute personal touch and better than a mass-produced gas-guzzling cake. The dessert table was arranged by yours truly. It was adorned with Russian matryeshkas, old books, vintage glass/crystal ware, as well as decorative pieces found around the house. Nothing new was purchased.

We treated our guests to a favor of real Thai incense that Chris brought all the way from Thailand. I wish more people would have grabbed one though.


Our wedding was the most amazing 48 hours in our lives. I am glad that we stretched it out into two days because otherwise it would have been over too quickly.By putting effort into planning it ourselves, getting vintage attire and decor, as well as looking around our local community for deals we not only saved major cash but also reduced our overall emissions. Eco weddings don’t have to involve dreadlocks and patchouli; they can be as elegant and definitely as fun as the ‘regular’ wedding.

We are off to the Canadian Maritimes before our leave for Mongolia. I will probably not be cooking very much in the next few months but may posts a few vegan eats I encounter along the way.

Leave a comment


  1. That sounds absolutely lovely, Maria! I LOVE your ring and your dress- such a good choice for after-party mobility! Congratulations to you both- can’t wait to hear about your new lives in Mongolia :)

  2. Jess A

     /  June 16, 2013

    This all looks AMAZING. What great choices, Maria!! Hope to see you when you get back from Mongolia, and have fun down East!!

  3. Gillian

     /  June 20, 2013

    Dear Maria – thank you for writing about your awe-inspiring wedding (I hoped you would!). I love that you guys went eco! Also you look so fabulous and happy – congratulations again and wishing you guys years more of adventures. xo

  4. Gillian

     /  June 20, 2013

    P.S. If Halifax is included in your trip I recommend the Wooden Monkey for vegan food (plus their furniture is made from recycled wood from an infamous hurricane that downed many trees, so they are eco as well ;)

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