Our uber talented and kind-hearted BSB vendor, Jennifer Juniper Photography
, recently photographed a plastic-free wedding on the East coast of Florida and we are so excited to share highlights of their day with you all. The couple was passionate about going plastic-free because they have a sincere adoration for sea turtle and ocean conservation. Read what Amber had to share about her Plastic-Free Wedding below.
‘The decision to have a plastic-free wedding was an easy one for us. My husband is a HUGE Jack Johnson fan, and we recently attended a few of his shows. Jack made his events more than just about the music and celebration, he made it about how gathering a group of people together is the perfect audience for talking about issues in our world. Part of our inspiration came from that belief, and the other half came from my EXTREME love of turtles. I used to work for a non-profit humane society in the area, so animals are a BIG part of our lives. During my time at the humane society, I took a group of camp students to a local marine science center. During my FIRST visit to the Marine Science Center, I watched a volunteer teach a group of 5-year-olds about the impact a plastic bag has on a Sea Turtle. She talked about how a Sea Turtle can’t see the difference between a plastic bag and a jellyfish and how the bags can make the turtles very sick. That was my moment. I went home that day and vowed NEVER to use plastic bags again. Since then, I’ve been able to convince my friends and family about stopping the use of single-use plastic bags and either bringing their own, using paper or just skipping the bag altogether.
From both of our ideas, we began to think of ways that we can make an impact on the audience we had in front of us on our special day. What if… we could make a small difference? So we did! We began to drum up ideas that could make this event a success. My favorite was the art we created from our beach cleanups (shown below). Jack Johnson had done something similar for his tour, so we grabbed some inspiration from this. We did regular beach cleanups leading up until the big day, and I took only a small portion of what we collected and used it for inspiration to make an art piece to display to our guests on our big day.
We also gifted our guests’ cookies in addition to our favor donation to a local marine science center. The cookies, of course, would have been wrapped in plastic. So we had to find an alternative, which wasn’t hard to find with a little research.’
‘You may ask if having a plastic-free wedding meant we “saved” money. We didn’t really “save” money because when it came to this initiative we weren’t going to take no for an answer. We replaced A LOT. Trash bags, straws, coffee stirrers, etc. In the aspect of “saving money,” we did a lot on our own. Tyler is incredibly handy and loves to spend time in the garage wood-working. So together, we created some really cool pieces for the big day. All of the signs and decor we had were made from upcycled wood from a local shop. A local succulent artist dedicated to the conservation of the beach helped me create beautiful succulent pieces. To purchase things of this nature would have probably been more expensive, and they wouldn’t have any underlying meaning to them. We did save money when we said no to things like balloons, fake flowers, etc. It’s crazy, but during our beach cleanups, we found SO many fake rose petals cluttering the beach. Do I think this event cost more from going plastic-free? Yes. Do I think it was worth it? Yes, I didn’t spend an unheard of amount of money, a few dollars here and there to know we’re making a bigger impact.’
Tyler and I REALLY loved making this day the way it was. We were also sponsored by the Sea Turtle Conservancy and Naked Turtle Rum company in our efforts for the sea turtles and going plastic free. Naked Turtle Rum provided our guests with custom cocktails and items for use in our recyclable bag favors, and the Sea Turtle Conservancy set up the partnership with Naked Turtle Rum and provided us resources for our guests to learn more about their efforts. In addition to favors, we adopted a Sea Turtle from the Marine Science Center.