Some brides lust after the $15,000 designer dress, the caterer with three Michelin stars, and the resort destination venue—and some of us are much happier with a low-key backyard wedding, complete with a vintage lace ensemble, homemade sweet tea, and plenty of dancing with good friends through the night. For those of us who crave a thriftier, more sustainable option, recycled decor is where it’s at. These DIYs help you not only maintain your wedding’s low-fi aesthetic, but also reuse items that might have otherwise been lost to the trash. That bumps up your event’s eco-footprint, making it the perfect opportunity to celebrate both your love for your betrothed—and the environment.
Paper Flower Bouquets
Unfortunately, fresh florals don’t exactly hold the best record for sustainability. Most flowers are flown in from exotic locales, so they burn up plenty of oil in their path to the florist’s shop. But if you’re willing to get a little creative, there are tons of offbeat alternatives. This lovely little tutorial, for instance, teaches you how to turn old books into fodder for an impressive, gasp-worthy bouquet.
Upcycled Pallet Sign
Every rustic girl knows the power of pallets—they’re a DIYer’s secret ingredient to add a cozy, down-home element to their projects. And they make the perfect canvas for wedding signs, whether you’re listing the order of events or helping point guests to an off-road reception. All you need is an old pallet and paint!
DIY Pallet Dance Floor
Seriously, is there anything you can’t do with pallets? For a backyard affair, a DIY dance floor is great for kicking up your heels and dancing your heart out until sunrise. Just nail sheets of plywood over the pallets. You can make it as large or as small as you need!
Distressed Tin Can Centerpiece
No wedding is complete with a beautiful, timeless centerpiece on the table. This phenomenal specimen makes an eye-catching receptacle for a collection of hand-gathered wildflowers, turn each guest’s table into a truly unique affair. Now you have your “something old!”
Recycled Paper Invites
Using all that paper for your wedding invitations seems like a waste, especially when you can turn out custom-made pieces that look better than store-bought—with only your leftover junk mail. Add a little lace and some handwritten calligraphy, and you’ll have a paper invite that’s truly one-of-a-kind.
Homemade Patio Cooler
What handy couple doesn’t have a little extra wood to spare? This dressed-up cooler will keep libations ice-cold long into the night, and it requires nothing more than leftover plywood, a hinge, and a handle. After all, what’s a wedding without plenty of impromptu toasts?
Dixie Cup Garland
Who knew a few dixie cups could do this to string lights? These adorable garlands add a touch of fairy light to your special night. That will definitely put the enchantment in your event. Try and top that, fancy city weddings!
Erin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener and aspiring homeowner. She currently resides in Austin, TX where she writes full time for Modernize.com, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.