It’s your day and you want it to be unique, to have meaning, and to leave a lasting impression for your guests. So why not shop local for all of those gifts, decorations, and must-haves that will make your day just right?
Shopping Locally for Your Wedding
When shopping locally for your wedding you’ll give your wedding a unique, local vibe while supporting local businesses. And you’ll feel good doing it. Win-win-win!
When you shop local, you:
- Add unique style to your wedding
- Get personal attention
- Support local business
- Reduce the carbon footprint of your big day
Shopping Local vs. Shopping Corporate
In a world where our food travels an average of 1,500 miles before reaching us, and free shipping delivers packages to our door, it is easy to overlook those talented, local wedding vendors.
Local vendors, bakers, and artisans live in the community, they know the area, and its many natural products, and will help bring an authentic style to your wedding. You can also reduce the ecological footprint of your big day with locally-sourced foods and goods.
And, when you buy from a small business, you can feel good knowing your money is multiplying locally, enlivening the very place where you so happily tied the knot.
Where do you begin? Here are 6 easy ways to shop local for your wedding. Let’s go!
Ok, very likely you are already having your cake locally made. (Those large, decorative cakes do not ship so well.) Locally-made is awesome, but there are additional ways you can give your dessert a local flavor.
See what local foods are in season at that time of year, and use them in your cake. If you’re early summer, strawberries are usually in, or maybe its local apples and cider in the fall. Or maybe there’s a regional flour mill or other grain you could mix into the batch.
Point these ingredients out to your guests, it will give the local businesses a boost and your friends will feel good knowing they are eating local!
Tip: Ask your baker – they will know what’s in-season and available locally!
Invitations, Reminders, Place Cards, oh my!
These are not only the first things people see about your wedding, but they also become keepsakes afterward. Come on, we all have our wedding invitations framed, don’t we? There’s no shame in it.
And while I could stare at online design templates all day, why not reach out to a local artist or printing business for your special creations? Local artists would love to work with you, and you know you’ll get a unique creation to remember your big day.
You can even consider the ecological side and use things like natural ink dyes, and post-consumer recycled materials.
Tip: Check with a local artist association for referrals.
Eat (and Drink) Local
There’s nothing better than a farmer’s market on Saturday morning. The smell of fresh-baked muffins, savory soup, or the colorful displays of carrot bunches. We always feel better just having been there.
So, bring the joy of fresh, local foods into your wedding by using locally-grown fruits and vegetables, meat products, and desserts. And with the growth in the craft beer and spirits industry, you’ll likely find locally-made drinks to serve your guests.
At my sister-in-law’s wedding, they served locally-brewed beer. One of the flavors we liked so much it’s been a family favorite for years!
Shop Local for Party Favor(ite)s
We all love the little gifts at weddings, don’t we? A little memento or keepsake from a fun, memorable day. This is a super-easy way to shop locally and give your guests something to remember both the wedding and the special place where you were married.
Some fun, local gifts might be:
- Gift cards to local businesses (a nearby coffee shop for the morning after?)
- Locally-made cookies in a gift bag
- Bottles of local jam, maple syrup, or honey
- Samples of a locally roasted coffee
- A unique decoration, like an ornament (Ask that local artist who made your invitations!)
- Donate to a local not-for-profit, then leave a brochure about their work at each table.
Chances are you have guests who are eagerly traveling to see you tie the knot. While there are advantages to having all the guests in one large (likely a chain) hotel, consider using local B&Bs or smaller inns, too.
They are super comfy, always have great food in the morning, and will give your guests a special, local treat.
Tip: A local inn is great for your wedding night, too!
Your wedding dress is always a special part of your day and one you will likely save for posterity. While you are busy shopping locally, consider finding a local dressmaker to add a special touch to your dress.
You will have a special dress made just for you, and you’ll get extra kudos when people learn it was made nearby!
Tip: See if the dressmaker can make a little something for the guys, too!
Shopping Local Can Reduce Stress
This all sounds nice, but I’m already stressed, do I have time for something different? When time is of the essence, it’s so easy to click ‘buy’ and wait for the package to arrive.
But when you work with a local specialist or business, you are meeting in-person and receiving very personal attention. They are getting to know you, your unique interests, and dreams for your special day.
Suddenly your wedding team has grown into a family of businesses, all working together to support you. And you’ve just contributed to the local economy by supporting local business!
Shopping locally for your wedding is easy, fun, and will make your guests feel good knowing you’re supporting local business. And if you need more ideas for using local wedding vendors: ask your wedding planner! They have the skinny on all the local artists, bakers, artisans, and vendors.
Enjoy your big day!
Bryce Waldrop is a preservation consultant, freelance writer, and avid hiker, and lives with his family in southern Maine. He loves old buildings, mountains, traveling, exploring the outdoors, and getting crushed by his daughters in Monopoly.