Leonie Is Paying For Her Wedding With Plastic Bottles But Her Saving Doesn't End There
None of us need to be reminded that weddings cost a bomb, but a Sunshine Coast bride-to-be has found clever ways to offset the massive expenses.
With the average Australian wedding cost sitting at just over $53,000 according to research from Wedded Wonderland, there's no doubt the price tag that comes along with getting hitched is steep.
Wedding costs are also growing year on year, with findings suggesting this average cost grew by nearly four percent in 2019 when compared to the year prior.
With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that newly engaged couples are looking for creative ways to offset some (if not all) of the cost of their big day.
Bride-to-be Leonie Starr, who recently made headlines when she shared she was exchanging plastic bottles for money to fund her wedding day, is one of them.
Leonie, 29, told 10 daily she and her fiance Matthew Porter had been waiting for a recycling deposit scheme to come to Queensland for about a year so they could begin dropping bottles in.
"When it officially started in Queensland, I went to the depot and got $17.50 for my first drop and went a couple more times before I thought I should save this money for the wedding!" she said.
I would ride my bike and collect rubbish and bottles littered through the streets before and after work or on morning walks around the beach.
So far, Leonie has collected an incredible 90,445 bottles since November last year which has seen her raise a tidy sum of $9,044.50 at 10 cents per bottle that's gone straight to a wedding fund.
"I’m aiming to collect 200,000 [bottles] by next November, fingers crossed. 200,000 bottles would pay for our honeymoon too which is super exciting," Leonie added, with her wedding date set for November 7 2020.
Initially when Leonie told her family and friends about her idea to fund her wedding day through recycling, they laughed and thought she was joking.
"I was very proud to hit my first 1,000 bottles and I think it took everyone until then to realise I wasn’t messing around," she said.
But Leonie's saving tricks don't end with the plastic bottles. She has come up with a number of other ways to keep the costs down with many of her hacks also being environmentally friendly.
"We plan on making our alter out of recycled wood and have been looking for other decoration ideas with things we have at home that have no use anymore," Leonie told 10 daily.
I have been making biodegradable confetti out of leaves and a hole punch but have recently found a tree that has tiny leaves which are perfect for confetti and less time consuming.
Leonie plans to further save on her wedding invitations, having designed them herself and planning to make them out of recycled materials.
"We have also been making twine balls from twine we had at home we weren’t using. They have turned out really well! I’m hoping to put some fairy lights inside them," she said.
Along with the twine balls, Leonie added she would like to keep her decorations simple and to ensure they are reusable and biodegradable where possible. She won't be shelling out for a wedding cake either, with a friend arranging one for the couple.
Leonie said she isn't a 'flower sort of girl' so likely won't be spending large sums on flowers either.
"I prefer plants like succulents and cacti or random pretty leaves. Until I’ve had a good look at what’s out there, I don’t really know what I’ll decide on," Leonie said.
Leonie and her fiance have a separate account set up for their wedding day, with the money they make from the plastic bottle exchange being deposited straight into this account.
"We don’t touch it unless it’s to pay for something wedding related. TOMRA Recycling Centre gave us a $1,000 cheque to put towards flowers and decorations which brings our total wedding fund over $10,000," she told 10 daily.
Leonie and her partner have paid for the venue and celebrant in full using the funds from the bottles, as well as putting down a deposit for catering.
"There is plenty left over in the account but I will be collecting right up until the wedding," she said.
While friends and family of the couple have been helping the pair by collecting bottles for them also, Leonie said they will only do this up until the wedding.
"Hopefully our journey has inspired them to start doing it for themselves after the wedding," Leonie said.
Leonie's advice for any couples hoping to save on their big day is to try and focus on doing as much as you can yourself ahead of time.
"I halve each pay and put into our other savings account so we can continue saving for our honeymoon and house," she said.
"Collecting bottles has been a great way to save extra money on the side and socialise with our family and friends on a more regular basis."
Featured image: Supplied