weddings

The unusual way this bride is saving $81,000 for her wedding day.

Like many engaged couples, Leonie Starr and her fiancé Matthew Porter had a dream wedding in mind.

Theirs involved an “absolutely stunning” beach resort on an island in Vanuatu – where Matthew had proposed in March – accommodation for all their 35 guests for six nights, including all meals and, of course, the wedding ceremony and reception.

“My dream wedding is to be surrounded by the people that love and care about both of us. We got engaged in Vanuatu and would love to get married there too so we started looking,” Leonie told Mamamia.

But in order to have everything they desired on their big day, they were looking at $81,000.

“$81,000 sounds pretty extreme but it works out to be $2200 pp for a week away, everything included,” she said.

At first, the Sunshine Coast couple were floored, and couldn’t imagine how they could afford their dream wedding.

“My partner freaked out and said that it would never happen,” Leonie said.

But then they hatched a plan.

You see, the Queensland state government introduced a container refund scheme on November 1 – which means that for every bottle or can returned to a refund point, the collector received 10 cents.

So if Leonie and Matthew can collect 810,000 bottles and cans, they can pay for their entire wedding in full – and be environmentally-friendly in the process.

“I was collecting bottles and recycling before I set this goal,” she explained. “When I got the quote for the wedding it was $81k after converting it into Australian dollars. I calculated how many bottles I’d need to pay for all of it and got the number 810,000.”

In a week of cleaning up local parks and beaches and asking others, the couple had collected 1337 drink containers.

wedding-budget-container-refund-scheme-qld
Leonie collected around 1300 bottles in a week, making her $130. Image: Facebook.
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However, realising that they needed to collect more than 2000 a day to reach their goal before their wedding in March 2020, they've reached out to neighbours, family, friends, and Facebook for help.

"With everyone's help, I think we can do it!" Leonie wrote on a Facebook page dedicated to her cause, A Recycled Wedding.

The 28-year-old told Mamamia she's noticed a major benefit to her fundraising plan is that her family and friends are getting more environmentally-focussed.

"The thing I love the most is how involved our family friends and community are getting," she said.

"Many not previously recycling but now saving up their bottles to contribute towards our bottle count. It’s really amazing."

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