You’ve just celebrated the beautiful and unforgettable wedding of your dreams! Now, after months of painstaking decisions when it came to the decor and details of your big day, you might be wondering what to do with all your…stuff. Since there’s such a heavy emphasis on sustainability lately (and for good reason) you’re probably wondering how to recycle your wedding items post-celebration. Here are some great ideas on how to upcycle or reuse your wedding decor and give it a second life.
1. Give Your Flowers to Guests or a Local Hospital
While flowers are perishable, you don’t need to throw them out! There are several different things you can do with your floral arrangements, including gifting them to your guests and the staff at your venue. It’s a generous gesture to share with those who helped make your big day so special. Additionally, you can donate your flowers to a nursing home, hospital, or homeless shelter. There are different charitable organizations that can help you do that; a little Google search for your local area will help you. (Just make sure whether you gift or donate your stems that you separate the flowers from any type of vessel or vase if they belong to the florist or the venue.)
2. Reuse Your Wedding Decorations at Home
What to do with your cocktail lounge’s pillows and blankets, and all those votives and napkins (and other decor)? Well, reuse them of course! Depending on their style and vibe, they can make great accents for your home. If you’re afraid they won’t match your home design, a good rule of thumb is to try to match your wedding items as you buy them to fit with your home décor as well as your wedding motif. You can also allow your wedding party to put dibs on whatever they want.
3. Repurpose Stationery for DIY Projects
From extra wedding invitations and programs to menus and other signage, there is a lot of stationery used on your wedding day—and then left behind without a second thought. You might be able to repurpose these paper items as wrapping paper, or transform them into notebooks, handmade greeting cards, or other crafty projects if you are the DIY-type. Get creative with all the beautiful paper you spent a lot of money on and incorporate it into keepsakes and gift cards for your friends and family.
4. Donate Extra Food to Those in Need of a Meal
Instead of throwing out any extra food from your reception, a better alternative is donating it to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Make prior arrangements with the catering service and a local organization to come pick up the extra food after the celebration. It’s a beautiful way to avoid waste and spread some good will!
5. Reuse Lanterns for Your Own Patio
Lanterns are a stunning way of lighting up your wedding celebration—as well as your own patio, deck, or balcony. Use your wedding lanterns to help decorate your outdoor space at home. Make sure to choose lanterns as you purchase them that work with your home décor to ensure you will definitely reuse them. The best part? Every time you light them up, you will remember the special memory of your big day.
6. Upcycle Your Dress or Donate it to a Bride in Need
Your wedding dress is out-of-this-world beautiful, but let’s be real: will you wear it again? Probably not—but for its price, you definitely should! That’s why it’s a good idea to transform your gown into a dress that you can wear again and again. Consider having it tailored and dyed to a different color so that you can wear it as a cocktail or evening dress. Or, you could use different segments of the dress as baptism or First Communion dresses for any children in your family. You can also donate it to a charity that helps brides from impoverished backgrounds have a gorgeous wedding dress for their big day.
With some extra thought and pre-planning, almost everything from your wedding can have a place in your life or someone else’s after your big day.