wedding rings antique mirror event decor

Planning Tips

What to Do with Event Decor after the Wedding

After the big day, the last thing you want to do is deal with leftover event decor and perishables. Thankfully, we’ve compiled a list of options you have to deal with your decor without tossing it all to the curb. Keep reading!

Sort it!

Don’t just throw all your event decor into a trash bag. Separate the decor into five categories: donate, trash, recycle, reuse, compost, and resell. The best way to minimize waste is to divert as much from the landfill as possible. This means sorting through all of the items thoroughly.

Compost:

event decor succulent take home

We give priority to composting over recycling. Many venues and caterers already have composting services in place (you’ll have to ask about this ahead of time, though). Plus, you never know not all the items you toss into the recycling end up being recycled. Once it arrives at the recycling center, it could be mixed with recycling contaminates that could send the entire haul to the landfill!

Items such as napkins and flowers are biodegradable. But you should still compost them to ensure they fully break down. Speak with your florist, they may be able to refer you to great recycling and composting programs in your city. Otherwise, you can reach out to commercial compost services. They will be equipped to handle a large amount of organic waste and convert it into fertilizer for local farms.

Reuse:

Decorate your home! Some wedding planners recommend purchasing items that work with both the wedding theme and home decor scheme. Items such as wedding signage, tableware, display boards, and fairy lights can be easily integrated into your home decor.

Other items such as lanterns look great decorating back patios and decks. You could also dry and press wedding flowers for home decor or to decorate the wedding album.

Donate:

donating bouquets of flowers from wedding to seniors homes

Giving items to friends or donating to charity or thrift shops are obvious options. But there is often a limit to how much these avenues can accept. Consider donating unused stationery and crafting items such as tulle or ribbons to schools or after-school programs.

For flowers that still look good enough to use, you could partner with flower repurposing programs. Repeat Roses and ReBLOOM (Canada) are great options for those who want to do both—donate and compost! Both these organizations collect your flowers, upcycles them to new arrangements, and donates them to non-profits/charities in your name. These sites include nursing and retirement homes, hospitals, and homeless shelters. Once they’ve wilted and started to die, they will revisit these same sites to recollect the flowers to compost and donate the soil to farmers, gardeners, and landscapers.

Recycle:

You probably didn’t use plastic cups and cutlery at your event. But paper goods such as menus, ceremony programs, place cards, and escort cards can just as easily be recycled after the wedding.

Did you know? You can actually recycle half-used candles and reuse them in your home! Who doesn’t love the warm glow and ambiance of flickering candles? Jar candles can be used until the wick burns out. From there, pour boiling water into the jar up to the lip of the container. Then wait. The wax will melt and slowly bubble up to the top and re-solidify. Once it’s all dry, you’ll have a hard disk of wax you can easily remove and re-melt to create new candles!

Sell it:

event decor briefcase

Selling your items can seem daunting if you have truckloads of items. You could host a garage sale, but your reach will be limited. Another option is to sell your items at a bridal flea market such as Bridal Swap. You could register for a table to display all your bespoke goodies. You’ll need to pay a small fee to rent a table, but the market’s organizers will take care of all the advertising!

For online options, check out eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and your local classifieds. You can also compare your items with ones listed by other users. Are your prices competitive? Many couples list their resale items too ambitiously, hoping to recuperate costs. But doing so can mean items will sit in the garage to gather dust. Be realistic about your prices!

There are many other websites for former brides to sell their used wedding décor. Check out websites such as Tradesy, BravoBride, and SellMyWedding which have dedicated pages for reselling wedding apparel and decor. These specialty communities make it easy to find buyers—bride-to-be’s are already scouring the pages for hidden gems!

Tips for Event Planners:

Consider renting event decor

Of course, the ultimate way to divert event decor from the dumpster is to reduce what you purchase! If you’re an event planner, you’ll have to deal with decor waste time and time again if your client insists on purchasing everything for a one-time event. Instead, you should advise them on the benefits of renting event decor. Renting is cheaper than purchasing, and you won’t have to deal with all the stuff afterwards.

Takeaway mementos

wedding decor centerpiece flowers

Encourage guests to take decor items home after the event. Reception table centerpieces, especially fresh flowers, can brighten up a home. Plus, it’s a great way to get the most use out of them before they start to wilt. Make sure they only take the flowers if you’ve rented the vases from the florist!

Plan ahead

Collaborate with your vendors to plan ahead. Have systems in place to deal with the food and decor waste so everything is swiftly taken care of after the big event. Some venues, for instance, could have extensive recycling services. Some catering companies may have agreements with local food banks and community kitchens to donate leftover food. You never know what resources they may have.

Do you have any tips on dealing with event decor? Let us know!

This option takes considerably more planning, but planning a zero-waste wedding can be more budget- and environmentally-friendly!

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