It’s undeniable that fresh flowers—filling your ceremony and reception room with the scent of a newly picked garden—can completely transform an event space. But the moments after the reception are often some of the trickiest to coordinate, and so an abundance of DIY flowers and decorations have the potential to create additional hurdles. Considering a game plan to not only seamlessly clear away the flowers, but also redistribute or recycle them, will provide peace of mind that all the love and creativity you’ve thrown into these displays will have a second life after the wedding. After all, though flowers are at their freshest on the big day, their beauty and life can last for at least another week if not longer. And what’s more—preserving or composting your flowers extends their natural properties indefinitely. Here are five fun ways to extend the life of your hand-designed displays, all the while sharing their beauty with your family and community.
1. Turn Your Centerpieces into Wedding Favors
Your flowers’ moment to shine usually peaks during the ceremony and throughout dinner, when guests surround the tables and take in the design of the room. But as the night goes on, the group’s focus either shifts to the dance floor or breaks off into pockets to chat and mingle. With a little help from either your florist, event planner, or some dedicated friends, use this final hour of the reception to remove the centerpieces and lightly bunch the arrangements into smaller, hand-sized bouquets. Stems can be quickly wrapped in floral wire or rubber bands and then bundled in decorative cellophane or paper.
Did you feature smaller arrangements in jars or vases? Keep them as is! Set them on a table before the exit with a sign welcoming guests to fill their homes with your personalized arrangements. With this sweet touch, your loved ones will enjoy a piece of your celebration all week long. It also takes care of the wedding favor conundrum.
- Donate Your Flowers to the Community
There are plenty of lovely ways to support your reception’s surrounding area and neighborhood. For the days after wedding, consider asking to see if anyone—perhaps a local small restaurant, a community center, or a retirement home—may benefit from fresh arrangements. Ask a friend for help with the drop off, it’s always best to delegate post-wedding tasks during this busy hosting time. If you don’t have any luck with surrounding businesses, consider chatting with your wedding contact person to see if the venue itself would benefit from the arrangements—perhaps in their lobby or guest rooms.
- Resell Your Floral Supplies Online
Buying 35 Mason jars before the wedding was a practical purchase, but post-wedding, what on earth do you do with 35 Mason jars? Well, one of the best parts about planning a wedding is basking in the experience of other loved ones’ upcoming events once yours has past. After checking with friends and family (especially if they have showers or weddings of their own on the horizon), head over to a site like Recycle Your Wedding—they have an excellent resale program. New brides and grooms are searching for your litany of floral tape, vases, and other various accoutrement.
- Compost Your Wedding Flowers
This may not be at the forefront of your mind when you’re arranging your stunning bouquets, but planning a second life for your flowers through the act of composting can help keep them in your life for seasons to come. If you have a garden at home, consider composting your wedding flowers and using the newly created soil to enrich your next planting season. Not only does this keep the flowers out of landfills, but it also preserves your investment, supporting the flowers and plants in your new life together. By taking this step, you can look out over your garden for years to come, knowing that the flowers from your wedding helped it grow.
5. Press and Dry Your Flowers
Perfect for the artistic and crafty couples, pressing and drying your flowers is another wonderful way to fully preserve these beauties throughout your home. This decision requires some immediate action however, so it’s important to head into your wedding with a game plan if this is your favorite option. These examples from Reader’s Digest run the gamut from pressing, preserving with silica gel, and simply leaving them to dry out in their vases.
It’s not always your first instinct to think about the post-wedding life of your flowers and supplies, but doing so extends the joy of the celebration past the day itself. If you’re looking for an additional eco-friendly plan for your wedding day, consider this extra stage of preserving, re-purposing, or composting your lovely wedding flowers, and know that you are contributing not just to your own celebration, but one that many people can enjoy for years to come.
Ginny Bartolone is a writer for Simply Eloped, a company that helps couples elope in New York City and New Orleans.