It’s no secret that weddings can cost a pretty penny. Between signature menus and top-of-the-line décor, the expenses can add up. And as couples grow increasingly aware of their environmental footprint and look to reduce waste, many find that repurposing their wedding décor is as kind to their budget as it is to the planet.
“Repurposing wedding elements are not only cost-effective but also environmentally responsible,” confirms Megan Estrada of NSWE Events. “We have many clients who are becoming increasingly conscious of the effects of single-use decor and strive to reduce their environmental impact by making responsible choices.”
But repurposing wedding items isn’t something to figure out on the big day when everything is already set up to impress. Instead, the best approach is through mindful planning to avoid accumulating more than you need.
Use these repurposing tips to maximize your budget, limit waste, and host the wedding of your dreams—no more, no less.
From cocktail napkins to custom signage, many couples start sourcing items for their wedding months before the big day. But even then, it’s wise to consider how your purchases can serve a second purpose (and even a third!).
Adrienna McDermott of Ava And The Bee notes that it’s wise to “map out a plan before your wedding day! Then, as you start to order items, consider whether or not you will want to preserve them. For example, if you want to save custom signage, pick a product that will last (so no cardboard signs – focus on higher quality wood or acrylic, so they last forever!).”
In some cases, your wedding décor may serve double duty after all is said and done.
“When designing your wedding decor elements, consider what you want to incorporate into your home decor after the wedding,” Estrada suggests. “For instance, if you are using special throw pillows for your lounge seating area, is there an option that would also work in your living room after the wedding? Finding elements on theme with your wedding and home style will give you more opportunities to use them past your wedding.”
As you peruse Etsy and other shops, think about the lifespan of your décor elements and how well they can serve you in married life!
Don’t let florals go to waste
Despite a short shelf life, wedding flowers tend to carry a high price tag — a fact some couples find hard to swallow. Fortunately, with a bit of strategic planning, you can cut your floral budget significantly by repurposing blooms throughout the wedding day.
Reusing bridesmaid bouquets as reception décor is a common solution, but don’t be afraid to apply this rule to all of your day-of floral arrangements.
For instance, “if your ceremony arch is extra full and jaw-dropping, ask to have it moved to your reception to use as a backdrop for a photo booth or put behind your sweetheart table,” suggests Kimberly Sisti of SISTI & CO.
However, be mindful that moving flowers around a venue isn’t the most discreet task, so it’s wise to plan your event timeline around the transition.
“If you plan to repurpose flowers from your ceremony to reception or from cocktail hour to after-party, ensure a break between the events where guests will not be there to witness the movement,” recommends Nora Sheils of Bridal Bliss and Rock Paper Coin. “Watching a florist moving a huge bouquet through a crowd is distracting and tacky. Instead, host your cocktail hour in its location so ceremony flowers can be seamlessly moved to the reception without anyone noticing!”
And there’s no reason to stop at the wedding reception. If you’re hosting post-wedding events, dress them up with your flowers to keep the theme flowing throughout the weekend! As Hellen Oliveira of Hellen Oliveira Photography says, “ask your coordinator to repurpose the flowers and set them up at the Sunday brunch location and spruce up the event with those beautiful flowers from the wedding day.”
Keeping your floral arrangements full and vibrant throughout the weekend might require careful storage and transportation, so work with your florist to create a plan that ensures they’ll make it through the long haul.
Gift your décor
Another great idea to repurpose your wedding décor is to simply give it away! Whether handing off flowers to your guests or sending a framed photo home with your parents, gifting your day-of décor is a generous way to show appreciation.
Start with your centerpieces — who needs 15 of the same pieces after the wedding? “Centerpieces are often one of the most expensive aspects of wedding décor,” explains Jacqueline Vizcaino of Tinted Events. “To save money and reduce waste, get dirty with your centerpieces. For example, use potted plants or succulents that guests can take home with them, or fill vases with stones or shells that can be used in the garden later.”
Oliveira notes that the same goes for bouquets, adding, “The bride could ask the guests to take home the bouquets, or the bride could hand-pick certain special people to give the bridesmaids’ bouquet to, like grandmothers, aunts, MOH, mother, etc.”
Or, if you want to spread the love to others, “arrange for the arrangements to be refreshed and delivered to retirement homes, hospitals, or anywhere else they can bring some extra joy,” Sheils suggests.
Nobody can say no to a beautiful token from your wedding day, so it’s a kind gesture to share the décor and bring a smile to others’ faces!
The perfect wedding day is still just one day, so there’s no need to purchase in excess. Repurposing your day-of items helps to trim expenses, cut down on waste, and even create lasting memories long after the wedding, so there’s no reason not to make the most of your décor. Sometimes, less truly is more!
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.