What to Do With Wedding Decorations After Your Reception Comes to an End

Here's some upcycling inspiration

Updated 01/06/19

Photo by Abby Jiu Photography

You’ve spent months planning every meticulous detail for your wedding, but what to do with all those wedding decorations after your reception or wedding weekend is over? It’s easy to forget that things may have a second life post-nuptials. In fact, several items can be repurposed in your home or donated to others. The trick is to think ahead and choose decor for your wedding that you would also like in your living room or on your patio.

For some upcycling inspirations, here are some of our favorite ways to give decor life long after your first dance.

Donate Your Wedding Arrangements

Since you’re jetting off to the honeymoon suite, consider giving your floral arrangements to a local charitable cause, suggests Maya Katz of Alimay Events. Several companies, including Repeat Roses, Random Acts of Flowers, Petals with Purpose, and the Bloom Project, will pick up your wedding flowers and redistribute them to nursing homes, homeless shelters, and hospitals to spread further cheer. You can also reach out to local women’s shelters and children’s medical centers to see if they will take your leftover botanicals directly.

Something to make you feel a little bit better about that bill, right?

Gift Your Flowers to Guests or Staff

Another option for your florals is to give the arrangements to guests or the staff of your venue. The staff, especially, appreciate the perk of fresh blooms for their kitchen tables, which works well for destination affairs where guests wouldn’t be able to take the flowers anyway. Just be sure to separate the stems from the vessels if you’ve rented the glassware from your florist. The company will need the rentals back, and more than a few times a guest has walked off with the rented vase!

Reuse Throw Pillows, Blankets, and Linens

You decked out your cocktail hour lounge with color-coordinating pillows and had baskets of blankets on-hand for the chilly evening. What a hostess! The good news is that these are great items to incorporate into your home too, says Francesca DiSalvo-Follmer of Pure Luxe Bride. She suggests that during the planning process, pick items, like napkins and throws, that fit with your home decor as well as the wedding vibe. Also, be sure that you approve of the fabric for long-term use. “Find some you’d like to own, so you can keep them after the wedding is over,” she advises.

Light the Lanterns on Your Patio or Porch

Lanterns add light and style to your alfresco cocktail hour or as centerpieces on long farm tables during dinner. They also elevate your front stoop, backyard patio, or terrace. Purchase lanterns in a material that matches your home and the celebration, so they organically blend into your interior design after the nuptials. Then, every time you have wine on the patio alongside the lanterns, you’ll remember your day.

Hang Your Mirrors

Decorative mirrors are one of the easiest decor items to bring back to your abode. You can put a mirror in every room! Consider using a mirror for your table assignments or ceremony signage. Have it calligraphed with a chalk pen that you can simply wipe it clean post-reception. Then, hang the mirror in an entryway or guest bedroom to magically update the space.

Add Family Photos to Your Gallery Wall

If you created a special altar to honor your family members, take these framed photos home and add them to your mantle or gallery wall. Invest in silver frames or some that match your home decor for an easy transition. If the photos are already framed, take them as they are to your wedding—talk about a quick cash savings! “Bringing the photos from home in their original frames usually works very well,” explains Laura Irizarry-Garcia of LIG Events. “Guests love looking at them, and it's a great way to include those family members who might not be with you any longer."

Keep the Candles

Can you ever have enough candles? Said no one, ever. Unless your wedding pillars are completely melted by the end of the party, pop them into a box to be re-lit at home. Place candles of varying heights along your mantle or save them for a romantic night in the bedroom. If you have a memorable flame, such as a unity candle or a candelabra you placed on your sweetheart table, save the setup for special occasions. Break out the candelabra on your first anniversary for a sentimental toast to one year.

Display Rugs in Your Hallway or Foyer

Hand-loomed carpets instantly elevate your cocktail lounge area or make for a boho-style aisle at your reception. They also, obviously, work well at home! If you plan to include rugs into your wedding decor, consider adding them to your hallway or foyer. We especially love when couples exchange vows standing on a special carpet, then add the sentimental floor covering to their bedroom or hang as a tapestry—and memory—in their living room.

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