After toasting and celebrating with your nearest and dearest at your engagement party, bridal shower, or reception, you’ll realize you probably have more decor than you expected left over. Since you probably can’t tote 20 flower arrangements, terrariums, or candelabra home with you (especially since you’re bringing home your gifts), those items will need to end up somewhere else. So after an event, who actually gets to take the centerpieces home?
Figure Out What’s Actually Yours
The first order of business before your mom or your MOH start divvying out floral arrangements at your reception is figuring out if they’re actually OK for guests to take home, Lindsey Nickel owner and event planner of Lovely Day Events, says. “Be sure to check with the florist [before the event to find out if] the centerpiece containers are rented or not,” Nickel says. “If they are rented, the florist will expect them back. If they are not returned, the host will be charged for them. Guests should always ask if it is okay to take centerpieces, since often the containers are rented and need to be returned to the florist.”
Send Them Home With Guests
If the containers aren’t rented, then centerpieces can go home with guests. “The host should discreetly let the VIPs [like your parents, in laws and grandparents] know that they should take centerpieces home,” says Nickel. “An organized way to give away the centerpieces is to collect them on a table near the door at the end of the event and let people know to take one on their way out.”
If you expect that a lot of people in your social circle want to go home with flowers, you can divvy up your arrangements further and turn them into mini bouquets for your guests to take home, says Tracey Goldstein of Polka Dot Events. “Many florists will do this for a very minimal fee since they often need to come back at the end of the night anyway for breakdown and to pick up vases,” Goldstein says. “A few flowers tied with twine or wrapped in newspaper is the perfect amount for guests to take home and arrange in their own home vases and everyone leaves happy.”
When centerpieces are in one piece or if you want them to go to specific people, you should give your planner or caterer the heads up, so they can dole them out to those VIPs. “Those people can find the planner/caterer and pick up their flowers before they leave to go home,” Goldstein says.
Don’t want to spend time deciding who gets one? You can always make it part of a fun game, says Sarah Parlos, CEO of event planning firm One Fine Day, LLC. At your bridal shower, you can also use centerpieces as prizes for shower games. At your wedding, you can ask your DJ or MC to play a few giveaway games during the reception. “We’ve seen everything from dance offs so simple group games such as ‘whose birthday is closest to the wedding date,’” Parlos says.
Save Some For Your Wedding Brunch
If you’re having a post-wedding event, you may want to consider repurposing some of your wedding florals for that. In that case, your caterer, wedding planner, or bridal party will have to tell guests to leave arrangements where they are. “There are times we are taking them to another location to be used at the wedding brunch,” says Ashley Douglass, owner and creative director of Ashley Douglass Events. “It’s an easy out as guests understand when say there are 20 tables and we need 10 of them for tomorrow.”
Donate or Repurpose Them
Don’t toss your centerpieces if you can repurpose them somehow. “If you know your guest list is prone to drama, even about flowers, donating is a good option,” Goldstein says. “Some of the floral donation companies require a fee for pickup and drop off, but most supply paperwork that enable you to claim the donation on your taxes. If that isn’t in your budget, see if any of your close friends or family with a car is willing to take a bunch of centerpieces to a nearby hospital or nursing home. Some florists also participate in compost programs where your flowers can be added to compost, and therefore help the growth of new flowers!”
Looking for another solution? A company like floral sharing service Bloomerent can help give your blooms new life at another event, Parlos says. Bottom line, the final destination of your centerpieces is something you shouldn’t stress too much about. If you don’t have time to come up with a game plan, delegate the task to you or your honey’s mom, she says.