Yes, donating to the nursing homes is a fabulous idea and I have done that as well. It is so gratifying to
hear how grateful the staff is to have these to share with the residents. Since I work from my home,
I use flowers not used in the current or last order and make up arrangements for my neighbors and
give them away. I also donate some to the community clubhouse. This creates a lot of positive word-of-mouth
and some increased business.
Here in Nashville, we have a wonderful charity group (Perenity), who are all volunteers. If you preschedule with them, they will send someone to the venue at the end of the reception to pick up the flowers. They have a small workshop, where they re-work them and distribute to all the Alive Hospice patients in Nashville and also to nursing homes.
Guests who wanted to took the centerpieces home with them. The rest we just left at the reception hall and I'm assuming they threw them away. I wish I had thought about this before our wedding because we definitely would have sent them to a nursing home or arranged some other way of giving them away.
I also didn't preserve my bouquet, we threw it away the next day. While I loved my bouquet, it wasn’t something I saw myself keeping.
Go Green by Recycling Left Over Wedding Items
After your wedding, there are tons of leftover items such as food, flowers, centerpieces decorations, wine bottles, party and wedding favors. The question remains about what you should do with all of items. We just hate throwing perfectly good things away, so we came up with a list of items you can recycle or donate to charity after your wedding reception (Special E, 2009).
Flowers and Centerpieces can be used at Sunday Service or even your guests might be willing to take home the flowers as keepsake reminders of the special day. Those items can also be donated to nursing homes or children’s hospitals to brighten up spirits of an individual who is sick. Some bridesmaids have a keepsake shadow box with an invitation, put dried flowers in the box, and use the shadow box as wall art. Another idea is that live flowers can also be turned in to potpourri for gift giving.
Brides have been known to have each of the bridesmaids take their bouquets or centerpiece arrangements home with them as a keepsake. However, if you want to make some money you could sell on your items on BravoBride or Ebay.
There are church programs that offer special lunches to people in need on certain days of the week or there are rescue programs, which take the leftovers to feed the hungry and homeless.
Used or Unused candles can be provided for emergency supplies to families that have lost long-term access to electrical power due to a major storm or natural disaster. If you know someone that has a fireplace in their home, they can collect candle wax and mix candle wax with the wood chips to make fire starters for their fireplace.
Wedding favors can be given as thank you gifts to caregivers, nurses, teachers, food pantry workers, and other individuals donate their time or assist those in need.
Wine bottle corks or caps can be reused as jewelry or decorative crafting projects. Proceeds from these items will be donated to relief agencies and charitable organizations.
Programs and Tent Cards
Left over programs and tent cards can be donated and recycled for other useful products.
If you do not have time to donate to local programs yourself after your wedding reception, we found this wonderful website named Special E. Before the wedding, assign one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen to this special task after the wedding reception. If you are using Special E, this service comes in after an event and items are donated to different places such as homeless shelters, soup kitchens, missions, churches, food pantries, nursing homes, hospitals, schools, recycling centers, and relief agencies around the world. Special E has a list of items they accept, so be sure to visit their website at http://www.thespeciale.com or email them for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, recycling is beneficial to you and our environment!
The flowers are usually taken home by guests and the couple's parents. If they are larger pieces in rental containers, I let the parents take them home to enjoy for a few days, then return the containers. They will often take them apart and send to loved ones who could not attend the wedding.
If I find flowers left at the reception sight, I will often give them to my elderly neighbours, who are always thrilled. This goes for bouquets left over from bridal shows.
When I have extra flowers after everything has been delivered, I send a bouquet to a deserving volunteer from one of our local hospitals.
All plant material is composted in our city's yard waste program.
I often suggest to my brides that they donate them to hospitals, senior residences, or any charity that might be having an event soon and needs a little decor. Some people also give them as take-away gifts to the guests.
I hand make all my wedding flowers from recycled vintage fabric and other vintage treasures, and I've recently been making my flowers in to bridal bouquets, its a great way to be eco friendly, and its also a great keepsake too, heres a pic