You threw the party of a lifetime…now what do you do with all the stuff? If the thought of trashing wedding leftovers gives you major waste anxiety, there are local vendors who can help. From donating flowers to turning your dress into an heirloom piece, try one of these solutions to pay it forward.
Seeds of Joy
Wedding planner Karli Spangler of Ivory & Vine Event Co. couldn’t stand to see one more wedding flower go in the trash. So she created Blooms for Bellas, a service that donates them to local charities. Her team will pick up the flowers, rearrange them in new vases, and then drop them off to the charity of your choice. “We’ve worked with local hospitals, halfway homes, foster care centers, elderly care facilities, and domestic abuse shelters,” she says. Fees vary depending on location.
One More Wear
Give your bridesmaid dress another chance to hit the dance floor by donating it to a local prom closet. Each spring, churches and nonprofits around town will accept your gently worn gown to offer to teenagers who can’t afford to purchase a dress for prom. We suggest the Boys and Girls Clubs, Dallas Public Library, and St. Andrew United Methodist Church. Drop-off dates, locations, and times vary, so check each organization’s website before donating.
Instead of storing your preserved wedding dress in a box, take it to designer Patti Flowers. She can use the fabric to turn it into an heirloom piece such as a christening dress, handkerchief, or baptism blanket. If the thought of repurposing your gown makes you sentimental, she can make it work for future brides in the family. “When I’m working on these dresses, I like to keep the integrity of the style,” Flowers explains. “We like to keep as much of the elements as [we] possibly can.”
Food for Thought
Unfortunately, there’s a reason you won’t find to-go boxes at a reception. Food is usually prepped 24 hours before the event, cooked hours ahead of time, and held at a safe temperature until service time. “Most items would dry out or toughen after that extended period,” says Vivian Morgan, general manager at Culinary Art Catering, who notes that food pantries and shelters can’t accept pre-prepared, perishable food. “This is why we do our best to produce only for the guest count with minimal overage. We don’t want to be wasteful.”
Pack and Play
Leave it to a pair of wedding-industry pros to find a solution to a much-maligned problem. “Carter Rose [previously of F8 Studio] and I had a wedding together where the bride ended up with more items than could fit in the car provided,” explains Elizabeth Gonzalez, wedding planner and owner of After Yes. “We started chatting about making a business out of it, sort of in a joking way.” They met the next week to crunch numbers and talk logistics, decided to launch The Reception Collection, and immediately booked two brides. They’ll pick up anything—leftover alcohol, decor, paper products, gifts—store it in a secure environment, and then deliver it directly to the client at the time and date of her choosing. Pricing starts at $400.