In the busy days before your wedding, you aren’t thinking about what you’re going to do when it’s all over; you assume nothing is going to go to waste. But when the ceremony is finished and the reception feast has been consumed, cleanup begins and reality sets in. What on earth are you going to do with everything that is left? Throw it away? Nope! Here are  four  fantastic ways to save your wedding leftovers from that garbage dump supposedly floating in the Pacific Ocean.

 

1) Food

Did you know that some hospitals don’t serve food on the weekends? The cafeteria is completely closed, and the families of those still residing inside are on their own for food.  See if any of your friends, or friends of friends, are stuck inside those barren white walls after your ceremony because after hospital food, your leftovers will seem like gourmet cuisine. If you don’t know anyone, check at the nurses’ station; they’ll make sure it ends up somewhere to be eaten.

If that doesn’t appeal to you, give it to the guests. Send all but a little for yourselves home with the wedding party. It can serve as a bit of a thank you for their help and show that you appreciated everything they did.

2) Flowers

You may know someone who lives in a nursing or assisted living home. Sadly, there are many residents of those homes who don’t have anyone to visit them, or send them cards and flowers. Take your leftover flowers to your local nursing home and see that they’re given to the residents who don’t have anything else to brighten up their day.  You can also try to use a company like Random Acts of Flowers, who will do the delivery for you. Either way, you’ll know you were the cause of many fresh smiles.

3) Serving dishes

Some brides are crazy enough to do a DIY wedding (my lovely sister among them). This means that you are probably left with way too many leftover serving dishes. You probably don’t  have any use for all of them, but your local churches might. Ask around; most youth groups or the women of the church will use them and even let their parishioners borrow them. That way, your dishes can get used for a dozen more weddings, baptisms, baby showers, and who knows what else.

4) Dresses

No one ever knows what to do with the bridal party’s dresses when the big day is over. Some women may collect them like Katherine Heigl’s character in 27 Dresses, but most end up with just one or two collecting dust in their closets. Rather than let a beautiful dress go to waste, donate them to places like DonateMyDress.org, the Sparkle Project, or any other company that takes formal dresses and gives them away for free to girls who can’t afford a dress for prom.

When in doubt about whether to keep things or give them away, I’m sure the mother of the bride will have some great ideas on what to do. Ask her advice and remember that throwing anything away is a waste when there is always someone who could use it instead.
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