It seems that across the globe, recycling is becoming chicer and chicer. It’s now trendy to recycle everything from extra newspapers to wedding leftovers.
Lately, more and more couples are choosing to have the leftover materials from their wedding remade into something new, beautiful, and unique to make Mother Nature happy. After all, the Knot’s 2014 Real Weddings Study showed that the average number of wedding guests is 136 people. With that many people, the party is bound to generate a ton of refuse.
Recycling can basically be categorized using the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle. These terms classify waste management techniques according to the desirability of each item, and anything from wedding flowers, wedding decor, and
wedding dresses can be put into these three categories.
Wedding planner Jennifer Grove of Ohio sees it all the time. Gorgeous wedding flowers are artfully arranged into flower bouquets and centerpieces, but are then thrown out after the reception. This bothered Grove, who thought there must be a better way to reuse these beautiful blooms. So, she decided to start Repeat Roses.
Repeat Roses reuses wedding flowers and gives the finished products to those who could use a little bit more color and cheer in their lives
. Namely, the elderly in nursing homes and those sick in hospitals.
The way the organization works is simple. During the wedding planning process, brides and grooms call Repeat Roses and express their desire to donate their flowers. Repeat Roses then stops by the wedding at the end of the night, divides the flowers into smaller bouquets, and delivers the arrangements to hospice facilities, homeless shelters, and nursing homes.
Not only does the organization hand-deliver the flowers, they also reclaim the flowers a few days after delivery so the plants can be composted to eliminate as much waste as possible.
“Our goal is to make it easy to incorporate an eco-friendly element to any corporate event or wedding plan while making a positive social impact,” Grove explains to WKYC.com. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s a very unique opportunity combining kindness and sustainability in one service — giving back to the community and giving back to nature.”
In addition to the possibility of reusing the flowers, there’s one other factor that couples must consider when choosing their flowers — their color! Traditionally, red carnations symbolize deep love, white represents pure love, and yellow represents rejection. But no matter what color is chosen, they can surely be reused — and best of all, flowers aren’t the only wedding detail that can be reused either!
It’s no secret that wedding dresses are a huge expense for any big day, but not if you use reclaimed materials.
British bride Hester Cox, a print maker, always envisioned wearing something unique for her wedding day. Once she ran into fellow artist Sara Jane Murray, she found exactly what she was looking for: a dress made of World War II escape maps.
Murray owns a business where she makes home decorations out of maps. She collaborated with Cox to make the dress special for Cox’s wedding day. The bride chose maps of significant importance, and because the military maps were printed on silk, Cox was able to design the dress however she wanted. Both artists chose to remodel a 1940s style dress and lined the skirt in turquoise to match the fabric of the silk maps.
Cox told ABCNews that her dress was the hit of the day, saying “A few people didn’t realize it was actually made from real maps and there were a few jokes about me ‘escaping & evading’ my husband. He loves the dress and I intend to wear it again.”
Other brides are choosing to give their traditional white dresses to those in need. A Jacksonville mother who was grieving the loss of her stillborn son founded Tiny Treasures Sewing Club that transforms donated wedding dresses into keepsakes for mourning parents.
Keisha Mosley was struggling with the loss of her son Noah after he was born stillborn at 32 weeks. She didn’t know where to turn and was having a hard time socializing with other parents after her loss. So, she turned to Tiny Treasures as a way to connect with other grieving families. This group of volunteers turns wedding dresses into “angel gowns” that can be used as burial outfits, in remembrance photos, or simply as keepsakes.
Overall, Mosley believes these angel gowns are able to give messages of understanding to other families and can serve as a reminder that someone understands their pain.
“I want them to know they’re not alone,” Mosley told Jacksonville.com. “I know how much that would have meant to me.”
This group of volunteers is comprised of mothers, support group members, and hospital staff, none of whom first knew each other. Now, they serve as a respite for those grieving with personal battles, and have made dozens of angel gowns out of beaded bodices, lace sleeves, and scalloped trains.
Do you know of any other ways to make that special day a bit more sustainable? Let us know!