Make the most of your wedding décor with these expert tips on repurposing and re-using wedding items

Your venue decor will help set the tone on your wedding, so why not get more bang for your buck by repurposing items throughout the day? 

Outside of the wedding world, reusing items is the norm. That handy bag for life accompanies every shop, and clothes are purchased with the notion they’ll be worn time and again. Weddings, on the other hand, can often be wasteful, but this doesn’t have to be the case with your venue decor.

Make the most of your props (and cash) by reusing items that decorate your ceremony to dress the room for the evening. We chat to two Scottish venue decor specialists to find out how they’d switch things up on your big day.

How to reuse wedding signage

“Reusing items is cost-effective, but couples also generally like the idea of less waste,” Elaine Whyte at Fifty Six Events tells us. “An arch or moongate decorated with flowers for the ceremony would only be seen for about an hour if it wasn’t repurposed elsewhere.” So how does she suggest reusing a moongate?

After the vows, pop the prop behind the top table where you’ll be sitting at dinner (and hang a personalised neon sign on it for extra cool points). “It can then be reused a third time after dinner as a photo back­drop. I usually suggest to my couples the places where their repurposed items will work best,” she adds. “Anything that’s used for the ceremony, and is easily moved, gets relocated afterwards.”

Can you use the same seats for your ceremony and reception?

Absolutely, says Katie Hart at Get Knotted. She would recommend only dressing the aisle or back-row seats in organza or chiffon sashes or ruffles, rather than every chair; this means these ones can be reused for the top table once the room is transformed for dinner and the undecorated ones can be used by guests.

There are various types of chair to consider, and Katie points out that they can all serve two purposes.

“Our chiavari chairs (think wooden whitewashed turned-leg chairs with a comfy ivory-velvet seat pad) look great on their own, or they can be dressed for the ceremony. We also have ‘ghost’ or crystal chiavari chairs with a spoon back, which are see-through and contemporary but super-comfy thanks to the ivory-velvet seat pad. Again, these can be used for both ceremony and dinner,” she explains.

Make the most of aisle decor

Anything used for aisle decor can easily be used on dining tables, according to Katie: “Lanterns dotting the aisle can become centrepieces or popped on poseur tables later on.”

Her favourite reusable item? Aisle chair posies.

“They are a great way to max out the value for money on flowers by moving them to decorate the dining tables at night.”

Reusing bridal bouquets

After the ceremony and photos, your bridesmaids might be at a loss as to what to do with their bouquets. Why not repurpose them and use them as your centrepieces? Of course, the number of bridesmaids and tables you have might affect how well this works for you.

To make your florals go even further, you can also get your bouquet preserved so you can have it as a keepsake forever. There are lots of services that will turn your flowers into a gorgeous display.

What should I do with the decor after the wedding?

There are some things that are hard to reuse after your wedding day - are you ever going to need 100 burnt orange linen napkins again? But there are a few things you can do to repurpose your wedding items.

Give it away - If there's still some life in your balloon arch or bunting, why not try and sell it or give it away online? If it hasn't been personalised with your names or wedding date these things could keep for a while longer and be used by someone else at a birthday party or other celebration!

More solid decor like arches and and lanterns could be reused by another couple on their wedding day and you'd be helping them cut down on their budget.

Save it for later - If you have a place to store it, you could always hang onto some of your wedding decor to use at future parties, perhaps an anniversary celebration?

Display it at home - Some wedding decor can easily double as home decor and act as a memento of your special day. Things like pillows, candles and artificial flowers are all subtle enough to fit in at home, or why not display bigger reminders of the day like neon signs on your wall?

Give it to your guests - You might not have use for 100 candles or 10 large lanterns, but if you divide them up amongst your guests, some of them might be happy to take one or two things away with them.

Give it to your venue - Some venues will take candles, linens and other lightly used decor that they could use for another event. Speak to your venue beforehand about what you'll be supplying on the day and what they would be happy to buy or take off of you afterwards.

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