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A guide to recycling and donating your wedding items

A guide to recycling and donating your wedding items

"What happens to all of your expensive wedding items after the day comes to an end? "

With the average UK wedding now costing over £30,000 according to The Independent, couples can easily find themselves out-of-pocket once the celebrations are over. But what happens to all of your expensive wedding items after the day comes to an end? Many couples opt to save a few items as keepsakes, but you could also do your bit for the environment by recycling, or help out brides and grooms-to-be by donating to charity. Jewellery retailer Angelic Diamonds have put together this guide on what to do with your wedding items after you’ve said ‘I do’.   

1.      What to do with your wedding dress

Finding a wedding dress is usually a long process and it can take months to find the perfect one. It’s one of the biggest parts of wedding planning and choosing the dress can turn into a family affair for many brides. Then, after the big day is over, the dress usually gets hidden away in a box for years to come. But there are better uses out there.

You could consider donating your dress to charity or to someone you know who is working with a smaller budget for their wedding. Considering that the average wedding dress in the UK is estimated to cost £1,385, it’s no surprise that some brides-to-be opt for a second-hand dress. You can take it to your local charity shop, or to specialist online second-hand bridal stores such as Bride2Bride and Bridal Reloved.

You could also put your creative skills to good use and use the material to make a keepsake. This doesn’t have to involve destroying the full dress, you could make something special out of the train or spare embroidery. Before you do this, dry clean or wash your dress so that you’re working with clean and stain-free material. There are many things that you could use the material from your dress for, it depends on how often you want to see it and where you’d like to have it on show. One example is creating a pillow out of the material; you could use jewels and beads from the dress and attach some of the details and embroidery. Keep it on your bed and be reminded of your special day as soon as you wake up!

2.      Other uses for the bouquet

The bouquet is one of the most important parts of your wedding day and will likely be featured in many of the photos. In many ways they sum up the day, as they often complement the theme of the wedding and include some of your favourite varieties. But how can you keep your flowers looking pretty and have them on show as a reminder of your big day?

You may be reluctant to throw away your wedding flowers, but if you leave them alone, they’ll simply go brown anyway. You probably won’t have time to do much with them on the days following your wedding so in this time, keep them somewhere they won’t be knocked and out of direct sunlight. After this you have a few options for how you want to preserve your blooms:

·         Flower pressing — Select the flowers that you’d like to keep and place them on parchment paper, you can rearrange them later so don’t worry too much about this. Then, lay the parchment paper and flowers inside a heavy book and cover with another layer of parchment paper. Weigh the book down with something heavy and leave to dry out for seven to 10 days. You can then rearrange the flowers and get them framed to put on display. Why not create mini frames to give to your bridesmaids and mother as a keepsake with their bouquets in?

·         Flower hanging — this is one way of drying out your flowers to keep them for longer. To do this, you need to gather the stems and tie them together with string or an elastic band. You then hang the bouquet upside down in a dry area, such as a hallway. After a few weeks your bouquet should be completely dried out, you can add more flowers to the bouquet as you go too.

·         Using epoxy resin — You can do this yourself with epoxy resin and a spherical mould, but it could be better left to the experts. This is where your flowers can be created into a clear paperweight, something that you can look at for years to come.

3.      Re-working your engagement ring

Once married, some couples choose to take off their engagement ring and replace it with a wedding ring. But getting engaged is a heartfelt occasion too and there are ways you can merge the two moments together.

You can actually fuse your engagement ring and wedding ring together, creating a unique design. This can reduce the wear and tear of the rings as if you were wearing two separate rings on the same finger they might rub against each other. It also means that your rings are aligned at all times and you can match the diamonds up on each ring. If you’ve decided that you do want to wear just one ring after you’re married, why not take a piece of your old one? You could take a diamond from your ring and insert it into your wedding band for example.

4.      Uses for other wedding items

There are many other wedding items that will be left behind after the day is over. One thing that you could create is a scrapbook or memory box. This could include; spare invites, party favours, your cake ribbon and anything else that sums up your day. This is great to have to look back on, and also to show family and friends in the future.

Party favours make excellent stocking fillers if Christmas is coming up. If they contained sweets, you can put them in small purses or bags and give them out to children around Christmas, or hand them out around work. Before you throw anything away or hide it in a box, think again about how you can use your wedding pieces.