Yay! You got married!
And now your house is full of sh*t.
Mine was anyway. When we left to drive to New York for the wedding, our car was packed. And when we left to come home, it was still about 70% as full as when we started.
So your wedding generated a lot of SCHTUFF. It’s pretty typical to overbuy things (like favours, stationery, food/booze, dishware, any any number of decoration or craft supplies, etc.) either “just to be safe” for your numbers or because it was cheaper to buy a larger quantity in bulk than to buy the exact right amount. Heck, maybe you just got your numbers wrong, or you changed your mind about using something! Not to mention all the stuff that is acquired to be used but not given away or consumed (vases, card box, lights, candles, etc.). Whatever the reason, unless you used a service to arrange EVERYTHING, the chances are you walked away from your wedding somewhat weighted down.
Seriously, you need to put effort into minimizing the bulk. It’s not going to happen on it’s own, and it’s so easy to put it off until it’s 5 months later and you still have to maneuver around a box of 30 martini glasses every time you try to use your desk (yes, that’s me – I’m giving those glasses a dirty look as I write this).
Ideas For Managing the Wedding Leftovers *based on things I did AND didn’t do*
- Have a Plan: During your wedding planning, keep an eye to the future of what the aftermath is going to look like. Planning out what you’re going to do with the stuff you acquire can help control both WHAT and HOW MUCH comes back home with you. Being aware ahead of time of what ends up leftover means you can make some decisions about the wedding more strategically. For everything you buy, think “where is this going to end up? what am I going to do with this after-the-fact?” Maybe you’ll decide you don’t need something. Or, you may decide it’s worth paying the extra $50 for the candelabra you LOVE because you’ll happily use it in your home afterwards rather than settling for the cheaper one that works for the wedding but that clashes with your home decor and you know you’d never use again.
- Let Your Guests in on the Goods: Think ahead of time about what people wight want to take away with them. Lots of people give their centrepieces away, so that’s a pretty easy and obvious one. But think too about offering friends and family things like leftover alcohol, extra favours, lights or candles, dishware and glassware, etc. Even decorations and craft supplies – never know if someone might be happy to take those pom-poms off your hands. It’s tougher when most people have travelled to your wedding, like ours – we had so many people say they wanted to take home centrepieces or extra martini glasses, but couldn’t/wouldn’t because they would have had to fly home with them – but always put the offer out there (in a classy and discreet way to your close people, not like your wedding is some sort of free-for-all liquidation sale).
- Purge Before the Wedding: All the stuff you have at home that isn’t going to the wedding, like extra stationery paper, craft supplies, any stuff you over-bought on… get rid of whatever you don’t want to keep BEFORE your wedding. You’re going to bring stuff home with you after the wedding, so try to clear out anything you’re going to want to get rid of ahead of time. It’ll spare you the build up, and will help streamlline your packing and organizing for the wedding itself. Alternatively, any stuff that isn’t going with you but you plan on keeping/giving away, put it in it’s new place before the wedding instead of keeping it in whatever designated wedding prep area its been living in.
- Make Your Money Back: Sell it! Ebay, Craigslist, your next garage sale… You’d be surprised who might be happy to buy all those candle holders, vases, table number holders, unused tealights, escort card clips, picture frames, etc. Wouldn’t you have been happy to find that stuff gently used and at a nice discount? And if you’re a reader/member of any wedding blogs or forums, you can definitely find interested parties there. If you’re feeling generous, you can offer it up to other folks planning weddings for free! Or of course, if you’re mostly just concerned about clearing up the clutter, then you can always donate it to your local thrift store.
- Schedule It In: I don’t know about other folks, but the last few weeks (months, really) before the wedding kind of trashed our house. And we really wanted to clean up, reorganize, and purge before we left for the wedding so we could come home afterwards to a beautiful, welcoming space. HA! Yeah right! That would have been awesome, but when push came to shove that was the one thing that definitely got dropped from the to-do list. Our house was a disaster when we got home, and there are still pockets of wedding disorganization here and there throughout our place. I would definitely recommend scheduling the clean-up/reorganize/purge time into your pre-wedding timeline – put it right there in your spreadsheet along with everything else you’ve deemed necessary to make your wedding run smoothly. trust me, this will make a difference to your afte-wedding feelings as you settle into your newly-wedded life. And if you can’t schedule it into the pre-wedding time, fair enough – schedule it into the post-wedding time along with unpacking, thank you notes, and vendor follow-up. If you take it seriously, you’ll thank yourself for it later.
- Get Creative: Have fun with your leftovers! Extra booze? Throw a little cocktail party after your honeymoon for all your favourite people as a thank you for joining you at your wedding, or as a little toast to those who couldn’t make it, or a celebration for the larger network of people whom you weren’t able to invite. No place in your house for those tealight holders? Think about how nice it might look to have those tucked all over your back garden to light up next time you’re having a glass of wine in the backyard. Don’t really know what to do with 30 matching pint-sized containers? Plant some small flowers or greenery in them and line your front walk with them. All those escort card holders? Take them out at the holidays and use them to hold holiday greeting cards you receive – line your mantle, window sill, book shelves, etc. Don’t have anywhere to hang all those strings of little white lights? Ball several strings of lights up inside big glass vases, or inside big wicker balls, to make decorative “lamps”. The idea is to get creative with where and how you reuse the stuff you have – think about your outdoor spaces, special occasions and holidays, interesting decorating ideas, and ways to creatively incorporate things int o gifts in the future.
If there are any recently married folk, I’d love to hear any great creative reuses you’ve come up with, or any other great stories about wedding leftover successes!
Actually, I’d love to hear some wedding leftover horror stories too! Whose got the biggest batch of random items? The weirdest wedding leftover they had to bring home? The leftover they just can’t seem to get rid of no matter how hard they try?
And if anyone wants a rediculous amount of martini glasses…