What to Do with All of Those Flowers Post-Wedding

All your wedding flowers—the bouquets, centerpieces, arrangements—were so beautiful, you can't bear the thought of throwing them in the trash when the day is done. So don't! Besides letting guests take them home, there are plenty of ways to repurpose those floral beauties and give them new life.

Photo: Austin Gros

Have it turned into a work of art.

The Heirloom Bouquet, created by a fine art wedding photographer and a floral designer, is a modern way to transform your bouquet into an elegant and timeless heirloom. After the big day, the company will source the very same flowers used in your arrangement and will create a custom flat-lay photograph. As the finishing touch, each bloom will be labeled with hand calligraphy.

Get fresh with the elderly.

Delivering your colorful, still-vibrant flowers to a local nursing home or assisted-living facility is a noble reuse of wedding flowers and for good reason: Fresh flowers brighten up a room, whether it's the elaborate one at your reception or the simple dining hall where the older folks gather at mealtime. Other worthwhile recipients: shelters, hospitals, and hospices.

After the reception, you'll be heading out to your wedding night destination, so ask someone who's responsible to collect the goods, put them in water-filled vases, or keep them in a cool, dry place overnight and bring them to your designated receiver the next day. Be sure to make delivery arrangements with the facility's manager ahead of time rather than have your friend show up unannounced with an armload of petunias.

Make custom art.

Channel your inner Andy Warhol and use pressed flowers to create original artwork that you hang in a prominent place in your home. To press, get a heavy book, line a page with wax paper and place individual petals on the paper. Put another heavy book on top, and keep the book closed for a week to 10 days. Flowers should then be moisture-free with a papery texture. Make different patterns-hearts, your monogram, abstract shapes-with the flowers on heavy cardstock and hang each separate design in a simple white or silver frame.

Display your bouquet in a shadowbox.

A shadowbox is basically a frame with lots of depth, so you can place three-dimensional objects, like a bouquet, inside. You'll need to let the bouquet dry out first. Put a rubber band or another tie around the stems and hang the bouquet upside down and out of direct sunlight. The petals will shrink and change colors after a few weeks. Then put it in the shadow box; add a wedding photo of you and your new husband if you like. Don't want to do the work yourself? Check out if a local picture framing shop can create a shadowbox with your bouquet instead.

Accessorize with petals.

There are tons of crafty ways to use those pretty preserved petals-in scrapbooks and on coasters and trays. Every time it's cocktail hour at your home and you use a coaster, you'll get a mini memory of your happy wedding day. If you plan on sending DIY thank-you notes to wedding guests, glue a few pressed flowers on them.

Remember loved ones.

This one's sentimental but bittersweet: Sprinkle petals on the gravestones of late relatives. Some brides do it as a way of honoring their grandparents and making them a part of the wedding experience.

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