DIY weddings have been in style for years now, with Pinterest inspiring many couples to pass on store-bought decor. While DIY projects are a great way to personalize your wedding day, they do have some downsides – top among them being the amount of waste they can produce.
You might love the handmade name tags or paper crane centerpieces, but many of these single-use items get tossed at the end of the night. Many couples choose to DIY their decorations to save money, but they can be a waste of money if they can only be used for one day.
Instead of investing time and money on one-time DIYs, try one of these seven projects that can be reused after your big day.
1. Mason Jar Centerpieces
Centerpieces often end up in the garbage after a wedding. Even if you invite your guests to take the centerpieces as favors, many will get left behind. You can fix this problem by using Mason jars as centerpiece containers.
People use Mason jars for all kinds of daily activities. Sip iced tea from them on a hot afternoon or turn them into dried food storage in your pantry. You could even transform them into light fixtures with the existing lights in your home.
Another great thing about Mason jars is that they last so long. If you don’t have any immediate ideas, you can save them in storage for future crafts when you’re more inspired. Avoid putting your name or wedding date on the jars so your guests will be more likely to take them.
2. Chalkboard Signs
Signs directing guests to different rooms are popular wedding decor staples. While they are useful for that day, there’s not much you can do with a sign that says, “Bride Side, Groom Side,” after the fact.
Instead of ordering single-use signage, opt for chalkboard signs that can be erased and rewritten for any occasion. You can use colorful chalk markers to create gorgeous handwriting and reuse them in your home by hanging them in your kitchen or office. They can also be coopted into a statement piece.
Chalkboards could also become useful decor if you decide to homeschool your future kids or open a business. They’re the best surfaces for practicing letters or displaying temporary signage outside a shop.
3. Wedding Bouquet Flowers
You might find that you want to save your bouquet flowers after your wedding. They’re sweet mementos, but there are more options than drying them out and putting them in a picture frame. You can also microwave them under paper towels to save the seeds and replant them in your yard.
When the flowers bloom, you’ll have a beautiful symbol of your new life as a married couple. As long as you know how much sun and water your specific bouquet flower seeds will need, you’ll have a thriving garden commemorating your marriage.
4. Polaroid Picture Guestbook
People will want to write thank-you notes or well wishes in a guestbook at your reception, but these sometimes turn into single-use notebooks that people never look at again. As an alternative, ask your guests to snap Polaroid selfies and write messages on the backs of each picture. You can hang them in your home or office for continual enjoyment.
5. Picture Frames
Frames can be used in many different ways at your wedding. You can use them to display menus or table numbers for an eclectic decor vibe. Stop by a local thrift store or flea market to snag vintage picture frames before they end up in landfills.
Chances are, you’ll want picture frames to display your wedding photos. By incorporating them as decor, you can get multiple uses out of them and save money. If you have a lot of frames, you can encourage guests to take some home, as well.
6. Cake Stand
Your wedding cake is one of the most important details of your reception, but you might not think about what it’s served on. Instead of opting for a single-use platter or leaving it up to your caterer, try to find a cake stand that you can continue to use after the ceremony.
Use your cake stand to display future desserts at parties, showcase centerpieces on your dining table or hold decorative candles on the bookshelf. You’ll be especially happy to reuse it if it’s a personalized piece of decor, like a slice of natural wood cut by a loved one for your special day.
7. Name Cards
Name cards that designate where guests will sit are another form of wedding decor that often turn into single-use projects. Paper name cards, no matter how pretty, are likely to end up in the trash. However, there are plenty of ways you can create sustainable name cards.
If you’re having a winter wedding, try writing your guests’ names on Christmas ornaments that they can hang on their tree. Personalized shot glasses can be fun for an adult-only reception. If you like to bake, you could even use icing to write out your guests’ names on sugar cookies. Think about something that can serve multiple purposes and your guests will enjoy.
Plan a Low-Waste Wedding
Many DIY projects can be reused after your big day if you want to host a low-waste wedding. Think about what you’re making to personalize your ceremony or reception and how you might use these items in the future. Everything from name cards to your bouquet flowers could become a romantic feature of your everyday life with your spouse if you get creative at home.
Jack Shaw is the senior writer of Modded.com. When not writing, he can be found out adventuring across country, on his own or with his dog at his side.