#17: Donate or use ‘recycled’ center-pieces

I never realized all that went into planning a wedding until I started planning my own. In  all honesty, the whole wedding celebration has always seemed a bit of a production to me; the ribbon-laced invitations, the speeches, the clinking of glasses, the center-pieces, the place-cards, the cutting of the cake…you name it. However, I can’t deny that I’m going through with the process and really enjoying the thought of sharing in a glorious day (it’s actually three days), of eating, drinking and reminiscing with family and friends!

Along my journey of wedding planning, my mind has obviously been churning with various ideas of how people can make their weddings more socially and environmentally responsible, in creative yet simple ways. Some of my ideas have been outrageous, so I’d rather not post them here, but here’s one idea that borders between tacky and thoughtful…you be the judge.

Preface

I’ve never been one to win prizes or draws, but both my family and I seem to have some very good luck at winning wedding center-pieces. Over the past few years, my family has accumulated an impressive collection of vases; everything from tall, narrow vases, to those with the fun jelly inside, to some with softly coloured stones on the bottom, to others that can also be used as candle holders. My parents and I typically tend to feel a sense of pride and happiness (it’s actually pretty lame) when we walk out of the wedding hall at the end of the night carrying our center-piece prize.

As I’ve been planning my own wedding, I’ve thought about the number of center-pieces and other wedding accessories that are typically left-over at the end of the night from other people’s weddings and the growing collection of such items in my own house. The accumulation of all this ‘stuff’ and the continuous production of new ‘stuff’ blows my mind. We live in a society that loves to consume, but unfortunately this often excessive consumption leads to unnecessary waste and pressure on the environment. Furthermore, while many of us have the luxury of consuming more than we often need, many people in the world can’t afford to buy simple things that are crucial to live the lives they have reason to value.

That being said, my idea is to donate used center-pieces to future brides and grooms-to-be–perhaps those with income limitations or those who simply want to reduce their consumption in order to help the environment–, who can then use them at their own weddings. A non-profit organization or something along the lines of a ‘Wedding Donation Depot’ could facilitate this process. To make the center-pieces creative and unique, a little anecdote or poem can be attached to each vase indicating a story related to the weddings they previously graced. The only catch is that every table will likely have a different center-piece, given the difficulty in finding identical vases from various donors. However, with a nice colour-scheme, some creativity and some social-mindedness, donated center-pieces could have the potential of surpassing tacky and venturing instead into trendy and thoughtful.

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