How to repurpose your wedding decor at home after the big day | Home & Garden

The wedding reception guests are gone, but all those pretty things that their now newlywed hosts accumulated to decorate their tables are not.

So, now what?

Plenty of couples opt to sell their reception lovelies, as evidenced by some wedding-specific Facebook yard sale sites for Lancaster County.

A tiny sample of the mountains of items that appeared on those sites this month alone includes: 14 assorted doilies, tablecloths galore, at least one beer sign, a dozen succulent planters, oodles of artificial eucalyptus, miscellaneous china, faux plants, an assortment of wooden lanterns, mini chalkboards, 11 bubbled glass square plates, tea lights, 23 green cheesecloth table runners, gold-painted glass compote bowl flower vases, a handmade arbor, a king peacock wicker chair and 54 navy-and-gold candle holders, which are shown accompanying glass-domed roses at a Beauty-and-the-Beast-themed affair.

True, purging proponent Marie Kondo would be most unlikely to advise hanging on to it all. And yet this list, in some ways, feels like missed opportunity for incorporating wedding reminders into home decor. So here are five ideas to get inspiration flowing before it all goes up for sale.

Pillar candles

“Something totally reusable are pillar candles and candlesticks. And they’re everywhere all over those sale sites,” says Cecilia “Cece” Zagas, owner of Cecelia Interior Design in Lancaster. “I love using candles in fireplaces in lieu of firewood.”

One option is to group them on candelabras, says Zagas, who was married this October.

Zagas says you can also group the pillars and hit them with some up-lighting or downlighting for dramatic impact.

“I will, in fact, be doing this with my pillar candles from my wedding,” she says.


Mismatched vintage (and a few new) candlesticks with LED candles added visual interest to guest tables at a recent October wedding. Now that the big day has passed, they’re grouped together on top of a record shelf.


Sure, if you’ve got an apartment that one probably needs to go, says Kris Groff Barry, of Groff’s Plant Farm near Kirkwood. But there’s plenty of yard or garden potential there.

“Arches are great to frame a view,” Barry says. “You would put it someplace where you would want to direct your gaze, either to focus on an area of a garden or at the entrance to a garden to make a dramatic statement of here is where you come in”

Don’t shove it in a corner and definitely don’t have it angled toward anything ugly.

“With trellises, depending on what materials it’s made out of, you don’t want to put something on it that’s going to be too heavy and pull it down,” she says. Match the plant to its strength. Some arches or trellises might not support a heavy climbing rose or climbing hydrangea, she says, adding that annuals like morning glory or clematis might be the play there.

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Lanterns and tea lights

Lanterns of many styles could look lovely hanging from trees in the yard, says Alison McIndoe, founder of AK Interiors LLC in Lancaster.

And farmhouse lanterns are perfect for front porch decor, says Jena Murphy, residential interior designer at Henrietta Heisler Interiors in Lancaster.

“I had tons of items leftover from my wedding, too,” Murphy says. “And I tried to recycle them into ideas for my home decor that I swap out throughout the year.”

A friend of hers busts out mason jars from her wedding around Christmas — putting cranberries in some and candles in others.

Now, about those tea lights, the battery-operated variety especially. Maybe think twice before letting those go. It’s just so easy to pop those into pretty much anything for instant ambiance. Example: they do cozy wonders for milk glass.


Seriously, on those wedding yard sale sites. So. Much. Eucalyptus. Pinterest is exploding with idea options there — from boho wall hangings, to wrapping it around entryway mirrors, to using it as a striking background for a tray of white pumpkins.

“I actually take that at the holidays and use it as a filler for my real garland,” Murphy says. “I get to beef it up a bit.”

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Tablecloths and dishes

No doubt, these things take up space. McIndoe and her family members have a system. One stores all their collectively accumulated tablecloths. Another the dishes. Another the wine glasses.

“If one of us is having a party the others say, ‘What color do you need?’ ” McIndoe says.

It works, whether the event of the day is a fundraiser or a picnic.

“We love entertaining,” she says. “And if you’re having a party there’s no reason you can’t break out the nice clear glass plates.”

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