The Woodland Events Blog

  • Shannon Lee

How to Upcycle Your Wedding Items

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

Our 2020 Earth Day post was written by Woodland Events Wedding and Event Planning Intern Shannon Lee.


So, all of your wedding details are finalized, all the decor is purchased, and you're ready for "I do". But do you have a plan yet for what you're doing with everything once the big day is over? At Woodland Events, we're big fans of sustainability and eco-friendly choices for your wedding. Instead of throwing things away or letting them sit in the dark collecting dust for the next 70 years, consider upcycling! Need some help with ideas? We've got you covered. Check out these tips and tricks to help upcycle your wedding items!

Wedding Dresses

Wedding dresses on hangers in a consignment store.

Not many people want to part with their wedding dresses, and that is absolutely okay! There is nothing wrong with keeping your dress! For others, it might be challenging to find a permanent place in their closet for their dress. There are plenty of ways to upcycle your wedding dress – from consignment to transformation, there are endless possibilities!


There are many consignment stores in Minnesota that will help you sell your wedding dress for a small fee. The consignment store sells your dress for you, and just like that, you've made another bride’s day and helped the planet! I love it! Below are a few consignment stores in Minnesota, just to name a few:

- Bridal Aisle Boutique – Osseo, MN

- Brides of France Consignment – Edina, MN

- Classy Consignment – Anoka, MN


There are actually many non-profit organizations out there that will allow you to donate your wedding dress and other wedding apparel to charity. I am in love with these platforms because they offer so much to those in need and they give us the means to be able to pay-it-forward, which is especially important in times like these. Below are a few organizations to consider:

- Brides Across America – This organization gifts weddings and wedding dresses to military and first responder brides in need.

- Brides for a Cause – This organization collects and resells wedding dresses to raise funds for charities across the country.

- Baby Gown for Eternity – This organization turns donated wedding dresses and other wedding apparel into gowns for babies born through stillbirth or miscarriage

Transform it

There are so many ways you can transform your wedding dress!

Pinterest is one of my inspirations when it comes to upcycling! I’ve seen wedding dresses transformed into home décor – throw pillows, curtains, tablecloths/table runners, and even framed fabric cutoffs! These are beautiful reminders of your special day that can be placed throughout the house! Other transformations include visiting a tailor, or if you’re sewing savvy (unlike me – I cannot sew to save my life), you can turn your wedding dress into a cute cocktail dress for yourself or a cute little dress for your little one!

[Editorial Note from Woodland Events owner Todd: One of our current brides is custom making her dress using pieces of her mother's and grandmother's wedding dresses!! That is some incredible transforming & upcycling!]


Hydrangeas in a wooden trough at Imagine Park in Santa Barbara.
Photo by Stefanie Elizabeth Photography

There are plenty of different ways to upcycle your flowers from your big day! We spend so much time picking the flowers, choosing the colors; it would be a shame to let these beautiful arrangements wither and go to waste after your reception. Many couples offer centerpieces and other arrangements to their guests as favors, but often, there are still plenty left behind. Here are some ideas that can help figure out what to do!

- Contact local hospitals or nursing homes to see if they will accept flower donations. In the Twin Cities, you can donate your flowers to Bluebirds and Blooms, which has already partnered with several nursing homes in the area, will repurpose your florals into special arrangements, and even sit with residents for some friendly conversation.

- Dry your flowers/bouquets and turn them into stunning centerpieces in your home. You can also use the vases from your wedding to help decorate your home. One of my friends actually dried the petals from her wedding, put them in a shadowbox, and put the box on her vanity to remind her of her big day! (So cute!!) Don't want to learn to do it yourself? Check out Petals in Pressed.

- Create a DIY coaster with dried and pressed flowers from your big day!

- Create DIY thank you cards and glue a few of your dried and pressed flowers onto the cards. This will make thank you cards all the more special!

- Leave some flowers on the gravestones of late loved ones – this is a great way of remembering and honoring them, and making them a part of the wedding experience as well.

- Ask your guests to take them to spruce up their homes.

Paper & Stationery

Wedding stationery with paper flowers at Pinewood Weddings and Events in Cambridge, MN
Photo by Cameron and Tia Photography

What happens to all of those programs, place cards, menus, and paper photo-booth props after the wedding? Instead of dumping in the trash (or even a recycle bin), there are some excellent opportunities for upcycling here!

I have a weird obsession with paper, so I love doing new and creative things with it! Here are a couple of things that I have done with paper and stationery:

- Use a stencil to cut out different designs and reuse these as gift bag tags! They’re cute and the sky’s the limit with what designs you can come up with!

- Cut them out and use them as crinkle paper for gifts or put them in clear Christmas ornaments and use them to decorate a tree!

There are plenty of ways to upcycle the items from your big day! If what's above doesn’t pique your interest, there are always options to sell anything that you cannot donate or simply would not like to keep!

I get it – decluttering is game! There are many websites that allow you to sell your items such as Etsy and even Facebook Marketplace (hello MN Wedding Items group)!

Let me know how you’ve upcycled your wedding items in the comments below! I would love to get to know your stories!

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