Paying It Forward – Wedding Style

If you’re like me, the day after a large gathering at your home there is always tons of leftovers and things that are going to potentially go to waste. If there is that much extra just at my house, imagine how much goes to waste after every wedding, at every venue, every single time. I think about those things.

I know I am not alone, especially since there are the David Rothsteins of the world who have the ability to take action… and do just that. David, of the award-winning David Rothstein Music began a program to honor his grandparents called “Share Your Love” and since April 2008 has donated over 4,000 floral arrangements to local nursing homes, post-wedding. The story is inspiring and amusing, it’s worth the read.

However, you don’t have to be an industry insider or a renowned music professional in Chicago to take part in this recycling extravaganza. Here’s how you can do something good and ‘share the love’ yourself:

First, this is not something the bride and groom could or should physically handle. Appoint a wedding ambassador to handle this. Utilize  an event planner, maid of honor, best man or whomever is the most reliable and capable of handling this this task. You can make the arrangements pre-wedding and then sleep better knowing you have given something extra life by donating.

Flowers certainly lift everyone’s spirits, so make arrangements with a nursing home near your venue to either have your flowers dropped off or they may have someone who can pick them up, post-wedding.

Food products can be donated through local food banks or through ‘Feeding America’. If you have a catered affair and the catering company presents you with trays of leftover food, whatever reclamation program you decide will be delighted ! Again, make the arrangements ahead of time and donate whatever you can.

Donating Bridal Gowns and bridesmaid dresses is extremely generous and a great way to  give. Gowns can be donated to a variety of organizations which can be seen at . If your gown is stained, ripped or damaged you can make other arrangements through  the Mary Madeline project which uses the fabric to make burial garments for stillborn infants. .

Whether you choose to focus on donating one item or go all out and give everything you can part with to charity, the feeling of paying it forward is overwhelming. Remember to make all of your arrangements pre-wedding since post-wedding you will be busy writing thank you cards and settling in to your new life and the importance of giving may take a backseat to your daily tasks.


-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

…..But Can You Wear It Again?

For decades, the topic of  bridesmaid gowns has been centered around the debate over whether or not you can wear it again. This has always baffled me on  many levels, mostly because usually you wouldn’t want to and also why should you have to? 

Lets face it – no matter how fashionable or affordable it may be, you might not ever wear the dress again. The gown may not be suited to your own personal style, it may not be comfortable, it may not be a color you prefer.  This is not a reflection of the gown itself but, just a matter of choice. Big deal. That’s right – big deal. If you wear a gown for your friend’s wedding that you are not madly in love with or simply don’t have enough closet space to keep, there are dozens of things you can do after the wedding to make good use of it.

If you are crafty – Take it apart, add some elements and make a new dress. Molly Ringwald did this in Sixteen Candles and you can do it, too. Hang it in the closet, imagine all of the great things you can do with it and wait for the right moment.

Donate it – There are dozens of charities that provide gowns for less fortunate ladies for weddings and even prom.

Sell it – ebay, craigslist and other sites are a hotbed of fabulous dresses that were worn only once and probably under-appreciated. You will get considerably  less money than the original price but, it won’t go to waste if someone else uses it.

Wear it – If you truly don’t like the dress, you can still wear it… for Halloween! Zombie bridesmaid comes to mind but, I am sure there are others.

Whether or not you choose to wear the dress, change the dress, donate the dress or let it sit in the closet for thirty years, the choice is yours. For those of us who always see the glass as half full, there is always a better option than complaining.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago