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Wedded bliss and bouquet blitz: Repurposed wedding flowers bring smiles to long-term care patients

Simply Wedding N.L. repurposes used wedding decorations for a more affordable option. Now they're also repurposing wedding flowers — and delivering them to residents of long-term care facilities.

The idea came from her own wedding, says Nancy Leung

A woman in a white jacket holds a box of flowers outside of a health facility
Simply Wedding N.L. brings repurposed wedding flowers to the Caribou Memorial Veterans Pavillion in St. John's for residents. (Submitted by Nancy Leung)

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something… bloomed? 

The worst-kept secret in the wedding industry is the hefty price tag that comes along with getting married.  

The average Canadian wedding can cost up to $40,000, says Nancy Leung, co-founder of Simply Wedding N.L., a company that aims to make weddings more affordable by repurposing used wedding decorations. 

"[The idea] came from my own wedding," Leung said with a laugh. She began to understand how expensive it is to get married when she and partner began planning their own wedding last winter.

The idea struck when Leung was in an enterprise class for her graduate business administration program. 

"I wanted to improve the accessibility of weddings in Newfoundland and Labrador, where people tend to find it expensive," she said.

"We could take an extra step to help the environment by reducing the waste and making a difference in each decision."

Not only is the company collecting used decorations and doughnut walls, but now they're collecting flowers, too. 

After the vows are said and the wedding march fades, Simply Wedding collects the flowers and gives them a new purpose: to put a smile on the face of residents in long-term care facilities. 

At her own wedding, Leung and her wife gave flowers to their guests. And when she posted about it on social media, one of Simply Wedding's followers suggested donating the flowers to the elderly. 

A vase of flowers sit on a table with tea ingredients surrounding it.
Flower donations to the Caribou Memorial Veterans Pavillion are laid on the tables for residents to enjoy. (Submitted by Caribou Memorial Veterans Pavillion)

"And that was the time where we started to say, 'Hey, let's do a community project, line up parties and project partners who are in the same industry servicing the brides,'" she said. 

"So we collect from whatever possible and we started to rearrange and repurpose it for the long-term care facilities." 

And even though she doesn't get to meet the people these flowers go to, the facility members make sure they know it's appreciated. 

She said it gives her a sense of satisfaction to spread the joy to other people. 

Nicole Butt, resident care manager and site administrator for Caribou Memorial Veterans Pavillion in St. John's, said they receive a lot of donations from the community. 

"Fresh flowers coming to the facility is always nice because it really brightens up the space," she said. 

Some of the flowers are used in the dining area for the residents of long-term care —  sitting as centre pieces on the tables. 

"Even feeling like they're part of the experience really helps as well, and really helps the residents feel connected to the community," said Butt. 

Butt said the residents appreciate every donation they receive.

Simply Wedding N.L. will be collecting flowers until the end of December. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Antle

Journalist

Sarah Antle is a journalist working with CBC in the St. John's bureau.

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