After the Simchah

After the Simchah: Leftovers and Cleaning Up

Once the lovebirds are a couple and the thirteen year-old an adult in the eyes of the Jewish community, the event begins to wind down.

Donating leftover food

If you anticipate having at least 50 pounds of surplus food to donate, DC Central Kitchen staff are available with advance notice of 24 hours, Monday through Saturday, to pick up food. DCCK uses refrigerated vans, provides all containers, and all staff members are “Serv-Safe” certified food handlers:, 202.234.0707 ext. 145. Other organizations to contact in advance to arrange for donations of leftover food include:

Composting food waste

Do you have a compost bin or pile, or know someone who’ll be attending your wedding who does? Plan ahead to keep organic waste out of the landfill by arranging in advance with your caterer to separate food waste from trash and recyclables into a large jug with a tight lid, and send the compost home with someone who will use it to enrich his/her garden.

Recycling cans and bottles

If the venue you use does not offer recycling, someone you know can easily leave cans, glass bottles, and paper for curbside pickup at home. Put clearly marked recycling receptacles right where guests will be needing them (paper recycling for the paper programs at the end of the ceremony, and any bottles and cans collected near the bar where they’re being distributed).

Even wine corks can be recycled into cork tiles! Mail them to Wine Cork Recycling, Yemm & Hart Ltd., 610 S. Chamber Dr., Fredericktown, MO, 63645. (Learn more at

Donating clothing from the special day

  • Consider donating used bridal gowns to the “Brides Against Breast Cancer” program of the Making Memories Foundation. The Foundation accepts used gowns, veils, and slips from 1995 to the present. Each gown is resold nationally through touring sales. The funds raised allow Making Memories to grant final wishes for women and men suffering from terminal breast cancer. Mail your gown, together with a self-addressed stamped envelope, and an optional $10 donation for processing, to: Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation, 12708 SE Stephens St., Portland, OR, 97233.
  • Donate used women’s dress clothes (other than bridal gowns) to the Silver Spring gemach, where they will be shared with other women in the local Jewish community: contact Rise Goldstein at 301.681.0860,
  • Donate women’s professional attire and accessories to Suited for Change, based in DC, which provides professional clothing and ongoing career education to low-income women seeking employment. To schedule an appointment: 202.293.0351 > Mailbox #3,
  • For a list of DC-area non-profits that accept donations of a broader range of clothing items:

Dropping off packing peanuts from gifts for reuse

If you end up receiving gifts packed in those pesky polystyrene packing peanuts, drop them off at any Mailboxes Etc., which will happily accept them for reuse in their packages:, 800.789.4623.


Consider having all proofs sent digitally. This will minimize the use of toxic chemicals and paper in developing, and you can be sure that the only prints made are the ones you want.

Thank-you notes

Look for thank-you notes whose paper and printing reflect the Jewish principle of bal tashchit/not wasting. Find greener notecards in the National Green Pages™ at

See Paper and Printing for environmental and social considerations for choosing notes.