Repurposing: A Different Shade of Green for Special Events

Posted by on May 25, 2013 in Blog, Event Planning | 0 comments

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  I know most Americans are thinking red, white and blue but I’m thinking of shades of green, too … sustainable ideas that save money.  Do I have your attention?  Please read on.

Are you looking for ways to do more with less, perhaps to stretch your event budget without sacrificing quality?   One option is to “repurpose”.  Repurpose is another name for reuse but let’s be honest, it sounds better, especially when trying to retain quality.  Repurposing is the concept of giving new life to an item; it’s an innovative way to use an item one way and then, give it new life in another way … and it’s a very green (earth-friendly, sustainable) method of producing events!

I’m a huge fan of repurposing items at events.  Below are a few ways that I have repurposed items at past events.  Maybe you’ll be inspired to repurpose?!


table centerpiece  ARC cocktail centerpiece

Last week, at a high-end chairman’s luncheon, a local floral designer created these gorgeous arrangements for the lunch tables.  Before the cocktail reception, I repurposed a few stems in mint julep cups at the client’s request.  It only took a little snipping and sorting and the results were fabulous!  Just remember that flowers are fragile and need extra care when handling.


IMG_5485Did you hear the news Gala - 13 - dessert buffet

Furniture is probably the easiest item to repurpose especially if you have various spaces/rooms within an event.  Last year, for an awards gala, my co-producer and I repurposed furniture from the VIP Reception for the After Party and enhanced the space with dessert displays and colorful lighting.

Desks make great Bars

Fentress Architects (DC) 30th Anniversary - 3

Another example of repurposing furniture, desks make great bars.  I find this solution works well for receptions hosted in small office spaces.   The desk looked like a natural bar!


Also at last week’s luncheon, a beautiful Lucite podium was used for the preceding outdoor event and then brought inside for the lunch.  The cables and microphone were set up in advance so it only took a few minutes to assemble.

Other ideas for repurposing?

If you can’t find items in your event to repurpose OR need more ways to save money, check to see if you can repurpose items from the group before or after you.  Big ticket items like AV, sound and lighting are worth considering.  If these items are already in place (with minimal adjustments), you’ll save on installation costs (and set up time) and can share the rental expense with the other group.  That’s a tremendous savings!

There are some items to avoid repurposing such as linens and food.  Linens are generally used to cover food buffets and guests’ tables; spills happen and make a mess; and food spoils.

Have you repurposed items at an event?  If so, please share your idea by leaving a comment to let us know!