Very few red-letter days will generate as many “keepsakes” as a wedding day. Even the least sentimental of brides will have a few special mementos of the day. A phrase that has been popping up in the decor world lately is “Thoughtful Archiving”.
In my interpretation it means that your possessions, both utilitarian and nostalgic in nature, can be stored in a manner that protects them, honours them and makes you feel good about them when you see and use them.
As an example- take a person who keeps beer cans. We have all seen episodes of Hoarders where the subject insists that their backyard full of beer cans is a “collection”. No matter how many neighbours complain or vermin move in-he insists that they are a valuable collection. It likely makes the owner feel powerless and defensive and causes strife between family members. Now imagine the same beer cans in the care of someone who cleans, sorts and displays them with pride. To be clear- beer can collecting is definitely not my thing- but I am convinced that the true collector who knows his pieces and treasures them and I can appreciate his passion. Whether it is a collection of antiques, a child’s toys or crafting supplies- the same philosophy works. This is why Pinterest is full of images of people’s spices or their wrapping paper or ribbon- they have stored it so that they can use and enjoy it. They are proud of how they store they “collections”.
The very same principles apply to wedding keepsakes. It is not so dramatic that A&E comes calling but we often hear from people that their gown is hanging in the basement (or worse still, in a storage unit) and has not been professionally cleaned or stored. They have never looked at their guestbook and don’t know where their photos are. Their decorations are in bins and all the wedding “leftovers”, both used and unused are jumbled together and taking up valuable storage space. You will curse them every time you move and eventually send them to a thrift store or landfill!
Some wedding leftovers are just supplies and can be shared, donated or recycled. Decorative items such as paper lanterns, linens, centrepieces, leftover paper supplies etc should all be put away clean and stored in such a way that they can be re-used or donated. Sites like Craigslist and Kijiji are full of ads for multiples of vases and other decorations and they are more likey to sell if they are listed promptly after the wedding and are fresh, clean and in good condition. They are likely to headed landfill if they are jammed in a box and stashed in a damp basement for 6 years to become damaged, dated and musty.
Other items represent signifcant memories and milestones and should be handled with more care. Wedding “souvenirs” such as a sample invitation, notes between the couple on the wedding day, the bridal garter, a sixpence from the bride’s father, special handkerchiefs, gloves, toasting flutes, wedding jewellery, copies of toasts and speeches and photos all have great sentimental value and will bring back happy thoughts of your wedding day whenever you see them. You will gather special notes from bridesmaids and family members, a guestbook, a dried boutonnière, your veil and any number of items that are only special to YOU. These are the things that you want to show your children and may even pass on to your own daughter on her wedding day. These are the things that should make you smile of even bring a nostalgic tear to your eye.
To “honour” your Memories you can create a Wedding Memory Keepsake Box. It can be a hatbox, jewellery box, cedar chest, drawer, plastic bin, shoebox or something created just for this purpose. The point is that when you open the box, all your treasures are safe and you feel the love, joy and hope you experienced on your wedding day. You can enjoy these items on significant anniversaries and some of them may even be available to your own children on their wedding days because of your safekeeping!