Med Student Finds Meaningful Re-Use Of Wedding Flowers

May 19, 2021

Wedding season is almost upon us, and that means extra work for volunteers at Virginia Commonwealth University.  They’ll be picking up flowers after the big day, re-arranging the freshest of them and delivering  bouquets to patients at the medical center. 

Medical School is notoriously hard with many hours devoted to studying and seeing patients, but at VCU’s Med School Eleanor Love found time to start a non-profit that re-uses floral arrangements from weddings. She calls it The Simple Sunflower.

VCU medical student Eleanor Love started a non-profit group, The Simple Sunflower, to share wedding flowers with hospital patients.
Credit VCU

“I have always been drawn to sunflowers and decided to add the word ‘simple’ in front, because in the world of medicine everything is complicated," she explains.  " I felt like we could create a very simple impact and bring beauty and joy to people in the hospital.”

Local wedding planners identify couples willing to donate.

“It’s very easy to get them on board," Love says. 

"They’ve been extremely helpful in promoting our project to couples who are  preparing to get married.”

On a Sunday morning, she gathers with other volunteers to make new arrangements.

“We’re always looking for flowers with long stems that have tight, bright blooms, and look like they will last for quite a few days."

Love says the work fulfills her need for creative activity and is satisfying to donors as well.

“I make it a point to reach out to each couple individually after we collect the flowers and donate them, and I’ve received wonderful feedback from the families and from the couples and from the bride saying that they are so glad that they were able to donate their flowers to us and that they could go to good use.”

And, of course, the gift makes patients happy. 

Simple Sunflower has delivered more than 550 arrangements so far.