Rachel Peterson

Thrifting for Wedding Decor

My sister-in-law once joked that Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" song was our family anthem. We were raised on thrift store finds, and still to this day, I love thrift stores and garage sales! I like unique and weird stuff and finding things at a second-hand store is like treasure hunting.

Even if you are not into the whole second-hand scene (I get it- second-hand clothes gross some people out), you can find some really great wedding decor items at these stores that will help you save some money, and get wedding decor that is not on every tablescape seen over and over again.

Thrifting does take some time- driving from store to store, in the hopes they may have a few of the items you want- but if you have more time than money, it can help you stay within your wedding budget. And you never know, while you are there, you may just find that fur fox skin you've always wanted:


Thrift Store Wedding Decor: What I've Scored

Here are some items I find regularly in thrift shops, and how to use them for your wedding. I have put in the prices that I generally find these items, but it may vary depending on where you live:


Thrift stores always have frames! I like these vintage embossed gold frames myself, and I put my calligraphy table numbers in them (get the printable here). Once you have a whole set (which can be of varying sizes), they are adorably mismatched and go great with almost any wedding theme. You can get any frame and paint it to your tastes though! I get these anywhere from 25¢ to $2 each.


Thrift stores always have vases! My favorite are the milk glass bud vases, but there are also plenty of clear glass/ crystal vases to be found as well. If you want them colored, you can customize them for your color scheme with this tutorial. Vases usually fun from 50¢ to $3 but I don't pay over $1 for them, personally.

Candle Holders:

This is great if you are not picky about all your candle holders matching. You can get candle holders for tapered candles, tealight candles, or votives. If you are hoping for matching sets, though, better to buy them new. The price range on these really depends on what you are buying, usually from $1 to $8.

Mismatched China Dishes:

Depending on how many guests you plan on having, and how many courses you are serving, this can take some time. Finding salad plates, soup bowls, dinner plates, and cups for each place setting is time consuming, but can be done! If you live in a town with more thrift stores, it's better. Visit them once or twice a week, slowly stock up, and you will have the cutest wedding tables ever! Ever!!! $1-$2 per piece.

Goblets and wine glasses:

Mismatched colored goblets have become more popular lately, and I looove the multicolored tablescapes they make. These look super great at a spring/summer wedding, or for a bohemian wedding vibe. Go full rainbow, or keep it within a tighter color palate. However, as tempting as it may be to buy the tiny, *cute*, little port wine glasses- don't! It may be annoying for your guests to keep having to get refills. 

Silver Plate:

This isn't real silver, but these platters, bowls, and serving utensils are usually vintage, heavy, and, if aren't scratched or tarnished, can look really nice! Use the platters for centerpiece bases, chargers, or serving trays. Price really varies on these- from $1 to $20 per item. Don't spend more than $5 per piece, though. There will be more at the next Goodwill down the street. 

Baskets and boxes:

These make super cute flower-filled centerpieces and can be found for $1-$5 each.

Lanterns and birdcages:

This one isn't a given, but I have found some cute little lanterns a couple of times. I still remember the Lantern that Got Away- a beautiful, antique gold, glass-walled lantern (2 ft tall) that I didn't buy because it was $18. I went back later for it and it was gone. :( Just don't hope to find a full matching set of these unless you have about 10 years before your wedding... $5-$20 each.

Glass Cake Stands:

You can do a whole dessert buffet with these babies- and they can even be stacked on top of each other for height. $5-$10

Misc. Serving Dishes:

Platters, bowls and trays can be used in so many ways- incorporate them into centerpieces, or, better yet, if you are having a buffet-style wedding, serve the food out of them, as intended! $1-$5 per piece.

Other thrift store tips:

  • Some thrift stores, like Savers, will give you a coupon if you donate to them. So you can get rid of some clutter that's just been lying around, and then go shop and save a little money! 
  • If you see an item that you want, but it's priced a little higher than you'd like to spend, ask the store if they have sale days or specials. Example: All items with a purple tag are on sale on Wednesdays. Then come back when your item is on sale. It's a little bit of a risk, hoping that it will still be there when you come back, but if you are really trying to save money, it's worth it. 
  • You can spray paint almost ANYTHING to match your color scheme. 

What's NOT a good deal at thrift stores:

Mason Jars:

Most of the thrift stores I have visited usually sell mason jars for $1 (pint size) to $2 (quart size) each, or more. This is expensive! . I have found you can get them brand new for 70¢ (pint) to $1 (quart) each. Walmart is the cheapest for these, as far as I know, but you may be able to find them on sale during the fall, when is when people are buying them for actual canning.

Anything that can also be found at the dollar store:

The dollar store does have great deals on certain wedding decor items. Sometimes thrift stores (especially larger chains like Savers and Goodwill) can be more expensive. If everything at the dollar store truly is only $1, then your bill can actually be cheaper and it's worth taking a look at what they have to offer.

Check out the dollar store for silk/fake flowers, vases and glassware, serving utensils, favors, or other fun things. Just don't go too overboard- you don't want the entire wedding to look too discount.

Ever done a thrift store wedding? Send us your pics, or tell us your thrift store decor story in the comments!



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