Thrift stores are gold mines for wedding decor. Honestly, why spend a fortune on wedding table decor that you’ll only use once? If you are involved in planning a wedding, definitely hit up the local thrift stores and see what you can score. You’ll likely find many of the basic decor items for a fraction of the cost.
For our wedding, I decided on a general style and made a list of all of the basic decor items I would need to round up. Then, rather than running out and buying a ton of stuff right away, I was patient and thrifted much of it. The beauty of wedding planning is that you typically have months to prepare, which gives you plenty of time to scout the thrift stores for decorations. And it’s a fun adventure!
David and I celebrated our four year wedding anniversary over the weekend, so I thought it was appropriate to share another installment in the DIY Wedding Series today. I’ll link the other posts in the series at the bottom of this one if you’d like to catch up. In today’s post, I’ve listed nine wedding decorations to look for at the thrift store. I hope it’s helpful!
The beautiful photography in this post is by the talented Jennifer of Jennifer Weinman Photography.
One note I will make about thrifting is that it takes time and patience, but I’m incredibly inpatient and enjoy thrift shopping because it’s like a treasure hunt. For a wedding, you’ll probably be collecting large numbers of items. Because of this, I recommend scoping out several different thrift stores. Find a few in your area that have good selections of vases, candles and other items on your list, and then frequent those stores repeatedly. Build stops by the store into your routine. Since you know what you’re looking for, it will only take a couple minutes to park, make a beeline to the section you need, and snatch up anything you find.
When you are scouting out thrift stores, you might also find a wedding consignment store in your area. I’ve seen a few of these, but my experience is that they are’t nearly as cheap as the thrift store. But if you’re looking for larger quantities of things or specific colors, a wedding consignment store may be a good option to check out.
You can also enlist the help of family or friends for thrifting. I gave my mom a list of what I was looking for, and she would swing by thrift stores near her house when she had a chance. We rounded up a few hundred cylinder vases and crystal candle holders by doing this. It took some time, but 25¢ vases were a heck of a lot more appealing than $3-6 vases.
After a few months of thrift shopping, I did purchase a few sets of things from listings on Craigslist. Some people try to make all of their money back on wedding decorations, but keep your eye out for a good deal and don’t be afraid to haggle. Pay attention to older listings–those people will be more likely to negotiate their asking prices.
Now, onto the list of nine wedding table decor items you can easily find at the thrift store:
9 Wedding Table Decor Items You Can Easily Find At The Thrift Store
1. Glass Vases
Thrift stores are full of glass vases in all shapes and sizes. I collected cylinder vases and small tea light holders for our wedding table decor. My plan was to use a variety of heights and sizes to create a collected look. By limiting the color palette to classic black and white, the varied glass vases blended together and created a collected look, rather than looking thrown together. I also gathered a variety of sizes and shapes of vases and bowls for the candy bar. (See my DIY candy bar guide here.)
2. Candles & Tea Lights
Some thrift stores are great for candles! I didn’t find many pillar candles at mine, but I did find quite a few tea lights and tapers. The nice thing about candles is, once lit, you can’t even tell they are secondhand. I ended up finding a bride on Craigslist that was selling a whole box of partially used floating candles for just a few dollars, so I snagged those to float in the top of a lot of our vases with flowers.
3. Crystal Candle Holders
Crystal candle holders, like the one holding the green taper candle in the image below, were easy to come by at all of the thrift stores I frequented. Mixing in taper candles among the vases added variety to our wedding table decor, and all that candlelight was beautiful! You could easily spray paint these candle holders to match your wedding colors. Note: Be sure to ask your venue what their candle policy is. I was lucky that mine was fine with candles, but most venues won’t allow open flames so candles may not even be an option for you.
I’m pretty sure every thrift store has a mound of baskets. Don’t overlook them! While I didn’t use baskets for our tablescape, I did use them for other things. The two matching ones below were a standard brown basket, and I spray painted them black to match our color scheme. They were perfect for holding bubbles at the ceremony. I also found some baskets to make kits of necessities for the bathrooms.
5. Marble Vase Fillers
As you’re out thrifting, you’ll probably find some marble vase fillers. I picked up any clear marbles I could find, and ended up with several ice cream pails full of them. We poured some in the bottom of our cylinder vases and then added water, an artificial orchid and a floating candle on top. I always found these clear glass marbles in small amounts, but after the wedding I had a large collection of them which made them easy to resell on Craigslist. I probably made more than I spent on them originally!
6. Picture Frames
Picture frames are another staple of thrift stores. We didn’t use any in our tablescape, but I did gather some up for a table at our reception that displayed wedding photos of our parents and grandparents. I decided to make a collected look, but it would be easy to find frames of the same color if you want something more cohesive.
You may also come across larger frames or signs. We used a pair of huge thrifted frames as props in our photo booth. I found the framed board below, painted it with chalkboard paint and used it to create a simple welcome sign to set along the sidewalk leading into our reception.
7. Table Runners
I ended up renting table runners and cloth napkins, but you may come across some at thrift stores, especially if you are looking for a basic color. You’ll probably have more luck finding a large enough quantity from a bride on Craigslist, or you can go the rental route like I did. My venue provided white tablecloths, and I think the black table runners added a lot of visual interest to our wedding table decor.
8. Diamond Confetti
I used a lot of acrylic “diamond” confetti to sprinkle along the center of the tables. I bought this confetti from the wedding section of a craft store, using a coupon to buy one box every time I was there. But I wouldn’t be surprised if you came across some of this at a thrift store. Or you’d be likely to find it listed on Craigslist or eBay. It was pretty for my wedding, but I certainly didn’t have a reason to keep it afterward. I imagine other brides in your area are looking to sell theirs.
9. Artificial Flowers
Depending on the type of flowers you’re looking for, you may find them at thrift stores. One of the big ways we saved money on our wedding decor was to use artificial flowers instead of real ones. I chose orchids because the artificial ones looked more real to me than many of the other artificial flowers out there. I also chose table centerpieces with minimal flowers, and floated the orchids in water so no one even noticed they were fake. I found a few orchids during my thrift shopping adventures, although I ended up purchasing most from the craft store. It doesn’t hurt to keep your eye out while you’re thrifting.
More From The Our DIY Wedding Series
Thanks for visiting my blog today and allowing me to share a little slice of our wedding with you. It’s hard to believe this was four years ago! Since I didn’t have a blog then, I’m really enjoying this series. Are you loving all the talk about weddings? Check out more from this blog series:
Are there other things you’d add to this list? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment below with your suggestions.
P.S. Love this post? You may also enjoy this popular blog post about holiday decorations you can find at the thrift store.
FREE GUIDE: 12 Ways To Automate Your To-Do List (That Won't Cost A Dime)
Discover practical, easy-to-implement ideas for automating some of the recurring tasks on your to-do list. Subscribe to have the free guide sent straight to your inbox.