Used Wedding Décor: How & What to Thrift for Your Wedding


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As someone who has been a thrift store flipper for most of my adult life, and a bride who heavily thrifted for my own wedding, I’m here with all the details to help you do the same. In this article, I’ll cover:

  • the benefits of used wedding décor
  • how to incorporate thrifted wedding décor
  • the best places to buy wedding decorations second-hand
  • thrifted wedding décor inspiration

What are the Benefits of Used Wedding Décor?

If you’re already into sustainability in your day-to-day life, chances are you’re also already well in tune with the thrifted life. If not, this is the absolute perfect time to dabble. What are the benefits of incorporating used wedding décor into your wedding plans?

Used Wedding Décor & Details To Thrift

When it comes to decorating your ceremony and reception spaces, thrifted items can be a great option. Vintage vases, candle holders, and picture frames can add a charming and nostalgic feel to your big day. You can also find unique pieces like a vintage door for your ceremony backdrop or a vintage table to serve as a DIY bar.

One way to add even more personality to your thrifted décor is to DIY it. Take a thrifted piece, like an old window frame, and turn it into a photo booth or seating chart display. Or, if you’re crafty, you can even make your own floral arrangements using thrifted vases and flowers.

7 Items to Buy Secondhand for Your Wedding

Still not sure exactly what to thrift for your wedding? Here are seven elements that are ripe with opportunity:

  • Wedding Centerpieces & Tablescapes
  • Place Settings
  • Wedding Buffet Serving ware
  • Wedding Signage
  • Wedding Table Displays
  • Guest Seating Areas/Lounges
  • Your Wedding Dress & LWDs (if you dare to go there!)

Let’s break down how to thrift each of these elements for your dream wedding.

Thrifted Wedding Centerpieces

For your thrifted wedding centerpieces, anything goes here. Gone are the days where it was floral or bust. This is where you can literally get as creative as your heart desires. The more unconventional and creative the idea, the more opportunities to buy secondhand. The best part is, mismatched is completely on trend, which makes thrifted wedding centerpieces a complete no-brainer. Here are some ideas to get your noodles cooking.

  • Votives with greenery (real or faux!)
  • Assorted vases
  • Birdcages
  • Lanterns
  • Mismatched candles

Planning a Wedding on A Budget? Get The Guide.

As a former bride on a budget, I found the wedding planning tips and tricks in the Budget Savvy Wedding Planner and Organizer so, so helpful. It was the best combination that I found out there of organization meets real planning advice for couples looking to plan an affordable wedding.

Thrifted Place Settings For a Vintage Wedding Theme

As for place settings, this may not work for every wedding theme; however, if you’re going with a vintage wedding and/or casual backyard wedding vibe, a collection of mismatched plates, drinkware, silverware, etc. adds a bit of fun eclectic whimsy to the dinner vibe and ends up being about the same price or less than renting with the opportunity to sell afterwards. I went this route and I made back equal to what I paid for them! Plus, I got exactly the vintage mismatched look I was after and had fun in the thrifting process. 

Thrifted Wedding Serving Ware

Same as with your place settings, thrifting your serving ware for your wedding is most often cheaper or about the same as renting. Plus, you have the option to sell on a wedding resale marketplace! There’s almost always a plethora of great options for formal serving ware at your average thrift store, such as cake stands, tiered displays, trays, etc.

Because there is usually a wider selection in a variety of styles, this will be fairly easy to come upon items to fit your theme. What’s more is that an eclectic variety of types of serving ware will allow you to give your wedding buffet much more personality than your average buffet line. I had fun with mine, bringing in some not-so-traditional serving ware items such as a vintage kitchen scale to set a tray of desserts atop. This is a space you can actually get pretty creative if you so choose.

Vintage scale used as serving ware at wedding

Thrift Store Wedding Signage Ideas

This is one area that might often go overlooked as a thriftable option if you’re merely thinking of printed signage options; however, thinking a bit outside of the box there are plenty of thrift store finds to repurpose as your wedding signage. All you need is someone with a steady hand and a little time for DIY wedding projects. Second hand décor that work perfectly for hand made wedding signage include:

  • Mirrors
  • Chalkboards
  • Windows
  • Repurposed frames or canvas art
  • Pallets or boards

Etsy is a great place to find both decals and stencils for customizing your signage, if you’re not confidant in going the hand lettered route. For printed pieces to outfit a thrifted frame, Canva has a free option for signage design. Just download and print through your local printer.

Used Wedding Décor for Table Displays

You may have a few display needs for your wedding, such as a memory display of family and friends who passed that you would like to honor or a space to showcase photos of the two of you and your journey. Thrifting is a great option here, because you can find a wealth of photo frames at any thrift store for a fraction what you would pay in retail. 

For favor displays, you might find some old crates, boxes or baskets that can be used to hold and display your favors. I even used an old suitcase to display flip flops I was giving out for the dance floor that went with my vintage wedding vibe and an old tri-fold frame to hold vintage postcards that we used in place of a traditional guest book.

Similar to the tablescapes, the sky’s the limit here!

Thrift Store Finds for Your Wedding Lounge

Lounge areas for your guests to step away from the wedding buzz for a bit are a nice detail, if you’ve got the space and budget. While there is likely a local vintage furniture rental supplier you could source from, other routes you can go is to mismatch furniture from your own home (and friends and family, if they are game!), OR, you can thrift which also gives you some nice resale options afterwards.

Create a unique and budget friendly space for your wedding guests to gather by piecing together table, or table like items (such as a trunk) and a variety of seating options. Also, thrifted carpets are a great budget-friendly way to help define the space.

Victorian style vintage chairs and settee used a wedding lounge for guests

Just like the place settings and essentially every other idea in this blog, mismatched is totally encouraged! Just be sure to match like time periods and styles (i.e. mid-century modern with mid-century modern).

Where to Buy Used Wedding Décor

Last but not least, where and how do you start the hunt to create the wedding of your dreams on a budget?! Here are the best places to start in your hunt to buy used wedding décor and attire:

  • Thrift Stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army, Savers, etc.)
  • Garage Sales – Garage Sale Finder is a great resource to map current sales going on in your area!
  • Facebook Marketplace & Wedding Swap Groups
  • Ebay
  • Craigslist
  • Poshmark 
  • Mercari
  • ThredUp

Now, It’s Your Turn!

So, with all of these thrift store wedding ideas, are your wheels turning yet?! Or… noodles cooking, as I like to say? Incorporating thrifted items into your wedding décor and attire can not only save you money, but it can also add a unique and personal touch to your special day. From vintage vases to DIY projects, the possibilities are endless. Don’t be afraid to visit your local thrift store and see what treasures you can find. I hope this has left you ready and inspired to create the wedding of your dreams, for a price tag that leaves your piggy bank full and happy.

Any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you and if you’d like to receive more tips and tricks for your next savvy soirée, be sure to subscribe!

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