Tips and tricks for shopping thrift shops for your wedding decor.
Is there any better feeling than finding an amazing bargain? What if that amazing bargain is on an incredible vintage find? And what if by purchasing that low-cost, vintage item you’re helping to reduce waste and promote sustainability?
Check all these boxes by calling upon your inner treasure hunter and shop your local thrift stores for your wedding! With a little creativity, ingenuity, and time you can create an event uniquely you by exploring thrift stores, vintage shops, and flea markets.
Getting started can be intimidating for those new to the thrifting scene, but there are some ways to break it down into manageable steps. First and foremost, start with a clear vision and be sure to give yourself plenty of time. Take it from Dina Younis, a thrift content creator who knows the value of scouring second-hand sources. Younis is the creator Dina’s Days and helps everyone “think of second-hand, first.”
“Hands down, the key to being a successful thrifter is to go often,” Younis says. “Going often doesn't have to mean every day. But if you have a goal in mind, try planning on going once a week leading up to the big event. And diversify your thrift route. Go to different stores, thrift online, and explore different types of stores—antique, flea, vintage, outlets, traditional thrift. Always leave room for flexibility and the thrill of the hunt, but having a plan saves you time and money.”
So what can this vision look like? The possibilities truly are endless. Younis suggests starting with housewares. Begin collecting an eclectic but cohesive selection of candle holders and vases to use as centerpieces and décor throughout the ceremony and reception. Invest time in finding glass candlesticks which you can easily spray paint coordinating semi-translucent colors to resemble sea glass for a soft, romantic look. Cut-glass cocktail glasses at each place setting can be used for a signature drink and does double-duty as a favor for your guests.
Picture frames are another easy-to-find item. Look for matching frames, or use paint to craft a custom set, to display drink options at the bar, parking directions, table numbers, or even bathroom signage. Mirrors cultivate a dreamy vibe and are relatively easy to find. Use glass pens to write on them to make a beautiful seating chart, or menu display. You can also write a meaningful quote or welcome message for your guests.
Deciding where to start your treasure-hunting expedition can be overwhelming, but each type of store has its benefits. Vintage boutiques or antique dealers are great for finding amazing handbags, headpieces, jewelry, ties, or other accessories. While their prices are often higher, they usually feature a curated collection saving you some time. Flea markets and traditional thrift stores may take longer to sort through, but usually you can find a wide-variety of options at lower costs. Facebook is a surprising resource with local Buy Nothing groups or the Marketplace. Recently married couples often offload large quantities of event supplies, barely used, at a fraction of the cost. Keep an eye out for estate sales as well; as people downsize their homes you can scoop up amazing jewelry, table linens, and even furniture.
If you’re still unsure which stores are the good ones, Younis suggest simply diving in. “I think it's about training your eye for good finds, and not about the store,” she says. “Everyone is looking for something different, and you never know what you're going to find. Sure, there are some stores that are cleaner, more organized, or more affordable, and I definitely enjoy some stores over others, but I like to keep my options open and visit as many stores as possible to find what I'm looking for.”
She also points out that many thrift stores support local causes. Find one benefiting a cause you care about and use your wedding as a means to invest in the mission.
Thrift store treasure hunting and secondhand shopping is good for the planet, good for your budget, good for important causes, and are amazing tools to help you plan a truly personal wedding.
Written by Erin Sernoffsky | Photo by cottonbro studio