DIY Wedding: Garage Saling Decor & More!

Earlier in the year Jason and decided that “something this fall” we’ll get married. When I started talking to my sister about the reception, she found so many wonderful ideas on backyard weddings and how the wedding couple had thrifted, garage saled, and found all the decor, wine glasses, plates, and silverware! I loved the idea! Who want’s everything the same standard size? Not me!

My sister is an interior designer, so instead of letting me sit on my hands and procrastinate planning the wedding, she pushed me to make a guest list, figure out how much we needed of what, and make a “thrift list”. Now that we are 6 weeks out from the wedding, we have just about everything we were looking for thanks to her great organizational skills. Here’s how she did it — because let’s face it, this was totally her project!

The Thrift List

The first thing you will want to do is decide on exactly what you want to purchase vs rent. There are a few things to consider:

  • How many guests
  • What will each place setting contain
  • What kind of decor items and how many of each
  • How much does it cost to rent the equivalent

For us we decided on 80 guests approximately. Each place setting would have: a tea cup, a dinner and dessert plate, silverware, a cloth napkin, wine glass, mason jar (pint size) for water. Each table would have: a stack of vintage books, a collection of small to large vases, herbs as wedding favors for guests to take home.

We also had a variety of “tables” set up as well as areas that we wanted to fill with found items. Things like parasols, vases, vintage suitcases, etc.

We used google docs to keep track of rental prices, and what we found as we found it. It was a project too big for one person so we shared the google doc with a couple of friends and quickly got things rolling.

Rental prices. We were able to find a local PartyTime that would rent everything from galvenized horse troughs to fine china. We used those rental prices to put a cap on how much we would pay per item that we found at a garage sale – like no more than 10 center per piece of silverware or 50 cents per wine glass.

Going to the Sale

Having your list on hand is key. At one point or another we all bought things we thought were on the list that weren’t. Always print out the list and take it with you on your thrifting adventures.

Garage sales are by far the best to hit up for unique low priced items, but sometimes you can get a sweet score from an antique shop, consignment store, or charity thrift shop. My sister got these 10 parasols for super cheap at an antique shop that was going out of business for instance.

Keeping it organized

I definitely have my sister and mom to thank for this one. It would all be in a big pile of unsorted boxes in the basement if it weren’t for them. We bought 11 large plastic storage bins, the last of the xmas stock (green and red bins) for $4.50 each in Junish. We used masking tape to label each bin – vases, baskets, wine glasses, mason jars, etc.

We have done two re-organizing sessions where we merged newly purchased things with things we collected earlier in the year. This has helped us keep count and minimize the amount of space the stuff was taking up in my studio – one of the reasons you haven’t seen a sewing project in awhile, all this stuff is in my studio in the basement.

Transporting it to the wedding

While it may seem excessive, we are renting a small moving truck to haul everything. This will minimize trips back and forth between our house and the ceremony and the reception on the day of the wedding – really reducing stress, time, and gas usage.

Getting rid of it

There are a couple of ways to unload all this stuff after you’ve used it for your wedding, the first thought we had was to just have a huge garage sale next spring and make back at least some of the money we spent. We all want to keep a few things – those vases are lovely though I’m sure I don’t need 20 vases, I’ll keep at least a few.

Jason and I aren’t ones for matching dishes so we are going to keep place settings for 16 as our “wedding china” set. We’ll keep a box of wine glasses for special occasions too. The mason jars will be used for more canning of course.

Some things may end up being donated to the local Goodwill for a tax write off. Other things may be donated to the local emergency residence project. Everything will find a home eventually though, no waste here.

Have you diy’d your wedding decor? Did you purchase new, used, or rent your dishes for your wedding?

Until Next Time!