Tips For Planning a Thrifted Wedding  


With the cost of almost everything rising and a bigger push for sustainable living, thrifted weddings are becoming more popular now than ever. With a bit of creativity and some planning, you may be able to get everything you need at a thrift store for a memorable wedding.

A thrifted wedding is not necessarily one that is on a small budget. Rather, it is one that is pulled together with a lot of focus on reusing and reinventing items to create something that is special, one-of-a-kind and memorable.

At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, we take pride in providing our customers with the best access to the items they need to create the perfect wedding. You never know what you will find, so it is best to stop by one of our stores a few times to check out what’s currently available. In the meantime, consider some tips on how to plan for your wedding.

thrifted wedding infographic

Create a Budget

Before doing anything else, create a budget for your wedding and the décor. This is generally going to have a large overall dollar amount you want to spend as well as a few breakdowns of that value based on what you want to spend on various items.

Having a budget like this gives you some guidance on what to spend but also on how to keep costs low. It is easy to go overboard and find yourself simply unable to get it all done. You don’t want to run out of money. Set your budget first.

Decide What You Want to Thrift

Once you have an idea of what your budget is, ask yourself what exactly you want thrifted. Keep in mind you probably have a good chance of finding a lot of great items at Goodwill.

You may not be interested in thrifting some items. For example, you may want fresh-cut flowers in all of your centerpieces. You don’t have to settle for something that doesn’t feel right buying second hand on your big day. Make a list of the things you could thrift, though. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Linens, such as tablecloths and napkins
  • Centerpiece décor for tables, especially if you buy items and create the centerpiece yourself
  • Wedding dress, in some cases
  • Jewelry pieces such as a gold bracelet
  • The perfect pair of shoes for the flower girl or ring bearer
  • Ribbons and bows to tie to the guest’s chairs
  • Unique wedding favors

What other items do you plan to buy that you could get for less? Consider the décor items and theme you plan to have, too. It’s easy to find ways to get most of what you need for less if you are creative.

Find Out What Is Available

As you start to make a list of the items that seem like a good fit, it’s time to start shopping. It’s best to visit your favorite Goodwill stores on a regular basis. No two locations offer the same thing, but most offer some pretty amazing options. Make it a regular process – come by every couple of days or every week.

It’s a good idea to spread out your search beyond just the Goodwill locations that are in your city. For example, you may be able to visit a location in a nearby city that you haven’t visited before. You’ll likely find almost everything you need in visiting a few different locations.

You Need Time

Whether you are looking for the perfect items for creating wedding décor or you are just planning to pick up items here and there as they appeal to you, the one thing you have to have is time. Start your Goodwill search as soon as possible and be as structured about it as you can.

The more time you have to spend shopping, the better. Just keep in mind that you also need time to do some crafting and planning for your items. We recommend planning ahead several weeks to get the best access to the items you desire.

Look at Items as What They Could Be

As you walk through your local stores, you are not likely to find 10 different candlesticks that all match for table centerpieces. You may not find the perfect linens so that every table matches. Think outside of the box and look for items that offer lots of beauty in their own way.

Look at items differently. For example, you may find beautiful antique teacups. You may not find enough for all of your guests, but you could find enough to use as table décor, perhaps, with a small candle and a few candies on the side. If you are looking for just the right dress, you may want to consider an alternative to the traditional, formal white gown. You could find a ball gown that is simply too incredible not to pick up.

Also, consider turning things into items they are not. For example, old picture frames could serve as table numbers with a special poem within them. The more creative you are with how to transform the items you find, the better.

Make Wedding Décor Really Work for You

One of the best ways to turn your wedding into a truly thrifted wedding is to use items you find at Goodwill as décor. That means they are not just the practical components of your wedding day, but they help set the stage and theme. Once you decide on a theme, you can do this much easier.

For example, if you decide on a backyard wedding, consider these ideas.

  • Purchase sheer drapes you find at Goodwill to use to create an archway. Roll up the drapes softly to frame the archway with beautiful linens.
  • Use numerous reclaimed chairs to create seating for your guests. They won’t match, but they will look fabulous.
  • Use vintage rugs and linens to create an aisle to walk down. They don’t have to match, but they can create a beautiful view.
  • Use antique items as a way to create something magical. You could use some lanterns to light the area or a few vintage chandeliers to set the stage.

There are a lot of fun ways to transform your wedding into a stunning event. With some time and a bit of patience, you can find the right dress, décor, favors, and everything else you need for a thrifted wedding. What’s most important is giving yourself time to find just what works for your special day. You’ll be creating a beautiful event while saving the planet from waste and keeping costs in line with your goals. Start your search today at your local Goodwill.

Thrifted wedding decor; Table with white tablecloth, wooden plates and candles

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