The biggest piece of broke-ass advice I can offer is to not let yourself believe that you need everything to be new.

Think about it: The vast majority of wedding decor pieces are event specific, and they can’t easily be repurposed in a home, whether it’s because of how they look or just the sheer volume of them (I know my home doesn’t have room for 30 bud vases!). Accordingly, the market for secondhand wedding supplies is HUGE. I can *kind of* understand people worrying about bad juju if they’re buying used wedding rings, but do you really think there’s any negative vibes attached to some ribbon scraps or table runners? I don’t! If you take advantage of the secondhand market, you can save a ton of money.

One great resource is consignment stores. I never visited one when I was planning my first wedding, but this time I stopped by a couple when I was trying to finish my dress hunt. I was astounded at how much inventory they had! The best part is that once the items have been in the store for a certain amount of time, they go down to 50% off. I was able to buy partial bolts of black tulle and black glitter tulle, which will be used to make flower girl dresses, for super cheap.

The other resource I’ve found to be extremely helpful is Craigslist. I’ve found most of my items by going to my local page and then searching the for sale section for “wedding” and sorting by date. You get some junk in your results (like many posts for small appliances saying, “I got this as a wedding gift and we never use it,” so register carefully!), but you’ll also find the most relevant posts. I’ve also popped over to arts and crafts, and regularly check the free section for things wedding related and not.

I’ve had two really great scores. First, I found candy buffet vases for a steal — 8 for $25! I am  clumsy and ridiculous and broke two before I could get them home, but it’s still a great deal.

Candy Buffet by Beau-Coup

Photo: Beau-Coup

These aren’t the exact ones, but pretty close!

Most recently, I bought a lot of pumpkins that are basically everything I need for centerpieces, minus the 6 that my florist is handling.

Real Bride Katie Pumpkins

I spent about $125, and then probably another $50 on supplies. All told, I expect to be at less than $10 per table on centerpieces. Not bad, especially considering the florist’s centerpieces are around $35 each. This way, I get some fresh flowers, but I don’t have to pay what it would cost for flowers on every table.

My fiance does bodywork and painting for cars, motorcycles, and just about everything else, so he’s going to give the pumpkins a little bit of TLC. They need some smoothing and to be repainted. Some of the ivory ones will stay ivory, and the rest will go flat black. The fate of the glitter and metallic ones is yet to be decided, and I’ll probably see if I can resell the gourds. I’m envisioning using rhinestones, thumbtacks, paint and glitter to make a slightly different design for each of the 20 tables, with the common materials as a unifying thread. We’ll see once I really get crafting though — it may seem too overwhelming and then I’ll dial it back to 2-3 designs. Here’s my first draft of playing with the thumbtacks, plus my Pinterest inspiration!

spooktacularly-chic-studded-pumpkin_Medium_ID-722086 Credit

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It’s not perfect, and it’s definitely a work in progress, but it’s a start! It just snowed in Minnesota after two weeks of sunshine, so I’m ready to go back into hibernation and get some crafting done. I’ll be sure to take pictures along the way, and maybe post a tutorial or two!


Katie is a Real Bride Contributor for The Broke-Ass Bride. She is also a lawyer, an actor, a creep, a burlesque performer, a stage manager, and a writer - and that's just the things she gets paid for! In the rare moments that she is off the clock, she enjoys reading, TV both trashy and legit, movies, and hanging out with her fiance, two cats, Pip and Muffin, and a rescued German Shepherd named Spark.
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