How to Thrift for your Wedding Decor like a Pro

I started my business to help the thrifty, crafty, DIYers and vintage lovers. I liked to do things that weren’t “on trend” and that people truly enjoyed.

I enjoyed working hard on someone’s wedding day to make sure they got to enjoy it.

Before I became a wedding coordinator, I worked at venue. Many of the weddings I watched looked absolutely stressful to the family and friends working so hard to make their loved one’s vision happen. One that they did not understand. Some weddings who did have a coordinator, I was never reached out to the venue side of things. That means these coordinators were working blind at a venue that they had never worked at before. There were mistakes or overlooked details that would have been avoided with a conversation.

Stephanie Walls Photography

I became a coordinator to fill the need for a wedding coordinator who paid attention to details. Who showed up in the office, not just the wedding day. A coordinator who takes care to ask as many questions as possible to get to know the vendors they will work with and the requirements and limitations of the venue space. And who truly cares about your vision overall.

And because I wanted an excuse to thrift.

I started thrifting in my teens. I remember pulling into Value Village one day after graduating high school, to walk in an find a Marmot windbreaker (which are stupid expensive when you are 18 and work at the YMCA) for $7.99. I was hooked.

I spent a lot of time shopping at second hand stores. I have learned how to go into a store and come out with items I need. I know how to quickly navigate through a rack of hundreds of clothes, scour through shelves stacked with dozens of different items, and see just the right thing when I could have easily overlooked it. And man, if I could use that skill to decorate weddings on a dime, then hell yeah I will learn to be a kick ass wedding coordinator so I could plan and design weddings that are meaningful, intentional, and unique.

Although I can’t thrift for every wedding I work, I want anyone to be able to have a unique and thrifty wedding. It would be a crime to keep my knowledge to myself.

With that, here are the five steps to thrifting like a pro.

1. Know what you are looking for.

If you go in to a Good Will without a plan you will be either overwhelmed or buy a whole lot of stuff you don’t need (rule number one to have an #uncomplicatedwedding is don’t buy shit you don’t need). Always go into the store armed with a “this is what we are here for” list. How do you know what needs to be on that list? You first need to know what spaces and tables you are decorating and what your common décor theme is (need help with this? The Planning Gathering will walk you through it all). With that, you’ll know what type of pieces you are looking for to decorate your reception tables, your ceremony space, welcome table, or even find your wedding party’s attire. Make a list of item types, then don’t shop outside those lists.