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How To Use Vintage Furniture & Accessories For Wedding Decorations

Updated on October 12, 2016

Vintage Furniture For Weddings

On practically every wedding website these days, you can see a ton of beautiful pictures of vintage-inspired weddings. Not sure how vintage got so popular and even though Huffington Post claimed publicly that vintage is dead, it seems to be gaining even more steam and taking a little turn away from rustic and a little more toward rustic chic. With every industry, opportunists abound (i.e., that's code for smart people who know how to jump on a good thing when they see it!) and of course, the wedding industry is no exception. Sharp people with a head for business quickly picked up on the vintage craze and began offering vintage furniture for sale or rent to brides swooning over the vintage wedding shoots popping up on wedding websites everywhere. However, there's an art to using vintage furniture and accessories in your wedding without it looking like your great Aunt Susie's garage sale!

Old Books As Vintage Wedding Decorations


What Vintage Pieces Do You Want For Your Wedding?

Before you go the rental route to get vintage pieces to create the look you want, consider the cost. Unless your wedding budget stretches to the moon and back, renting may not be your most affordable option. You really have to look at prices. Start gathering your inspiration pictures, a place like Pinterest is a good place to start, and when you've gathered a bunch (translation=a few million, Pinterest is very addictive!), look at the recurring themes. Is it a gorgeous button back sofa with curving legs that captures your eye? Is is a beautiful Queen Anne secretary? Think before you invest your hard-earned bride dollars of how you're going to use those pieces. If you're just in love with how an antique sofa looks in some styled photo shoots with the bride and groom sitting around looking adoringly at each other, you might want to reconsider. If the sofa will be the centerpiece of a lounge area at the reception, then that's something entirely different. Seek out pieces with a specific use in mind. For instance, could that old desk be a guest sign-in table flanked by windows and old doors? Could the Queen Anne secretary make an adorable display for a dessert buffet? Don't get hustled into renting pieces without thinking of how you will use them.

Use Vintage Furniture To Create A Reception Lounge Area


Vintage Wedding On A Budget

You can get the same look for less without using pricey vintage wedding rental companies, but it's not something for the couple who got engaged yesterday and want to get married in three months! It involves collecting over time, maybe over a year or more, not to mention finding a place to store everything until the wedding. However, if you do collect vintage pieces yourself, the meaning attached to each one, particularly if they are family heirlooms, will make the wedding seems that much more beautiful. Not only is there time involved, but you also have to consider how you will transport your gorgeous loot once all the collecting is said and done. Although it seems appealing to hit up friends with trucks to move everything, is it really that cost effective? Depending on how far you have to move your items, think about the cost of gas (friendship only goes so far!) and multiple trips back and forth. Ugh! If you have a friend with a truck and a trailer, wonderful! If not, you might want to think about renting a large truck like a U-Haul. If you're not hauling your vintage furniture a long way, it's not as expensive as you might think. That way everything can be moved at one time and instead of truck driving, you can enlist those friends into unloading the truck and placing your pieces instead!

Vintage Table Décor With China & Doilies


Where To Find Vintage Furniture & Accessories

If you're trying to save money and not going the rental route, finding vintage pieces for your wedding décor is not as difficult as you might think. In fact, great scores may have been right in front of your eyes for years! We're talking about your mom's house, your grandparent's house, friends who love antiques. This is the time to call in favors or remind Great Aunt Susie of the hours you spent dusting the legs of her claw foot velvet chaise for her or arranging flowers in your grandmother's milk glass vases! Walk through relatives' homes with a new eye as to how you could use pieces in your décor. Refer back to your inspiration pictures for any small items like mercury glass votives that may be part of a to-die-for vignette and they could be sitting right there on a corner shelf! Search through closets, cedar chests, and attics and you may stumble across vintage hankies, doilies, old suitcases, or vintage typewriters. (All with permission, of course!)

Use Vintage Doors, Mantles, Or Windows For Decor


Other Sources For Vintage Wedding Décor Items

Once you've been kicked out of relative's houses (and told to never return until after the wedding!), there are still other great places to look for vintage pieces for your décor. Although antique stores might seems like a logical place, beware! Many antique stores have overpriced their items, so that you really aren't getting such a great deal. Instead, try thrift stores like Goodwill, consignment stores, estate or yard sales, even E-Bay. You can find many treasures for practically nothing if you just keep looking. Another great place to find vintage pieces is to search wedding classifieds sites. Many wedding sites like Weddingbee, OneWed, The Knot, etc., have classifieds sections where brides list items for sale after their weddings. Kind of like having another bride do the work for you...sweet! Although you can get amazing stuff from other brides, again, use caution! Know your prices and don't get caught up in the excitement of planning and pay too much for anything. Keep in mind that you'll have to pay shipping and when you're buying heavy items like furniture, it can become quite expensive. Look for brides who live close to you where you could consider local pick-up and make sure you factor in the cost of gas into the equation. Also, if you are buying fragile items like vases or china, make sure the bride on the other end knows how to pack correctly to avoid damage.

Vintage China Tablescape


Arranging Your Vintage Pieces

Once you have all the pieces you want, practice your arrangements, using your inspiration pictures to help. When you have a Style Me Pretty-worthy vignette, use your digital camera and take a picture. This is important for a couple of reasons. First of all, if you are using someone like family, friends, or a planner to do your décor, they will need to know how you want all your pretties arranged. Second, on your wedding day, you will barely remember your own name, much less where you wanted those pretty little milk glass birds or your Scrabble letter Mr. & Mrs. letters if you don't take a picture! Print out the pictures, give one to each friend and let them duplicate the picture...simple!


What To Do With All Your Vintage Pieces After The Wedding

The wedding's over! You've collected all those pieces, now what to do with them? If you've borrowed them, of course, return them carefully cleaned and wrapped to their proper owners. If you've rented them, the rental company may pick up or you will have to return to avoid getting hit with a late fee. If you've purchased them and really love them, keep as many as you can to furnish your new retro-themed home with your new hubby! If you have no way to feasibly keep all the things you collected, no matter how much you love them, pay it forward and list your items on the wedding classifieds or E-Bay. Some other bride is out there on the hunt, just like you were!

More Vintage Decorating Ideas

Collecting vintage items for wedding décor, although time consuming, can be fun and really make your wedding more meaningful. For more ideas on using vintage items for décor or how to find vintage décor, check out the following helpful articles:

How To Save Money On Your Wedding Using The Wedding Classifieds

Mercury Glass: What Is It And How To Use It To Decorate for Your Wedding Décor

Vintage Milk Glass Décor For Your Shabby Chic Wedding

Burlap & Bling: How To Use Burlap In Your Wedding Décor And Still Make It Beautiful

Mason Jars For Wedding Decoration: Rustic, Beautiful, and Cheap


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    • DIYweddingplanner profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      BT, shame, shame on you, girl, for letting that guest list get too big! It's hard to keep it under control, I know. But you could always do an after party and invite those who didn't make the A list!

      I have the perfect cream-colored 1960s couch and chair that belonged to my parents, button back, sloping wooden trim, wish I could fold up and mail it to you! :)

      Thanks, 88! I think there are ways to use vintage décor that are amazing, regardless of whether you have a big budget. There are so many neat little ways to re-purpose old things and make them into really show stopping wedding décor!

    • 88events profile image


      7 years ago from Glasgow, UK

      Lots of fantastic ideas here and great advice for everyone - no matter what their wedding budget is. Vintage accessories can really add something to your design and make your wedding stand out

    • BusinessTime profile image

      Sarah Kolb-Williams 

      7 years ago from Twin Cities

      This is PERFECT! Saving for inspiration -- unfortunately our wedding has spiraled a little bit out of control guestlist-wise, but there's definitely still room for me to add these personal touches. I love the idea of a big vintage couch, right under some bunting, for outdoor wedding pictures. Thanks for a great hub!!

    • DIYweddingplanner profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      Shoot me an e-maul, Ima, I'd love to meet you! Thanks for stopping by to read, RC. I hope the vintage craze hangs in for awhile, because it sure is pretty and I love the idea of reusing old things.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      7 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Awesome ideas as always! Vintage furniture and accessories are a great touch for any vintage themed wedding.

    • imatellmuva profile image


      7 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore

      You're son is a smart guy! The next time I'm in South Carolina, I'll give you a shout! I know the Carolina's are huge...but I'll likely think of you while there!

    • DIYweddingplanner profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      IMA, you are a hoot and a half, woman! My son was reading your comment to me in the car on the way back from shopping and said, "Mama, if you and Ima lived in the same place, you would probably be best friends!" You are a woman after my own heart for sure and your friend was lucky to have your help with her wedding. I'm all about saving money and if I can keep someone else from spending too much, I'll do that, too! Thanks for stopping by, Ima!

    • imatellmuva profile image


      7 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore

      DIY, YOU are a diamond in the rough!!! You know I love your ideas!

      Once I was helping a relative plan her wedding. She had her mind set on a spa theme. Her idea was to purchase items that of course contributed to the theme, but her selections included items that she would not be able to utilize after the wedding.

      I went shopping with her, so that she could see the value in selecting items that she could then integrate into her home. She was working with a small budget, so it only made sense, at least to me anyway, that she purchase items that she could continue to use, and would not have to repurchase for her home.

      I'm so glad you found me DIY...your are FULL OF IT...AWESOMENESS that is!!! PURE AWESOMENESS!!!


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