Whoa – did I just say “elegant wedding” and “Goodwill” in the same sentence?  You bet I did.  Unless you come from old money, like your ancestors invented the railroad, you don’t have money to burn. Every bride should add Goodwill to her shopping list.  Using thrift stores to decorate for your wedding can be simple, elegant and of course inexpensive.  With a little imagination and some helpful tips (and some paint), you’ll be saving money for the important parts, like the honeymoon in Fiji! This is upcycling at its finest, but don’t think about that aspect because you already have too much to do for the wedding! Thanks to the helpful team of Dee and Deborah, our Goodwill Treasure Hunters, we’ve compiled some of their crafty ideas and Goodwill finds they used for hosting a family member’s wedding.

Choose a theme and/or color   The bride chose burgundy as her main color with accents of black, silver and white.  Since the wedding was taking place outdoors in Dee’s lush backyard, the bride chose a garden oasis theme (I could have stayed all day in her backyard paradise sitting in the sun chatting with her, but work was calling).  That gave Dee and Deborah the perfect excuse to go shopping at their local Goodwills.

Curtains and Sheers  Sheer curtains offer a dramatic effect while functioning as sun shades – important for outdoors weddings.  Dee used silk flowers (instead of a simple ribbon) as ties to open up the curtained off spaces and create movement.

Silk flowers  One can never have too many flowers – right thrift beverage cartgirls?  But real buds can be expensive and last such a short time.  Dee always likes to add a little extra something to some of her Goodwill garden finds, like the sheers above, by adding everlasting flowers.  She spruced up a plain metal beverage cart and water fountain with flowers.  And now the only thing that needs watering is the fountain.

Tie back curtains with an everlasting flower arrangement








Light strings  You can find perfectly good lightString of star lights strings, in all shapes, sizes and colors at Goodwill.  Dee found white corded/white light ones that blended with the house and railing colors allowing the lights to stand out and not the cord, once dusk arrived.  If the wedding goes into the night –String of star lights and a wreathlighting will be important – plus it adds to the ambiance.










Garden fountains & features   glass globe garden standGarden fountain with tiersYep, Dee found both of these at her local Goodwill.  The gentle sounds of trickling water really add to the oasis theme. It’s almost as if you are already in Fiji on that honeymoon – right?





silver vases for a variety of uses



Table décor  Of course you want everything to look beautiful, including the tables.  We’ve all spied vases on the shelves at Goodwill; maybe you’ve even donated them.  Can’t find 10 to 20 in your special colors – no problem.  Just add a little spray paint and you’ve made unique statements that match your theme and don’t break the bank.  Be sure and donate them back to Goodwill for the next lucky bride!




Frames  So many uses, so little time.  Frames for a variety of usesHere, the bride found frames in the perfect small table size. They were already painted black, but if you don’t find any in the right color, get out that can of spray paint!  The smaller 8” x 10” frames were used for a nice thank-you to all the guests and to showcase the night’s menu. I always get excited to see what’s on the menu at weddings! Just print out the menu on a fun piece of crafting paper, cut it to the frame’s size and insert it.  The larger 16” x 20” frames were used as a welcome sign and photo collage of the happy couple. She used a canvas painting and covered it using photocopied photos and decoupage.chalk sign to mark the way








Candles  What’s a wedding without candles?  Dee and Deborah found this very large, did I say large?  lovely candle holder at Goodwill and of course added their Decorative candle holderown little touches to it – almost nothing gets by Dee without her special touches.  Filled with multi-colored glass rocks, a purple vase was inserted in to it with a candle inside of the vase.  Kind of like a turducken but with candles and glass rocks and vases…you get the picture.  Now, this happens to be a flameless candle which is great if you have little kids attending or the wedding is occurring outside in 80 degree temps.  Notice her special helper – Shadow, the queen Shitzu, she insisted on being a part of the photo op.


So – How do they do it?  How do they find all of this great stuff? Their secret is to make several trips to their local Goodwills each week, knowing that thousands of items are put out onto the sales floor daily. Notice I said “goodwills”.  Dee has 7 near her in about a 10 mile radius.  How lucky is Dee? In fact, her entire yard and house is decorated mostly (80% she figures) with items from Goodwill finds accumulated over the last 20+ years.   She was even featured in the news recently – read the story here.

Go ahead; spend your money on the important stuff – like Mai Tais on the beach in Fiji.  Goodwill is here to help you have the wedding of your dreams.

Did these projects inspire you?  Follow us on  Pinterest where you’ll find these DIY Goodwill finds and more.