The Thrifted Bride’s Guide

I grew up in a time when saying that you thrifted was embarrassing and taboo, let alone saying you thrifted for your wedding? No way. Thankfully, thrifting has become more common as couples are looking for more affordable and sustainable options for their big day. Watch my segment on Good Morning America and keep reading for some of our favorite tips to help you thrift for your wedding:

Before You Thrift

It goes without saying, but plan, plan, plan. Think of thrifting for your wedding as a plan within your main plan.

  • Make a list
  • Create a vision board on Pinterest or save screenshots in folders on your phone
  • Map out a route. Figure out where all the best stores are near you and make a list. Rinse and repeat, go through the list and then go back again! 
  • Make a plan to go often. This is probably the most important tip on the list. Going often is the key to finding great items. Inventory changes daily, multiple times a day. 
  • Diversify your thrift route. Chain thrift stores are great because they have a variety of items, but add speciality thrifts, local thrifts, consignments, etc to your list. Google thrift stores near me or follow local thrift content creators. 
  • Start early. Give yourself plenty of time
  • Add it to your calendar. Make a point to go once a week leading up to the big day.

What to Thrift: Décor

  • Centerpieces: the possibilities are truly endless. From traditional, simple, to creative – you can probably find it or create it using items you thrift. 
  • Vases: seriously, don’t buy a new vase. The thrift store is bursting with them. 
  • Plates: select a theme and opt for mismatched plates. With enough persistence you might even be able to find a set of matching plates
  • Frames: for signs, props, decor, you name it
  • Cake stands: thrift stores carry LOTS of cake stands, these are great to elevate decor items or to even buy a gift to the newlyweds. 
  • Glassware: you could opt for clear glasses for the sake of simplicity but if you start early enough you could probably find lots of beautiful mismatched colorful glassware to match your theme. Just make sure older styles are lead-free. 
  • Baskets / boxes
  • Linens for tablecloths 
  • Candles / LED candles
  • Faux foliage: skip the fresh flowers all together and look for fake flowers / greenery / or even fake fruit like lemons for accent decor

What to Thrift: Clothing & Accessories

  • Wedding dresses: lots of people don’t realize the quantity of wedding dresses I see at thrift stores. It just takes time, so start looking early.
  • Bridal party dresses: the mismatched theme is very popular right now and gives your bridal party a chance to express their personal style and individuality. You could have so much fun thrifting with your party to find their dress. Pick a general theme (like the same color) and let the thrift gods take it from there! 
  • Veils! I come across the most beautiful veils, especially vintage styles. 
  • Accessories for your bridal party: don’t underestimate what’s in those display cases! There are so many gems to be found. Things to look for: hair accessories, brooches, clutches, earrings. 

What Not To Thrift

  • Don’t thrift things that are going to add stress to your planning process. You don’t have to be a perfect model of sustainability. Give yourself some grace and thrift the things that you have the capacity to thrift.
  • Shoes: I actually love to thrift shoes and wouldn’t be opposed to this.  My only word of caution is to make sure the shoes you pick are comfortable and are in good, like new condition.  
  • Favors: depending on the size of your guest list, it might be easier to purchase these in bulk. 
  • Flatware: it’s definitely possible to find lots of flatware, especially if you’re opting for the trendy mismatched look. But again, depending on the size of your party it might be easier to have the venue provide this or buy / rent  in bulk. 
  • Sound equipment: you’ll come across lots of electronics at thrift stores. But for the big day, it might be best to rent the equipment to make sure it’s all in working condition. 
  • Large furniture like chairs, tables, arches. You could certainly find these at thrift stores, but unless you plan on keeping them for future use, I would just rent these. 

Parting Thoughts

  • Try to pick things you can repurpose for later, if not donate it all back or sell / give it away on local groups like Facebook buy nothing groups. 
  • I often find large collections of matching donated items (like vases, plates, centerpieces, etc)  that have been obviously donated by a bridal party, wedding party, fundraiser, or church. Keep an eye out for these types of collections.   
  • Keep an open mind. Found something but you don’t like the color? Paint it. Found a dress but needs a few adjustments? Get it altered. 
  • Mix high and low: You want your guests to be surprised when you say, thanks, it’s thrifted! 

Thanks, it’s Thrifted is a podcast about secondhand style and sustainable living hosted by two treasure-hunting friends, Dina & Shannon. Follow on Instagram @dinasdays and @thanksitsthrifted.pod. For more about the podcast visit

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