Do you want to know the dirty secret behind all those gorgeous styled wedding decorations you see on Pinterest and Instagram? It is really, really hard to replicate them in the real world. While it is surprisingly easy to decorate a stunning table that seats eight people on a $1,000 budget, it is nearly impossible to duplicate your efforts for twenty tables of eight people on the same budget. Shocker, I know. And sadly most of us are not planning weddings inside one of those money wind machines.
When I was planning my own wedding, I felt like my budget really limited how cool I could make my venue look. Which is why at APW, one of our core goals is figuring out how take all the inspiration you see floating around the Internet, and then reimagining things for a whole lot less money (see: our paper flower wall tutorial). Because we want you to be able to take our ideas and apply them to your fifty-person wedding or your five hundred–person wedding. And part of that process is having a treasure trove of destinations where we source creative and affordable materials.
It occurred to me recently, as I was helping a friend find wholesale crystals for her wedding, that it might be helpful if we shared that information. (I mean, it’s no good to you just sitting inside my head.) So today I’ve pulled together a handful of our favorite destinations for finding affordable, creative, unexpected wedding decorations and DIY materials that you can use in your wedding.
Teacher supply stores: One of the challenges of making your own escort cards or place settings is having to make so damn many of them when most stores aren’t set up for wholesale. But at teacher supply stores, just about everything comes in a set, and is affordably priced. Our favorite items from Learning Resources include geometric shapes (how cool are these wooden ones?) and animal counter sets (tiny animals perfect for spray painting!).
Online Party Shops: If you hear party shop and you think giant warehouse filled with Spongebob balloons, well you’re not wrong (most of the time). But when we need cute paper goods, we hit up online shops like Oh Happy Day, Paper Mart, or Harlow and Grey. The prices are more or less on par with your average party store, but the options are way better. (I’m talking statement balloons, honeycomb decor, fringe garlands, crepe paper rolls, the works.)
Hardware Stores: One of the single best DIY materials we’ve seen around is flagging tape. It comes in an assortment of bright colors and looks like ribbon, but costs, well, way less than ribbon. You can find it at hardware stores, along with our other favorite DIY material: spray paint.
Amazon: I know, I know. Everything comes from Amazon. But that’s the point. When in doubt, check Amazon first (especially if you spring for Prime. Two day shipping, hello my old friend), because you never know what they’re going to have stocked wholesale. Need a bunch of crystals for your tablescape? (Or for your crystal crown? Please say it’s for your crystal crown!) Got it. Or how about marble tiles for your place settings (like the ones above from Marketing Manager Kate’s wedding!)? Done.
Minted and Paper source: Paper goods are an easy way to add personality to your decor, and it’s a bonus if they don’t require a ton of work. And for all the little wedding day ephemera, we usually look to APW’s favorite stationers, Minted and Paper Source. Their table numbers, menus, cocktail napkins, coasters, you name it, are all impeccably designed by artists from all over the world.
Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and Home Goods: If you’re looking for super on-trend but affordable decor, head to your local TJ Maxx, Home Goods, or Marshalls. Because here’s the best thing about these stores: when they find a theme they, like, they stick to it. Last time I was in TJ Maxx, it was like pineapples exploded all over the shelves. If my wedding had even a hint of tropical to it, I would have been set (I also stumbled on the exact terrariums my friend was trying to find for her wedding for next to nothing.)
Wayfair, HAYNEEDLE, and Lulu & Georgia: As you’re well aware, Wayfair, Hayneedle, and Lulu & Georgia legit have everything you could ever need for your house. But when it comes to affordable accents that you can use at your wedding, and heck, even at home afterward, they’re your best bet. If you’re looking for a quick and easy ceremony or photo booth backdrop check out Wayfair’s selection of wall tapestries. Personally, I’m loving this abstract print. Super cute votives sold in big sets? They have ’em. Need an easel for your escort signage? Check out this gold one. And someone please get these champagne flutes for toasting in style.
I dished, now tell me, Where are your favorite places to snag affordable wedding decorations? Show us your pics of your most creative FINDS!