Found Objects

Fun, fantastic ideas for all budgets

What do you get when you set six A-list party planners loose in the price-friendly land of big retail stores? Six carts full of fun, fantastic wedding ideas that any bride on any budget would find irresistible.

Who knew that Home Depot was the land of trendy table decor? Or that Kmart could dress your flower girls in cute and clever outfits? Ever think that the place where you buy toothpaste and socks—Target—could play a pivotal role in marriage vows? We asked half a dozen of the country's top party planners to turn their creative eyes on the bargain-priced aisles of America's favorite mass retailers. Which proves our theory: You can create a personalized, custom look for a wedding without being an heiress to an oil empire. All you need is a little imagination and a big shopping cart. Go forth and go wild!

Ikea

Todd Fiscus, Todd Event Design Creative Services, Dallas

Ikea, the mecca of starter-home furniture, has tons of accessories ideal for weddings. I found galvanized steel-and-glass tea-light lanterns ("Rotera," $5.99 each) that can be hung on branches or posts to create a pathway to your church or reception. If you want to add some color, customize them with ribbon streamers in your wedding hues. Is there such a thing as a $5 centerpiece? Yes! All you need to add to the six-inch-high clear-glass "Rektangel" vase ($2.99) is colored water and a few floating candles and/or flowers. I found woven baskets ("Gullarp," 99 cents each) that can double as favors and table decor. Place a shiny Granny Smith apple on top, or plant it with an African violet, and you're done. If you're into a clean, modern look for your reception space, here's how to do it: Put a pair of oversized rectangular floor lamps/room dividers ("Dunker," $34.99 each) in the entryway. The stretched fabric shades can be removed and customized with embroidery—your new monogram, perhaps? "Lakene" table lamps ($24.99 each), which look like plastic, globe-shaped wedding cakes, would be sleek on the corners of your bar.

The after-party lounge is the hottest trend. Take yours outdoors and fill the space with a few easy chairs in bold red ($49.99 each) covered with ivory throws ("Felecia," $14.99 each) and decorative pillows ("Inez Knopp" cushions, $14.99 each, and "Inez Trad" cushion covers, $4.99 each). Place a tripod-footed steel floor lamp ("Treben," $34.99) in your space, and you've created a welcoming lounge with just a few key pieces.

The Home Depot

Niki Delacueva, R. Jack Balthazar, Pasadena, CA

Look past the screwdrivers and the lumber and you'll find amazing stuff! Check out the carpet department for a 26-inch-wide blue Corinthian-pattern runner ($2.49 per linear foot) that would be perfect for your grand entrance. This would work well on a brick or tile floor, or even atop a more muted carpet that needs a little zing. The minicrest mirror ($9.98) could be hung by the bar with the name of your specialty cocktail displayed (use a wax pencil from an office-supply store). A great charger, or show plate, can complete the look of a well-designed table. Try using 12" x 12" Mendocino golden-brown porcelain tiles ($1.88 each) for a fabulously organic appeal. Pair them with square white plates, then repurpose them later in your home or garden.

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