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Décor is a crucial component of any wedding because it ties the celebration together aesthetically and ensures your guests can easily navigate the flow of the day. However, it can also take up a significant portion of your budget and lead to excess waste. If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly approach to decorating your nuptials, consider going the second-hand route. Not only will used wedding décor reduce the carbon footprint of your big day, but it can also have a smaller impact on your budget.
The most common way for people to source used wedding décor is through rentals. Renting a bulk of your décor is an easy way to majorly up the sustainability stakes of your wedding day. In the simplest of terms, the more times an item is used, the less energy has to be devoted to creating new ones. According to event planner Shannon Wellington, big pieces such as lounge furniture and wooden ceremony arbors should pretty much always be rented. Dishes, linens, and dinnerware are also commonly rented used wedding décor items. Rental companies will take care of delivery, set-up, pick-up, and cleaning for these pieces.
Meet the Expert
Shannon Wellington is the founder of Shannon Wellington Wedding and Events, an event planning and design firm based in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.
Smaller items that will be custom to your wedding—like table numbers, signage, welcome station decor, cocktail napkins, and tabletop accents—should be purchased, along with candles and votives. "If you buy these items yourself, your planner or caterer can just put them out for you. There's definite cost savings," says Wellington. If you want to keep your budget and eco footprint low, these décor pieces can be found used online, and even resold once your wedding is over.
Want to learn how to find the best used wedding décor online and tips to sell the pieces once the wedding is over? Read ahead for expert insights.
How to Buy Used Wedding Decor
If you want to purchase used wedding décor for your celebration, see these tips to follow before you start shopping.
With so many endlessly-customizable wedding décor options flooding the market, it takes commitment to go second-hand. However, you should be aware of the potential downside of used wedding décor—it likely isn’t going to perfectly match with what’s on your Pinterest boards. “If you have a specific look, it’s easy to not want to do anything that doesn’t fit into that window,” says Wellington. “You have to step out of that. See what’s out there, and make what’s available work. Something else will work (or even be better)—but you have to have an open mind.”
Opt for Basics
Don’t want to risk being disappointed by your choices? It helps to seek out used wedding décor pieces that will be easy to hunt down. “Go for all clear glass,” suggests Wellington. “You can look for hurricanes, vases, and candleholders to really put together a collection.” Other items she finds are commonplace at thrift stores include picture frames, mirrors, brass candlesticks, and mercury glass.
Browse Before You Buy
While it’s tempting to purchase items as you find them, a little research can go a long way in ensuring you don’t wind up wasting any of your wedding budget. “See what’s out there first,” says Wellington. Whether it’s brass candlesticks, silver picture frames, vintage books in a certain hue, or milk glass bud vases, make sure there will be enough to satisfy your need. Otherwise, anything you buy but can’t ultimately use will be a sunk cost.
Use Your Network
If you're looking for used wedding décor, share your search on social media, and check in with friends and acquaintances who have recently tied the knot after they post their wedding photos on social media. “If you notice something, it doesn’t hurt to ask where they got it or if they’d be open to selling it,” says Wellington.
Another way to score the good stuff is to follow local wedding vendors on social media. “Florists and smaller rental companies often have inventory warehouse sales to get rid of old decor and make way for new stuff,” adds Wellington. “It’s a great way to find larger, matching collections of vessels, candle holders, pedestals, glassware, and even table numbers.”
Consider Shipping Costs
A vintage piece on Etsy or eBay can feel like a great deal—until you realize it’s shipping from across the country or another continent. When faced with tariffs or a hefty FedEx fee, Wellington asks herself two questions: Is this piece going to a noticeable focal point, and does it tie to our personal love story? If the answer is no to both, and the item can be substituted with something else, it’s likely best for your budget to do just that.
Tips for Selling Used Wedding Décor
Once the party is over, the used wedding décor items you purchased need to find a new home. If they can't fit in your own abode, consider getting a return on your investment. See tips ahead to determine how to sell your used wedding décor pieces.
Assess the Used Wedding Décor You Have
Small one-off pieces that aren’t part of coordinating sets and personalized signs with your initials or wedding date are going to be tough to move because they’re going to have a very limited customer base. Pieces worth the time and effort of reselling are going to be the neutral items that can work with a wide variety of aesthetics, or are associated with a very specific trend that's popular near your wedding.
Ask Your Vendors
If you have a bigger item to sell, like a ceremony arch structure, or something super versatile, such as acrylic escort card holders, Wellington suggests offering it up to your vendor team first. Your planner can also put the word out to other wedding pros who are looking for used wedding décor.
Share Your Used Wedding Décor on Social Media
Don't be afraid to make a post on your Instagram or Facebook to share you have used wedding décor to sell. This goes for your personal networks as well as broader ones, such as Facebook community groups. You can even ask friends to re-share your posts with friends and coworkers who are engaged to get a larger set of eyes on it.
Put in Effort
The reality of putting your used wedding décor on a site specifically tailored for online resale is that you’re going to be competing with thousands of listings. That means you should do everything you can to make yours stand out. If you know the exact brand and name of the item, use that in the title of your post, and include related keywords in the description. Use the best quality photography you can access (official pictures of the product and professional photos from your wedding work best), set a reasonable price (at least 25 percent less than retail value), and be prepared to promote the item, respond to questions, and negotiate offers in a timely manner.
Where to Buy and Sell Used Wedding Décor Online
Have wedding décor that you no longer need? There are plenty of digital platforms that allow you to list and make a profit from selling used items. See some of our favorites ahead.
Facebook Marketplace is one of the prime social media platforms to buy and sell items directly to other users. Once you head to the site, you can use the search bar to browse for the items of your choice. You can directly message the seller to discuss the price and arrange pickup. To sell on Facebook Marketplace, click “Create New Listing” and follow the prompts. (To get more eyeballs, Facebook will give you the option of boosting your listing for a small fee.) Depending on the user, the value of the item, and whether or not it fits into Facebook’s approved list of categories, you may also be able to set your item as available for shipping.
Local neighborhood and community Facebook groups are both good places to post used wedding décor for sale. You can also try searching for and joining groups specifically tailored to the task, such as Brides to Brides … Used and New Wedding Décor, or local versions like Maryland Wedding Resale. From there, you can post photos and descriptions of the items you’re selling or searching for. Group members arrange purchases, product shipping, and pick-ups directly via Facebook Messenger.
You’ll need to create a free profile to buy and sell on the peer-to-peer app Poshmark, but the interface allows for easy, all-in-the-app ways to post, sell, buy, negotiate offers for, and promote used wedding décor for sale all over the United States and Canada. For sales under $15, Poshmark takes a $2.95 commission; for sales over $15, they take a commission of 20 percent. Poshmark creates the shipping label, and the buyer typically covers the shipping costs.
Etsy is a great place to browse for vintage wedding décor from independent dealers all over the world, and the vast selection makes it a good place to start for more unique items. Shipping rates vary by buyer. It is not recommended for selling used wedding décor unless you plan to open a shop and make it a regular business.
The original star of online second-hand sales eBay is still a great option for buying and selling used wedding décor. It even has a specific section dedicated to wedding venue decorations. (Just be sure to click “Used” under the Condition category on the left-hand menu to avoid manufacturer and wholesale options turning up in your search.) A seller can list up to 200 items for free per month, and eBay takes a 10-percent commission on the final sale price. Shipping costs and methods are determined by the seller.
Listings are free on the peer-to-peer marketplace app Mercari; sellers are charged a 10-percent commission fee on sales, as well as payment processing fees. Sellers can opt for discounted pre-paid shipping labels from Mercari, or choose Mercari’s professional pack and ship option for fragile items. Local delivery via Postmates is available in select U.S. cities. If you’re shopping, click “Like New,” “Fair,” and “Good” as your condition parameters to have used wedding décor turn up in your searches.
The peer-to-peer online marketplace Wedding Recycle is dedicated specifically to wedding décor. Though it takes a lower commission (four percent when an item is purchased directly through the Cart feature), it does not offer the same level of buyer protection you’ll find on the marketplace site and apps listed above, and pricing can be hit or miss. Payments made through the site are deposited into a PayPal account. Buyers and sellers also have the option of privately communicating to arrange for alternative methods of payment and pickup.