Handmade, Vintage and Secondhand Wedding Décor

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Our wedding pictures have arrived, and I’m so pleased to be posting some of them!

One of the most important elements of creating an eco-friendly wedding is in the décor. If you visit the “wedding” section of many major craft and big box stores, you find a plethora of unsustainable plastic, disposable, one-time-use décor items. Not only is this unsustainable, it’s unoriginal! I had so much fun searching through thrift and antique stores collecting the vintage glassware we used for our tabletops–recycled glass containers held bouquets, individual flowers, candles and silverware, and each table had its own cake on a recycled glass cake platter. After the wedding, I was able to gift family and bridal party members with a unique vase or cake plate to take home as a memento.

I also had an in on some great eco-friendly décor as a result of working here at Natural HomeNashville Wraps supplied the 80 percent recycled giftwrap I used as table runners (thanks to Martha Stewart for the idea). Bright Sun Candles custom-made soy tealights in their Pacific Mint scent. We bought a custom cake topper from an Etsy artist.

My husband and I loved visiting our local flower farm, Pendleton’s Country Market, to pick up fresh blooms the day before the wedding. The owner gave us our choice of the greenery and small, edible flowers to round out our peony bouquets. I chose local peonies as the centerpiece flower for a few reasons–to me, they are a cheery sign of the spring season; because I had mixed bridesmaid dress colors and a lot of textures and colors in the décor, choosing just one flower anchored the design scheme; and my mom always grew pink peonies in our backyard growing up, so they bring back good childhood memories.

I think the end goal of your décor choices should be to focus on the things you and your partner love. Our Natural Home interior design specialist, Jami Lin, always says that your home’s interior décor should express who you are as a person. I think the same applies to your wedding. Just choose things you love, and the rest will take care of itself.

I really liked the idea that the vintage bottles, Mason jars and cake plates I collected from antique stores had already brightened the tables and homes of others. We have a great story coming up in our next issue about Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic brand. In it, she talks about used items’ patinas, how they bring the richness of lives lived into your home. I felt the same way about using vintage pieces in our wedding décor.

Some last important (and time-consuming) reception decorations were the handmade flags my friend and I made using scrapbook paper and hemp twine. This is another craft idea from Martha Stewart I made eco-friendly by choosing responsible, recycled-content materials. You can find recycled-content craft paper online, or ask at your local craft or paper store. Amy Butler makes a recycled-content Lotus scrapbook paper collection. PaperSource offers a variety of ecologically sensitive papers, as well. 

Finally, I bought a few textural items–wooly hemp cloth I found in the craft store’s floral section and Nashville Wraps’ natural fiber organza mesh ribbon made by fair-paid artisans–to add a warm, country feel.

By handmaking many items and choosing natural products, I think we achieved the unique, handspun feel I was hoping for. I hope you agree!

We bought bulk pretzels, honey peanuts and wasabi peas from the bulk foods section to serve during the cocktail reception.
Local peonies wrapped in hemp twine made pretty much anything look good.

I made two types of sangria the night before, and we offered lemonade, iced tea and water.
I found most of the snack and drink containers at vintage stores. Our caterer also had a couple of glass beverage containers.

Guests signed a guest book next to photos of the groom and me stretched on hemp twine and pinned with clothespins. 

A handmade sign next to the biodegradable cups encouraged guests to hang on to cocktail-reception cups for dinner.

My friend and I hand-filled recycled kraft paper bags with birdseed and closed them with stickers.
Guests tossed birdseed as we walked down the aisle after the ceremony. 

Rented napkins wrapped with hemp twine, rented silverware, and local flowers and soy candles 
in vintage glassware topped recycled-paper table runners.

We handmade the flags hanging above using scrapbook paper and hemp twine.

We ordered a handmade cake topper from Etsy.  

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