Elegant but Inexpensive Table Décor for your Wedding Part 2

Part 2:  Where to Get & What You Need

By Prudy Barrett Nelson, the Wedding Fairy God-Mother

In Part 1 we talked about flowers and greenery…how to use it sparingly to save money and reduce total costs.  In Part 2, let’s talk about where to find some fantastic deals on items that will look great on your wedding tables and ways to pull them together!

Stonegate Manor couples definitely have an advantage.  Through the years of collecting and staging the venue, I’ve acquired many, many things they can use for free.  It makes me feel great to see things used over and over instead of sitting in a box somewhere.  And knowing we’ve saved them some hassle and money is a reward in itself.  

Resale shops are full of treasures and you often help a charity when you buy.  Estates sales are also AWESOME!  Especially if you go on the last day when they are just trying to get rid of stuff.  Garage sales can hold treasures but they are more hit or miss.

I recently staged Stonegate Manor’s Riverside Room as a wedding reception to give couples an idea of what it looks like “all dressed up”.  I sourced every single thing I used for the table décor at resale shops, estate sale, garage sales and rummage sales.  I didn’t spend more than an average of $8 on each table.  Now, this is my taste, but I think they look beautiful.  The napkin roses are a pain in the butt to make but if you are using cloth napkins anyway and are sitting around watching a movie, why not?!  I will say they got easier and easier…my first ones looked more like roadkill.

I love the look of tables set with an eclectic mix of vintage china in different patterns.  I think it looks like more of an extravagance than it is.  Beautiful, high quality vintage china can be rented at CK Catering in Benton Harbor for about $4/place setting.  Definitely something to keep in mind if you are getting married at Stonegate or another local venue.

 Here are some of my “finds”:

 Votives – All different sizes, shapes and colors, including mercury glass.  These sell anywhere from $0.25 - $0.75 each.


Vases – You can get any height and size dirt cheap.  I LOVE the milk glass ones and I have dozens that can be used at Stonegate.  But, you can paint them, tie a colored ribbon or twine around, whatever you want to do!   

Canning jars – Dirt cheap.  Paint them, tie them, stick a tea light in them or some flowers.  These are workhorses when it comes to decorating.  I love what one of our couples did at Stonegate.

canning jars.jpg

Old bottles – With or without labels, some of these are works of art.  Use them as vases, fill some with colored marbles or leave them plain. 

Silk flowers – These were mentioned in Part 1 but are worth repeating.  You can buy some really high-end ones, especially in arrangements, for little money.  Tear them apart and use the flowers.  They don’t all have to be the same…go for one color palette or mix it up!

Gold mirrored trays – The kind my mother’s generation used on their vanities to hold their fancy perfume bottles.   These are harder to find but when you do, snatch them up!

gold mirror tray1.jpg

Silver Trays – No one wants to polish silver anymore so these are cheap, cheap, cheap!  While I think a bit of tarnish makes them look rich and real, it takes 2 minutes to polish them. 


Handmade Doilies – These add a touch of elegance and evoke good memories of Grandma’s house.  While it breaks my heart that someone spent hours making these and I can pick them up for less than $1, what a great look for such little money!

Mirror tiles – These are popular but hard to find.  Doubtful you will find 20 that are the same…unless you buy from a couple who recently had their wedding.  But do they really all have to match?

Teacups – Rarely two alike and each one is beautiful.  Cheaper without the saucer, they can be used as votive holders, small vases, mini-planters, candy dishes…just about anything you can think of!

Bags of Marbles/Glass Pebbles – In all different colors.  Expensive at craft shops but ~$1 for BIG bag 

Old Books – Hardcover ones look the coolest and are the most versatile.  I’ve not used these as centerpieces but a friend has.  We’ve used them at Stonegate to help stage “tableaus” of vintage furniture on the lawn or in our pergola.  They make it feel homey.  Here are some pics from Beth’s wedding.


Old vinyl records –I bought a few of these…they were $0.20 each and I figured I could use them like trays or something…maybe give a 50’s or 70’s feel.  I had this idea to make it look like a soda shoppe.  It was a dismal failure, as you can see…. please don’t laugh.   But I really think there is some way these can get used!  Please, if anyone can think of a good use, email me…prudy@stonegatemanorevents.com.  I want to see your ideas!


Old tablecloths and table-runners– Speaking of the 70’s look, one of the wedding couples at Stonegate used tie-dyed tablecloths.  The groom did them all and it was awesome!  It was a very fun vibe and a great party.  He even tie-dyed the napkins!


So, what to do with all this?  Personally, I like the eclectic look best.  A little bit of this; a little bit of that.  Add a splash or two of color, some different heights and find a way to pull it all together and there you go!   And, of course, I love touches of vintage.

I like to use to use trays or doilies to anchor and unite the different elements.  My favorite are trays.  But you can use doilies, the mirror tiles or even books.  Mix and match on different tables using what you find.   

In my opinion, if you start with a base, you can add a variety of different things and still get a cohesive look.  I like to have one larger piece that, with the base, sort of anchors everything.  But you don’t have to.   Combine different things…just make sure you have some different heights.  I like different textures and shapes together.  But, honestly, I think it’s hard to go wrong

In our 3rd and final part of this series, join me as we explore some edible centerpieces and inexpensive ways to make your dessert table spectacular!


Prudy Barrett Nelson has been helping make weddings beautiful for years.  Known as the Wedding Fairy-Godmother, she delights in helping couples at Stonegate Manor, Southwest Michigan’s Premier Estate Wedding venue, avoid as many potholes and bumps in the road as they complete the journey to their perfect wedding.  She can be reached at: prudy@stonegatemanorevents.com and welcomes any creative ideas, especially about using old records.  😊