Flea Market Finds for Your Wedding

October 27, 2011 by Just Marry!

There’s no doubt about it — the vintage look is in. I spend a lot of time trolling blogs and flipping through magazines for both home decor and wedding design, and I’m not seeing this trend passing anytime soon! As you will see in this video, Susan recently appeared in a news segment highlighting the use of different types of antique and collectible glassware in floral arrangements and other wedding d├ęcor.

I grew up the daughter and granddaughter of some antique-loving women, so bargain hunting for fabulous finds at flea markets and estate sales comes somewhat naturally to me. It occurred to me though, that although you may like the look of vintage, knowing the ins and outs of antiquing for your wedding may seem a bit daunting.

Have no fear, it isn’t rocket science! This little tutorial will help you get started on the path to procuring a few “personality pieces“, as I call them, for your wedding and, who knows, maybe ignite a lifelong passion for collecting in the process!

First, allow me to brag (for educational purposes, of course). I scored these two finds (this very week) at my favorite local flea and farmer’s market.

This adorable set of linen hankies, embroidered with “Mr.” and “Mrs.” in blue thread, could easily be your “something old” and “something blue”; you could each carry one on your wedding day (his in a trouser pocket, yours wrapping the handle of your bouquet). They would make great little conversation pieces when added to home decor after the wedding, especially if you framed each of them. How much did they set me back, you ask? Four bucks. You couldn’t buy one new, plain handkerchief for that price nowadays!

As for my other find, milk glass is a personal favorite collectible of mine, and I’ve been pleased to see it pop onto the wedding scene more and more lately, as the trend towards mid-century modern and 1950’s silhouettes continues to flourish. Even though similar vases are valued online for around $30, I found this darling vase for $9.50, but paid only $8 as I’ll discuss in my quick list of bargain hunting tips below.

Locate flea markets online — if you haven’t checked out any local markets, find a list of them online and spend some time checking them out. I’ve been to many in my area, but have found that only a handful are worth a return trip.

Make a list of what you need — to avoid ending up with a mismatched collection of junk, make a “wish list” of everything you’d like and then shop for a few items from that list. You can find things at flea markets for your wedding, such as: vintage vases, brooches, an old typewriter to set up for guests to “sign” (type) in your guest book, bird cages for centerpieces, candle holders, and anything else inspirational that you could use to hold place cards or decorate your ceremony or reception.

Cash is king — bring plenty of small bills, so you can negotiate with vendors. If you want something for $2, it’s best not to flash a $20 bill! Plus, smaller vendors just might not have change.

Check the condition — most vintage pieces are going to have some dings and scratches (or “character” as I like to think of it). Once you find a piece that’s “aged to perfection”, be sure to assess the functionality of the piece (no cracks in vases that will hold water, working mechanics for brooches or other jewelry, etc).

Don’t be shy — most prices are negotiable! If you ask politely, vendors are generally willing to bargain with you. My favorite phrases are, “Is this your best price?” or “Could you do a little better on the price if I take both (or all) of these?” The worst they can do is say no, and if that’s the case, feel free to either pay the asking price or thank them for their consideration and move on.

Bring lots of bags — this is no full-service megastore, you’ll need bags with sturdy bottoms and sturdy handles, especially if you’re on the lookout for heavier things like vases. Some newspaper or bubble wrap will come in handy if you’re buying breakables.

Did I leave anything out that you’re curious about? Send us your queries, photos of your own vintage treasures, or your favorite vintage wedding looks!

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