Something old, something new, more borrowed, less new

Sorry to adjust the old wedding adage, but with most couples feeling financial pressures around their big day, I figured I could get away with it.

It is tempting to want everything for your wedding or engagement to be purchased new off the shelf, but there are many ways, with a little time and creativity, that money can be saved by a little shopping around, or looking at things a little differently. Using items that are pre-loved can often add a memorable, intimate touch to your special day.

Upcycling – this is a bit of a buzz word at the moment, but it essentially involves taking items that you (or others) already own and giving them a second lease on life. So many items we have around home can be re-purposed for a wedding rather than buying something new.

A good example is the way people are using wooden pallets for everything from creating outdoor furniture to wedding photo boards. With a little bit of love, Pop’s glass bottle collection (that’s been gathering dust in the shed since the 70’s) can be used for whimsical table centrepieces. Gran’s old dressing table and glass jars can become a stunning candy buffet. There are millions of ideas out there; Google is your friend if you can be specific with what you are looking for.

Online purchases – now this can be a little risky, don’t get me wrong, but if you’ve done your research, know what you are looking for and are willing to take a chance, then you can find some amazing bargains. Etsy, eBay and Gumtree are old favourites. Tip – try not to buy things last minute, that way if they don’t work out you have time to source an alternative.


Another relatively recent emergence is location-based buy/sell/hire sites specifically for weddings. Have a look on Facebook, under Groups, there’s at least one for most capital cities, and some regional centres as well. You can pick up anything from wedding dresses to car ribbon to fairy lights and bunting, often only used once (or not at all) and cluttering up someone’s garage or spare room – often selling for far less than it cost. There are also many smaller vendors advertising on here – things like red carpets, flower walls and pre-cut wood log slices.

For an event as important as an engagement or wedding, you want everything to be perfect. But perfect doesn’t always mean paying retail!