Guest Post: DIY Wedding Reception Place Settings

Each item pictured below is from Goodwill Industries-Knoxville located in Knoxville, TN. 

Hello again fellow thrifters and brides-to-be!

About a month ago, I wrote a preview blog for my friend Derek, which you can find by clicking here, discussing the importance of having vision when it comes to scavenging your local Goodwill or thrift store. Now that we have talked about having vision for what you see on the shelves, let’s put this idea to practice!

I took a trip my favorite Goodwill in Knoxville to find all of the pieces you see below for several DIY wedding place settings.

It doesn’t look very impressive at first glance, does it? I agree. However, one thing to keep in mind when searching for a specific item at the thrift store is that it will look much better once you take it home, clean it up, and place it in a different setting. In the picture above, you might just see a bunch of random plates and placemats with nothing that really ties them together, but grouping items together based on their shape, color or design helps you to have vision for what it could look after a little primping.

The place setting below is a perfect example of matching pieces together based on their color.

I’ve been obsessed with gold lately and these gold-rimmed plates, napkin, tablecloth and charger go together perfectly because they have all follow the same color scheme.

Next, I’ve put together a Fall wedding inspired place setting.

Just like I’ve mentioned before, all of these pieces have similar shades of orange, gold and green, which screams October wedding!

I’ve also added an emerald green tablecloth to bring out the green leaf bowl on top. Emerald has quickly become one of my favorite colors as of late, and it would look lovely for a Fall wedding.

One small detail you might not have noticed for this place setting is how I doubled the placemats. I put the rounded mat on top of the square Sunflower placemat to enhance the layering effect of the gold charger.

For my third place setting, I wanted to focus on the monochromatic look. There is not a design quite as stunning as multiple shades of one color all blended together.

So, I gathered all of the blue items I’d picked from the shelves and added in a little gold detail for good measure. I think the deep royal blue plays well off of the gold touches.

Using a placemat, charger and layering several plates creates a beautiful and more interesting setting rather than using just one plate.

For a slightly different and more nautical look, I traded the light blue cherry blossom plate out for this funky lime green one. I think it adds a more modern edge to the place setting.

I also folded the white and gold napkin under the royal blue plate for a more polished look.

Next, I wanted to create a feminine yet edgy place setting. I picked out this black and tan placemat and paired it with pink and red accents.

For this setting, I experimented with different plate shapes. You might not have thought that square plates would go well with round ones, but it’s more interesting visually compared to all round or all square dishes.

My mom taught me how to do some cool napkin folds, so I wanted to showcase an easy one that I’d learned in this setting. Just stuff your crimped napkin into a champagne flute for instant elegance!

Last, I put together a Christmas wedding themed setting. When I think of Christmas, I obviously think of red and green, holly and berries… and of course I had to add in a touch of gold!

Using all different sizes and shapes of glasses makes for a more visually interesting result, as you can see in this place setting.

I hope these Goodwill place settings have inspired you to first take a look around your local thrift store before dishing out truckloads of cash for a wedding planner or designer for your upcoming wedding.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with color, shape and design. Personal touches, no matter how simple, definitely add a sentimental element to your wedding and will be appreciated by your guests as well!

God bless and go Goodwill!

About Jill:

I am a senior at the University of Tennessee who considers “thrifting” my major, spends way too much time scavenging my local Goodwill and typing away on my 1958 seafoam green typewriter (Which I found at Goodwill—surprise, surprise!). I’m also embarking on my own DIY wedding journey as I’ve just gotten engaged to my boyfriend of five years! I’d love to hear about your own DIY wedding ideas in the comments below. Also, follow my blog at