Discover Vintage America - JUNE 2019

May brings memories and Mother's Day

Q: Do you have any ideas on how to use inexpensive vintage items to decorate tables and the venue for a wedding reception? I am not really interested in 1001 ways to use glass canning jars. Thank you for any help you can give me. I love your column and look forward to it every month.

A: Thank you for the kind words about my monthly column. I enjoy writing it and love to hear that it is enjoyed by our readers.

I just love practical people. A wedding is a day when you make a promise to one you want to spend your life with. Day and life are the key words. Of course you want a beautiful, memorable wedding day but there is no reason to spend $40,000 + on it. Heck, that is a decent down payment on a house.

When my oldest daughter got married several years ago, we spent a great deal of time at the Dollar Stores, Big Lots, and thrift stores. She created a "look book" with ideas that she like then we figured out how to get the same look for less.

If you have a friend with a tax id number you can purchase your flowers at wholesale prices and make all of the flowers for your big day at ΒΌ of the cost. YouTube is filled with videos on how to make a bouquet. I bought some fake flowers to practice with and I am thankful that I did.

We were only decorating the reception venue as they had an outdoor wedding. We had rose petals as the "aisle" and friends and family formed a circle around the couple as they said their vows.

There are so many things that you can do to decorate the tables. If you use real flowers for the tables keep the arrangement low so that people can comfortably talk and see over them. Get an assortment of flowers, and glass "vases" of varying heights, bundle the the flowers in to little bouquets and place them in odd number groups on the table. You don't have to over do it. Thrift stores and dollar stores are a treasure trove for short vases.

I love candlelight, especially taper holders of different heights or candelabras with a lot of arms. Brass candle sticks are easy to find at thrift shops and metallic spray paint works wonders on changing the color to match or compliment your wedding colors.

If using lighted candles on a table space for safety sake glue the holders to a narrow piece of painted plywood or other material. Glue the candles into the holders as well. You can find LED tealight candles.

One of my favorite ideas isn't limited to wedding reception decor and is easy to create. Gather crocheted doilies of all shapes and sizes, if you don't have a drawer full like I do, craft stores sell packages of new ones. You also need to purchase hanging light fixtures, which is a cord, bulb holder and clips to hold the light bulb in place.

When my nephew got married he and his bride-to- be did not want a traditional guestbook so they asked me to come up with an idea for a quilt. I had each guest sign and decorate a muslin square using fabric paint pens. When it was finished, I have to admit, it was pretty fabulous.

All of my best wishes to you.

* Please email me your favorite recipe to include in next month's column.

Note: All prices given are for sale in a private sale, antique shop or other resale outlet. Price is also dependent upon the geographic area in which you are selling. Auction value, selling to a dealer or pawnshop prices are about half or less of resale value.

Michelle Staley is a Lenexa, KS-based dealer and researcher with 35 years of experience in the antique trade. Send questions with photos to Michelle to Please keep queries to one question; questions without photos of the item may not be answered. Michelle is also available for consulting and extensive research work beyond this column. If you would like an appraisal on an antique or collectible please go to for a one-on-one appraisal.