It’s officially spring in the mid-Atlantic. The birds are waking me up earlier and earlier every day. The pollen wafts thru the air. causing ambush sneezes. My closet is a mess as I change outfits every hour or so – sandals to suede boots, tank tops to turtlenecks, and slip dresses to sweaters.

For the saavy event planner, spring also brings an opportunity for fresh ideas on decor and themes. As folks dig thru their attics and basements, shedding collectibles from years past, yard sales, garage sales, tag sales (whatever you call them) pop up on every block. Your neighbor’s well-loved keepsakes may become your next great event theme!



You don’t have to go far to score vintage tabletop items: tea sets, tablecloths, napkins, vases, serving dishes, dessert plates. Mismatched is even better! Pick a color palette (blue and white) or a theme (florals) and start searching. It’s easy to find the perfect look for a bridal shower or a tea party in a few hours for just a few dollars. Storage is key – I make sure to bring my own tissue paper to wrap breakable items and I always have a plastic tub in my car to hold all my finds. It may not happen in one visit, so plan accordingly.

You’re likely not going to find one masterpiece, so focus on thematic elements that you can transform.

  • Inoperable cameras from decades gone by can become accent decor for your next photo booth. Consider them centerpieces for the event where you’re encouraging social media – arrange the cameras with your hashtag prominently featured.
  • Children’s books, with their colorful illustrations, can be used as framed elements along an entry wall. Pick up assorted children’s books as a “to go” element that’s part of your day of kit for that one guest who inevitably brings the unexpected child.
  • With the new trend of adult coloring books, consider finding black & white images to reproduce for guests to adorn. Small vases make great crayon holders!
  • Lunchboxes offer a fun way to let guests pack (and carry!) their own picnic lunch.

tea party


Always be sure to chat with sellers who have a few things that pique your interest. It’s hard to part with their beloved memories, so it may help for them to hear how you’ll give their keepsakes a new purpose. You never know if behind those four avocado green ceramics is a cache of exactly what you need to create your next memorable event. Plus what better way to start a warm spring day than with a sunny walk outside!