Sisterhood of the Traveling Jars

ball jars wedding

This is the story of how one fabulous set of Ball jars zig-zagged up and down the East Coast and into four different weddings.

It all started in August 2011, three months before my wedding. My soon-to-be Sister-in-Law came across a set of 36 blue Ball jars on Etsy for $200. We had been scouring online shops, out-of-town antique stores and even stalking one Soho sidewalk vendor who specializes in salvaged glass, to come up with enough bottles to decorate our massive wedding venue, the Metropolitan Building in Long Island City, Queens.

Everywhere we looked, they were up to $15 apiece—so the Etsy set was a must-buy. Plus, we saved on shipping because the vendor happened to be vacationing in the same beach town as my parents, who orchestrated a hand-off by the boardwalk.

Jars travel from Maryland’s Eastern Shore to my Brooklyn apartment in the back of my mom’s Honda CRV.

The jars were perfect for our urban-rustic-vintage-city wedding. It was a picturesque fall evening and my soft white and pink flowers dusted the space in the twinkling blue glass.

And then… my apartment was full of jars.

Jars travel from Brooklyn to Frederick, Maryland to party in a barn.

One of my oldest friends was planning her April 2012 wedding and had chosen a barn with an open view of rolling hills as the setting. The jars would be a perfect accent, and even thematically relevant! The bridal magazines she didn’t care to read would’ve been so proud. Sarah was more than happy to save a few bucks on décor, and had already enlisted some relatives and friends to help arrange wild flowers for her big day.

Jars travel back to Brooklyn and then head right back out to Rhode Island, for an elegant backyard wedding in July.

Sarah’s wedding was over, and the jars were heading my way, via my parents, again. (Thanks, folks!). In between all the planning and partying, another set of friends got engaged. My husband’s high school buddy Nathan and his fiancé Sara were whipping up an outdoor summer affair. The jars were booked again.

Another high school friend and his fiancé came to Nathan and Sara’s wedding, and did that thing engaged couples do at weddings—noting every detail they haven’t thought of yet. When my husband caught them considering the décor, he told them the jars were up for grabs—for free—if they wanted to use them. They did.

Jars travel from Rhode Island to Brooklyn and wait for Matt and Hannah’s October wedding in Massachusetts.

I bought the jars in the first place because I loved the look of them. They were something I could imagine having around my house and that’s the kind of wedding my husband and I wanted. Now, I love the jars because six of our closest friends will have shared them with us and, in a way, shared their weddings with us.

Even though I didn’t intentionally adhere to a system, here are a few I’ve figured out in hindsight:

1. Go in on wedding décor with other engaged friends. You can all use it, then re-sell.
2. Buy wedding décor in bulk for cheap, lend it to your friends so they can save money on those random items that always add up.
3. Use vintage, blue Ball jars for everything. They are really pretty.

So when the jars travel back to me in October, I’m going to hang onto them. I’ve been dreaming of making one of these chandeliers for a year now. Plus, I’m 29. I’ll probably have friends getting married well into the next decade.

If you want some blue jars of your own, here’s a bunch on Etsy. I found other shareable wedding bits on 100LayerCake, which is also a great resource for re-selling.

Photos By: Mackler Studios / MACKME.COM
Originally published on What’s Your System, a blog about people’s tips and tricks for getting stuff done.

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