Don’t You Just Love a Bargain?

This post is about aisle decor, but it’s also about a store. First, let’s talk about decor.

When I originally imagined walking down the aisle at our wedding, I pictured a white aisle, a floral arch, and flowers on the end of each row of chairs. I saw this on so many wedding blogs that I think I must have assumed this was standard ceremony decor.


Flowers by Flowers by Fudgie / Image from Flowers by Fudgie’s blog

Just as I got scared away from bringing lighting into our venue because I thought it would compete with the beauty of our venue, I started to think that going too over the top with ceremony decor would detract from the environment around us. Interestingly, the person who got me thinking about scaling back was my florist!

I don’t know how she picked up on my being interested in playing up the Blue Ridge Mountains and being concerned about all the consumption related to weddings, but at some point in our meeting, she definitely got it. She really caught my attention when she said something like “too many people walk away from their flowers.” She was talking about those elaborate floral arches, which can’t really be repurposed after the ceremony.

We decided that we’d have flowers in glass vessels on the end of each aisle and those flowers would be moved inside during our cocktail hour. In my search for some inspiration pictures, I came across quite a few that had large lanterns on the ground, too. I thought the combination was lovely.


From Style Me Pretty / Photo by Aaron Delesie

I started to look for lanterns in home stores like Pottery Barn, West Elm, Crate & Barrel, and Restoration Hardware. There were some interesting options, but most were shiny silver or black, which wouldn’t go with our aesthetic. I saw many people buying and selling IKEA lanterns in the Weddingbee classifieds, but they were also silver or black. I was hoping to find lanterns made of wood. I was fine with metal being on the lantern, but my hope was that it would look distressed or antique.


Photo by Millie Holloman Photography

Discount stores were my next stop. TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Home Goods all had exactly what I wanted, but I could never find more than two or three lanterns in the same size or style at those stores. A local business that rents vintage pieces for weddings and events had some lanterns, but their online inventory didn’t show a large cache of lanterns in the same size. Eventually, I gave up on the lantern idea and settled on just having flowers on the end of each aisle.

I few weeks later, I found myself back in Boston on business. I got to town a few days early and decided to go shopping at some of places I used to frequent when I lived there. As I was leaving one of my favorite malls from my Boston days (The Natick Collection for you Bostonians), I decided to go into The Christmas Tree Shoppe for a laugh.

If you live in New England, you either love or loath The Christmas Tree Shoppe. The first time I visited one of these stores, I remember being stunned by the way people were piling things into their carts. One side of the store is usually holiday themed (it only has Christmas stuff around the holidays) and the rest has all kinds of decorative things for the home. The inventory is cheap and oftentimes random. It’s rare to recognize a brand name. If Wal-Mart and Home Goods had a baby, it’d be the Christmas Tree Shoppe.

I have to admit that I was looking for entertainment when I went into that store on my business trip. I was stunned when I saw this display just ten yards into the store.


Photo by Miss Mink

I couldn’t believe I was seeing lanterns so close to what I had in my head. I couldn’t believe I was seeing them in the Christmas Tree Shoppe. I also couldn’t believe that I was on a business trip and there was no way I could buy them. While my brother’s family is in Boston, I couldn’t expect them to store a ton of large lanterns in their home.

When I got home that night, I called my mother in New Jersey. The Christmas Tree Shoppe moved south in the years since I left the area and there was a store one town over from my hometown. My mother went to the store the next morning and bought every lantern they had in stock. Apparently, she had the staff running all over, checking every nook and cranny for lanterns. I never thought of Christmas Tree Shoppes as a place with stellar customer service, but I was so thankful that they went out of their way to help her.

A few weeks later, my mother came to Virginia for a visit and delivered the lanterns.


Photo by Miss Mink

Did you find something for your wedding in an unexpected place?

*The title of this post is an homage to the hilarious commercials that Christmas Tree Shoppe used to run when I lived in New England.


Mrs. Mink

Charlottesville, Virginia
Wedding Date:
June 2012
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    montanamum, Guest @ 2:54 pm

    Antlers…all the years we have been collecting these “free” antlers as we stumble upon them in the woods, and now they are the bases for floral centerpiece arrangements, the handle for a vintage russian cake blade that didnt have a handle, and the anchors for hanging floral decorations…thank you bambi and mr. elk!!

  2. Member
    Miss Party Cat 109 posts, Blushing bee @ 3:24 pm

    I love them! Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  3. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 3:46 pm

    I love your inspiration picture and the lanterns look perfect! What a great find.

  4. Member
    eternalhearts 83 posts, Worker bee @ 4:10 pm

    Christmas Tree Shops makes me super happy! I’m also terribly jealous of your find. I’m going to my local CTS to see if they have anything similar.

  5. Member
    ItsDestiny 627 posts, Busy bee @ 4:52 pm

    Christmas Tree Shoppe is wonderful, I find for many great things for my outdoor ceremony!

  6. Member
    ItsDestiny 627 posts, Busy bee @ 4:52 pm

    Christmas Tree Shoppe is wonderful, I find so many great things for my outdoor ceremony!

  7. turkey Member
    turkey 654 posts, Busy bee @ 5:40 pm

    Big fan of the Christmas Tree Shoppe! Love that you rounded up the troops to get your lanterns.

  8. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:43 pm

    A Christmas Tree Shoppe just opened here, and it’s an addiction. I avoid it because I always buy random crap there. But we do need lanterns, and Ikea is two hours away.

  9. sunhat Member
    sunhat 1453 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:44 pm

    Um I want a Christmas Tree Shoppe by me! I love Restoration Hardware. Need to track down one of those stores too! Great score – love the look of the lanterns.

  10. Member
    LibraryBride2013 212 posts, Helper bee @ 6:48 pm

    I LOVE the Christmas Tree Shoppes! We got one in South Jersey a few years ago, and it was a godsend in planning my best friend’s shower! We used tea pots as centerpieces (from their clearance section, so even bigger discounts)! I always forget about them when I am bargain shopping, I need to make a trip!

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    Elyse, Guest @ 7:12 pm

    I Love the Christmas Tree Shoppe, and am sad I don’t have any out here in the CO (grew up on the East coast). Great find!

  12. Member
    stephk527 987 posts, Busy bee @ 7:19 pm

    These are great! It’s always so exciting to find a find. . .oops. 😉

  13. Member
    sweetbee29 525 posts, Busy bee @ 10:57 pm

    That’s awesome! Aren’t you glad you didn’t settle for the other lanterns? They will look great : )

  14. Member
    amethystmeg 235 posts, Helper bee @ 4:53 am

    I love it when you finally find the perfect thing. I am very happy for you! I was looking forever for the perfect bracelet….never found it. :( So I made one! But that many lanterns!!! I am glad you didn’t have to do anything to them!

  15. Guest Icon Guest
    Laura, Guest @ 5:36 am

    Great find! I got a great deal a few weeks ago: glass votive and large sized votive/small pillar candle on clearance for only $2 each at bath and body works. I bought about 30 of them for our centerpieces!

  16. hawk Member
    hawk 1117 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:42 am

    Those lanterns are gorgeous! What a great find!

  17. Member
    mkim 611 posts, Busy bee @ 1:10 pm

    man..i need to go check out this store next time i’m in Richmond

  18. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:37 pm

    @montanamum: Hee hee. We pick up antlers for Junior Mink to chew on and it cracks me up when people are selling them in home stores for $40-$100. The little country store where I often get them probably has no idea they could sell them for so much!

    @eternalhearts: They were there a while ago…it took a couple months for Mama Mink to get them down to Virginia. :)

    @ItsDestiny: I definitely remember going there for themed items for a few parties back when I was in Boston!

    @Miss Turkey: I think Mama Mink liked having a hand in the planning. She hasn’t really been involved since she lives so far away. :)

    @Future Army Wife: I’m with you. Stay away! You’ll walk out of there with the most random junk! The first time I went to one, a woman on her way out had a cart full of bags and a HUGE stop sign that said “Santa Stop Here” on it. I couldn’t believe it. Who wants a stop sign?

    @Mrs. Sunhat: Be thankful you don’t have one! Then, you’d have to commercials, which are funny and horrible at the same time!

    @LibraryBride2013: I once threw a beach themed shower and found so many random things there for it.

    @Elyse: I miss them when I need beverage napkins and find them around here for $10. I know there’s a bin of them at CTS and they’re only $2.

    @Jamieg: So glad!

    @amethystmeg: I just plopped candles in them…done!

    @Laura: Now you have me wondering if I should go to the one near me for those candles!

    @Miss Hawk: Thanks, Hawk!

  19. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:38 pm

    @mkim: The closest one is in Waldorf, MD (which has gotten really built up in recent years). I don’t think there are any in Virginia!

  20. coyote Member
    coyote 1960 posts, Buzzing bee @ 3:25 pm

    I was humming the theme song when I read the title… Before I even knew what this post was going to be about! I <3 Christmas Tree Shoppe!!

  21. Guest Icon Guest
    sweet_melissa81 from+TK, Guest @ 11:53 am

    How much were the lanters a peice? They’re so beautiful!

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