I saw this post on HuffPo this week about things no one should do after a friend’s wedding, and in general, was mildly agreeing and disagreeing with some of the items. (Don’t post a bajillion photos without knowing that the couple is cool with it? Check. Pester the bride about her relationship status on Facebook? Huh? Seriously. Huh?)
But, anyway, then I got to number five, the one on the list that specifically applies to brides-to-be and their friends’ weddings—don’t ask for her decorations—and I actually screamed out loud, Yes! This!
Here's what the author has to say about this topic:
So, your wedding is in a few months and you would LOVE to reuse a bride's table numbers, wood vase risers, or votives on your big day. Awesome! She'd probably love to sell you them for cheap (or even just give them to you). But definitely give her some breathing room before asking for her goods -- during the reception is not the right time to make these kinds of inquiries.
Some good points in here—obviously, no, you should not ask to borrow or buy anything from her for your own wedding during hers, for crying out loud—but I think that this topic could actually use some elaboration.
The disclaimer is, of course, that you know your friends and your relationship with them best, so most of the time it's a good idea just to use your judgement and carry on—but I have heard enough stories concerning this issue of etiquette (and it is an etiquette issue, not a decorations issue) that it seems like it could use a little explaining out loud: It is not always OK to ask to reuse things from your friends' weddings for your own.
When you're at your friend's house on a Friday night before heading out on the town and you are so not feeling the shirt you've got on, chances are that you're going to start rifling through your friend's shirts, and probably borrow one. Chances are that she will be cool with this—that she won't even give it a second thought, actually. When your friend's beloved late grandmother has passed along her grandmother's vintage diamond watch to your friend in her last will and testament and your friend keeps it stored in cushions and velvet and under lock and key and only wears it to the most special occasions, on the other hand, that is not something that you should really be asking to borrow, no matter how special the occasion is that you'd like to wear it to. It is not the same thing. It is not the same type of borrowing. The first one is as much a part of being girlfriends as is sharing a bottle of wine while doing your nails and complaining about boys. The second one crosses all kinds of lines of comfort and manners.
And so it goes, I think, when it comes to borrowing things from your friends' weddings for your own. Did she order online 200 plain glass votive candle holders in bulk that she now has no use for and would happily just give or sell to you for cheap for your wedding? Awesome. Sounds like it'll work out for both of you. But on the other hand, if she and her mom nearly killed themselves scouring flea market upon antique shop across the entire Tri-state area for the better part of a year to find 1) vintage tea kettles with the most perfect patina to serve as vessels for the centerpieces and 2) mismatched vintage china chargers for which she paid a calligrapher to custom-design a font and apply gorgeous table numbers in a shimmering gold paint it took her four separate trips to Lowe's to finally decide on? No. She splurged on having a carpenter craft a custom cake stand out of wood from the barn on her parents' home, and now keeps it in a place of prominence in her and her husband's new home? You just can't ask for that stuff, no matter how much you want it.
Besides the fact that it's not exactly a great idea to lift really specific, customized ideas from your friends weddings, some things are just too special or expensive to request to reuse, plain and simple. You might think that this is common sense and that I am preaching to no one, here, but I have actually witnessed a few instances of this—one bride having absolutely no awareness at all of the hugeness and inappropriateness of what she was requesting, the other bride being extremely upset about it, not wanting to say yes, dreading saying no—and so to me that says it begs saying. Repeating. Passing on.
Sharing is caring and all, yes. But just really think through what you're asking for before you make your request. After your wedding, you'll want the next engaged lady to do the same for you.