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Mason Jars for Wedding Decorations: Rustic, Beautiful, & Cheap!

I love sharing wedding ideas to help people on their special day.

Mason Jars Are For More Than Just Canning!

Everyone seems to have one rolling around in their cabinets somewhere—under the kitchen sink, in the pantry, in the refrigerator still filled with Great Aunt Susie's apple jelly—we're talking about the lowly Mason jar. Designed for utility, not beauty, this particular type of jar has turned into a major force in rustic wedding decorating because more and more brides are choosing a vintage wedding as their theme. The beauty of the Mason jar is its simplicity—and its versatility. They can be used for basically everything, including lighting, favor containers, décor, and a whole lot more. They even travel well, making them easy to transport to the reception location. And best of all, they're inexpensive, which pretty much puts them high on everyone's list!

Who Is Mason Anyway?

Mason jars, canning jars, or Ball jars as some people call them, were invented by John Mason, a tinsmith, in 1858. Did he have a clue that his invention was going to be such a hit with brides over 150 years later? Probably not, because they were initially invented to improve the process of preserving and canning food, back in the day when growing your own food was a necessity and not just a hobby. The two most popular types of Mason jars these days are Kerr and Ball brand, both of them owned by Jarden Manufacturing. The good people at Jarden must be laughing all the way to the bank these days because brides tend to use, at a minimum, around a dozen jars or, at a maximum, 100's if they provide them as drinking glasses or favors for their guests.

Use Mason Jars as Candle Holders

Mason jars make great candle holders for wedding décor. But you don't want to just jam a candle in the jar and go on about your business! Well, you could, but this is a wedding, so let's show a little finesse. For safety's sake and to make sure your candle doesn't go rolling around your jar, anchor it by putting in a layer of sand or surrounding it with decorative rocks or colored gems. One of the great things about Mason jars is that they were invented to withstand the heat from the canning process, so the heat from your candle shouldn't bother it at all.

There are tons of different ways to dress up your jar, so it will look a lot prettier as a candleholder. You could cut a two-or-three-inch strip of burlap and wrap it around the jar, followed by a one-inch ribbon to match your wedding colors tied in a bow. A gorgeous way to let that candlelight shine through your mason jar is to cover it with cloth doilies on the outside. It's an easy thing to do, and all you need is a can of Spray Mount and some doilies. The light looks amazing, shining through the openings in the doilies. For any of these, follow up by tying several strands of raffia around the rim of the jar and tie in a knot or a bow.


Mason Jars as Favor-Holders or Other Décor

Mason jars are great for holding favors of all kinds. You could put anything in them: M&M's in your wedding colors, a cookie mix done in pretty layers with baking instructions attached, and yes, you could even use the jars for their original purpose and make jelly or jam for all your guests. You could fill them up with a regional favorite, like saltwater taffy if you live in Maine or pralines for those who live in Georgia. To kill two birds with one stone, you could use the jars as drinking glasses and then let each guest take his or hers home at the end of the night. Or to kill THREE birds with one stone, you could attach a place card to each jar, and they could be your place card holders as well.

These jars make beautiful centerpieces, particularly when filled with wildflowers or rustic-looking flowers, like sunflowers or daisies. The less fuss, the better for these arrangements, or you'll ruin the rustic look you're trying to create. Around the mouth of the jar, rip, not cut, because the frayed edges are part of the overall look, strips of fabrics in small, vintage-looking prints, and tie a cute bow around the rim of each jar.

As Jam Jars


As Drinking Glasses


As a Colorful Accent

The antique blue mason jars are in high demand right now, and they can be quite expensive if you need multiples of them. But unless your guests can sit in for guest host for the "Antiques Roadshow" host, can they truly tell the difference between ones you've DIYed and the real thing? Probably not, so make your own clever fakes, and they'll be none the wiser. Now we're not talking about coloring antique jars, please don't do that, because that's pretty much a sacrilege in the Mason jar world, and we would make you turn in your Mason Jar Appreciation Fan Club card for that! We're talking about the less-than-a-dollar-apiece jars you can buy at Wal-mart or your neighborhood grocery store.

There are plenty of methods rolling around on the web right now using Mod Podge and craft paint to color said jars. Those are nice if you don't plan to use your jar for anything but display, but they are not water-safe which defeats the purpose if you want to use them for a vase. For a more permanent solution to antiquing your jars, there's a great paint made for glass called Vitrea 160 that actually comes in turquoise to create that antique look you're after.

How to Color Your Own Jars

As Hanging Decorations & Pew Markers

Mason jars look great just hanging around! A great way to use them at a wedding is for pew markers. They can be filled with flowers or candles and suspended from a shepherd's hook. Wedding not indoors, so there's no way to push the hook down into the ground? No problem. Now stores like Lowe's and Home Depot are selling shepherd's hooks with a base that are free-standing. You can even hang the jars from trees, but you don't need to invest in those $8.00 apiece hanging Mason jars you see in specialty stores. You can easily DIY it with some inexpensive florist's wire, wire cutters, and a pair of pliers. You can even create your own chandelier using a pot rack, wire, and jars.

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© 2011 DIYweddingplanner


DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on July 08, 2013:

Thanks, Leslie and Marion! Mason jars recently saved the day again when I was doing a wedding. Unbeknownst to me, I was also doing décor for the rehearsal dinner of which someone had neglected to inform me! I whipped out my trusty mason jars, headed to my local florist who gave me a geat deal on a bunch of pretty sunflowers, stuck a doily underneath, and volia! I had a centerpiece! Definitely a lifesaver!

marion langley from The Study on July 05, 2013:

What a fun hub. Especially enjoyed that little historical note. I love a bouquet of bright cheerful sunflowers in my mason jar :-) Thanks for writing!

lesliebyars on July 04, 2013:

Great hub I have several mason jars myself for canning. Voted up, useful and I tweeted also.

Corey from Northfield, MA on March 26, 2013:

Nice tips and great ideas. I love the Mason Jars hanging from the tree like lanterns. I use mason jars instead of plastic ware to store left overs. I also use them to store pantry supplies since we have an open shelving system in our kitchen the look stays clean. Thanks for this hub. Voted up!

DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on March 22, 2013:

Thanks, Jen Anne. I love using shepherd's hooks with Mason jars. I love using shepherd's hooks anyway. At my next wedding, we're setting up a lawn games area and using shepherd's hooks to hold the signs and a big one to hold the hula hoops. All the centerpieces will be Mason jars.

Jenn-Anne on March 21, 2013:

Very informative and useful hub! My friend had mason jar candles hanging from shepherd's crooks at her outdoor wedding and it was quite lovely. Voted up!