Create a memorable wedding without spending all of that cash by using stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, and Dollar Tree for everything from flowers to appetizers to decor. The best part? Ideas like the Costco wedding hacks below don’t always require a membership. And while some of these budget wedding ideas require a bit more effort, you’ll rack up the savings with each cheap wedding hack you do.
1. Create registries at these 14 retailers to get over $700 worth of free stuff.
From Amazon and Target to Sur La Table, when you create a registry at certain retailers, they’ll thank you with a free gift and completion discount. Don’t miss out on these 15 Wedding Freebies Worth Over $700.
2. Choose a vacation rental instead of booking a traditional venue.
Booking a traditional wedding/event venue can cost you thousands of dollars alone, and often you’ll be required to buy alcohol, food, and rent party supplies from the venue’s preferred vendors instead of having the freedom to choose your own.
Instead, rent a large home for a few days on Airbnb or VRBO, making sure to ask the property management company or owners if it’s okay to host an event there. Doing this can also save your family some money on hotel stays if the home has multiple rooms.
3. Skip the florist and buy bulk flowers from Costco or Sam’s Club.
Get over 100 stems or 10 bouquets of a variety of flowers and fillers for under $100 with Costco flowers. Sam’s Club even has pre-arranged wedding flower packages you can buy starting at $224 (with free delivery) and includes boutonnieres and corsages.
Set a specific delivery time (I’d recommend no more than a couple days before your wedding), and once they arrive, ask family and friends to help you arrange them in mason jars or dollar-store vases. Keeping the most important bouquets — like those for you and your bridesmaids — refrigerated will ensure flowers stay fresh-looking longer.
Although you don’t need a Costco or Sam’s Club membership to buy bulk fresh flowers, you’ll have to pay a non-member fee of around 10%.
4. Avoid the words “wedding” and “honeymoon” when booking vendors.
Say you’re hosting a party or looking for a romantic vacation when getting caterer and hairdresser quotes as well as honeymoon estimates. Don’t even search with the word “honeymoon” when looking for vacation deals online.
Anytime you drop the word “wedding,” expect prices to increase. That’s because anything wedding-related is consider high risk and high drama for service professionals. As long as you know exactly what you want (aka no drama), then expect to get cheaper rates by avoiding the W and H words.
5. Pay for everything with Southwest Airlines credit cards and get a free honeymoon flight for your new spouse.
If you’re planning on charging your wedding expenses to a credit card, at least charge it to one that will reward you with free flights for a year!
To get a Southwest Companion Pass, which will allow you to designate one person to fly with you for free for a year, you need to earn 125,000 Rapid Rewards Points or take 100 one-way flights within a year. This is hard to do unless you take advantage of the sign-up bonuses.
Apply for a personal Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card and earn 30,000 points plus qualify for Companion Pass in 2022 by spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account. I just put all my groceries and gas on my card, paid it off every month, and qualified within the three months.
6. Buy instead of rent, then resell.
When it comes to table linens, table settings, and decor, you’re better off buying instead of renting.
Renting long tablecloths can run you up to $25 apiece at most event rental companies. On Amazon, you can buy them for just $8. When the wedding’s over, sell them individually or as a “wedding party” set on eBay or Craigslist.
7. Use tea towels from the dollar store as napkins.
You can buy towels by the case (12 pieces) on DollarTree.com.
8. Make tissue-paper pom-poms for inexpensive decor.
9. Make cupcake and dessert stands from dollar store candle holders and plates.
Use strong adhesive rated for glass — like E6000 — to attach candle holders to plates.
10. Serve donuts or chocolate covered strawberries instead of traditional wedding cake.
Not only are donuts and strawberries cheaper, you won’t have to pay your caterer to slice and serve cake.
11. Or, hack a grocery store cake by adding your own fresh-flower toppers.
All you need is a bouquet of flowers, a plain store-bought cake, drinking straws, tape, and parchment or wax paper.
Place a piece of wax or parchment paper over the icing on top, and cut stems to fit through shortened drinking straws (cut straws or fold over and tape the opposite open end). Insert flower stems through the straws and voila!
Get more ideas in 16 Grocery Store Cake Makeovers You’ll Need for Your Next Party.
12. Share your story with a photographer who’s normally out of your budget.
As you search for photographers and browse through their online portfolios and price points, don’t automatically dismiss those who are beyond your budget. If you find your dream photographer and he or she is a little expensive, try sending them a personalized email describing your budget and wedding plans. (Complimenting them helps too!) A lot of photographers love hearing your story and will give you special pricing if they’re not already booked for a gig.
13. Make your own photo booth with an instant film camera.
A few props and an instant camera like a Fujifilm Instax (about $68) is really all you need to create a DIY photo booth, and you’ll save at least $400.
14. Make your own backdrop with ribbon or paper.
This backdrop from Style Me Pretty only requires wax paper, string, and ribbon.
15. Buy old framed pictures from the thrift store and spray-paint them for DIY chalkboards.
Make a trip to the thrift store and look for old pictures with awesome frames. All you need is a little spray paint to transform them.
16. Buy marked-down decor from Hobby Lobby.
The trick is knowing when things go on sale…good thing we’ve got it all figured out in: How to Know When Every Item at Hobby Lobby Goes on Sale! Once you know the markdown schedule, plan on hitting up Hobby Lobby every few weeks or until you have enough decor for your event.
17. Keep appetizers cheap by preparing them yourself.
Skip paying the caterer for cocktail hour snacks. Instead, put your Costco or Sam’s Club membership to good use and purchase bulk cheese, meats, crackers, dip, olives, and fruit for simple charcuterie boards that can easily be prepped in advance, refrigerated, and pulled out on the day of your event.
For even more savings, look out for snack deals on KCL, and stock up on your and your partner’s favorite snacks.
Related: We found out all the deets about Costco Catering.
18. Turn cheap dollar store plates into stylish platters with chalkboard tape.
Just peel off the tape when the party’s done!
19. Buy booze, beer, and wine from Costco or Sam’s Club without a membership.
Before booking any venue, make sure to ask whether you can bring in your own alcohol. It’s way cheaper than buying from the venue, and you get to choose what you serve.
Then, head to Costco and Sam’s Club. Due to alcohol laws, warehouse clubs can’t restrict the sale of wine and alcohol to just members. If you don’t have a membership, head over to member services and request a one-day shopping pass good for only alcohol.
20. Print your own invitations.
Purchase nice stationery paper from Amazon (a pack of 50 invitations is about $30) or a craft store, and print your own invitations at home. Most DIY wedding invitation kits also include access to free software online so you can easily customize fonts and text that will fit perfectly on your invites.
21. Have guests RSVP on your website to save money on stamps.
Save money on stamps, paper, and ink by skipping RSVP cards altogether and simply asking guests to RSVP on your wedding website.
22. Make your own music playlist and ask a friend to DJ and emcee as a gift to you.
All you need is a Spotify account filled with you and your partner’s favorite jams, a laptop, a decent speaker, and a microphone to set up your own DJ booth. Then ask an outgoing friend to gift you with their amateur DJ and emceeing skills. As long as you give him or her a timeline and a playlist full of songs, all they really have to do is press “play” and make a few announcements. That friend could save you hundreds of dollars!
23. Create your own reception entertainment.
Set up yard games like corn hole, yard scrabble, and tic-tac-toe to keep guests entertained.
24. Have a friend officiate your wedding.
Experienced church ministers can charge up to $400 to officiate your wedding, while having a friend become ordained to officiate weddings is free and legal from sites like Universal Life Church.
25. Line the aisle with flowers hanging from Dollar Tree shepherds hooks.
26. Spray-paint old mason jars, bottles, and vases and use them as flower holders.
Use metallic colors and glitter paints for a high-end look.
27. Create romantic lighting with paper-bag lanterns.
Get a 36-pack of flameless tea lights (batteries included) on Amazon for $11.
28. Spray-paint Christmas lights gold.
Remove the bulbs and stuff the fixtures with paper before spray painting to prevent paint from getting into the sockets.
29. Consider a public, state, or national park for your wedding and reception.
Reserving a pavilion and getting a party permit at a local, state, or national park will cut your wedding costs significantly. Permits range from 50 – $200 and vary depending on when your event is.