When you start planning a wedding, you quickly realise that lots of ordinary things suddenly shoot up in price when the word ‘wedding’ is attached.
Now when it comes to wedding vendors and suppliers, like caterers, florists, or dress-makers you’re paying extra for the kind of unparalleled service you’ll require on your wedding day, and in the lead up to it.
The reason a bridal bouquet costs more than a mother’s day arrangement for example, is that each flower will be hand picked, and precisely arranged to your exact specifications, and delivered – on time – to wherever you are. And in advance of all that, are consultations, and the Pinterest boards, and all that comes into the price.
But when it comes to the ‘stuff’ – photobooth props, balloons, confetti, signage or mason jars – you can often save big by looking outside the wedding world. These are the details where you can cut back on spending, without impacting on the experience for you and your guests – so why wouldn’t you?
Plus, by avoiding the same stores as everyone else getting hitched, you’ll find it easier to see things with fresh eyes, and make your day look unique without simply following current wedding trends.
To help you find the best value for big day, along with some seriously stylish finds (I found a set of three cocktail dispensers in my local hardware store!), I’ve put together a list of some of the places I shopped for our wedding, at a steal!
Wholesalers are a great place to find things you’re buying in bulk, like tealights or candles, sweets, or edible favours, and of course, alcohol. You can also find things like stationery, craft supplies and maybe even lights or decor (particularly around Christmas.)
You might need a business account to shop there, but most couples will know someone who is eligible to use a cash and carry or wholesale store.
2. Niche Supply Companies
When we were getting married we had everyone we knew collecting jars for us, but with us all eating a lot healthier and homemade these days, (less preserves and pasta sauces!) we were coming up short – and empty jars get expensive when you need 200 of them!
I found jars, of every shape and size imaginable, with a company that supplies packaging to the catering industry. This meant they were clean, had no lids and labels, and we were able to get the right mix of the sizes we needed.
Likewise, when we were looking for affordable, heavyweight fabric to drape for our ceremony backdrop, we found the perfect stuff in a supply store for painters and decorators. It did the trick perfectly!
Think outside the box for suppliers before going straight for a wedding-specific option.
3. Chain Homeware Stores
I can’t tell you how many of my friends have shopped for their weddings in Tiger, IKEA or Hema. Likewise in the States, you’ve got Walmart and Target.
For decorative items like cake plates, napkins, candleholders, throws, lanterns or picture frames, avoid spending big on wedding-specific pieces you’ll never use again and buy decor you’ll use in your home long after your big day.
You’ll even find things like cheap tote bags, glow sticks, cocktail hour accessories and party props in these kinds of shops – they’re well-worth considering when you plan out your decor.
4. Hardware Stores
DIY shops or hardware stores are a wealth of great craft supplies for your wedding.
From copper piping (to make some very cool candelabras), perspex sheets (for minimal signage) and items like timber, spray paint, plastic pots or chicken-wire, depending on what wedding DIYs you have up your sleeves, make sure you head to your local DIY superstore for inspiration.
5. Plant Nurseries
So florists are great at what they do, but recently plants have come into their own for wedding decor, with succulents, cacti, air plants, topiary trees, or herb pots all really popular for weddings.
Buying these, particularly in bulk, from garden centres or flower shops can get really pricey. Go directly to the source instead.
Plant nurseries are a great place to pick them up more affordably, plus you can order ahead of time, negotiate the best price, and request them to be a specific colour or size.
So we know about our online go-tos for wedding supplies (hello Etsy-addiction), but there all lots of – albeit less pretty – websites where you’ll find all kinds of great buys for your big day.
We bought our lawn games on Amazon (for a fraction of the price we’d seen at wedding suppliers), and I’ve heard friends find wedding decor on the likes of eBay or Alibaba.
Likewise, resale and classified sites like Craigslist, Gumtree, or Freecycle, are also great ways to find pre-used wedding decor.
Most of the items are in really good condition and have only been used once, so your local listings site is definitely worth a look before you start to buy brand new.