Where to Get Cheap Wedding Supplies Locally
Weddings are so expensive - $28,000 on average according to TheKnot's latest survey. The largest costs go to the venue and catering, and that's usually where you can't find a cheap option unless you're hosting it at home, in a church basement, or potluck style.
For the decorations, aisle runners, wedding canopy, guest favors and even your outfits, there are plenty of ways to get wedding supplies cheaply and keep your costs down.
Finding Local Deals on Wedding Supplies
If you have the time to run around, you can find a few local options where you might be able to find DIY favor packaging, wedding day decor, and guest gift items for less. Favorites of mine in a pinch include:
- Chinatown - Your local Chinatown (or its equivalent) has restaurant supply shops and local boutiques that are filled with things you can use to pack wedding favors. Stroll around with an open mind. You'll probably find Chinese take-out boxes (duh) for a steal. They may be plain white, but you can always add stickers or personalize it with a stamp. Chinatown is also a great place to find wrapping paper, ribbon, feathers, tissue paper, and other items that can help pack your favor.
- Odd lot stores - Odd lot stores like the Christmas Tree Shop or Big Lots are random and ever-changing. This can be maddening or it can work in your favor. You may find an unexpected container that actually works well for your needs. With these stores, you won't have a lot of variety and options of color. But you will find low price points, and you can get what you need without having to pay for shipping.
- Thrift stores - Occasionally, thrift stores can be a good place to find what you need. They work well if you are using something like Mason jars to package cakes in a jar or something else for your favor. Thrift stores are also a great place to look for things to add to parent wedding gifts or DIY wedding party gifts. If you're making Mom and Dad those "Mother/Father of the Bride" coffee mugs using Sharpie, why not pick up plain coffee mugs from the thrift store for way less?
- Reuse stores - If you have a building materials reuse store or a creative reuse store near you, run do not walk. These places can be literal goldmines when it comes to finding wedding packaging materials. You might find shredded paper, packing peanuts, ribbon, clear cello bags, wicker baskets -- who knows? As you explore, think creatively about ways to incorporate the items you have found into your favor packaging. You might decide to package giant cookies in CD sleeves, for example.
Bartering For Wedding Supplies
If you have friends that recently married, you might want to barter or trade services with them. Those fake candles they bought for luminary bags? Ask to borrow them for the night. Those 125 blush-colored paper lanterns? Offer to make your friends one homecooked meal a week for a month in exchange for those lanterns.
If you don't have friends in this boat, use local web services like Freecycle or Craigslist to see what's available. You never know what someone has lying in their basement. If you can get 4 people to give you 3 tiki torches for free, then you've got enough to decorate that luau-themed rehearsal dinner your BFF is hosting in her backyard.
Finally, if you are really in a jam there are plenty of online options where you can order wedding items cheaply. However, you won't get to check their quality beforehand. Pay attention to user reviews and check the measurements before you buy to make sure that the items you purchase will work.