I know from personal experience that planning a wedding can take a lot of time and money. Sometimes spending a little extra time can actually save you money in the long run. Shopping directly in the wedding aisle at Michael’s is not always your best bet, but not everyone has time to do extensive research on where to find things. So to help you out, I’ve put together some of my own tips and tricks for where to find some of today’s wedding trends, and how to save money doing it. Click the links below to go directly to websites, tutorials, and photos on how to create these awesome wedding trends for your wedding, within your budget!
The best place to buy Milk Glass (or Faux Milk Glass) is thrift stores (Goodwill, Value Village, Savers, Salvation Army). In my personal experience, you should never spend more than $4-$5 on a piece of milk glass. Search for 1/2 price days and send $2! I bought a Milk Glass cake stand for $9 once, but it was worth it. Start early on your hunt, and go often. They are usually in the “nicknack” aisle, but also in the dishes. Real Milk Glass, has an almost transparent white look. Faux milk glass almost looks like porcelain or plastic, and is solid-looking. For something like a wedding, I really wouldn’t worry too much about it being “real”. If you are not one to shop at thrift stores, then both Etsy (in the Vintage section) and Ebay have LOTS, but you will have to pay shipping and it will be more expensive (as it’s being sold to collectors). Craigslist is also a great place to find large lots of Milk Glass.
These balloons are NOT average size balloons filled to max. These are actually extra-large balloons. They are also not the traditional balloon shape (like an upside down tear drop) they are ROUND. To give you an idea of size, and average birthday balloon is about 12″ while these giant balloons are usually 26″- 36″ in size. They run around $4-$10 a piece plus helium. I have yet to find a store that carries them (even a party store) although large party stores might. Your best bet is to buy them online, and either rent a helium tank or buy a small one. Also be ware that you will need to fill them on site, as they wont fit in a car safely.
Sites that carry large round balloons (compare prices and colors):
Tissue Garland, Fans and Balls
Martha Stewart must have stock in the tissue paper decorations business, because girl is making them classy! And they are cheap too! Things to keep in mind when using tissue paper, is steer clear of using it in the traditional “streamer” type way. Stick to one color, and hang in BULK. Bulk makes more of a unique statement. I would also completely avoid party supply stores or trendy shops for these items. Buying in bulk online is the best bet. Be careful when selecting colors, as tissue paper is often only dyed on the edges (letting the dye bleed inward) so the colors may not be as rich as you would think. Also avoid shapes like Bells and Hearts.
Devra Part Corp in my opinion has the best selection, best prices and fastest shipping on tissue paper items. I have ordered from the 3 different times and have always been VERY happy with their product and service. I wouldn’t recommend anyone else.
Gift & Favor Boxes
First a word to the wise. If you have 200 guests, only 100 of them will take home their favor…IF YOUR LUCKY! I have yet to meet a bride who didn’t have a million leftover favors. You do not need one for each person, go with the “one per family or couple” rule. That being said, if you do need to put a favor in a cute box, or you want dessert boxes, or little organza bags, let me recommend SAVE-ON-CRAFTS for all your favor making needs. Seriously folks, they are the way to go!
Candy Bar Treats
If you are doing one of the very popular Candy or Dessert Bars, here are a few things you may need. First off RENT do not BUY Apothecary Jars. You will not need them later, they are expensive, fragile and take up a lot of room. Most wedding rental places rent them for around $5, it’s so worth it. If you do decide that you want to purchase some, go to Ross, Marshals, TJ Max, do not buy them at Michael’s, you will pay twice as much. Also remember that most of the candy you will buy will go un-eaten. The amount of candy it takes to fill an apothecary jar is a LOT. Stick with inexpensive hard candies, and prepare to throw some away. Also think of alternatives to candy that you may actually eat afterwards. Things like dried fruit and nuts can look cute, and be consumed later.I also really recommend buying colored candy in bulk at inexpensive grocery stores, NOT at party stores. Last buy vases, containers, and other decorations at thrift stores, and spray paint them to match your theme.
Some great online sources:
Straws, Cupcake Wrappers, Coasters
First off, let me say that YES those striped paper straws are MAD CUTE, however they are completely disgusting and get soggy in 3 sips. A total waste of money unless it’s purely for looks. I bought them for my wedding for that very reason, so no judgement. As for cupcake wrappers, the dollar zone at Michael’s has the cutest cheapest cupcake wrappers around, and they change the styles every month or so. Etsy is a great place to buy party supplies in small amounts, but for a wedding, don’t waste your money. Those Etsy sellers are buying that stuff in bulk somewhere else, and you can too! Here are a few places to check out:
–Think Garnish Has the most unique and useful party packaging/supplies ever.
–Amazon seems to have the cheapest paper straws. Do not pay $5 for 25, that’s silly.
–Gifts International Inc for Cello Bags
-Larry Newman Printing are the least expensive custom printed fan programs. (I have used them and was very satisfied with quality)
Feathers, Moss and Wood
If you are going with a nature theme at your wedding, I really suggest you actually hike your party planning booty out into the woods and get some REAL nature. Although don’t pluck a goose or kill a tree! But pick up sticks, collect rocks, grow some succulents. However I know it can be difficult to find ENOUGH nature without really harming the planet, so here are some tips for where you can get faux nature.
First off, wood slices. This is hard, because they are all the rage, but where do you get them? Yes you can buy them online like Etsy, or Save-on-Crafts, but you’re looking at $10 a pop or more, PLUS shipping. You can also buy them at Joanns, but they are tiny and around $13. Here is what I suggest, and what I did at my own wedding (seen here) look in the phone book and find a local Mill, the smaller the better. Call them up, or drive out there ans ask if they can cut you some 12-20″ rounds about and 1.5″ thick. Chances are they will think you are a little crazy, but that’s ok. For my wedding I got 30 rounds (about 20-25″) for $65. It took him 1 day, and we loaded them in my trunk. Done. Easy. And at less than $3 a piece, so worth it. One thing I will note is to get the bark to stay on, the wood needs to be treated. The bark fell off mine immediately. Also have them done with 1-2 weeks of your wedding, because they will split if they get too dried out.
As for Moss, again you can buy it at Save-On Crafts (which is absolutely the cheapest online) or you can look in the “floral department” of the Dollar Tree. Seriously they sell moss rocks for 4 for $1!! Seriously the Dollar Tree has a pretty awesome floral supply department, including super cheap ribbon!
For Feathers, again buy online, not in stores.
-Swalef and Son has a weird website, but when I ordered peacock feathers for a friend’s wedding, they were the cheapest.
-Save-on-Crafts has a pretty good feather selection
I also bought feathers from this Etsy seller, and was very pleased.
Again I vote thrift stores for candle holders. If they aren’t in a color you like spray paint them. If they have leftover wax residue just boil them clean. For candles themselves I recommend Ikea for simple unscented candles. As someone who cleans up after weddings, I’m also a BIG believer in Jar candles! They are safer, deter guests from playing in them, and don’t drip on anything. Chances are your linen rental company will charge you big time to remove wax (god forbid it be red wax!). Some jar candles I love are tall glass jar candles, often found in Hispanic foods aisles. Some have catholic images on them, but you can also get ones that are just plain white. They also sell a lower quality version at the Dollar Tree.
-The Candle Depot also has great prices on basic white floating, tapers and more.
I would also really recommend looking at Craigslist and Amazon for flameless candles.
Mason jars have become very popular at weddings for candles, centerpieces, flowers, and drinking. People love the vintage feel, and the low price of them. Some things to keep in mind, don’t buy them at the grocery store. Like everything else, check thrift stores first. They have tons at less than $1. If you’re looking for uniformity you should buy bulk online, try Amazon or Kmart.com who both seem to have the lowest prices. If you’re wanting the hanging candle holder look, you can buy them premade on Etsy at shops like this, this, or this. Or you can follow these simple directions and make your own.
If your really wanting the infamous blue mason jars, SAVE YOUR MONEY! If you buy these at antique stores, you’re looking at $12 a pop, but did you know you can make them too! Sure it’s not authentic, but it’s for one day. Here is one tutorial, and here is another. Easy and cheap.
Another way is to spray them with chalkboard paint and write table numbers. You can buy chalkboard paint at any hardware store.
That’s all the tips I have for now. I’ll have more advice on where to find items and how to save money in future posts. I hope this advice helps, and feel free to leave any questions in the comments.