Six Ways to Save Money on your Wedding Purchases

by Melissa on March 21, 2011

As I start to purchase items for the wedding, I wanted to share some tips with you on how to save money on the things you may buy:

1.  Sign up before you purchase. Whenever you find a store or company and you anticipate even of a slight change of purchasing something from them for your wedding, sign up for the company’s e-mail alerts, follow them on Twitter, and “like” them on Facebook.  That way you’ll be sure to be informed of good deals and coupons.  For instance, I ordered a few items from Oriental Trading Company as part of my wedding tables proof of concept design (photos of that to come soon!).  After I ordered and, by default, was signed up for their e-mail deals, I received an e-mail for 15% off my purchase.  D’oh!  Luckily my purchase was only $16, so 15% wouldn’t have saved me much, but it will definitely come in handy for future purchases.

2.  Buy in bulk.  Or not. In general, it’s almost always cheaper to buy things in bulk.  But, since that I’m early in the wedding planning process, I don’t want to order a lot of any sort of product without making sure I like it and it is what I expected.  For instance, I want to buy votive candles for our tables.  So, I found this website.  I can order 12 votive candle/candle holder sets for $11.99 (approximately $1.00 per set) or 288 sets for 149.99 (or just 0.52 cents per set).  And I would probably have a lower shipping rate if I ordered more.  But, the thing is, I don’t know which candle color and candle holder design to buy, so I wanted to try a few of each set.  But doesn’t that seem wasteful?  So, should I buy in bulk, or not?  In the end, I just ended up buying three different sets of 12 (square, round, and frosted square holder/candle sets) to see which one I liked best.  No, it’s not the best deal, but it’s better than ordering 288 frosted glass sets and not liking them!

3.  Think and research before you buy. Like you could probably tell in my registry post and my credit card hacks for wedding purchases post, I research things extensively to get the best price.  But, there are always some sort of mitigating factors.  For instance, Save-On-Crafts has floating candles cheaper than Quick Candles, but the ones on Quick Candles are ¾ inch larger, which would mean a longer burn time.  Is the longer burn time worth the extra money?  I created a spreadsheet (based on a spreadsheet my fiancé had developed to order LED lights.  Go figure) to compare per item costs and descriptions and websites to help me with my decisions.  Of course, then I struggle with the conundrum of whether it is worth my time to spend so much effort to save $20.  But, 20 bucks here, 20 bucks there, will all add up over time.

4.  Don’t be mindless in your research. Time spent is money spent.  In general.  I’ve spent hours perusing all sorts of wedding-related websites, with nothing to show for it other than a brain full of segmented and incomplete knowledge.  You need all the details, and in identical form, to do a complete analysis.  So, rather than jumping from website to website and just glancing at the information, pay attention.  Start to record the information in just a basic form, and then a template will eventually come to life to help you with your purchases.  I have also found that Evernote is great for taking screenshots of the information that I want to capture.

5.  Craigslist. I have to be honest, I was all gung-ho about finding a lot of used wedding-related items on Craigslist.  But, I’m lazy.  I hate leaving my house for things like errands.  I’d rather just search for it from the comfort of my computer desk, click “purchase” and have it arrive at my front door in a few days!  No time wasted in traffic, no time wasted trying to coordinate potential pick-up times.  Traffic and travel time are my biggest pet peeves.  DC traffic is so ridiculous, even on the weekends.  So, perhaps if I do look for items on Craigslist, I’ll just look for them in very close vicinity to our house.

6.  Save on Shipping, but be reasonable. I despise shipping charges. It’s a mental thing, I know.  I would feel much better if they just charged me an extra $10 for the product itself instead of surprising me with the sometimes outrageous shipping rates on some websites.  Hence, I always favor online stores that offer free shipping in general, or at least free shipping when you spend a certain amount of money.  So, I am always tempted to buy extra things just to get to the free shipping threshold.  I’d rather get goods in exchange for that money instead of just delivery!  But, just like tip #2, sometimes it’s better to spend more up front than end up with crap that you don’t need.  For instance, in that same order from Oriental Trading Company that I mentioned in tip #1, I paid for shipping.  They offer free shipping on orders over $49, but all I had was $16 worth of stuff in my cart.  Rather than searching for items I may not need, I just paid the $6 for shipping and placed my order.

I guess these tips aren’t just for saving money on wedding purchases, but really any purchases.  Does anyone else have tips to share?

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