You don’t have to spend a small fortune to have a great wedding. There are so many ways to save money but still get the wedding of your dreams, including using the resources available to you at the dollar store. No, you won’t buy EVERYTHING for your wedding at the dollar store, but you can buy a lot of things there and save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by doing some of it yourself!

how to have a dollar store wedding

If you haven’t checked out the dollar store (in this case, Dollar Treespecifically because it’s the store I’m familiar with) for its wedding section, it should be your first stop.

Best Wedding Deals at the Dollar Tree:

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  • Vases: they have several styles, including the straight cylindrical ones that have a classic look
  • Vase Filler: river rocks, sand, glass marbles, moss, etc. There are lots of good, cheap choices.
  • Packaging for Favors: round tins, foldable boxes, organza bags, and many other options for packaging up your favors.
  • Favors: rose petals, favor rings, teeny doves, and a bunch of other goodies

What are your favorite wedding items at the dollar store?

Remember, you can use components from the dollar store to create what you want for your wedding. Don’t be afraid to find inspiration pieces (favors, decorations) and then try to recreate them with stuff from the dollar store. Or, take what you find at the dollar store and further embellish them to give them more personality.  [these lanterns from Happy Together check this post for some dollar store wedding favor tips]

In the photo at the top of the post, Lacey shows a cookie buffet she had as her wedding favor to her guests. The baskets came from the dollar store, and the signs are handmade. [check out Life Of Lacey for a list of all the great ways she saved money on her wedding, including getting stuff at the dollar store]

Here’s my advice on how to have an affordable wedding.

Number One (remember this): The Wedding industry wants you to believe that you have to spend $30,000 on your wedding for it to be meaningful to you.

If you can’t spend $30K, then they want you to spend $10,000, or any other large amount that you aren’t comfortable with. Wedding magazines are not your friend. Yes, you will remember your wedding day fondly for the rest of your life. But no, the money you spent will not necessarily make it more memorable.

[image via]

[Check out Jess’s advice on saving money for your reception at mad in crafts]

2. Spend money on the things you think are important.

Things that were important to me: photos, and a dress I liked.  I happened to have a friend who is a really great photographer, so I employed her to take my photos. She charged me only for the film (yes, it was before digital cameras were common!) and prints I decided to buy. The dress was about $500, which is as much as we spent on the rest of the wedding put together.

3.  Examine traditions to see if they are for you.

Does he really need a tux? Do you need a big formal dress? Do you want lots of attendants in silk gowns, or would it be all right for them to wear less formal attire? Do all the dresses have to match, or can they all be one color? Must your wedding take place in a church, or would a public park suffice (if so, check the local rules on having an event in your public park)? Could you have it in someone’s yard, garden, or house (that’s what we did). Do you want a big formal dinner reception, or would something more humble be more meaningful to you?

In my wedding, my husband wore a suit he already owned, and bought a tie that matched the bridesmaids’ dresses (regular dresses that I found at a store*). We bought matching shirts, ties, and suspenders for the groomsmen at a discount clothing store. The guys were responsible to wear black slacks and black shoes.  Total cost to us was probably about $150-200, but you could ask your attendants to reimburse you.  We just chose to provide these things. My brother-in-law and his wife bought Hawaiian shirts and matching dresses in Hawaii (where they met and fell in love). The guys wore jeans and Converse All-Stars, and the girls went barefoot.

Basically, what is meaningful to you and your fiance? Don’t worry about tradition or what other people expect. Do the things you care about, skip the things you don’t care about.**

Centerpiece by Holly [art meet craft]

4.  Make whatever you can, or are inclined to.

I bought fresh flowers at Costco the day before (I didn’t know this then, but you can go into Costco a week ahead and order the specific flowers you want for the same low price) and my sister (who is a confident flower arranger) made two bouquets and some corsages and boutonnières.  Total cost was about $100… waaaay cheaper than flowers from a florist. My mom made dresses for the flower girls for the cost of a pattern and a bit of fabric and ribbon.

Just for fun, here are some other things we did:

Cake: We bought two or three big sheet cakes at Costco for $14/each to serve as wedding cake. Someone ended up giving us a little cute wedding cake, but the Costco cakes tasted a lot better than the “official” wedding cake. Our parents and friends made finger foods the day of and the day before for the food at the reception. We served sparkling cider, punch, and coffee for drinks.

Location: We had our wedding in a large house, and the reception in a neighboring house (we were planning an outdoor wedding, but it hailed minutes before the ceremony was supposed to begin, so we had to improvise. If you plan an outdoor wedding, I recommend a backup plan!)

Music: My aunt played classical guitar at the ceremony.

Invitations: We made our own invitations. I picked out neato triangular stamps for postage.

*Bridesmaid dresses: I only had two girls to get dresses for, and they were similar in build and coloring, so that helped. I figured they could wear the dresses again if they wanted to… not sure if they did or not!  I think that’s a bridal cliché – just pick dresses you like because they will NEVER want to wear the dresses again no matter what.

**Skipped: we skipped lighting a “unity candle” and the number of groomsmen and bridesmaids didn’t match. P.S. I hear that lighting a unity candle in an outdoor wedding is a bad idea… the wind can blow them out, and that’s aaaawkward.

P.S. I’m starting a Dollar Store Wedding page where I can collect all our great dollar store wedding ideas. Feel free to send your ideas to me anytime!

[this photo by redcouch; it’s reader heather s’s wedding! hi heather!]

Other Resources:

Your dream wedding on a reality budget!