10 Ways to Save Money on a Wedding With Costco, Sam’s, or BJ’s

exchange of wedding rings white

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A walk down the aisle is still a heartbreaker for U.S. couples. According to The Knot‘s latest Real Weddings Study, brides and grooms spent an average $34,000 for their special days in 2021, leaping from a pandemic low of $19,000. But there are always ways for a thrifty, creative couple to save money, including — although it may not seem glamorous — shopping at the same place they get bulk paper towels and hulking jars of mayo. Here are ways Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s Wholesale Club can help save on a wedding compared with the cost of doing business as usual, according to figures from The Knot and other sources.

Related: Surprising Facts About Costco

Wedding Cake, Flower, Cake, Sweet Food, Celebration Event

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The national average cost for a wedding cake is $500, and that assumes buying outside an expensive metro area such as New York or San Francisco, where high-end cakes can cost $15 a slice or more. Even simpler cakes in less expensive areas can command about $2.50 a serving.

Related: Wedding Horror Stories That Will Make You Want to Elope

Warehouse Club Cake

Sam’s Club

A warehouse club may not offer the elaborate cake of your dreams, but it can bring big savings. BJ’s offers customizable two-tier cakes that can serve up to 45 people for $30. Costco, unfortunately, offers customization only on rectangular sheet cakes, not on tiered ones — but those sheet cakes can feed 75 people for $46. You’ll need to order in person, as orders cannot be placed online.

Not already a Costco member?  You can apply here.

Related: Over-the-Top Marriage Proposals

wedding bouquet in hands of the bride

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Fresh wedding flowers can be a big drag on a wedding budget: an average of $2,300 last year, including bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces. Even on the low end, a bridal bouquet by itself can cost $100 and bridesmaids’ bouquets start at $50, according to the Midwest flower and gift chain Bachman’s.

Related: AirBnB & VRBO Rentals That Are Perfect Wedding Venues

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For couples willing to adjust their floral vision, warehouse clubs can help save a pretty penny. Costco offers a 20-piece collection with a bridal bouquet, three bridesmaids’ bouquets, six corsages, six boutonnieres, and two centerpieces for $290. (Add 5,000 rose petals to spread down the aisle and on tables for $75.) Sam’s Club has packages ranging from about $113 to $1,124.

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wedding invitations on table

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They’re only paper, but wedding invitations still cost an average of $530, and that’s for lower-cost digital printing. High-end options such as letterpress could cost at least $5,000 for 100 invitations, according to Brides magazine.

Luxury wedding invitation cards with gold flowers and geometric pattern vector design template

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Costco and Sam’s Club offer digitally printed wedding invitations for thrifty brides and grooms. Costco prices start at 66 cents for each coordinated save-the-date card, RSVP card, enclosure, announcement, shower invitation, wedding program, and thank-you card. Sam’s offers packs of coordinating thank-you cards, RSVP cards, wedding programs, and invitation enclosures that are even cheaper. BJ’s offerings are more limited and pricier, costing around 96 cents each in a pack of 24.

white classic wedding book and album

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Wedding photography is expensive — costing on average between $2,100 and $2,600 in 2021 — and relatively consistent no matter where you are, according to the personal finance site ValuePenguin, although there may be savings with smaller packages or less-experienced photographers. Then there’s the photo album, which can cost $500 on the low end and easily top $1,000 when curated and printed by the wedding photographer.

wedding photo book with wedding couple

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For couples willing to forgo massive prints and heirloom quality, there’s no reason to spend that much on a wedding album. As long as the photographer sells the digital rights to the photos, you can design your own album at a warehouse club. BJ’s largest hardcover photo books are 12 by 12 inches and start at $60 for 20 pages. Costco‘s 12-by-12-inch hardcover books start at $40 for 30 pages. Sam’s has a 12-by-12 lay-flat book for $34.

Multicultural Happy Couple Tourists Walking Down The Streets Of Budapest Hungary, Holding Hands

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The cost of a honeymoon depends on where a couple goes, what they do, and how long they stay — some may spend a week in the woods camping while others may enjoy three weeks in Bali. But a WeddingWire Newlywed Survey pegs the average cost of a honeymoon at $5,000.

Young Gay Couple Sitting on the Beach on Vacation in Costa Rica

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Costco Travel offers vacation packages just for members that are often a solid deal, including the lowest price on three out of four cruises in a head-to-head comparison with other travel agencies by The Points Guy. It also beat Travelocity and booking directly with United and Hyatt for a six-night trip to Costa Rica (but was pricier on a trip to Venice). BJ’s offers similar services. The real strength of warehouse-booked vacation packages is often the extras, including resort credits, meals, and other upgrades. Gift cards also may be thrown in to sweeten the deal.

Related: Ways the Pandemic Changed Weddings

wedding favors

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Favors are a tangible way to thank wedding guests for sharing a special day. Most favors are small — it’s the thought that counts — but can still add an average of $450 to the bill. Even frugal, do-it-yourself options tend to clock in between $100 and $300 for 150 guests, according to ValuePenguin.

Warehouse Club Favors

Sam’s Club

Sticking with a popular edible favor is a safe way to keep costs low. A 3.5-pound bag of Hershey’s kisses — roughly 330 pieces of candy — costs as little as $13 at Sam’s. Buy a few more bags and there’s enough candy for 150 guests for $52. Non-chocolate bulk candy is even cheaper, and cellophane treat bags cost next to nothing on Amazon.

man hiding his wife's eyes to offer her an engagement ring for a marriage proposal

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An engagement ring is one of the first expenses on the path to matrimony, and one of the priciest. Of course, tastes vary — some brides are content with faux diamonds, smaller diamonds, or diamond alternatives — but the average ring cost $6,000 in 2021. And don’t forget wedding bands: A bride’s wedding band averaged $1,100 and a groom’s averaged $510, according to The Knot.

Related: Things to Splurge on at Costco and Sam’s Club

1.00 CT.T.W. Three Stone Engagement Ring in 14K White Gold

Sam’s Club

Savings at warehouse clubs depend on what you want, of course: Costco offers everything from a modest 0.10-carat diamond and gold band for $300 to a 5-carat platinum ring with 40 diamonds for $6,000 (and way beyond). Sam’s Club‘s offerings start at $325 and top out at an eye-popping $89,000 for a 5-carat solitaire diamond set in gold. BJ’s has a more modestly priced selection, from $80 to $1,550. Experts recommend buying rings with a Gemological Institute of America report, which not all warehouse diamonds have.

Woman hands holding pink colored heart shaped gift boxes of bath and body products for bridesmaids, bride and as a thoughtful gift for birthdays, anniversary, Valentine's Day, Mother's day, Christmas.

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Bridesmaids and groomsmen traditionally get a token of gratitude for their time, effort, and friendship (and their patience). Engraved jewelry and flasks can easily run up to $100 each, and bridesmaids’ robes and gift duffel bags are typically about $40 each.

Warehouse Club Attendant Gifts

Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club has fragrance gift sets from brand names such as Kenneth Cole and Vince Camuto starting at $36. Costco has been known to lower the cost with makeup bargains such as a Sara Happ brown-sugar lip scrub and Lip Slip balm gift set for as low as $12.50 or, for groomsmen, a handsome Mele & Co. Rory wooden charging valet for a phone and tablet, with room for watches and other valuables, at $40.

stylish champagne glasses and food  appetizers on table at wedding reception. luxury catering at celebrations. serving food and drinks at events concept

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One of the biggest costs of a wedding is feeding the guests, even with a less-expensive buffet-style meal. Wedding catering cost an average of $75 a person in 2021. Skipping dinner in favor of an hors d’oeuvres-only reception can still cost more than $30 a person.

Related: Party Appetizers You Can Make for Less Than $5

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For a wedding venue that allows outside catering, all the major warehouse clubs offer impressive appetizer selections, such as 3 pounds of cooked shrimp for $20 at Sam’s Club. Just don’t forget to pick up napkins, plates, and serving utensils, especially if skipping catering completely. One 120-person wedding featured on The Kitchn would cost only around $800 for food — much of it from Costco — for a family-style dinner, though incidentals will surely raise the total to more than $1,000.

waiter serving champagne on a tray

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Don’t forget to factor in the cost of booze. CostHelper estimates suggest that the cost could be $11 to $33 a person on the low end — and that’s with just beer and wine. Adding mixed drinks could mean $15 to $90 per person for a four-hour reception.

bar is open sign and vintage wooden crate full of wine bottles decorated with olive branches on a table

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If the venue allows it, bring the alcohol. Warehouse clubs are an ideal place to buy in bulk and save, and there are numerous sources online for figuring out how much will be needed. Following guidelines on sites such as A Practical Wedding while shopping at a warehouse club can lower the cost of drinks to less than $10 a person. (Just don’t forget bartender costs and potential budget busters such as setup, corking fees, insurance, and gratuities.)

Related: The Best Costco-Brand Liquors to Buy — and Which to Leave on the Shelf

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