My fiancé, Ryan, and I are planning a wedding in Healdsburg, California, in the heart of wine country. Like so many couples, we’re learning that planning a wedding means lots of shopping. Whether it’s paper for invitations or ties for your groomsmen, spending becomes second nature. So, as a bride with a budget she’d like to stick to, I’m obsessed with getting the best deals when I can. Thankfully, Ebates helped me save on so many wedding essentials, such as invitations, decor, attire — even our honeymoon. In this series of posts, you’ll get a chance to see exactly how much I was able to save and how.
According to The Knot, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. in 2016 was $35,329. That’s the average, which means plenty of couples are shelling out more than that. Although it’s tough to fight the fun and adorable trend of enhancing the guest experience (we all want the most memorable wedding nowadays), that trend can throw your budget into a tailspin.
Thanks to some crazy, unheard of (but very real) savings through Ebates stores and incredibly easy Cash Back at Ebates, my fiancé and I were able to save more than $1,600 on our wedding.
During this series of posts, I’ve been through invitations, save-the-dates, honeymoon travel, wedding decor, attire and gifts for the bridal party — some of the unavoidable expenses that can really add up. But we did so much saving. Let’s break down the ways to save money on wedding details that matter:
Total saved on invitations and save-the-date cards: $124
To recap, we downloaded a PDF design for the save-the-date cards fromEtsy, where we also purchased a personalized stamp with our return address. Then we printed the cards through Vistaprint and the envelopes at home (on our old-school printer) with cartridges from InkCartridges.com. To save ourselves the hassle, we decided to do a one-stop shop for our invitations by designing and printing them at Wedding Paper Divas.
Overall, we saved roughly $124 and spent just under $265 on invitations and our save-the-date cards. That’s about $200 less than the national average and $135 less than our budget. Check!
Total saved on honeymoon: $502
Finding savings at Ebates on our honeymoon was one of the most rewarding wedding-planning tasks on our list. Not only could we plan an amazing adventure, but we could also see the dollar signs go down with each booking. Our Croatian adventure would take us from historic Dubrovnik and Split up the coast to the Istria peninsula and finally out to the island of Hvar. To start, we saved $300 on our round-trip flights at Expedia. We continued to save as we pre-booked hotels atHotels.com and Expedia. Again, we purchased some amazing excursions — including a food and wine tour and a boat ride through naturally glowing caves — at Expedia and Orbitz. (Yes, Expedia nailed it on pretty much everything.)
In sum, we saved just over $500 on our honeymoon — all through Cash Back at Ebates.
Total saved on wedding decor: $205
Ah, decorations. Because Ryan and I are both busy but also shared a vision for a particular look for the big day, shopping at Ebates stores made our decor selection better than expected. It was also much easier to save money on wedding decor than we were expecting. We started with some romantic and rustic globe lights from Lighting Direct for our Northern California wedding. Then we lit up a few other tree trunks in the surrounding area with solar-powered string lights from Overstock. For centerpieces, we opted for simple candles, glass votive holders and adorable agate photo holders (which we used to display our table numbers) from Pier 1 Imports. The Container Store’s milk-glass bottles made perfectly rustic flower vases, and Ghirardelli chocolate squares and olive-oil-filled swing-top bottles from Michaelscompleted our place settings.
All in all, we saved more than $200 on our decor, and we were able to nail the look. (Did I mention it was rustic?)
Total saved on wedding attire: $600
It was unbelievable to tally the actual savings from our attire shopping. We hosted an entire weekend of events for our semi destination wedding, and I was able to score my more casual white dress at JCPenney and fun floral shoes at Macy’s. We also were able to get some wedding-day attire at some Ebates stores. Ryan’s blue wedding-day suit came fromMen’s Wearhouse, and his light brown leather oxfords and my sweet blush heels (so comfortable for the vineyard!) were from Macy’s. Our groomsmen looked dapper in their wine-colored bow ties and leather suspenders we purchased for them at Men’s Wearhouse and the Belt Outlet, respectively.
We saved $600 — a huge win for our wedding budget.
Bridal Party Gifts
Total saved on bridal party gifts: $470
Our bridal party was so special to us, and we loved every minute of the wedding day, including the time we spent getting ready with our bridesmaids and groomsmen. As a thank you, Ryan supplied the guys with awesome (and really handsome) bow ties and leather suspenders (see above). I gave my favorite ladies cute “Mornings Are for Mimosas” tank tops from Design by Humans, etched and personalized stemless wine glasses from ThingsRemembered (to hold said mimosas), prints from Minted with each person’s astrological sign over watercolor and a card from Greeting Card Universe. Our parents were also a huge part of the day, so we felt they deserved some great gifts too. We started with a classic picture frame from Things Remembered, personalized and framed with a sweet note, and also gave the moms 90-minute massages and the dads a round of golf — all from Groupon.
To sum it up, we were able to save $470 on gifts to show our bridal party and parents how grateful we were that they were there with us on our wedding day.
Total saved on wedding at Ebates: $1,650
Overall, our wedding saw some incredible savings, and we didn’t have to sacrifice anything to make it work within our budget. Thanks to coupons we found at Ebates stores and Cash Back at Ebates, we were able to put $1,650 back in our pockets. Now that’s a wedding savings plan.
Chelsea is a freelance writer living in San Francisco, specializing in lifestyle and travel. When she can't get on a plane herself to visit somewhere obscure (Montenegro anyone?), she's training her sweet puppy and taking visitors to wine country with her fiancé. She loves being able to share ideas and stories proving that doing good and having fun can go hand in hand.