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Say "I do" at Costco

            You don’t usually hear the words wedding and warehouse in the same breath, but if you’re a savvy bride-to-be with a Costco membership you’ll know that they can be a match made in heaven.

            One stroll through the aisles at Costco and you’ll see that you can buy everything from wedding rings to wedding flowers – all for great prices.

            As the author of Intimate Weddings: Planning a Small Wedding that Fits Your Budget and Style, I have interviewed countless brides about their weddings. One of the biggest concerns of brides is going over budget.

            More than 50 per cent of couples-to-be are funding their own weddings and they worry that they cannot afford the $27,000 that the average wedding costs.  What do I tell these brides? You do not have to spend $27,000 to have your dream wedding. Not even close.

            Even before you set your wedding date, Costco can start saving the couple (or more appropriately the groom), a bundle on its great variety of engagement rings, which range in price from under $1,000 to $19,000.

            Frugal brides will also find a good selection of wedding bands for their husbands-to-be, as well as jewellery and watches for the bridal party.

            And what about gifts for the bride and groom? Although Costco does not have an official bridal registry, sites like www.thingsiwant.com make it easy to set up a Costco registry on your own website. Once your registry is set up, you can choose from anything on the www.costco.ca or www.costco.com website. What about kitchen appliances or home electronics? Need furniture or accessories for your home?  What about linens and lighting?

            You can let your guests know about your guest registry by including your wedding day website url in the handmade shower invitations that you created with your Memory Block designer scrapbooking paper found at Costco.

            The reception will carry the biggest price tag of your wedding. The cost of food, décor, entertainment and the venue can add up fast, but Costco can help to keep your expenses from getting out of hand.

            Whether you are having a simple cocktail reception, or a formal dinner, you’ll find an assortment of appetizers that can greatly reduce your wedding day food bill. Everything from gourmet cheeses, fruit trays, quiches and veggie platters to cold meats and frozen canapés can be found at prices well below most caterers.

            And if you are looking for an inexpensive way to supplement your dessert table, Costco has a wonderful variety of freshly baked cakes and cheesecakes, both fresh and frozen.  

            Once you’ve got the food figured out, you’ll want to think about the flowers to decorate your reception. According to the Bridal Association of America, the average cost for wedding day flowers is just under $2,000.

            You can save hundreds of dollars on flowers by purchasing them at Costco. There you will find a lovely selection of garden bouquets as well as roses.

            You can decorate your tables with votive candles found at Costco. If you are having an outdoor wedding, you can add some romance to your décor with Roman candle holders or outdoor candle lanterns.

            Balloons are an inexpensive way to create a festive atmosphere. You can purchase a Balloon Time helium tank at Costco, which fills 50 balloons for under $30.

            Finally, you can thank your guests by giving them something delicious to take home. Costco has a variety of chocolates, including Duc D’o chocolate truffles and Kirkland Signature Chocolates of the World, which can be wrapped and given as favours. You can also wrap spring bulbs from Costco to give your guests a nice reminder of your wedding.

 To give yourself a wonderful reminder of your big day, the Costco Photo Centre has a variety of album styles and templates that make it easy to create a keepsake wedding photo book that includes both wedding day photos and text.

If you’re simply looking for a place to get your photos developed, you can’t beat Costco prices; 4” x 6” prints are only 13 cents each and 11” x 16” enlargements are just $2.49.

            And last but not least, don’t forget the champagne flutes for you and your husband. When the party’s over you will want to raise a glass to each other for creating a magical day without the massive price tag.