Category: Bargain Challenges

Digital Bridal Shower Invitations
Want to save money on bridal shower invitations but don’t want to settle for anything less than special? We understand, and we know exactly what you should do — go digital!

Digital Bridal Shower Invitations

Our friends at Red Stamp offer a variety of bridal shower invitations, all of which are available as free digital cards or as printed cards they send for you! You personalize the invitation on your phone, tablet or desktop and Red Stamp will send them for you. We recommend using their handy app to personalize the invitations.

Worried about etiquette? Maybe there are a few people on the guest list that don’t buy into the whole digital thing. Personalizing and sending a digital bridal shower invitation on Red Stamp is free, but you can also have that same invitation printed and sent to select guests for less than a store-bought greeting card. We’re thinking mothers, grandmothers and older aunts are probably good candidates for printed bridal shower invitations.

Check out the entire collection at Red Stamp and find your favorite designs. Your budget will thank you!

Top 5 Petite Invitations
Petite wedding invitations pack a lot of style into a little package. Don’t you worry about choosing small wedding invitations though! You’ll enjoy the same great design and quality paper as standard size wedding invitations. Petites are simply a bit smaller and a bit cheaper.

Wedding invitations come in a variety of shapes and sizes but the standard size for many of the invitations offered here at Ann’s Bridal Bargains is 5 1/8” x 7 1/4”.

The petite size is 4 5/8” x 6 1/4”, which makes small wedding invitations the more economical (and environmentally friendly) choice for the budget-conscious couple.

As you can see below, these little invites are packed with beautiful color and design. With all that style and more money in your pocket, the only thing you’ll be missing when you order petite wedding invitations is a little extra paper.

Top 5 Petite Invitations

Featured Designs: Lacy Romance – Petite Invitation, Aged Birch – Petite Invitation, Worn Wood – Petite Invitation, Pretty Pansies – Petite Invitation, Bluebird Melody – Petite Invitation, Blossoming Love – Petite Invitation


affordable holiday decor
Here are some budget-friendly ideas for creating beautiful holiday decorations for your home, holiday parties or a winter wedding.

Holiday Decor

Centerpiece 1

Dress up lanterns for the holidays with evergreen swags around the base. I use battery-operated tea lights in my lanterns and burned down candles for safety and less mess.

Centerpieces 2 and 3

Add a few sprigs of fake or real evergreens and some ornaments in various shapes, textures and sizes to a wooden box, drawer or wire basket. So simple and so dang cute!

Decoration 4

Dress up your wreath hanger a little differently this year with large ornaments dangling down from ribbons. Add a festive bow with some sparkle weaved in.

Decoration 5

Don’t forget tabletops when decorating. Place glitter/beaded cones in different sizes next to each other to create dimension. I added gold netting and a couple ornaments — fast and easy!

Money-Saving Tips

Use what you have to create cheap holiday decorations! Give lanterns and baskets new life by spray-painting them a festive color for the holidays. Grab plastic ornaments from the dollar store or other discount stores. They look great in vases or cylinders and you’ll never know they are plastic.

diy outdoor decor with evergreens
Evergreen arrangements become beautiful and welcoming outdoor holiday decorations when given a creative touch. This is the first year I invested a little time and money to create extra outdoor décor in addition to my standard wreaths and lights. I love the way it turned out!

diy outdoor decor with evergreens

Getting started…

Step 1. Gather the container(s) you’ll be using. If the container is ceramic, use a plastic container to put your greens in and then set the plastic container inside the decorative container. Otherwise contracting and expanding with temperature changes may crack your ceramic pot.

Step 2. Fill the plastic pot with sand. Sand is super easy for inserting greens and keeping them moist. You can use dirt if that’s what you have handy.

Step 3. Lay out your greens tallest to smallest on the floor. Start with the tallest greens and place them in the center of the pot (spruce tops are shown below).

Step 4. Then go around the pot using different types of evergreens to add texture and color. We used Huck (the smaller leafy branches with a little red in them) to add color and interest.

Step 5. Drape evergreens around the base to fill in and hide your plastic container.

Step 6. Add your tall red dogwood branches and then embellish how you like. I bought plastic shatterproof ornaments then twisted them onto tall floral sticks using wire. I also purchased a wide weatherproof ribbon and tied bows with wire onto floral sticks.

Step 7. Water these outdoor holiday decorations until it freezes to keep your greens looking fresh all winter.

Money-Saving Tips

• I used plastic shatterproof ornaments to endure our Minnesota winter so I can reuse them year after year.

• I purchased several greens to get started but I also asked the neighbor if her tree could use a haircut, so I snipped a few branches to fill out my arrangements.

• You can also use the trimmings from your real Christmas tree.

• Cut greens placed in galvanized buckets look great next to old sleds or ice skates you might already have.


P.S. These arrangements would look amazing as affordable winter wedding decorations placed at the entrance to your church or reception!

DIY Fall Centerpieces Under $10
If you love fall and are looking forward to decorating your wedding with fall accents, you’ll love these next three unique fall centerpieces. $10 or less!

DIY Fall Centerpieces Under $10

1. This is one of my favorite looks because it is unique and very simple. White pumpkins give your tables an elegant fall look. Layer a burlap runner with a sheer organza fabric. Place glass cylinders on the center of the table filled with mini pumpkins and add a few pumpkins sprinkled around the cylinder. Add clear glass votives with white candles for a warm glow. (Be sure to bring a cylinder with you when picking out your pumpkins so you know they will fit inside.)

2. Add a bright splash of color to you fall centerpiece with green apples and green spray mums. This centerpiece can also double as a favor for your guests. Just add apples to a twig basket, old drawer or wooden box and tuck in mums.

3. If you want to add some height to your table centerpieces, a glass cylinder filled with wheat is a great fall look. Wrap a fall-colored burlap ribbon around the base and add a few pumpkins for more color. You could create a trio look with different sizes of glass cylinders and fill them with beans or corn for more texture.

Tips to save! Plan ahead and check out the clearance section at your craft stores for seasonal items you can use at your wedding next season. Plus if you forget your coupon, many large hobby/craft stores will honor electronic coupons. Just show them your phone screen with coupon code.


DIY Fall Centerpieces
Creating a fall centerpiece for your wedding tables or parties doesn’t have to be expensive. We created 3 looks for your celebration and stayed around $15 or less. Your supply list can be found at your local craft store and grocery store/farmers market.

DIY Fall Centerpieces

1. Set a small pumpkin in the middle on top of an artificial fall leaf wreath. Tuck in small pumpkins and gourds. We found some gilded Styrofoam pumpkins at a craft store but you could always add your own gold paint or glitter yourself. If you want to add candles to your centerpiece, hollow out the center of a mini pumpkin, scoop out seeds and place a small glass votive holder and candle inside. This arrangement works great on round or long buffet tables.

2. Let your centerpiece also be a favor/treat, which your guests can enjoy during the reception or take home with them. Fill baskets with apples and place on center of table. We used a burlap runner underneath for texture and added a few artificial leaves and berries for color.

3. Use an inexpensive glass vase (thrift stores are a great place to find vases for $1 or under) and wrap with a wide burlap ribbon and tie with jute cord. I used an artificial mum plant and snipped the bulky plastic stem so I could create a tight bouquet. Place bouquet in vase and insert berry stems randomly. Since this is all artificial, you can assemble these centerpieces a few weeks before your wedding. This would be a nice thank you gift for helpers or family members to take home as they leave the reception.

Tips to save! Get a green thumb and plant your own pumpkin seeds next spring so you can use them for your wedding décor and save money. You probably know someone who has an apple tree and would be happy to let you harvest as many apples as you may need for your centerpieces or sliced caramel apple desserts for guests

Check back tomorrow for more centerpiece ideas on a budget!

Charitable Donation Wedding Favors
Affordable wedding favors don’t have to come in the form of a gift or treat given to your wedding guests. If you would like to do something more personal and heartfelt, consider making a donation to your favorite charity instead of the traditional wedding favor. Donate whatever amount of money you’re comfortable with and have fun sharing the good deed with your wedding guests!

Charitable Donation Wedding Favors

We chose the Arbor Day Foundation as an example, and we created a Charitree. We had maple leaf favor tags printed with “A donation has been made in your honor to the Arbor Day Foundation!” We then gathered small logs and sawed slits to hold the favor tags. You could also create the silhouette of a tree out of paper or fabric, hang it on a wall and place the favor tags as leaves on the tree. Guests will grab a tag as a memento of your donation.

The Charitree sign was printed on ecru card stock and backed with spice and espresso card stocks. Sheets of card stock are available at your local hobby store. I used double-sided tape to hold the layers together.

Here is a breakdown of cost:

Donation: Amount is completely up to you.

Favor Tags: $47.98 per 100 tags

Card Stock for Sign: 25¢ – 50¢ per sheet of paper ($1.50 total)

Double-Sided Tape: $4.99 for ¾” width

That’s about 50¢ per favor, not including the donation. Not too shabby!

Italian Dinner Invites
With some creativity and a little effort, you can make affordable table centerpieces for any dinner theme. We’ve chosen Italian…yum! I’ve created four centerpieces to help spark some ideas for brides on a budget.

pasta rehearsal dinner centerpieces

1. Plant real plants (we used zinnias) in the cans leftover from your spaghetti sauce or tomatoes. Rinse cans well and leave labels on! These labels become excellent decoration that really ties into the Italian theme. Give each guest a canned plant at the end of the evening as a party favor. I purchased these zinnias for $1 each!

2. Everyone has some glass containers or cylinders around their house. Fill a row of cylinders up with pasta noodles in different shapes and sizes and don’t forget the breadsticks. Tie containers with red raffia and trail cylinders down the center of the table. This works great for a rectangular-shaped table. You can purchase glass cylinders in bulk from Ann’s.

3. Mix and match your containers and think in odd numbers when creating your table centerpieces. We used a tall, bottle-shaped container to hold our gerbera daisies ($1 each) and mason jars in random shapes to hold spaghetti and bow-tie pasta. Also, sprinkle some bow-tie pasta around the table for a fun “confetti.”

4. To make tin can centerpieces, remove the labels and rinse the cans. Wrap ribbon, burlap or fabric around the cans. We used double-sided tape to get them to stay in place. Add water and arrange flowers. Purchase flowers at a wholesale store, farmer’s market or add fresh cut flowers from your garden.

Oh, and don’t forget some matching invitations! You can modify the wording on any of our wedding invitations to turn them into the perfect rehearsal dinner invites. Here are a couple we think would look great with the Italian dinner theme: Vineyard Monogram and Modern Scrollwork.

Italian Dinner Invites

Like what you see? Check out our previous post from August 5th featuring ideas for a budget-friendly, Italian-themed rehearsal dinner.

Ready to shop for cheap wedding invitations? Check out all of our affordable designs.

Winter Candle Centerpiece
The winter wedding season will be here before you know it, so Shanna and I found it perfectly fitting to start looking for winter wedding centerpieces. Our challenge was to put together 15 centerpieces for under $10 each (we based the number on a wedding for about 100 guests – one head table with two centerpieces and 13 round tables with one centerpiece each). Shanna went with a birch bark theme, and I went with an ornaments theme.


Birch Bark & Pine Tree CenterpieceBirch Bark & Pine Tree Centerpiece


Birch Bark & Pine Cones CenterpieceBirch Bark & Pine Cones Centerpiece


Red & Blue Ornament Vase CenterpieceRed & Blue Ornament Vase Centerpiece


Winter Candle CenterpieceWinter Candle Centerpiece


Everything that we needed, we purchased at our local Hobby Lobby store, and in Shanna’s case, the great outdoors! We ended up putting together 4 different centerpieces.

Here is the cost breakdown for Shanna’s centerpieces:

Birch Bark & Pine Tree Centerpiece

  • Birch bark “vase” : Free
  • Pine tree branches: Free
  • Red berries: $2 per stem
  • Pine Cones: Free
  • $2 per centerpiece!

This centerpiece can be gathered in your backyard or during a walk through the woods (on the property of family or friends preferably). I actually gathered a bunch of birch bark from my recent cabin trip up north. Birch bark remains intact and holds its round shape as the tree trunk rots. So find a birch tree that’s been decomposing for a while and use the bark.
Pine tree branches and pine cones can be purchased at a hobby store but we didn’t collect prices for those things. You will probably have to buy red berries. We recommend these berries from Hobby Lobby for $2 apiece.

Birch Bark & Pine Cones Centerpiece

  • Birch bark strips: Free
  • Pine cones: Free
  • Medium glass hurricane: $47.99 for 12 on Ann’s
  • Green ribbon: $3.99 per 5 yard roll (cut into 12” lengths)
  • Burlap placement: $5.99 per 5 yard roll at (cut into 6”x6” pieces)
  • $4 per centerpiece!

Birch bark curls nicely as it decomposes and dries. Gather scraps of curly birch bark pieces and a bunch of pine cones to fill a clear vase. Wrap it with your choice of ribbon and set it on a placemat (we cut 6” x 6” pieces of burlap to use as placemats). To do the 14 centerpieces necessary to fit our criteria, we would have had to purchase three more vases from the hobby store. We still would have been well under $10 per centerpiece. The ribbon and burlap are enough for 15 centerpieces.

Here is the cost breakdown for Brooke’s centerpieces:

Red & Blue Ornament Vase Centerpiece

  • Ornaments: $5.99 per 18 bulbs
  • Medium glass hurricane: $47.99 for 12 on Ann’s
  • Plate charger: $1.99 per charger
  • Silver ribbon: $1.99 per 5 yard roll
  • $9.97 per centerpiece!

Red and blue are great jewel tone colors and very popular, so I wanted to make a centerpiece combining the two. It had a unique look to it. I didn’t use all 18 ornaments in one centerpiece, so one box could be used for 2 centerpieces. To tie it all in, I decided to place a silver ribbon around the vase and plate charger to add an extra “sparkle” (since it’s for Winter, after all!) The ribbon that I purchased would be enough to use for almost all 15 centerpieces, which cuts down the cost per centerpiece. If red and blue is too much for your taste, you could try another accent color, such as hunter green, silver, or gold.

Winter Candle Centerpiece

  • Candles: $3.99 for 3
  • Red ribbon: $2.99 per 5 yard roll (cut into 6” pieces)
  • Plate charger: $1.99 per charger
  • Ornaments: $5.99 per 18 bulbs
  • Gold berries: $2 per strand
  • $10 per centerpiece!

Candles are a great way to make an intimate setting, so I thought they would be a perfect and inexpensive centerpiece idea! I got a package of 3 non-scented candles from Hobby Lobby during their half-off sale. I glued the 6” pieces of red ribbon around the candle to dress them up a bit. I went with a red color for ornaments, but I also wanted to add an accent color, so I added gold berry strands and a gold plate charger. If you’re not a gold fan, silver would be another great option.

Easy as that! Using our local hobby store (and the great outdoors!) we were able to put together centerpieces for under $10 apiece. Remember, you can use any color you desire for these centerpieces, depending on your tastes. Happy planning!

Bottle Cap Wedding Favor Display
Kristi and I spent the last few weeks thinking of cute wedding favors for under a dollar each. Although we came up with some fun ideas, our favorite idea was bottle cap magnets. Not only are bottle cap magnets cute and perfect for cheap wedding favors, the presentation of the bottle caps is ADORABLE.

Bottle Cap Favor Disp11lay

Everything we needed we purchased at our local hobby store. We did find someone selling a ton of bottle caps on Craig’s List, but there were far too many for our intended purpose. Here’s the breakdown of cost for making close to 100 bottle cap magnets.

Vintage Bottle Caps – $40 for 96

Round Magnets – $16 for 100

Hot Glue Gun – $2.99

Hot Glue Sticks – $4.99

Total Cost = $64

Cost per Magnet = 67¢ (Awesome!)

We purchased bottle caps from the hobby store, but you and your fiancé can easily collect enough bottle caps to make as many favors as you need. Perhaps you enjoy bottled root beer, craft beer, orange soda, grape soda, etc. You can choose your bottle caps based on taste, brand, color or even hobby. Just make sure to give yourself enough time before the wedding to gradually build your collection. Remember to ask friends and family to help you out.

Shanna Shopping at Hobby Lobby

The round magnets are sold in varying strengths. You may want a weaker magnet so it’s easier to remove from the board, or be sure to put a little extra glue on the magnet so it sticks out farther than the edge of the bottle cap. Our magnets were flush with the bottle cap, which made it tough to remove from the board.

Round Magnets

We had a magnet board perfect for this purpose but they are available in a variety of styles at our local hobby store for anywhere from $12 to $30. You could also check home improvement stores for metal sheets or antique stores for metal boards or cabinets that might even have a nice patina or weathered look.

Magnet Board

If you’re a crafter, you probably already have a hot glue gun. If you’re not, no worries. They are cheap and easy to use. Remember to clean the magnets with a wet towel and let them dry before gluing them to the bottle caps.

As for the sign, you can print out any wording you like and find an old frame for it. Our sign says, “Stick with me, and happy we’ll be. We hope the memory of our wedding day sticks with you. Take a magnet as a keepsake.”

Stick With Me Sign

There you have it! Cute wedding favors for under a dollar. Bottle cap magnets are easy to make and fun to display. If you have any other ideas for bottle cap crafts and décor, please share with us and your fellow bargainista brides.