How I Planned a Wedding for Under $1,000 in a Week

This past Friday, I married the love of my life after almost 4 years of being together. It was pure bliss when it happened, but the planning stages were definitely stressful. We’ve been engaged since December and have changed wedding plans at least every 2 weeks. It’s been quite the roller coaster, but we made it happen in less than 168 hours.

Initially, when we got engaged, we planned on spending under $10,000. The average American wedding goes up to about $30,000 which we thought was absolutely ridiculous. We both had good jobs and both have large families, so we wanted to have a big celebration of about 150-200 people. That plan was quickly axed due to my lay off. Cutting down to 1 income was tough, so plans altered often.

We had found the perfect place for a ceremony that was still going to be amazing, but we were going to cut the guest list down to about 75 people. The venue was absolutely breath taking, and the price was right, but when you reserve a date and venue, you have to put down a deposit, which we didn’t have. Although we had a small windfall that would’ve assisted us, we had been discussing whether we should go for the huge ceremony and reception. We’re both pretty simple people, and decided to go a different route yet again.

So 2 weeks ago, once we found out his schedule, we went straight to planning a wedding under $1,000. One of the first things we immediately had to cut was the guest list. We decided immediate family only. No friends allowed. We didn’t want people to feel slighted, but we wanted it to be an intimate moment for us. The guest list was reduced to no more than 25.

Next was the venue. We had to get a marriage license from a courthouse anyways, so we decided to also have our ceremony there. We chose the local courthouse, which had a very nice ceremony room that accommodated 25 people for only $28. The license fee was $61.50. Perfect. We continued to brainstorm.

What was needed next? A bouquet, a dress, a dress shirt, a cake, a photographer and a restaurant. Many phone calls were made for these things. I got my dress from the department store Nordstroms for $149. I got his dress shirt on sale at JC Penney for $10.80. The cake was done in 3 days by a lovely bakery called Patty’s Cakes for $149. We found a photographer on Craigslist that took wonderful pictures for $350 (can’t beat that!) The restaurant was down the street from the courthouse, and cost $18.95 per person, which came out to be $400. Thankfully, my mom offered to pay for the food. The bouquet was $50.

The day turned out to be lovely, simple, and beautiful. We didn’t regret our decision, and let our other family and friends know via Facebook and Twitter. Granted, some weren’t happy about being excluded, but we’re confident that they’ll understand we did this for us, both emotionally and for our pockets. Remember that your wedding day is about you and your significant other, and is not something you should go into debt for. We’re saving up to buy a house in the next year, and the people who love you will understand.

Written by Briana

Briana Myricks is a 20 something freelance writer and blogger. Striving for financial independence as a newlywed, she blogs about young married life at 20 and Engaged.

7 Responses to How I Planned a Wedding for Under $1,000 in a Week

  1. How was the local courthouse ceremony? Was it long? I am curious about this approach, but no one ever seems to blog about it.
    And my local courthouse seems to provide very little info online…

    It sounds practical and perfect.

  2. Congratulations!!!

    We had a slightly larger wedding (50 or so people) on our college campus about a week after we graduated that cost about $3000 in total. I also thought it was absolutely perfect.

    It is about you and yours, so yes, your real friends will understand. :-)

  3. Its great to see how your love for each other wasn’t measured by a large price tag :). I don’t get the obsession of having a wedding as expensive as the down payment for a house or car.

    Seriously, I know its that one awesome day of a lifetime you can feel like a princess (or prince) but do you really need to burn your wallet just to achieve that feeling? Kudos to you for being able to accomplish this neat feat!

  4. If it was just up to me, i’d just save the $1,000, sign that piece of paper and call it quits :)…..

    but of course that ain’t happening

    Virata Gamany

  5. This has always been my idea of a perfect wedding as well! Keep the stress and the cost down. It is a special day, yes, but it is also one day in your life. You can get spend $30,000 on a wedding but that won’t give you a place to raise a family!

    Congrats!

  6. As a vendor, I attend about 60 weddings a year. I have been to weddings that cost 2k and I have been to weddings that cost over a million. The cheaper weddings are usually the funest. Home made BBQ, a couple kegs, some boxes of wine, and a slightly buzzed friend bringing his home speakers and pretending to be a dj.

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