My Non-Consumer Wedding

by Katy on March 25, 2012 · 60 comments

I am reprinting a previously published post, as a response to the recent news that the average wedding now stands at almost $27,000.  


Wedding Cake

A few of my readers have asked for me to write about weddings and specifically about my own wedding. Although my husband and I married almost 16 years ago, the choices we made created a meaningful and inexpensive wedding would work well to this day.

Let me take you back to the year 1993.

My husband and I were both in college. He was getting his BFA in photography, and I was mid nursing school. We’d been in a terrible car accident the year before and had just received an insurance settlement totaling $15,000 between the two of us. We were spending the summer in Portland, Oregon working for our respective parents. (He was scraping paint off his parent’s new fixer upper and I was working as a receptionist in my step-father’s law office.)

We were aimlessly driving around town together one afternoon when we decided that this was the perfect time to get married. We had time, we had money, we were in love and we’d been living together for five years. Why shouldn’t we get married?

There were no rose petal strewn bedrooms, no engagement rings hidden in a glass of bubbly. Just two adults making an important decision together.

It was June and we decided to marry in August. I considered two months to be plenty of time to pull together a wedding. Others felt differently.

I had never given a single thought to my dream wedding. I was simply not that kind of girl. I wasn’t a tom-boy, but I wasn’t a girly-girl either. This made the planning of the wedding kind of difficult because there were 10,000 tiny decisions to make. Many of which I could care less about.

First stop was the downtown Powell’s City of Books to look through wedding magazines with my mother. We scooped up a few magazines and brought them into the in-house coffee shop. The owner was a friend of my mother’s, and she got all excited when she spied our reading material.


“Have you found a place to get married yet?”

“Um, no . . . we’re just getting started on the wedding planning.”

“You should get married at my house! I live in a huge gorgeous house and you can use it for free.”

Okay, cool. We just found a place to get married for free.

The magazines got put back.

After that, most everything fell into place.

My father’s next door neighbor offered to do the flowers for free. (Many of the flowers were hydrangeas from my father’s garden.)

We bought blank invitations at an office supply store, and my artist sister designed the border and script.

A cursory look into the price of wedding photographers made us decide to provide film to certain wedding guests who were known to be excellent photographers. All happily agreed to bring their cameras. I am not a fan of the formal style of traditional wedding photographs, so I was really happy with the results. The photographers all had very distinct styles and our pictures are truly unique. One guest even brought her 3-D View-Master camera, which means we have three actual View-Master discs of wedding pictures which are super fun to look at.

I didn’t want to register for gifts. I like a gift that reflects the giver, and I feel that registries sap all meaning from a gift. (Who was this pepper grinder from?) But certain family members insisted that I provide this option, so I compromised and gave to my mother a list of things we wanted. This way, registry insistent guests could choose a gift, and could even decide where to buy it. Most people chose not to use my mom-registry. Because I did a non-registry wedding I received wonderful gifts that I would not have known to choose for  myself.

For food we hired a caterer to put together a couple of huge platters of poached salmon. We fleshed this out with large wheels of brie, homemade bread, an enormous fruit salad, a couple of homemade cheesecakes, and a few unremembered miscellaneous extras. The cake was made by a friend who has made wedding cakes professionally. I paid for her ticket to fly up from New Mexico. The cake was her gift to

We rented the dishes and silver wear, which gave the table a very formal look. People fed themselves buffet-style. The napkins were nice paper. (I would rent or make cloth napkins if I were to do it now.)

My dress was made by my mother. It cost a few hundred dollars for the fabric, plus we hired a last minute seamstress to fine tune the fitting of the bodice. It was gorgeous! The veil was from a thrift store and cost a couple dollars.

wedding-rings The rings were simple since we both just wanted gold bands. The store we went to was having a 50% off sale, which meant that my ring was $40, and my husband’s was $30. We were both stunned how cheap the rings were, but happy to spend so little.

For booze, we bought a keg of local micro-brew and bought a few cases of local wine. We had an enormous amount of leftover wine and drank it for at least a year afterwards. (Waste no wine challenge!)

judge who was a friend-of-the-family performed the ceremony. Which was short. (I can’t sit still for long weddings)

For music, my sister’s then-boyfriend made a mix tape for during the reception. My cousin played the flute while we walked to the altar.

Katy and an attendant or two

I hate bridesmaid dresses,and told my attendants to just wear a short sleeve floral dress. The dresses looked fabulous all together, almost as if the they’d been chosen to coordinate, even though they hadn’t.

My husband wore a suit. He invested in a high quality suit jacket and dress slacks which he still wears for formal occasions to this day. The groomsmen also wore suits. Not only did this save money for us, but also for our friends and family. Renting a tuxedo is a waste of time and money.

No one is happy to spend money on clothing for a wedding that’s never to be worn again.

wedding-pix The hit of the wedding was most definitely our limo-service. Our friend Chuck has a wacky art car, which sports thousands of tiny toys, bowling trophies and odds and ends glued here, there and pretty much everywhere. He drove us from the wedding to the hotel.

We did splurge on a night at the historic Heathman Hotel, which was a treat. The best part of this was that the one-and-only Johnny Cash was standing in the lobby when we entered the hotel. I was still wearing my wedding dress, and he walked over to congratulate us. And don’t you know, we had no camera on us, so this was a wholly non-documented aspect of our wedding day. (Grrr . . . . )

For our honeymoon, we went to the beach the next day with some dear out-of-town guests. We did fly to New York to visit my sister a few months later, and referred to it as our “honeymoon.”

Guest after guest came up to us to tell us that it was one of the most beautiful weddings they’d ever been to. Most people assumed the grand home was a rental, and everyone raved about the food.

The wedding was a hit.

The only regret I have is not hiring someone to do dishes. A few guests ended up spending a fair amount of time in the kitchen, which to this day still makes me cringe.

Total cost for our wedding? About $2000. (This includes flying my friend up to do the cake.)

We could have afforded more, but neither of us had any interest in have a big overblown wedding.

One thing I did notice is that every wedding has about the same number of decisions to make, whether you’re having a small or large event. This is true whether you’re getting married in your parent’s backyard or The Plaza Hotel. It’s what you do with those choices that matter.

Are you planning a wedding, or have you married recently? Would you change your wedding to match up with current frugal and green living leanings? Did you hang out with Johnny Cash on your wedding day? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

CelebrantSays March 26, 2012 at 1:36 am

Katy, I’m an Australian marriage officiant, currently writing up a little research about wedding costs and priorities. I find it endlessly fascinating how much people spend on weddings and why.
Good on you for pulling together a wonderful, personal, perfect day for you and your husband. What a healthy, sensible start to your marriage!
I look forward to reading about other frugal weddings, and put up a link to your post from my own blog. Hope that’s okay!


Donna March 26, 2012 at 5:34 am

So glad to see this post as I am continuously shocked at how much people spend on weddings and how stressed out they get planning them.
My wedding, in 1990, was lovely and cost my parents (because they gratiously offered to pay) a whopping $5,000.
My mother is a seamstress so she made my gown and veil all for $200. She also made the flower girls dress with left overs from my gown and the bridesmaids gowns. Her partner made the bridesmaids gowns for $60 each.
I did all my own flowers, which was quite easy – all I did was check out a book from the library and ask a few neighbors who had fabulous flower gardens for a few. I found they were incredibly excited to have their flowers be a part of the day. I kept it simple and had shades of white/cream with royal blue ribbons. Long stemmed bouquets of white gladiolas are simple, gorgeous, and easy to grow.
My father was (and still is) an AMVETS member and the hall in our town had just been renovated. He got the hall for a steal because people typically book so far ahead and it was unsure when the renovations would be complete. The woman who was in charge of the hall rentals was just starting out in the whole “wedding consuulting” business with the new hall and she asked if we could be her first clients. We jumped at it. We got the hall, all decorations, the cake and DJ through her for practically nothing.
My husband was working as a liquor store manager at the time and the owners of the store gave us the liquor as a gift for free!
I ordered plain white invitations and asked a friend who knew calligraphy to help me with them, she ended up offering to do them all because “that is her thing!” I got tons of compliments on them as being sooooo elegant.
My sisters and I made the favors in one weekend – it was fun believe it or not – we ended up laughing the enitre time.
My neighbor, who I frequently babysat for, happened to be a photographer as a side job. He offered to photograph the entire wedding for just the cost of the film. We ended up getting lovely photos as well as some hilarious candid “day before” shots.
We ended up getting the limo for free because they overbooked and needed to make things work out so we adjusted a few things and Voila – free stretch limo!
It really wasn’t all that much work and it was beautiful. If you ask around most people will help and are excited to be a part of your day.
We also took a week honeymoon whale watching in Maine. It was a destination not on the top of the honeymoon go to lists (most of our friends wanted Hawaii or Bahamas) but a friend of my fathers (who was a travel agent) recommended it. It was inexpensive and incredibly romantic!!! I highly recommend it.
20 some years later, and multitudes of weddings attended, some incredibly expensive and some close to nothing – I can confidently say, not many people remember the wedding, they remember the love between the bride and groom and the “fun” they had.


Bellen March 26, 2012 at 5:36 am

Katy – it’s grand that you have such wonderful memories of your wedding. I just wish I did – going on 45 years of marriage and to this day I hate my wedding. It was formal, with men in what were called morning suits (tuxes) and me in a satin gown with an eight foot train from the shoulders with lace edging (sounds beautiful but it was a late afternoon wedding in the humid 90s in late August in Indiana) that my mother , an excellent seamstress, made, and we had a formal sit down dinner reception. Problem – I wanted a casual wedding with a dress I could shorten and wear to work, church, etc. made out of a slubbed linen blend. It was a small wedding and I wanted it in the church chapel not the main sanctuary so it would be more intimate – minister thought it would be nice but Mother objected saying weddings were always held in the main sanctuary. I wanted a buffet of finger foods not a sit down dinner of which probably a third was tossed (can’t save what was on people’s plates). I wanted lots of casual photos of family and friends not a dozen staged photos which look staged and static. And my biggest regret are the flowers. I wanted something simple and seasonal – my mother insisted on roses that had NO fragrance, what a waste of money. The cake was good altho the decorations were not what I’d ordered – the baker gave us a $25 discount and had no explanation for the error. I gave my dress to charity the month after the wedding, the roses were dead in 3 days, and no leftovers except for 2 slices of cake! ! My advice to everyone getting married – it’s such a special day, make it yours. Wear what you want, have the service you want, choose your music to suit your tastes, serve the food you want and involve family and friends in as much or as little as you want. You want it to be memorable – in a good way:)


Amanda Scacchi March 26, 2012 at 5:38 am

My husband and I got married last April. I couldn’t stand the thought of spending a bunch of money on a wedding. We got married at our church (for free!) and had a huge dessert buffet, including ice cream. My mom and I made everything. My dress was a $70 Craigslist find. We got married at 2 in the afternoon, so we didn’t serve alcohol. Our total, including our wedding bands, was around $700. It was cheap, but even now, if feel like we could have gone to the court house for next to nothing!


Lindsey March 26, 2012 at 6:39 am

We married 3 years ago, and spent around $6000-$7000. We knew we wanted a small, outdoor wedding, even though our parents really wanted us to get married in a church. We ended up spending $1200 to rent the gardens, about $1200 on food, and $750 on a photographer (we required a CD with release of the photos, and didn’t have to purchase prints through the photographer). We did have a sit down reception, but we only had the venue for 6 hours, including the ceremony. Rather than having a dance, which neither of us wanted, we returned to our hotel with all the wedding guests (semi-destination wedding, 2 1/2 hours from our hometown) and proceeded to have a pool party with snack foods/leftovers until everyone got tired & went to bed. We heard several guests remark that it was one of the best weddings they had attended. I wouldn’t change a thing except maybe invite a few more of our friends.


Dogs or Dollars March 26, 2012 at 7:11 am

Been married 5 years, and the whole thing was about $3,000. Our honeymoon was significantly more, but I’m good with that.

We did splurge on a photographer, and also got a historic home for a song ($250 for the day – thanks to Grandma’s connections). My best friend married us. My dress was $120 off the rack.

I had friends who had a huge wedding last summer. DJ, out of town guests, tent, sit down dinner, the works. I did a lot of comparing. While there were some aspects I may have incorporated into our wedding, I’m still happy with our cheap little ditty. In the end, the same result is accomplished and everyone walks away with a memorable day.


Jenny March 26, 2012 at 7:13 am

My husband and I just celebrated our 2 year anniversary. My dad and stepmom paid for the wedding (in cash!), and we had it on the coast of NC close to where they live, so we ended up having the wedding that they would have liked to have when they were married. The ceremony itself was simple; in a small community chapel (March can equal rain in normally sunny NC) with a string quartet (my dad’s insistence) and a minister that my husband and I hired and paid. The reception was the expensive part… it was held in a resort in Wrightsville Beach right on the ocean. All things considered, I think the wedding totalled around $14,000 (just over half the average cited above). The one thing we did do to keep prices low was marry off-season. Venues are almost half-priced during the off season because they REALLY want your business.


stonalino March 26, 2012 at 7:38 am

We were married in 1996 here in Portland. Because we attend church regularly, we got married at church (out here it seems like no one gets married in church anymore). We also had our reception in the Parish Hall, complete with three kegs of BridgePort beer.

We had a buffet style “picnik” meal, from the Thriftway and a ton of good boxed wine. (Yes, it can be good. We decanted it and no one but the church ladies ever knew.)

One of the men from the choir took our wedding photos; it was his side business, and they came out great.

My dress was on sale for $85. With alterations, it came to $115.

In my opinion, the best part of our wedding was the cake. We couldn’t decide on one flavor, so we had Thriftway make up on tiny traditional almond-flavored round cake (it fed about 10), and then ordered a passel of quarter sheet cakes in every flavor. Everyone got their favorites, and when we took left overs to the West Women and Children’s Shelter, they were THRILLED with the cakes. They went right into the freezer to use for upcoming birthdays.

Our wedding was large (about 350 guests), and tacky (the Parish Hall looked like a senior prom, circa 1955), but it was exactly what we wanted. It all cost less than $2,000, including hotels and honeymoons.

Our mantra for the day was “As long as we’re married by the end of the day, it was a great wedding.” And it was.


Martha March 26, 2012 at 8:18 am

36 years ago…$300.

Dress…Mom made $25
Grooms suit..leftover from high-school sports!
Bridesmaids both wore their prom dresses and coordinated!
Cake…Friend made for gift
Flowers and candles…left by previous wedding
Pictures…Photographer friend did…we bought him a new lens $25
Venue…landmark church$50
Reception…ladies of the church provided punch, nuts, mints, and cleanup$75
Minister… Friend of family $25 gas money.
Honeymoon..camping for 2weeks on the Oregon coast. $100
Our memories were of fun,family, friends and no stress!
No debt(we were still at school)!!!


Krystal in Seattle March 26, 2012 at 8:46 am


Probably my favorite post of yours! My husband and I have been together for 9 years and married 2, and we had just pulled ourselves out of ALL of our debt and vowed never to go back (well, until we had a mortgage). It baffled us how much people spend on weddings, as we have had friends spend well more than 100K.

We decided on Vegas. This wasn’t the most frugal choice, but since it was friends only (our family is, um, unique), and it was only our money, we wanted it to match our take on life–i.e. getting our 30 closest friends together in Vegas for fun! We did get a basic wedding package at Mandalay Bay, married on a Sunday to save $1,000, it cost $1,500 for flowers, officiant, photos, video, location, music, etc. We didn’t want to bottle service at a club for everyone, (and there were a couple children around), so we had burgers and fries at a yummy burger joint, and upgraded our comp night to a 1600 sq ft suite (only $100 more). We were happy to treat our guests to dinner since we had actually over-saved for our wedding budget! We had no showers, no engagement party, no registries (people flew to Vegas for our wedding and bought us drinks for a weekend-what more can we ask for!?), and to have our “after-party” photographed, my husband and our friend who was already attending traded photography for graphic design services. Our wedding cost well under 5K, and we paid for venue, hotels and tickets. My husband bought his first and only suit for the occasional, I wore an on-sale purple-bridesmaid dress from J.Crew, and had my maid of honor wear the same dress she had to spend $400 on for another wedding the year prior.

Out of all the “wacky” things we did; Vegas, no parents, playing The Clash at our ceremony; people were floored that we didn’t register for gifts. I don’t believe most people “need” any wedding gifts, but registering for them often is just something a new couple feel entitled to. I prefer to give gifts that are homemade (i.e. I bake, a lot!), or are very needed, and because I want to, not because a social event commands one. We had some friends give us cash anyhow (we noted these were our older friends who often see the two of us as younger siblings of theirs, and often watch-out for us), and other friends donated toward our favorite charity, Old Dog Haven. With the cash we were given, we donated half to ODH, and splurged a little on a 2-day honeymoon.

Our bands cost $350 total, and that’s my fault, my husband bought me a Tiffany band and spent $40 on himself. I didn’t watch an engagement ring, getting used to my band is good enough!


Megg March 26, 2012 at 8:51 am

I have no idea how much my wedding cost, because my parents paid for all the big things. But we got married in my home church, with my childhood pastor officiating, and it was wonderful. The reception was in a historic home, and rather than a sit-down meal, we had “heavy hors d’oeuvres”. We also had a couple stations and a mashed potato bar. It was excellent. My bridesmaid’s bought their own dresses which were about $100 each, and my dress was from the $99 David’s Bridal sale. We also had cupcakes, because I learned that some caterers charge up to $1.50 a piece just to cut the cake. Plus, cupcakes are fun!
Though I don’t think my wedding was especially cheap, it wasn’t extravagant either. I tried to be minimalist as much as I could, and a lot of the things I bought were from etsy. That was important to me, because I wanted to support small businesses wherever I could. It was excellent, and if I had the chance to redo it, I wouldn’t change anything.


HeatherS March 26, 2012 at 5:15 pm

I have never heard of a mashed potato bar, only a baked potato bar. I have to know what’s on it b/c it sounds like heaven to me!


Renee CA March 26, 2012 at 9:16 am

We got married on a Sunday afternoon after church (2:00). Church and minister free. Cake and punch only. Minimal flowers. Still together after 45 years.


namastemama March 26, 2012 at 7:57 pm



Elspeth @ paper armour March 26, 2012 at 9:36 am

Being a newlywed (and also being someone who doesn’t like talking about money and personal finance in dollar terms), I still have that “don’t tell anyone how much your wedding cost” stigma preventing me from giving the total, but as a clue, it’s less than half the average you gave of $27,000. (I’ve seen “averages” of $40,000 lately. Ugh.)

We did a LOT ourselves (my husband is a graphic designer, so we designed and printed our own invitations) in order to spend more on valuable things that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to fit in our budget. My husband and I both highly valued good photography, and personally knew the (SUPER talented) photographer we ended up hiring. We served BBQ beef and chicken sandwiches that were so affordable, and yet the guests raved about them, and that freed up money from the “food” budget for the “photo” budget. Ohhh man, I’m still so happy with our wedding.

It was really valuable to not get dragged under by the wedding industry. I found posts on wedding websites that claimed extravagant things like “how to have a wedding for under $20,000” and then were written with the tone that no one should set the bar that low unless they absolutely have to. And that you’d have to try REALLY REALLY HARD to get away with spending THAT LITTLE money. That got me down and made me feel like my budget was impossible until I remembered that the people who wrote that post were doing so in order to earn money. MY money!

Our wedding was affordable and “modest” but still the big deal we wanted to it to be, not for the attention but because we wanted to show how much marriage means to us and how worth celebrating we feel it is.


Jen March 26, 2012 at 10:45 am

I think it all boils down to what you want. I do think that people seem to be more interested in the party than the significance of the occasion. We purchased our house the same year we were married. My dad said I could have some money for the down payment or the wedding. My husband and I both agreed that the house would be a better investment than a party. So, we put his generosity toward the house.

That being said, we had a great wedding and reception. Small at our family camp. iPod tunes through a rented sound system. Good local beer. Local farm flowers. Great company. (We did put a chunk toward photos though…) Anyway, it was just right for us. (And about $5k)


Sherry March 26, 2012 at 10:52 am

Our wedding probably cost around $400. That was 46 years ago. We met and married in Denver, Co. My family lived in Hawaii and my husbands in NC, and neither family was able to attend the wedding. The ceremony was in the chapel of Parkhill Methodist church. I wore a white suit which was made by a seamstress because I couldn’t find anything ready- made that I liked. My husband wore a suit, as did the best man. My maid of honor wore a dressy dress of her choice. Our reception was in the home of a good friend and we served champagne and wedding cake and nibbles. Photos were taken by friends. There were flowers, but not masses of them. We had fewer than a dozen people present. Except for the absence of family we consider our wedding perfect in every way and would do it again in a heartbeat. (The first night of our honeymoon was spent at the Denver Hilton — pretty posh for us. The rest of our honeymoon was spent driving to NC to meet my husbands family, and then on to Eglin AF Base in Florida where my husband was stationed.) I grew up knowing I wanted to be married and have a family, but don’t remember having any fantasies about weddings or being a princess for a day. How times have changed!


Anna March 26, 2012 at 11:04 am

I have no idea what my parents payed for my wedding, but being a true to the bone Southern girl, I had planned this day since childhood! It was my dream wedding in my historic little Methodist church with a horse drawn carriage ride to my parents’ home for the reception under a huge white tent. It was the Saturday following the September 11th attacks, so no flowers were flown in that week to floral wholesalers. Our sweet florists scrambled around and bought out other florists stock of my prefered flowers. He also did so many events in my tiny hometown that he knew whose flower gardens had what in them that he could cut fresh! Many of my flowers came from those manicured gardens of those sweet little hometown ladies. It was a dream day that seems like yesterday instead of a decade ago. It was wonderful to see my whole little town (pop. 700 ) step in to keep my dream day perfect. Even though it wasn’t really frugal, it was an investment of a lifetime of happy memories. I also got a awesome husband out of the deal! 🙂


Ann March 26, 2012 at 12:07 pm

We had a morning wedding at city hall in southwest France (a beautiful historic building as it turns out), so that part was free, with no fee for the officiant either! Since our wedding was a bit last minute, ie only 3 weeks to plan (we’d already decided we wanted to get married but just didn’t realize we would need to do it so soon for immigration reasons). It was a small family wedding with a few close friends. No bridesmaids dresses -our witnesses could wear whatever they liked! I found a dress and jacket (Feb. wedding) for around 200 euros -I’ve worn the dress to another party and the jacket can be paired with jeans. My husband wore his suit, no need for black tie at 10:30 am 😉 My husband’s grandparent’s treated for the flower arrangements (a bouquet for me + 2 centerpieces for the tables -we got lots of funny looks in the metro!). His parents treated to lunch afterwards and my parents treated to dinner that night (and we treated everyone to dinner at the scene of our first date Friday night before the wedding). We had a cocktail hour for family only in the kitchen of the B&B where our families stayed Saturday night -friends from the US had sent flowers and a bottle of champagne, so all we needed to provide were nuts and crackers. Yes my parents and sister had to buy expensive plane tickets (but at least it was during the off season) and no we couldn’t include everyone BUT we didn’t put pressure on anyone to travel long distances/fork over lots of money to attend a destination wedding (and since he’s French and I’m American… somebody’s family would have had to make the trip). For something that came together so quickly, I have nothing but fond memories. The only stress surrounding our wedding can be attributed to the air traffic controllers going on strike, which had me worried my family would be stuck in London! But everyone made it and we had a wonderful time with pictures to prove it (we took our own -cheers to digital cameras and the ease sharing pictures these days!). We found my engagement ring at a pawn shop/antique store and were excited to give a beautiful piece of jewelry a “new life”. Our wedding rings came from a local jeweler in Toulouse -2 white gold bands. I wasn’t one to dream about my wedding either, but I wouldn’t change a thing!


Cate March 26, 2012 at 12:55 pm

My first wedding was so similar to Katie’s that it is uncanny…sans Johnny Cash, of course. It was a beautiful day. My ex and I are still good friends. Strangely, I was looking through those wedding pics yesterday as I was cleaning out my “stuff” in preparation for moving to England with my Brit hub who I married 12 years ago at city hall. We had packed a picnic lunch which we took on a hike after the “I dos”…best day of my life…and the only costs were the marriage fees and the cheese sammies on toast.


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi March 26, 2012 at 1:32 pm

I loved hearing about your wedding!

We tried to go for a frugal wedding too. My parents paid for it, but I think it was around $5k. The hardest part for me was that MY wedding was the very first wedding I had every attended, so I had zero clue what I was doing. In the end, I think everyone had a wonderful time, but I’d re-do it in a heartbeat! I’m actually trying to conjure up a vow renewal just so I can have the occasion I REALLY wanted lol!


meaghan March 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Hi Katy,

I am in the process of planning my wedding as we speak. My partner and I are getting married in June. We are trying to be as frugal as possible, with each of us having one part that is most important and we put a bit more of our budget toward. The entire budget is $5000-$6000. Here is where we are saving:

-Venue : our friends backyard- $0
-Officiant: friend- $0
-Cake: my partner’s mom is making as her gift to us- $0
-My dress: wearing my best friends dress-$0; only paying for alterations
-Invitations: ordered online, used a groupon (all invitations, response cards and envelopes) $50 total
-Decorations at ceremony: borrowed
-Lighting at ceremony: borrowed, only need to buy paper lanterns to cover string lights
-Flowers: hired someone just starting her own business, who is giving me a screaming deal in exchange for pictures of the arrangements and good reviews on yelp- just under $300
-Favors: seed packets of veggies and flowers that coordinate with wedding colors- $30
-Hair styling: my partner does corrective excercise for our hairstylist and we are trading services-$0
-Music: we hired a musician to play guitar during the ceremony and cocktail hour ($300); and using an ipod for the respetion ($0)

We do need to rent tables, linens, glassware, and chairs. I am scouting goodwills for silverware deals that we could possible buy for cheaper than renting and then re-donate after we use them.

The bulk of our money is being spent on food (my partner’s priority), and pictures (my priority). We were able to negotiate several hundred dollars cheaper than the original quoted price to get the caterer we wanted. It is not only amazing food but also sentimental to us becaue it is where we went on our first date. Good food was also important to us because most of our guests are from out of town and spending significant money to come to our wedding, so we want them to really enjoy the food. For photography, i spent a long time looking online, reading reviews, and speaking with photographers to find one that was within our budget and seemed to provide the type of photos i am looking for.

So for the food we are spending aorund $2400 (that is based on 130 people, it will be cheaper if less than projested respond that they are coming) and for photography we are spending $1400 (for the entire day of photography, editing, a picture package with prints, a photo album, and rights to all the pics to re-print anytime later).

We are not counting our rings in the budget as we had purchased them earlier. My engagement ring and wedding band is a family heirloom that her grandmother wore in the 1930s. Not only is it frugal….i love it! She paid to have the band on the engagement ring replaced (it was almost worn through) and have it cleaned. I purchased the band she picked out.

so that’s my wedding story 🙂


sandy16502 March 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm

We married about 35 1/2 years ago. I wanted the reception to be in my parent’s back yard (where my sister’s had been) but my mother-in-law to be (God rest her soul, so I can say this) vetoed that because it would embarrass her with her friends. So, we had it at a party center. My dress was an end of the season on sale gown for less than $100. The bride’s maids dressed were actually skirts and blouses that were made by the bride’s maids or their mothers. The groom’s men wore tuxedos (guess who decided that). My flowers were too large and formal for me but my sister loved them (and chose them).
We spent our first night as husband and wife in my father in law’s company’s apartment IN TWIN BEDS BOLTED TO THE WALL. We flew back to our new home (in Spain) on different airplanes since I was not yet sponsored by the military.
But, to me the important thing then and now is that my husband was at the end of the aisle waiting to have me become his wife. The rest, only details.


JoeAnne March 26, 2012 at 4:51 pm

We were married 8 years ago and we spent around $5500 on the wedding.
Dress was $300 (including the the alterations, which cost more than the dress) Guys did rent tuxes and bridesmaids (I had 3) did buy tasteful black “bridesmaid”) dresses. My flowers (and for bridal party) were “silk” (purchased off of eBay) Centerpieces were “silk” and put together by my mom and I. Altoids “Love Tins” in shape of a heart found at the dollar store made cute consumable (and frugal) favors. Our wedding and reception were at the same location (no limos required) and we were lucky enough to have it outside (the weather cooperated in October in upstate NY 🙂 Since we did not belong to a church, we had a justice marry us so the ceremony was short & sweet. We did book a room at inn for 2 nights which was a bit of a splurge, but allowed us to visit with out of town guests the night before and morning after. We had a smaller guest list (around 60) so a small reception room at this nice inn–opting to have the wedding on a Sunday and having a brunch buffet saved us a lot and allowed us to have it at a really nice venue. Our package included the cake and mimosas and bloody marys, plus non-alcoholic beverages. We had a mix of a pianist (great) and a DJ (not) and the photographer took some posed pictures but did not stay for whole wedding (not a great decision) but we put disposable cameras on the tables and some cute pictures came from those. The honeymoon was 6 months later and probably cost as much as the wedding, but was totally worth it 🙂


A. Marie March 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm

A. Marie’s Law of Matrimony: The happiness and stability of the union are in inverse proportion to the cost and fussiness of the ceremony. I’d enjoy hearing opinions on this, pro or con.


Practical Parsimony March 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm

You look like a teenager in that picture!

If I remarried while living in the house I now live in, money would be spent on the yard, not a rental venue for the wedding. That would cover flowers that would be in the yard. I would have a dessert table which certain friends would help me fill. I can cook and have friends who would help. I have a minister friend who would drive for the gas costs. I can sew a dress. I have lots of dessert/salad plates and could find more at yard sales and thrift storesthat would be cheaper rather than renting or buying. I have a ton of old stainless steel utensils for guests and lots of silver and silverplate serving dishes. Surely, I can make invitations on the computer. Wedding gifts–old things, carefully chosen would work for me–anything for the yard would be best. I would not be a new bride, just starting out.


HeatherS March 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I remember reading this post before and I have to say that one of my absolute favorite lines of any of your writing is this – “There were no rose petal strewn bedrooms, no engagement rings hidden in a glass of bubbly. Just two adults making an important decision together.”

Our wedding was 16 years ago and was about $3,000. I wanted to basically elope and get married at our honeymoon destination but my parents (who really have never been the type to use guilt before this) made me realize it was an important day to them also so we agreed to a wedding. I think the most expensive part was the three members of our city symphony orchestra who played in a trio on the side for weddings etc. They sounded lovely and it “classed” up the whole thing which we pretty much did all ourselves. We had help preparing the food from lovely friends of the family and church members. The food however is the only part I might do differently next time in that all the prep in the days before the wedding was very stressful to me. I would just do a cake/dessert and punch reception if I had to do it over.


Katie March 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Art car and Johnny Cash – fantastic! Thank you for sharing the pictures.


jen March 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm

8 years ago. about $3,000. A $75 dollar dress. Catered by my mom. Cake by my sister. Rented tents, tables, chairs for the garden at my parents. Justice of the Peace. PERFECT! Wouldn’t change a thing. (Sadly, no Johnny Cash though)


Bobbi March 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Thanks for sharing your wedding story, Katie. It sounds personal and beautiful, and I LOVE that you met Johnny Cash!

My first wedding, in 1994, was formal but small-ish (70 guests) and not what I wanted. My parents “only” spent about $8,000, but I had wanted a more casual, personal affair, instead of the formal dress with train, white tiered wedding cake, flower arrangements, matchy-matchy bridesmaids dresses, etc. I caved to pressure from family to have the more formal wedding, and although it was beautiful, it wasn’t “me”. My second wedding, in 2008, was planned in 2 days and held in our living room. We spent $700, most of which was for our “reception” dinner at a nice restaurant afterwards for the 8 or 9 people present. I preferred my second wedding — more fun, personal, and less stressful — though both marriages ended in divorce, so I suppose my lesson learned is that it’s the marriage, not the wedding, that really matters!


Madeline March 26, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Katy,that’s the nicest wedding story ever! What memories!!! Charming!! You two look really happy too, in the pics!! LOVE the art-car!!


Amanda March 26, 2012 at 9:21 pm

My hubby and I planned our wedding in 3 weeks. We got married at the Portland Rose Gardens (I think it was $75) invited only 20 guest, had a modest cake, flowers and very small reception at the Chart House restaurant. Our biggest expense was the photographer ($1000 and we bought ALL the rights to the pics). Under $2500 for everything! I cringe at all these couples starting off so much in debt, or spending the equivalent of a house down-payment on ONE DAY in their lives!! 8 years later, and my hubby and I are very happy and still very frugal!


FrancesVettergreenVisualArtist March 26, 2012 at 11:01 pm

I got married two weeks ago for $250, not including the rings. I wore a drapy winter white sweater over a lilac shell and the black pants I wear everywhere, my husband wore his khakis and a sweater, and our 3 yo wore his favorite faded t-shirt. I had a simple bouquet made by our neighborhood florist 15 minutes before the ceremony, the location was the commissioner’s living room, and our photos were taken in her front yard with my phone. Friends bought us brunch the following weekend to celebrate.

We did splurge a bit on my ring, simple channel-set Canadian diamonds, because my engagement ring is four generations old and too fragile to wear daily, and I wanted more than a plain gold band. I wear it with love.

I took photos of my bouquet and our rings in our own winter garden, and we will use one of these to make an announcement, and we will host a party in the yard come summer. We’ll buy some wine, and someone will bring a cake, and a talented friend will take photos with a real camera. I’ll wear my lilac top to mark the occasion. Doubtless I will wear it frequently; it’s far too pretty to languish in the closet.

And I will cherish the memory of the smile in my husband’s eyes as he said his vows with one hand in mine and the other holding our son close between us, because that is why I married him.


Juanita March 27, 2012 at 4:11 am

Wow! This is soooo similar to our wedding! Our memories of it are so sweet. I wouldn’t change a thing.


Jennifer March 27, 2012 at 4:55 am

For our wedding, my husband wore a suit he already had. (He bought a new tie, though.) I bought a white prom dress from a juniors clothing store for $30. My 4 year old son was our ring bearer (we borrowed the ring pillow from my brother). We got married at the courthouse (Fort Wayne, Indiana’s courthouse has AMAZING artwork on the ceilings and just all over! It was gorgeous!). Just us, my son, and the judge. A couple months later, we had an informal reception at my parents’ house before we left for our honeymoon. My mother provided most of the food. We made our own wedding cake. The only thing we really spent a lot of money on was our week-long trip to Mexico for our honeymoon, which was worth every penny!


Cindy at The Christmas Plan March 27, 2012 at 5:29 am

This sounds so much like my wedding. We got married in a historic home in our neighborhood (small wedding) and then had a big reception with barbeque in our backyard. My dress was off the rack and on clearance at Laura Ashley ($30). My only attendent was my sister, and I asked her to just buy a pretty dress. A friend played piano. The tables were covered with paper and a pot of crayons so the guests could write, and the centerpieces were potted herbs that the guests could take home. Total cost, including the rings (which were platinum and about $1200), was about $3000. Almost 15 years later, it seems to have stuck. And it was really fun.


Melissa March 27, 2012 at 5:47 am

We have been married for about nine years and to save money on our wedding the most important thing we did was get married in my (small) hometown. I was from a small town and my husband is from a big city and small town prices were literally a fraction of what we would pay for the same things in the city.

On a side note, I don’t think you need to cringe about your friends doing dishes….I am always happy to help with things like that so I think you can assume they did it with joy and as a way to bless you on your beautiful wedding day.


Diedra B March 27, 2012 at 6:26 am

looking back, I would re-think our rings. I have an engagement ring I no longer wear very much (housework, and a job that is tough on hands). He wears a white and yellow gold band. Now I wish I had just a simple band that matches his.


Sherry March 27, 2012 at 6:54 am

For our 10th anniversary my husband gave me a wide gold band, because I loved the way they look. For awhile I went back and forth between my original thin gold band and solitaire engagement ring, but for years now I’ve only worn the wide band because I love it’s simplicity. So, it is never too late to get the ring you want.


Rose March 27, 2012 at 8:58 am

How fabulous!

I just got married this past fall, and admittedly did spend a bit more than you did. However, the total cost for the very formal but nonreligious event was below $10k, and that included airfare and hotel accommodations for the 8-person wedding party, officiant (an ordained friend), and photographer. Serves us right for choosing to have a destination wedding on the other side of the country. We did make it work so that we could pay for everything in cash, not debt.

I made all the flowers out of spare satin I had lying around over several months, along with various yard-sale shiny brooches and beads for the bouquets. My dress was $700, which my mom decided to pay for. My husband’s completely bespoke white-tie ensemble cost $1,000 (I paid for that one), but now he has a fabulous custom-sewn tailcoat. Now to manufacture excuses to wear it again…

We did wind up using one of those all-inclusive venues and a professional DJ (with LOTS of guidance and an extensive do-not-play list), but it was surprisingly inexpensive. They had a beautiful garden for the ceremony, and a small ballroom with outrageously ostentatious chandeliers for the reception. I’m a dancer, so the dance floor was really the focus of the evening, and several guests used the event as an excuse to take ballroom dance lessons, which I loved! The sit-down dinner turned out to be surprisingly tasty, though we did over-buy on desserts. There was a massive cupcake breakfast the next morning.

Of course, the best thing about having an out-of-state wedding is that we now have an excuse to throw another local party for those who couldn’t travel. So this time we’ll have a backyard BBQ with water fights and a grownup-sized bouncy castle!


Priscilla March 27, 2012 at 9:52 am

10 years ago! About $1200.
Highlights of expenditures
Location – $150, rented local historically society “mansion”
Cake – $99, fantastic chocolate mousse cake from local bakery, we had at least 1/2 left over. We had chocolate cake for days!
Food – self catered, about $500
Fizzy wine – $200, lots left over, we popped a cork pretty much every week for a few months!
Dress – $175, Ann Taylor summer silk embroidered dress, have worn it for several other occasions
Rentals – $not much, punch bowl, tiered server thingy
Platters and servers were loaned from aunt that just bought them for her daughter’s wedding!
No photographer – my husband refused to marry me if we had a formal photographer! He posed as best man for too many weddings.


Amber March 27, 2012 at 11:13 am

My husband and I were ,married in May 2008. My dress was a 20 dollar dress from target. We planned our wedding in 3 weeks. We were married in a court house by a judge with our closet friends and family present. We all went out to eat a restaurant afterwards. I think the bill for supper was about 400 dollars which my parents and in-law split the cost of. A few month later my husband and I had a reception for our extended family at a park with a shelter. We catered the food and had can of beer and wine. It was a very informal reception and it was perfect the way it was. I am not a formal girl and I never dreamed of the barbie doll wedding. I am much to practical. I think the total cost of our wedding including our rings, the judge, the marriage license, the reception and eating at the restaurant after the actual wedding was about around $200o. My brother and his wife had the big hoopla and I know I would have never enjoyed the day. When you get married you need to do it in a way that makes you and your spouse happy.


Jo H. March 27, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Your wedding sounds like a very enjoyable day. I especially liked how you made the decision together. Wonderful, joyous pictures! Thanks for sharing with us.


Bauunny March 27, 2012 at 6:43 pm

We were married in 1988 for less than $7,000. The biggest expense was a lovely sit -down meal for ~ 125 people. My dress was less than $400 and I had one bridesmaid who picked out a dress she liked and could wear again. I had 2 flower girls – sisters – one of whom is handicapped so walking down the aisle was a bit of a challenge, but she managed — they were so cute! The cake was delicious (although not a year later when we pulled the topmost of the freezer). I had fun making care packages for our out of tow guests…..and having a catered informal dinner at our house so that extended family who had traveled could all hang out together afterwards. I was sad to miss the “after party” as we had to leave on our honeymoon. I guess we were of the generation where we still made a lot of our plans to accommodate the expectations of others, but also had a lot of say so in crafting the overall wedding. It WAS our wedding, not a social event for our parents as we were older and established when we married and no longer lived in our hometown. Had I to do it again, it would have been smaller and cheaper.
That said, it was nice and full of good memories.


Deb March 28, 2012 at 4:29 am

I have to say it sounds like the best wedding ever! I mean COME ON, a big fancy FREE house, , no hideous bridesmaids ensembles, a wacky art car, no debt, AND Johnny Cash!? What’s not to love about that?

My hubby and I eloped to Tahoe, did a little chapel wedding. I wore a lovely dress I’d found at a consignment shop – and that I was able to wear on several other occasions. We splurged on 3 day weekend at moderately priced motel in Tahoe that had an awesome pool. We then camped in Yosemite – sleeping in the back of our SUV, spent 3 days in an inexpensive hotel in San Francisco, adn then road tripped/camped on our way home to Portland. This was not an expensive trip, much less than a wedding would have cost, and it was a lot more fun.

One month later we held a reception – and for $600, we rented out a greek restaurant for the evening with 22 guests. Delicious food and wine and greek music made for a very fun filled evening. My best friend’s friend made a fantastic wedding cake as a gift, and my friend decorated the tables with free flowers from her massive garden.

I’ll take FUN over expensive and formal anyday! Katy, your wedding sounds like it was awesome.


Locallady March 28, 2012 at 8:36 am

I love seeing a post like this! We are getting married in June and our budget is about $7000. That includes travel for us and some family to the wedding site, the entire wedding and reception and all that goes with it, and the honeymoon. We are paying cash for it all. After discussing options for our wedding and feeling stressed at the thought of many of them, we came up with our current plan. I can’t begin to tell you how excited and happy we are. It is going to be a special day and there won’t be any stress because of cost. Just love and happiness on our special day. 🙂


Julie March 28, 2012 at 9:30 am

Katy, I loved reading about your frugal but fabulous wedding. I’m floored by the amounts people spend on weddings, only to complain about losing control of decisions to parents who are funding it, losing sight of the magic of the day, etc. It so often seems like a waste all the way around. We eloped to a wonderful small town, stayed in a beautiful B&B, and had the county judge marry us. It was just us, and it was wonderful. I wouldn’t change a thing about it! Then with the money we saved we were able to take a honeymoon trip some months later to New Mexico. Yea!


Katy March 28, 2012 at 10:46 am

Thank you to everyone who is taking time to share stories from their weddings. I worked yesterday and was plum exhausted when I got home, so I haven’t been responding to individual comments. But please know that I am reading them!



Jen @ Dear Mommy Brain March 28, 2012 at 11:32 am

I’m a little ashamed to say that our wedding was one of those “average” weddings. But in our defense, my parents were pushing for many of the extravagant purchases. If I had it to do over again, I would have definitely gone with something much smaller and simpler. Because of all the things that I obsessed over for that day, what everyone remembers was the power going out. So you couldn’t even see the napkins!


Jupe Blue March 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Funny, as a generally frugal person, my ceremony/party wasn’t. My partner and I celebrated our tenth anniversary with a commitment ceremony. We had just moved back to Portland from a five year work stint in Arizona and were anxious for our two communities to meet and come together. We ended up staging a weekend at McMeniman’s Edgefield that included a Friday night hat making party, Saturday morning day trip to downtown Portland, an evening ceremony and a Sunday brunch. We subsidized a number of guests by paying for their rooms. Family and friends had a whole weekend to meet and share the experience. Fifteen years later people still talk about how that weekend changed their lives and made them realize the importance of community. We consider the money we spent well worth it.


Miss Roman Apartment March 28, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I can’t believe that I actually beat you in the Cheapskate Olympics: Wedding Edition.

We haven’t bought a ring for Mr. Foxypants yet, but so far we’ve spent under $200 for our Leap Day wedding.


Shirnell March 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm

I’ve been married for just over a year…I guess that makes me still a newlywed.

We went downtown and paid a slightly creepy officiant $50 to wed us. My mom brought me some hydrangeas, which are my favorite. I bought a new sweater for $20 to wear, even though it was too cold and I kept my jacket on. Our rings cost maybe $600 and that was a waste since I only wear the band. My grandma took us to lunch after.

The one thing that saddens me a bit is we were in the process of actually planning our wedding. Life had other plans though. My mom had already spent about $1100 for a wedding dress that is still hanging in her spare closet.


JoeAnne March 30, 2012 at 8:20 am

Thanks for sharing your sweet wedding story, love it! And, as if meeting Johnny Cash was not enough, that Art Car is one of the coolest things I have ever seen! As for my own wedding , If I had only known then what I know now (will I ever reach a point in my life I will stop saying that? probably not) it would have been much more frugal. Here’s hoping my 2 little girls, who “marry” Daddy on about a monthly basis grow up to be as lucky in finding a great husband and much smarter financially that Mommy (was 🙂


P Wingerter March 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm



Susan March 31, 2012 at 9:08 am

How did I miss this entry, Katy?

Kev and I plan to get married soonish. We haven’t made any definite plans yet but we want it to be small and simple. I think the “expensive” bits will be applying for a marriage license, changing Kev’s name to mine, etc. We have a list of “Don’t wants.” We don’t want it big, just immediate family. No churches, etc. A simple meal for afterwards. Maybe at a register office in North Yorkshire. That’s about it for now. I’ll post more later.


Shannon March 31, 2012 at 9:14 am

We had our wedding for under $5000. The big expenses for us were the catering, cake, dj and flowers. We had the wedding and reception in our church that we are members of, so that was free, we picked the basic invitations, we did our own favors and centerpieces, and we had no alcohol. It was a beautiful wedding and a great day. Looking back I’d say we could have saved even more by doing our own flowers (I was not very confident then…I later did my sisters’ wedding flowers for under $100, a fraction of what we paid.) Also I wasn’t crazy about any of the wedding dresses, and I later heard a tip that you can order pretty much any bridesmaid dress in white, which I would have loved! (Still got a discount on my gown and it was pretty.) The DJ was pretty annoying. The cake was divine. For us catering just made sense—my mom was a heart patient and I didn’t need her stressing out. My favorite things about the wedding were that our pastor of 16 years married us (she also buried my parents, grandparents, and baptized our babies) one of my best pals from church choir sang a solo (“Breathe” by Michael W. Smith) and the organist is a long time friend and amazingly talented, and after the reception was over we hung out in the parsonage talking to the pastor for another hour about marriage. Best part: after our gettaway we went for a stroll in a local historical park in our wedding clothes, just the two of us.


Lasair April 9, 2012 at 8:04 am

We got married last June and our whole wedding was a little under 5,000. We had about 100 guests (90% family) and it was an 11 am wedding so we served a sandwich lunch. The flowers were out of my mom’s garden, the boutonnieres I made out of buttons, my bouquet was out of antique brooches (mostly hand me downs, the rest I thrifted). The dress was 99$ at Davids Bridal, and the Grooms suit was from JCPenney. It was a gorgeous and wonderful day. After the catering, the reception hall was the most amount of money, and that was at the last minute because our original destination (an old train station in a park) didn’t work out so we had to splurge a bit. The next day my in-laws hosted a party in their hometown as an open house for anyone that couldn’t make it to the wedding.


Sarah April 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm

We also married frugally. We already had a small child and our priorities were more about financial stability than a huge wedding. Like you, my decision to marry wasn’t based on an expensive “proposal” stunt performed by my (now) husband. We both decided that it would be best for our child if I would stay home to raise her. My Husband and I had been together for seven years and had quite a few commitments that bound us – the strongest being a biologically shared child and other commitments (owning property, shared financial accounts, etc.) However, quitting my “paid” work to “work” for our family made formal marriage beneficial (tax benefits, provided an easy way to define our roles socially, most private schools prefer to enroll students with married parents, etc.)

My wedding dress was some fancy schmancy super designer confection that I got off of freecycle. It was gorgeous and I cried when I tried it on I loved it so much. It was “last year’s” gown and the poster couldn’t find a buyer on craigslist – she had purchased the dress and then decided to go in another direction, and since wedding dresses are not returnable…also the under crinoline was included.
Did I mention it fit perfectly without alterations (I am tall and busty for my build so this in itself was a small miracle)? And I already owned supportive undergarments for a strapless dress? YEP! Also – I sold my wedding dress for $400 to a place that rents wedding gowns. That was where I was originally looking for a dress. No $200 cleaning/preservation fee and no bulky cardboard box taking up space in our 625 square foot coach house.

Hubby purchased and wore a nice formal grey suit (like your husband he still wears it).

Our daughter wore a flower girl dress I made out of my Mother’s wedding dress (my Mom was a 1977 size 2 and even when I am skin and bones, my rib cage is larger than a size two chest measurement).

The Victorian chapel and reception hall (done in custom wood work with these amazing lights) were paid for by my Father (at his insistence – he refused to let us just rent out the VFW or KofC). The Owners of the place even provided an antique sleigh (we had a winter wedding) for no additional cost for photo ops. Linens were included in the space rental.

The food was “catered” by a small family bistro in my parents home town. The best food ever and it was vary affordable. My aunts set up the “buffet” and it looked like it was done “professionally”. We went to the discount liquor store and purchased beer and wine (served at the bar).

The cake was made by a stay at home mom who has a side business making cakes (for $100 flat) and to this day any time someone sees my wedding photos they gush about the cake. Go figure! *laugh*

Guests took photos and they turned out great (the digital camera revolution made it easy).

My attendants were my teenage nieces and they wore dresses they choose (both also wore the dresses to the homecoming formal). My Husband’s brother stood up for him. I couldn’t have picked better bridal attendants because no one believes in romance like 16 year old girls. I think I had more fun “being a bride” in the “romantic wedding” as seen through their eyes than they did in standing up in the wedding.

My husband likes my hair down and straight so I wore it down with pretty hair combs and “did” my own makeup (if you ever want to laugh until you pee your pants, get some quotes for someone to “do” your make up).

A family friend played the harp for a few hours while we ate dinner, otherwise classical background music chosen by my brother was played on CD. We didn’t have dancing (it was a morning wedding and afternoon reception).

We stayed at a comfort inn in town – because they had a jacuzzi bathtub that seated two and a “suite” so our daughter would be able to stay with us while at the same time we would have some privacy.

We had a very “posh” looking and feeling wedding for just under $5,000. Granted we had a “smaller” size wedding (only close family – 78 people).

If I was going to do it again, I wouldn’t change anything except I might have gotten married sooner. *smile*


Katie December 9, 2012 at 8:32 am

I love your wedding story. It is so refreshing in these days of excess. I too, could care less about all the details of a traditional wedding, and I do not like being the center of attention. I was pregnant when we got married, I wore a simple sundress. We got married in a pre revolutionary war preserved farmhouse, and had a dinner at my parents house after. We had about 30 guests. The total cost of the whole thing was $500.00. Five years later we went on a honeymoon at the beach and stayed in a quaint bed and breakfast. I wouldn’t change a thing. Plus, the money we saved by not having an elaborate wedding is now our emergency fund. I did not have a wedding registry either. Most people brought small gifts for the future baby! 🙂


Joyce December 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm

My wedding ended up very similar to yours. Rented dishes and silverware. Friend’s mom made food. Reception at my MIL ‘s house. BIL photographed the whole thing. My dress was a simple off -white cocktail dress. We had the same idea on not over spending on our wedding. We just celebrated our 26th anniversary.


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