Who had the most low-maintenance wedding?

Inspired by featherlou’s thread in the Pit about her wedding. People were giving a lot of constructive advice about economizing and simplifying. People were also sharing details of their own weddings, and how they kept them economical and simple.

It struck me as amusing that these posters almost seemed to be trying to one-down each other: who paid the least, or had the fewest accoutrements. Or who had the most debts to call in, or the most talented friends/relatives, so this or that service was free.

So who here has had a low-maintenance wedding, either in terms of money spent or energy expended?

I’ll start. Mr. Rilch and I were married at the courthouse, wearing clothes we already owned, (no tie for him), with no guests. We went to Black Angus afterwards, and they gave us a free dessert.

I am not married. But two couples that I know have both recently had weddings in far away places to cut down costs. Basically, everyone they know is invited. The catch is the wedding is in Hawaii so you need to buy an expensive ticket to be able to go. No one ends up showing up, and many still buy gifts.

Also, one of the couples who did this had an inexpensive cocktail reception back in the hometown upon their return so that people could congratulate them.

We went to the courthouse in Kentucky to get married (no blood tests there). Paid for license ($25 IIRC) and then another $25 to the Justice of the Peace. The witnesses were borrowed out of a nearby tavern for a beer each. So total cost was probably about $55.

In full disclosure, we did buy 2-3 bottles of semi-cheap champagne to open when we told our friends with whom we were rafting in West Virginia the following weekend. So probably another $18-25 there. I don’t recall doing any dinner out.

Of course, as a guy, I should add that I’m still paying for this 12 years later… :wink:

I got married in the courthouse. No big thing in itself other than the fact that the judge that married us was just disbarred and is looking at spending three years in the pokey for embezzling over $400,000 from a handicapped person.

Ye gods, Rysdad!

Well, I can’t compete with these lowball affairs previously described, but I am particularly proud of the way I balanced traditional wedding accoutrements with an “I don’t give a rip” attitude. I know brides who agonized over cake flavors and frosting choices and even went to tastings. I told my planner to surprise me when she ordered my modest little cake, I didn’t care. Same with my sister’s dress–she was standing up for me and I told her wear whatever she wanted. She forcibly pinned me down to a color theme (something else I didn’t give two sh*ts about) so she could have the pleasure of shopping for something new and could target her search.

I only used a planner because it was a destination wedding, and I didn’t know who to call to line up a minister, location, cake, etc. I let her do that, with a “Whatever sounds good” from me. I think it cost around $3000 total (including the fees from the planner), but $1500 of that was for a fantastic sit-down meal for 30 at one of Charleston’s nicest restaurants after the wedding (and deciding on a restaurant was something I did sort of agonize over). Our honeymoon cost more than the wedding.

We spent very little, less than $1000, and got a lot of compliments on the relaxed atmosphere and simplicity. My mom made my dress, which was simple in style. Mr. genie wore a suit, so did our dads, etc. (the thought of our dads in tuxes was too funny to contemplate). Bridesmaids, such as they were, wore their own dresses in cream or blue.

We had cake and Jordan almonds and homemade punch–and I worked at a bakery at the time and got the cake cheap! The wedding itself was free and so was the reception place. We decorated with pansies in baskets and tablecloths borrowed from the university dining. The photographer was my uncle, he just took 6 rolls of film.

All in all, a very happy day. We weren’t choreographed by anyone, and we got to enjoy our own wedding and the presence of lots of family and friends.

For my first wedding, my parents took out a loan for $10,000 and threw a huge wedding (that I didn’t really want, but I had no say even though I protested). They were still paying off the loan when I left my husband less than four years later.

When I married my second husband nine years ago, we got married in my parents’ living room. Hired a minister for about $50, bought a cake for about $20 and a party platter for about $30. Immediately family only were invited.

No honeymoon (I had a small child and couldn’t leave her, plus we were poor anyway), just a night away in a hotel for about $50. Dinner at Fuddruckers for about $20.

Do I win? :slight_smile:


$50 for the marriage license. The cake was donated by my brother in law, who worked at a bakery. The wedding was in my friend’s living room, and she made the meal as well. It might have been an additional $50 for the JP as well. For that, I had nearly six years of marriage. God, I wish the divorce had been as cheap.

I think I got everyone beat since I never really had a “wedding”. Getting married for me consisted of taking a bus to Yong San Army Post in Seoul. Did some paper work at the personnel office, then to a cab to Seoul City Hall. Did some more paper work & took another cab to the American Embassy, where we did the final paper work.

Isn’t that romantic.

My parents also did the “in the courthouse with what they had on” thing.

But what my sister did was impresive. Using her family ties and her own ingenouity. My mom found a gorgeous dress at Goodwill 3 years before my sisters wedding and the proposal and had her buy it for $7 just in case. Her father-in-law runs a restaurant and he cooked up a huge meal for everyone. It was held on his horse farm. My sister made herself a lovely veil. The minister was a famiy friend. Probably the most expensive thing was the cake. So lots of guests, lots of food, beautiful scenery (The Sleeping Giant on Kauai was the backdrop), awesome cake, all for practically nothing. And she did it all in 2 weeks too. She always was a real social butterfly.

Mine wasn’t really “no-frills” but it ended up being really affordable and fun. Got married with a package from the Excalibur in Las Vegas. It included flowers and pictures, but I hate flowers and traded them for more pictures so I didn’t have to pay extra for everyone. (Instead of a bouquet, I used a prayerbook of my grandmothers with long satin ribbons in my wedding colors hanging out of it.) Bridesmades/Groomsmen wore black suits (even the gals) and matching ties which I purchased to match the ribbons, lol. Got my dress at a bridal outlet (but it was still in the $300-500 range, I forget. I have a formal I got at JC Penneys for $65 last year that I think is much better looking – live and learn!) Instead of a reception, we took everyone to the King Arthur’s Jousting Tournament dinner afterwards. (That was like $25 a head, and around 20-25 people actually made the trip to come.) I was told by several people that it was the most fun they’ve ever had at a wedding, and one friend of my husbands had such a great time, he now LIVES in Las Vegas, lol.

Reno NV, amost 25 years ago. Spent maybe $35. Whole thing was part of a camping trip, spent that night at Lake Lahotan.

The marriages of my sibs that had fancy weddings lasted 10 years or so on average.

I think we made our point.

$60 for the marriage license, $600 for the rings, $50 for the cake, and $100 for the reception. We called everyone that we wanted to invite and they made their own transportation arrangements if they lived out of town. The dress was a dress that my mother had, and Mr. Funions wore a suit that he’d already had. My brother was the maid of honor and my sister-in-law was the best man. The minister was free and the wedding and reception took place in the living room of my (now) mother-in-law. We figured that the ceremony itself would only last ten to fifteen minutes, everyone but our grandparents could stand. The rehersal took place about 10 minutes prior to the real deal, so no rehersal dinner to plan and pay for. Since we got married just after Christmas, the color scheme was fairly easy to pinpoint (red and green anyone?), and we got married just after sundown with strands of Christmas lights providing the atmospheric ambiance. And then we were off for two days to honeymoon on my father-in-law’s sail boat (not something I recommend in the dead of winter).

All told, just over $800 was put into our wedding…and people still talk about how wonderful it was.

The Mrs and I were married in Vegas, in a little white chapel, right on the strip across from Circus Circus. The whole thing probably cost about 200 dollars.

BTW, In the Chapel, they had a menu of services, right on the wall, which gave prices for services such as:

-Play music(wedding march)-$30.00

-Make video - $50.00

-Take pictures- $35.00

-Have flowers in pictures- $10.00


So a couple could just get a basic, cheap wedding, or they could customize it.

First marriage. Wedding license $14. Navy exchange wedding bands, $25 for pair. Judges secretary and clerk from adjacent office as witnesses, free. Marriage by judge, free, would not accept money. Total cost, $39. Marriage lasted less than 2 years, guess you get what you pay for. Current marriage cost a couple thousand but has been worth every penny.

I paid all of ~$70 to get married:

  1. Drove from here to Carson City, Nevada, during Spring Break seven years ago. Soon-to-be Mom-in-law covered the cost of the trip as a “wedding present”.

  2. Stayed in Carson with soon-to-be Grandma-in-law, who fed us.

  3. Went to the Carson courthouse the next morning to get a license; it cost about $25-30 and took less than 10 minutes.

  4. Went back to impending-Grandma-in-law’s house, called and made an early afternoon apointment with a JP.

  5. Went to the Carson City Taco Bell for wedding lunch.

  6. Got married around 2:00 at JP; Grandma-in-law stood as witness. Cost $35-40.

  7. Walked across the street to “Java Joe’s” for the “reception”.

  8. Went to a local rock shop / new age store; bought my new wife a $7.00 malachite-set-in-silver wedding ring (neither of us still have “real” wedding bands; her ring has long since broke and I’ve never owned one).

  9. Dinner: buffet at the Nugget.

  10. Gambled, sight-saw, returned to Alpine.

Ehhhhh Okay???

Blood tests - free - we were still on active duty at the time.
License - $25
Fee to notary to hitch us - $10
Witnesses - a couple of women who worked with the notary.
Clothes - I was in uniform, he was in jeans
no cake
no reception
no rings
no fuss
no muss
18 years and counting…

Great stories, everyone!

racer72: The bride’s honor attendant was a relative of hers, and the groom’s was a relative of his.