Friday, 21 September 2012

How we got married for less then $1000

When people talk about weddings and getting married they always come out with insanely high prices. Perhaps they aren't that insane - just the going rate for what a wedding costs. But they don't have to be that way. Granted our wedding was small, we had five guests but it was booked last minute but some of the tips can be passed on regardless of the scale of your big day. Admittedly we saved on our wedding because we wanted to splash out on Chicago, our honeymoon - that's just the way we are and this is just how we did it our way. 

Paperwork; $20/£12
Like everyone we had to have a wedding licence to get married, luckily it only cost $20. [No getting around this].

Stationary; $20/£12
If your crafty you can keep your costs down by making a lot of the stationary items yourself which is what we did with the invites. After finding a love bird stamp on etsy which we could personalise with our initials for $9 it was the perfect for stamping postcards and slotting them into envelopes. [Think save the dates, invites and thanks you].

Our home made invites.

Venue; $300/£185
We got married at the Teacup Wedding venue which is in Ann Arbor, about an hour away from where we live. It was an internet find, one specialising in low budget quick weddings which was ideal for us because of the whole visa issue - not knowing when I was moving and having only 90 days in which to do it. Dates can be booked at the last minute with great prices. The amount of guests affects the price so we opted for the package with six guests - we still could pick the style of the ceremony [religious/humanist]. It suited us just fine because we never wanted that church wedding because we're not religious. [Just think outside the box].

Meal; $200/£125
Having a celebratory meal was always important to me and a more informal way of getting everyone around the table talking for us and our five guests. We opted to go to the lovely Italian restaurant Grazi, also in Ann Arbor - we didn't hold back in splashing out either on $40 glasses of wine and really nice meals. This way we got lovely food and drink and didn't have to bother with hiring venues and so on. Yes we were sitting along the normal guests within the restaurant but it got people coming up and congratulating us - but you could always hire a private room. 

Dresses and suits; $245/£150
always wanted a dress that I would, or at least could wear again - to me wearing a dress just once is a waste of money. But I could never picture myself in a traditional wedding dress - just not me at all. After not seeing any dress I liked in department stores I ended up buying one from Forever 21 for $30. Yes $30. Granted most brides probably don't buy their dress from a high street store but it suited me to a tee and it's what I felt confident in. Shoes were from Payless for $15 and the jewelry I already had or were gifted to me [more about what I wore can be read here].

My dress

With regards to suits for Joe - we went to the Men's Warehouse - a huge chain in the US which has gorgeous contemporary suits. Making the most of their offers we actually came away with two for $200 mainly because Joe didn't own one already - if he had, it would have been even cheaper. But a suits an investment anyway. 

Rings; $90/£55
Now that might seem very cheap but let me explain. My own ring was a gift from Joe's gran which fitted perfectly and I love knowing it has a history behind it. So that left us only having to buy a ring for Joe which we managed to pick up at a JC Penny's sale. Using a family members discount we got it even cheaper. My parents wedding rings were cheap ones and they've lasted 30 odd years. You don't have to splash out.

Flowers; $35/£25
As soon as you mention flowers when it comes to wedding and the costs will shoot through the skies. A way of keeping it cheaper is to make your own bouquet. Being winter and not having a garden ourselves this was a little limited, but when there's a will there's a way. What's big in the US is using fake flower bouquets - not only are they cheaper, they are crafty and, well mines still alive today and makes a great center piece on our dinning table. Again I was savvy and brought my fake bouquet from Michael's while it was half off in a sale.

Flowers 4
 My flowers.

Photography; free
Whatever your budget you want some great photographs to remember the day. In our case I gave my camera to one of our guests [who volunteered I didn't make them] and they snapped away. We don't have hundreds of photographs and we don't have all those posed ones everyone else has, but that's fine by us.

Grand total - $910/£560
So that was our way, granted it still cost us money - but its what we could afford. We didn't have hand outs by family members. We paid for it all ourselves, so we had it our way. Never feel like you have to have a huge wedding if that isn't what you - its your special day and your guests will enjoy it all the same, and if you want to include the honeymoon it would still be less then $2000 all in. I hope anyone can take some tips or ideas off ours.

Would you ever have a super low key wedding? Share your tips in your comments for keeping to a budget!


  1. It's great that you didn't spend a lot of money. I get so upset when I see shows like Bridezilla and the women are spending thousands on a wedding dress or flowers. We eloped in Vegas and that was $350 for all the paper work, rings and ceremony. I think we spend maybe $2500 for a wedding reception for 100+ people. Of course our parents helped us a lot and I'm thankful. It was an intimate and fun wedding.

  2. Thanks for this post!


  3. You're wedding sounded perfect. I want something low key too, I already know I want a Vivienne of Holloway dress for my wedding so I can wear it again. I'm so happy for you and Joe

  4. I've enjoyed your posts about Detroit and your vintage finds. The attitude of spending less on a wedding is terrific.

    Today I included your blog/you in a set of new blog awards:

    Stop by when you have a chance.

  5. Love those invitations, and sounds like a lovely, personal wedding :) Great ideas!

  6. Your wedding sounds lovely, to me it's not about how much money is speant but the the idea of two people who love each other coming together and celebrating their love in their way.

    Hannah x

  7. Brilliant post - congratulations and all the best for a very happy future.

    I'm now following you and found your blog through life in a breakdowns blog hop, would love it if you had a few mins to check out my blog too

  8. Great post! We eloped because we just didn't see the point in spending all that money on a wedding ... but we did, however, have an amazing honeymoon. We went to New Zealand and Fiji! I found your blog through NewEnd Studio who gave you an award, and now I'm your newest follower

  9. Wow that's incredible how cheap you can actually get a wedding for, especially when you hear about how much some people spend! I'd love to put my own stamp on my wedding day and get crafty and make lots of things to keep costs down. My godmother is a florist so I'm hoping when the time arrives I can buy some cheap flowers somewhere and have them arranged as a wedding present haha! (: xx

  10. We got married by the chaplain while I was home on leave from Japan, with two guys from my husband's outfit to stand up for us. I think the total cost of the wedding was $200 and that was mostly for postage to mail out the announcements.

    Perfect wedding; no muss, no fuss, no details.

  11. I love this, what amazing tips! Just goes to show you dont need to spend £20,000 for a special day. Congrats!

  12. I love that your wedding was exactly how you wanted it. I think that's how weddings should be - perfectly suited to the couple. In the end what you will remember is being happy and having an amazing life together, and to me that is all that matters :)

    x Jasmine

  13. We are in the first stages of planning our wedding, and admittedly it’s all a little daunting, though I am determined to add my own touch to the invites, save the dates etc without it costing a fortune. Great tips here xxx