My Low-Cost and Low-Stress Wedding

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How I managed to pull off a low-cost and low-stress wedding, and how you can too!

So, You Want to Get Married?

Marriage is a big step, and weddings are full of unforeseen family drama, planning, stress, and cost. When T asked me to marry him back in 1993, we were totally broke. Seriously, I was in graduate school and he had just started in a new job. We had some planning to do!

We knew that getting married would be a great step, since that would allow us to share health insurance and file joint tax returns (which is a boon when income is low or only one person works). But we still had to plan a wedding ceremony and party.

Obvious and Not-So-Obvious Costs

We elected to get married in City Hall, but there was a snag with scheduling and we needed a judge, stat! We ended up getting married in family court (nice word for divorce court). So we saved in venue costs. Our best friend Amy hosted the party at her loft, which helped us out a lot!

Now I have several friends who are planning weddings, and I watch them get very stressed out over all of the small costs that they didn't foresee at the start. So here is a basic checklist of costs you should plan on.

  • Clothing - bride's dress, groom's suit, and friends/family if you want to be choosy about what folks wear.
  • Venue - for ceremony and party
  • Officiant fee
  • Hair, makeup, nails
  • Flowers - corsage, small arrangements.
  • Photographer
  • Champagne, drinks
  • Food
  • Wedding cake
  • Servers
  • DJ or band
  • Hotel rooms near venue
  • Transportation - limos?
  • Gratuities
  • Marriage License fee
  • Honeymoon! (Because after all that, you deserve a vacation!)

It's a lot! And I am sure I forgot a few things. Start planning and saving for your wedding as soon as you can, and you will have less stress and a better honeymoon. We did!

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.