The Complete Cost of Our Tiny Wedding

As you may have picked up from other posts on our site, Chris and I had a very small IMG_3153wedding ceremony. Only occasionally do I get a pang of something reminiscent of regret for not having a big, romantic, crazy, stressful party for our wedding day… but then I look at our bank accounts and our debts, and I know we did what was right for us. And when I think of the “costs” we accrued and/or didn’t accrue, sometimes my more whimsical heart tells my head that the true “cost” is us missing out on our dream wedding. But then I realize what my heart really wanted was professional pictures documenting how awesome we, our families, and our friends are. Which would have been cool. So I suppose that was an emotional cost.

But anyways, without further I-do ado, here’s a truthful, up-front, in-your-face breakdown of the true monetary cost of our tiny wedding:

Officiant (Retired Judge): $75

When I called the local courthouses, none of the judges or magistrates were available to perform a marriage ceremony on such short notice. On a whim, I called a courthouse two towns over, hoping desperately to find someone who could help us make our chosen date of 3/20 (the spring equinox) work. I happened to get a person who had worked there for a bit, and she remembered hearing that one of the judges in the courthouse had a retired friend who still did ceremonies. So there you have it.

Marriage License Application: $80

 

Chris and I trekked over to the Bucks County Courthouse in Norristown one morning

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Chris marches on into the courthouse

before work and wandered into the courthouse. In Pennsylvania, marriage certificates are provided in something that is called the Orphans Court. Though the name incites a strange, dark guilty feeling, it’s a relatively happy place for a courthouse-cubicle environment. Pictures of people who completed their marriage ceremonies there are on the wall. We filled out information about ourselves and our family history on a computer that reminded me of my early childhood (and had probably been there since that time), keeping our little secret among ourselves.

 

 

 

My Look: $400

Grocery stores carry an oft-surprising array of flowers, even in March. Since we were on such a short timeline and the florists didn’t open until ten a.m. at the earliest, I opted for the grocery store option for my peace of mind. I decided on colors before I went shopping (I had always wanted yellow and white, and Chris’s mom’s favorite color was purple), so I focused my search that way. I checked Wegman’s, which had beautiful flowers but not in the right colors (and they couldn’t order them in time), and then went to TJ’s, where I found my yellow and white flowers. Giant came through for the purple flowers, and I got some sisal ribbon from Michael’s to create the boutonnieres and bouquet.

Chris’s Look: $275

What he wore: Suit with vest, two shirts, tie, socks, belt, shoes. Chris did his shopping in one trip, of course. He went sale-shopping like a madman and found everything plus a few back-ups for under $300. Proud fiancee moment.

Flowers: $40 (Trader Joe’s and Giant)

Grocery stores carry an oft-surprising array of flowers, even in March. Since we were on such a short timeline and the florists didn’t open until ten a.m. at the earliest, I opted for the grocery store option for my peace of mind. I decided on colors before I went shopping (I had always wanted yellow and white, and Chris’s mom’s favorite color was purple), so I focused my search that way. I checked Wegman’s, which had beautiful flowers but not in the right colors (and they couldn’t order them in time), and then went to TJ’s, where I found my yellow and white flowers. Giant came through for the purple flowers, and I got some sisal ribbon from Michael’s to create the boutonnieres and bouquet.

Rings: $80 for mine, $16 for his (Amazon)

So, Amazon apparently has a wealth of wedding bands and engagement rings. I’m not, by any means, arguing against going to a jeweler or ordering from Etsy. However, Chris and I found the selections on Amazon pretty extensive (with Prime shipping which gave us time to actually exchange his ring twice for size), and were able to choose one for him and for me. (The prices have gone up, but they are still amazingly low-priced!)

Venue: Free

One of the biggest commitments on your wedding day (other than… uh… your spouse) is

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The view from the gazebo of the walk up to our wedding venue, taken two days before we were to change our lives forever!

the venue you choose. It’s usually contracted, meaning you have to pay and they have to make it available. It also usually dictates how many people can come, how you can serve your food, and sometimes who will cater/take pictures/officiate. Knowing that about venues, I was a bit nervous when looking for one for us. I was afraid that would be the deal-breaker for our last minute plans and that we’d have to act like normal people and actually plan in advance. But alas! A week before we decided to just go ahead and get married, we had noticed something called “Hatfield Nature Area” on our ride home from work (one car was in the shop, so we were sharing). Chris had mentioned it off-handedly and I remembered it while sitting at work researching places to get this wedding under control. After a bit of phone tag with the township, they said “sure, go for it, congrats!” and we had the place booked for 11:00 on a Monday morning, free of charge.I never thought I would have a winter wedding

 

Lunch: $359.57

 

As much as it may seem like we missed out on a big wedding, the actual cost of the day was just that: the monetary cost. If I could do it all over again, I would have practiced a little more on my hair. But out of everything that was in my power, that’s all I would have changed.

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