Since it was my second marriage, I decided I didn't need or want a huge ceremony. I looked up "wedding chapel" on Yahoo's yellow page section and came up with several places. Some were very expensive, but I found one for $65, which included the minister, music, rice, favor bags, and decorations.
The minister's wife took pictures with a disposable camera for us, which was also included in the cost. Of course, I had friends take digital and actual pictures as well. It was in a small room, so it could only seat up to 28 people, which is more than enough for immediate family and friends. It was a beautiful place, and the spring/garden theme went along with my summer wedding perfectly.
I then went shopping with my maid of honor. The local Dillard's was moving and had a massive sale. I bought my wedding dress for $25! They called it a "prom dress," but it was white with simple beading that lined the edges and the diagonally cut over-skirt. The dress also had a lace up back. I wanted simple and beautiful, and I was not disappointed! I bought some white lace high heels for $5 at the discount shoe store. I purchased a tiara and wedding veil on eBay for $12 each, and they were brand new! I also bought my "wedding jewelry" at Target for under $20 (earrings and a pretty necklace with a shiny white pendant).
My maid of honor and her fiancee bought me a garter, and I purchased my "under things" and wedding night lingerie at Ross. Boy, I love that store! I spent a total of $30, and that included the items I purchased for my maid of honor as a part of her gift from me. I also bought her shoes ($4 for hers - she beat me on that) and paid for her hair to be done by a friend of mine who is a hair stylist. She charged me $20 for my maid of honor, my daughter (the flower girl), and me!
I told myself that I wanted to keep it under $500 for the ceremony if at all possible, and it totaled just under $200 including my dress! That left my husband-to-be to purchase the marriage license, and we both bought matching rings. We got them from e-weddingbands.com. They had fantastic service. We needed our rings before their normal turn-around time, so they worked with me and got them to me in one day, rather than 10 days at no extra cost. And their prices are very reasonable. We chose the infinity titanium bands, which cost us $260 (including engraving). That meant I spent my $500 that was budgeted for the ceremony on everything regarding my wedding, including my dress and the ring for my husband.
If you want a simple, beautiful, and frugal wedding, it really is possible. You just have to look for bargains and deals. Don't forget to use the Internet and eBay. Loads of people are making money online, and they sell homemade (and very elegant) wedding items for much cheaper than you can get them from a local wedding store. You can even get a nice dress there! You just have to be open and willing. I think a $25 wedding dress is a bragging right, not something of which to be ashamed!
"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it by mailto:MyStory@stretcher.com
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