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Let’s just cut to the chase. Weddings are expensive AF. You go to hire a vendor, get a quote in your inbox and cry. I saw a fellow blogger equate wedding planning to crying over spreadsheets, and I hate to say it, but I was in the same boat.
As soon as we got engaged, we decided on a destination wedding in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. When I would stress about the cost, people would say, “Oh, it’s just a destination wedding. It can’t be that bad.” Well, let me tell you. It was “that bad.”
I picked a stunning venue with delicious food & craft cocktails, beautiful wedding invites, all day entertainment, and a top notch photographer and videographer, and I paid the price.
The Pressure to Have the Perfect Wedding
There is so much pressure to throw a beautiful over the top wedding these days. We spend YEARS pinning lush flowers, 3 carat diamond rings, candlelit dinners, and chandeliers hanging from restored barn rafters. Here is my Pinterest wedding board for proof!
We build up this vision in our head, and then when the proposal comes and when we go to plan the wedding, there is a rush of disappointment.
My parents are helping us a little bit, but we are paying for about 95% of the wedding. I won’t lie to you, I’m spending way more than I can afford, and it has put a huge weight on my shoulders that never needed to be there.
Our wedding planner recommended we get legally married in the US before our destination wedding, so I started looking into what we needed to do to make that happen.
What it Cost to Get Married at the Courthouse
I scheduled our courthouse wedding ceremony for February. The ceremony cost $10.00. We will applied for our marriage license a week or so before that and it cost us $20.00. So there you have it. That is what it ACTUALLY costs to get married. It costs $30 to get married.
I decided to hire a local photographer, get a simple white dress to wear to the courthouse, a bouquet & boutonnière of greenery, and schedule a celebration dinner for our closest family and friends.
My dress was $86.00 from Lulus and the bouquet and boutonnière of simple greenery was $60.00. I got my hair and makeup done at the local salon for $100.00.
We paid for dinner for 11 of us and I want to say the bill was around $600.00, and my mom brought a cake from the local bakery.
The photographer cost us a little over $400 for an hour & a half of coverage. We got a few shots getting ready at our house, and then downtown and in front of the courthouse!
I planned the entire thing in just a few short days and it turned out absolutely magical. All in, this perfect, little wedding cost us around $1,000.
Don’t Stress Yourself Out
Planning our courthouse wedding really put things into perspective. To all my fellow brides out there, follow your heart and choose what means the most to you, but don’t stress yourself out trying to live up to an unrealistic expectation.
I’ve heard a lot of couples say they are waiting to get married because they can’t afford it. You do NOT need to spend thousands of dollars to become one and have a special celebration!
In the end, all that matters is becoming husband and wife. That day at the courthouse was one of the best days of my life. Then, we got to celebrate like crazy with all our family and friends in Mexico, but that was just icing on the cake.
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Looking back, I could have avoided SO much financial stress by scaling back our destination wedding. I definitely would have stuck to a smaller budget and not let “Pinterest” pressure me to throw a gorgeous wedding that was way out of my budget.
All I wanted to do was become husband and wife! And for that reason, I was more excited for February 28th than I was for June 1st simply because we got married for real, real the first time! You can check out all the stunning photos from our courthouse wedding here.
Miranda. I am feeling this post SO HARD. I still have student loans, and I’m working for a start up company where I’m living paycheck to paycheck. Therefore- I’ve opted to do an alternative to diamonds. And I plan on working with a local vendor for a discontinued dress (a fraction of the price of regular gowns). I can’t imagine being able to have a crazy wedding like I see on Pinterest, so I may be following your lead. Hell- all I really want is a pizza party with an open bar! But I will be looking forward to reading about your destination wedding and seeing your plans next come to life!
GIRL! Do not stress yourself out. It’s not worth it! Have the damn pizza party with booze! We are in the same boat & idk why I stretched us so thin over some extra AF party. I just want to be Andrew’s wife!
Hey girl!! This is so inspiring. Which courthouse did you go and how did you schedule your ceremony? Thank you!!
We were married in Muskegon, MI. I believe I just called them to schedule!