Get married for under $1,000

You’re probably reading the title of this post, thinking, “is she nuts?” Not at all. In fact, if I could have made it $700, but it doesn’t have quite the same ring as $1000. But I’m warning you, this method of getting married is not for most brides. Basically, I’m going to share the story of how I got married.

All photos by Chuck Bennett

You’d think a wedding decorator would have a huge, fancy wedding right? You’d be wrong. Some might call this method eloping at home. There’s a pretty interesting story. Interested?

My wonderful husband Trinity and I had been seeing each other for two years when circumstances seemed to push us to move in together — my landlord was raising my rent and his roommate was asking him to move out. But Trinity, boy scout that he is, didn’t want us moving in together until we were married. So, we found our first condo together and began planning to get married in a civil ceremony.

We figured we could get married real quick in a civil ceremony the same day we picked up our marriage licenses, but apparently things don’t work that way there — you have to make an appointment and all that. Plus, none of our friends and family could make it on that particular day, so we figured, sure we could postpone it another day to Saturday. Then Trinity had a flash of genius as we sat in Jack in the Box as we waited for our marriage license — he’d heard Saturday was going to be a blue moon (the second full moon in a month) because his coworkers had talked about having a blue moon party. So he asked me — why not get married on the beach? I called my beach bunny friend Rita and asked her what beach we could get married at and she suggested Point Fermin Park, which actually is one of my favorite places in Southern California. So, after finishing at the courthouse, Trinity went off to find himself some white clothes before going to work. I went off to work and sent emails and made phone calls to friends we thought would want to be there. After work, I went to the Glendale Galleria (which happened to be in the city I was covering at the time) and scouted out a white dress — which ended up being under $20 at Robinsons-May. But I didn’t buy it then, unfortunately.

Did I mention that the next day was moving day? Yes. A lot of the folks helping us move were also friends present at our wedding. I was moving from my room in a house in South Pasadena, while Trinity was moving from his room in Pico Rivera to Monterey Hills, so it wasn’t a whole lot of moving, but it was still pretty hectic. After finishing moving, our helpers hightailed it to get to their homes so they could shower and get ready, while I hightailed it to the Galleria to pick up the dress and get some shoes, armed with a $100 bill from Trinity. I arrived at the Galleria, famished after moving and running around, and stopped at the food court, fishing for the $100 bill in my pocket…and discovered it was gone. I’d lost it. And I never found it again. So I called Trinity, hightailed it back to Monterey Hills to pick up Trinity’s credit card (and was admonished not to lose this one!), and rushed back to Glendale to get the dress and some relatively matching shoes. With dress and shoes in hand, I got back to our condo (!), showered behind a curtain that Trinity had just picked up and we got to San Pedro as fast as legally possible. Several of our friends were already waiting for us, including Rita and Sam, who picked the flowers for this cute little bouquet.

Trinity and I stood under tree branches that formed an arch over us, while our friends formed a half circle around us. Our pastor married us in a short but sweet ceremony and Trinity put the ring he gave me on our 1st year anniversary (a promise ring) on my left ring finger, and I put a band (purchased that week, I think) on his left ring finger. (By the way, I didn’t want another ring to keep track of.) And I hadn’t even thought of a photographer, but Rita fortunately did — she called her photojournalist friend at the Torrance Daily Breeze, who shot these gorgeous photos and more! and created a lovely DVD for us.

And that wasn’t the end of the festivities. Many of our friends had to leave — heheh, some were already tired from helping us move, while other friends were pregnant and not having chicken at all — but those who could stick around came with us to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Long Beach. Not exactly a reception, but it was definitely a good time with friends.

So, let’s add it up:

Marriage License: $70
Bride’s dress: $20
Bride’s shoes: $20
Bride losing cash: $100
Groom’s pants and shirt: $45
Groom’s shoes: $55
Groom’s ring: $270
Dinner: $40 (and I don’t even know if we paid for our dinner!)

All that comes to $675. But getting married with no debt, with a memorable story to boot — that’s priceless.

This entry was posted in Budget Wedding by Darleene Powells. Bookmark the permalink.

About Darleene Powells

Darleene Powells was in her teens when she began decorating weddings with her mother, the late Aida Barrientos. Darleene developed her own style of draping tables and other elements for weddings using fabrics like organza, English netting and chiffon. She now works as an online journalist at as an online news producer. She also blogs at and Hack Mom.

4 thoughts on “Get married for under $1,000

Leave a Reply