This Couple Had a $500 Beach Wedding and It Was Nothing Short of Stunning

For Kaity and Tanner, the idea for a low-key, beachfront wedding came on quickly. The couple had been engaged for six months—and made little progress on the wedding planning front—when an idea suddenly struck them: Their upcoming Florida vacation (just two weeks away) would provide an idyllic setting to tie the knot, with all of their family already gathered in one place. 

Surrounded by their closest loved ones and set against a cotton candy sky, Kaity and Tanner pulled off one of the dreamiest beach weddings we’ve ever seen—with a jaw-dropping budget of just $500. Here’s how they did it.

This Breezy, Boho Wedding Is A Master Class In Maximizing Your Budget


The wedding location was a beautiful, waterfront beach home in Santa Rosa, Florida. Tanner’s extended family had already rented the home for their summer holiday, and Kaity added her immediate family to the list of bunkmates after landing on their wedding plans. For the ceremony in the sand, Kaity crafted the loveliest outdoor chapel with greenery, lanterns and rugs and throw pillows (TJ Maxx scores) for guest seating.


Greenery across the ceremony and reception was an amazing salvage moment. On a fortuitous bike ride earlier in the week, Kaity and her mother-in-law passed by a crew of landscapers throwing out a motherload of gorgeous palm fronds and grasses—so they asked to take them. Seashells, starfish and tropical fruits were added to the flat-laid greens to build up tablescapes and pretty decor vignettes.  


Those stunning “blooms”? Yeah, they’re actually two individual faux flower bouquets from a nearby Hobby Lobby, which Kaity accented with those aforementioned local greens for added interest. (Mind. Blown.)


For additional decor moments, Kaity borrowed from family members (see: the wooden crates she used for her altar; the blue glass vases she used for her greenery), and purchased new at Walmart (see: hurricane lanterns; luminaries). Her ceremony signage, a favorite of their adorable flower girl, was a find at a local thrift shop.


On the gown front, Kaity wanted something breezy, comfortable and not too precious. (When getting married on a white sand beach, one must frolic barefoot in the waves after all!) With this criteria in mind, she ordered a lacy two-piece lace ensemble from Lulu’s overnight, and brought it to a tailor for rush alterations just a week before the festivities.

Hair & Makeup

While Kaity wanted a natural beauty look and decided to handle her own makeup, she did want perfect, beachy waves to complement the setting. So she called up a local hair salon and had them add curls to her ’do to the tune of $30.


The reception’s festivities could not have been more cozy, casual and heartfelt. With their families gathered barefoot on the deck, the crew enjoyed an oceanfront sunset while the groom, his father and sister sang and played the guitar.


Fun fact: This beautiful confection is actually two simple store-bought cakes from a local Publix, which they stacked together and dressed up with stucco frosting and fresh berries. And as for their marital meal? An assortment of Chick-fil -A goodies—their favorite food, after all!


We know what you’re thinking: What about the cost of the fantastic photographer? Lucky for these newlyweds, Kim Christopher is a dear friend, and she generously gifted them the session. (A friendly reminder to consider your network first when it comes to vendors.)


"By choosing to elope, Tanner and I were able to focus on our future marriage together rather than planning around one single day," says Kaity. "My advice for anyone planning a non-traditional wedding would be to focus on what will be the most special experience for you and your fiancé and to not get caught up in the craziness of logistics." "Do what makes you happy," chimed in Tanner. "It’s your wedding!" 


Photographer: Kim Christopher
Catering: Publix. Chick-fil-A
Decor: Walmart, Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx
Dress: Lulus  


Home Editor

From 2014-2019 Grace Beuley Hunt held the role of Home Editor covering interior design, styling, trends and more.