This Is What a $900 Wedding Looks Like

With the catering costs, decor decisions and general hoopla of weddings, it’s easy to lose sight of what the day is really about (ahem, love, people.) Which is why we really swoon for the simplicity of a courthouse wedding. Today’s cup of inspiration? Virginian newlyweds Allison and Mike. After getting engaged last spring, the duo immediately knew they wanted to skip the stress and expense of a traditional wedding. The fact that their parents offered to put a wedding budget toward buying their first home together just sweetened the deal.

Surrounded by only their immediate families, Allison and Mike tied the knot under a canopy of maple leaves at the prettiest little courthouse we ever did see. Spoiler: It was kind of perfection. We dare you not to be inspired by this casual, inexpensive and totally lovely celebration. 

Here's How This Bride This Shaved $18K Off Her Wedding Bill (and Still Got Everything She Wanted)

The Decision

“Mike and I have been to countless weddings in the past several years, not to mention bridal showers and bachelorette parties. Not only are weddings extremely expensive for everyone, but neither Mike or I wanted the stress or attention of a traditional wedding. I’m a planner and would have wanted to do everything myself, but with my demanding job and a new puppy, I honestly felt like, the less stress in my personal life, the better.”

The Splurge

“From the beginning, the only thing from a typical wedding that I wanted was a professional photographer to take photos which I could print and frame for our future home. So I hired Megan Chase, a fantastic photographer who I actually went to high school with. It was $700 for all of our photos, retouching, etc., and totally worth it.”

The Attire

“My white lace sheath was $128 from Nordstrom, which I paired with equally comfy nude ballet flats. I did my own hair and makeup, so there was no money spent there, and Mike already owned his suit. Done.”

The Venue

“Our original plan, since Virginia doesn't require a witness, was to get married with just Mike and me on the pretty grounds of the Loudoun County Courthouse. However, our parents really wanted to be there for the ceremony, so we decided to let immediate family attend. We did keep our vows private however, with the families able to watch, but not close enough to hear us exchange them. Mike felt very strongly that our vows be between us and no one else.”

The Ceremony

“Our ceremony was attended by my parents, my brother, his parents and sister and her fiancé. The invitations were done with standard emails (another major savings!). We spent $50 on the civil celebrant (which is required by the state of Virginia), $30 on our marriage license, and $12.50 for five copies of it. In total, our ceremony cost all of $92.50.”

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Courtesy of Allison Sleeman

The Reception Pt. 1

“Instead of a traditional reception, my parents took the group out for nice long lunch following the ceremony. We didn’t skip festivities entirely: My mom did get us a wedding cake from Amphora Bakery for $50 and a custom cake topper, which was $22 with expedited shipping.”

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Courtesy of Allison Sleeman

The Reception Pt. 2

“While we skipped a big party, my girlfriends did not agree with no celebrations whatsoever. So we planned a get-together at my favorite vineyard a few weeks later just to ‘celebrate our wedding.’ I brought a sandwich platter from Wegmans, and there were cheese and crackers and lots of wine. Half the time was spent watching the World Cup final between France and Croatia, and the other half was focused on deciding who had to do the #inmyfeelings dance on camera in the rain. It was casual, no pressure and lots of fun.”

The Honeymoon

“We are happy to be in a great position to buy the home we really want in a few months, and Mike’s parents even gifted us a honeymoon in Ireland at the end of August. My brother got us tickets for a Game of Thrones tour while we are there as a wedding gift, too, which will be a blast. Our wedding was perfect in my view, and true to us as a couple—we wouldn't do anything differently. ”


Home Editor

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