Real talk: You really shouldn’t start your journey together as a married couple in a mountain of wedding-related debt. Wedding expenses can quickly get out of hand, between the venue, catering and wall-to-wall luxe decor. Sure, a $1,000 flower wall may look good in wedding photos, but it’s not a detail that will truly matter in the long run.
How do you keep your wedding budget-friendly, yet still incredibly special? Keep the guest list small. These ten couples opted for intimate weddings, and kept their wedding costs to just $10,000:
Location: Paris, France
Number of Guests: 0
Wedding Ceremony Location: Eiffel Tower in Paris
Wedding Reception Location: No reception
Jacqueline and Mike wanted to avoid the stress (and cost!) that comes with a large wedding, so they opted for a Paris elopement. The couple tied the knot just steps away from the Eiffel Tower with only their photographer and an officiant present. The couple then headed France to Italy for their dream honeymoon, spending their first days as a married couple lounging on the beach and indulging in fine Italian cuisine.
Photography: Paris Photographer Pierre
Location: Austin, TX
Number of Guests: 10
Wedding Ceremony Location: Chapel Dulcinea, Austin, TX
Wedding Reception Location: Rented home (VRBO), West Lake Hills, TX
Lynne and Mark planned on having a destination wedding but ended up deciding on a destination that was within driving distance. They chose Chapel Dulcinea as their ceremony venue after falling in love with its European architecture and romantic vibe.
With only family in attendance for this intimate wedding, Lynne and Mark had their reception at a private home in the Westlake Hills. Because the couple opted for such a small guest list, they were able to pay for everyone’s accommodations (which accounted for 50% of their wedding spending). They also hired a private chef come to the house for their wedding reception.
Photography: Donny Tidmore
Location: Cle Elum, WA.
Number of Guests: 15
Wedding Ceremony & Reception Location: Swiftwater Cellars
Jessica and Aaron wanted their wedding to focus on what truly mattered: their commitment to one another. Surrounded by 15 of their closest friends and family members, the couple exchanged vows that they had written together. After the ceremony, they celebrated with a family dinner-style reception and a late night bonfire with s’mores.
Photography: RebeccaAnne Photography
Location: Dexter, Michigan
Number of Guests: 20
Wedding Ceremony & Reception Location: Zingerman’s Cornman Farms
Mishelle and Joe’s intimate wedding was an especially heartfelt affair- Mishelle lost her first husband to a heart attack when he was only 45. She reunited with Joe, who was her high school sweetheart, after 25 years of not seeing each other. During their walk down the aisle, a live musician played A Thousand Years- the lyrics were especially fitting for their love story.
Their little wedding was a celebration within a celebration; they tied the knot on the 4th of July. Their menu, which included grass fed burgers sous vide, corn on the cob with herbed butter, smashed potato salad, homemade blueberry popsicles and s’mores was a nod to the fun, laid-back holiday.
Photography: Lola Grace Photography
Location: San Diego, CA
Number of Guests: 15
Wedding Ceremony Location: Alcazar Garden, Balboa Park
Elizabeth and Ross tied the knot right across the street from their house at the Alcazar Garden in Balboa Park with the bride’s sister as the officiant. After the ceremony, the couple visited three destinations. First, they stopped at their house for French champagne and homemade herb and citrus cakes, then the wedding party went to the couple’s favorite neighborhood, Buona Forchetta, for dinner, wine and more dessert. They finished off the night at Kindred, a vegan death metal craft cocktail bar.
Photography: Let’s Frolic Together
Number of Guests: 6
Wedding Ceremony Location: Cop Cot, Central Park
Wedding Reception Location: STK
Philippa and Daniel spent part of their big day wandering the picturesque streets of Brooklyn, making for some epic wedding photos. They tied the knot in the Central Park’s quiet, peaceful and romantic Cop Cot, a majestic wooden structure in the heart of the Big Apple. The couple celebrated with a reception at STK’s rooftop bar, watching the sun set over NYC surrounded by their nearest and dearest.
Photography: Danila Mednikov
Location: Petoskey, Michigan
Number of Guests: 52
Wedding Ceremony & Reception Location: Stafford’s Perry Hotel
A snow covered lake, cozy plaid blankets, a hot chocolate bar, a heated tent and a guest list that only included only their nearest and dearest made this wedding truly hygge. Hong and Bryan chose to say their ‘I do’s’ at the charming Stafford’s Perry Hotel in a heated pavilion surrounded by a winter wonderland.
Photography: Nicole Jansma Photography
Location: Ben Lomand, CA
Number of Guests: 33
Wedding Ceremony Location: Henry Cowell State Park
Wedding Reception Location: Casa Nostra
Hannah and Rocky’s wedding was filled with majestic redwood trees, beautiful florals, heartfelt moments, and best of all… donuts! The couple exchanged personal vows surrounded absolute beauty of the redwoods, then celebrate surrounded by family and friends at Casa Nostra.
Photography: Paige Nelson Photography
Location: Haiku, HI
Number of Guests: 10
Wedding Cost: $10,000 (all inclusive: dress/suit/accessories/alterations/wedding bands/minister/flowers/cake/appetizers/champagne/venue rental/videographer/photographer/wedding planner)
Wedding Ceremony Location: Haiku Mill
Wedding Reception Location: The Wooden Crate at Lumeria Maui
A destination wedding on a budget… Is that even possible? Absolutely! Chelsea’s family had already planned a family vacation to Hawaii, so the couple opted to tie the knot while on vacay, saving them some serious $$$.
The couple was awestruck by the majestic setting of Haiku Mill. The venue made the ceremony especially magical, with its old-world architecture, enchanting gardens and whimsical lighting. Due to their small guest list, the couple paid for the elopement package at the venue, which cut down on the venue wedding cost significantly.
Photography: Chris J. Evans
Location: Hendersonville, NC
Number of Guests: 10
Wedding Ceremony & Reception Location: Little Willow Falls
Melissa and Dan chose to have an intimate wedding with only their immediate families in Asheville, North Carolina. The wedding was highly personalized, with every detail infused with meaning – from the wedding dress, to the pearls around Melissa’s neck.
Melissa walked towards her groom to the bluegrass music of Thomas Cassell. The ceremony began with a reading that quoted Johnny Cash- It was a letter Johnny had written about June Carter on her 65th birthday. After the ceremony, the couple sat down to a family-style dinner together.