The Wedding Budget

Henry David Thoreau once said, “money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.”

Moment of full disclosure: I don’t sit at an 18th century desk, drink duty-free tea, and pull Thoreau quotes from deep in my memory bank. I have a Mac, drink coffee, read Bill Simmons, and I googled Thoreau.

Anyway, back to the task at hand. Thoreau was right, and even though we didn’t base our wedding on that single quote we put a lot into this idea of “how can we do this wonderfully in the most inexpensive way.”

There were a few decisions we made that helped alleviate the financial burden many weddings place on family and friends. First, and probably most importantly to the overall vibe of our wedding, we decided to have the ceremony and reception outside, at Jen’s parents house. The crux of that (and Jen doesn’t know this) really lies in the fact that I desperately wanted to be able to tell high-society, wealthy Dallas folk at all the galas and events we go to (zero so far), “yeahhhh, we got married in a barn.”

Hey, Jesus was born in a manger. #justsaying

So there was that, and it helped, since the cost of renting a place plus the amenities can run into the triple or quadruple digits (my research team is still looking into exact numbers). We also borrowed most of the equipment we used at the reception from LifeChurch.TV (Jen’s former employer). As much as we planned on keeping costs down this was an unforeseeable blessing because we had planned on renting most of these necessities.

The other big one was that we didn’t have a wedding party. This eliminated a whole slew of potentially awkward/expensive moments. You know that real dicey area when you get invited to be in a wedding but you don’t know who’s paying for the tux, bridesmaid dress, or bachelor/bachelorette party weekend? And you don’t want to ask because then if you have to pay for it there’s like this thing where you roll on that person for a few days and nobody wants that. We avoided that. In fact, as my wife documented here, we wanted to show our friends how important they were to us by making something to give to them instead of asking them to drop 2-3 Benjys (that’s a $100 bill for those wondering) on us. Crazy, I know!

Side note: we aren’t anti-wedding festivities. Well, we kind of are, but the point is that we have been thoroughly blessed by each and every person who has asked us to be in their wedding and the whole experience has been awesome. You might say we’re lucky, I just say we have awesome friends. The point is we just wanted to do it differently.

Those were the big 3. Venue. Equipment. Wedding party. From there we just had a hand-making bonanza. Well, Jen did, I kind of stood there and stared at paper flowers like they were Slovenians attending a post-United States vs. Algeria World Cup party, unable to believe I was getting married. Too soon on the Slovenians, or no?

If you’re interested I made up a detailed wedding budget in Excel. Have a look. This includes most everything save the rings, engagement week, honeymoon (my parents helped us…thanks guys!), and photography (Email me if you want any of that info.). If you’re not into powerful number-crunching programs that make grown men weep in delight then just enjoy the pictures below.

As always, wedding pictures by Shari Hatfield, visit her blog, it’s awesome. Header picture attribution here.

One of our faves, good summary of Bryan residence
Tried to spray paint Bryan out after ceremony, tackled by bride
GT probably making fun of me

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I'm an aspiring freelance writer and blogger (which doesn't make a ton of sense when you think about it). I started a blog called Our Marriage Project and one about OSU called Pistols Firing. I love both of them, and I love my wife. And I love Kevin Durant, Explosions in the Sky, Tim Riggins, Blue Moon ale, Twitter, and the state of Georgia.

8 thoughts on “The Wedding Budget”

  1. AWESOME! Loved the spreadsheet (that's my kind of thing). But, I think Britt and I have you beat. Married in his sister's house. All food donated, Flowers all donated, 45 guests, total bill, including clothes and cakes, under $1K.

  2. $50 for a marriage license??? YOU PAY TOO MUCH! Could have gotten it for $10 b/c you did premarital counseling. This is Dave Ramsey chastising you. 🙂

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