My wedding cost far less than $1000. The story starts early one Thursday morning in May 2008. My then boyfriend Quinn and I were feeling spontaneous and decided to skip work. As we wandered around town Quinn told me his sister had become engaged. We talked about our own relationship and how we thought we’d probably get married too. Quinn confessed he’d said as much to his mother in a recent conversation with her. Her reply, “I don’t see why you two don’t just go down to the courthouse and get it over with.”
We both laughed, then paused. Neither of us was at all interested in a huge traditional wedding. I don’t like crowds and financially it would take us years to put together the kind of money necessary for a traditional wedding. Jokingly I wondered out loud if it was really as easy as just going to the court house. We were only a block away from the large downtown public library so we decided to walk over and take a look. Just to see. About twenty minutes later we were sitting in the library looking at the list of fees associated with getting married.
Marriage license: $50.00
Ceremony by clerk: $25.00
We checked the nearest location to pick up a license and realized it was a short train ride away. For awhile we both just sat there looking at that computer screen. Occasionally he’d steal a glance at me and I’d sneak a glance at him.
“So,” Quinn said tentatively, “Do you want to?”
“Get married?” I replied “Yeah okay.” I laughed and we kissed. We jumped up and rushed to the nearest train station. We giggled and talked the whole way to our stop. Quinn called his mom and told her we were going to try to get married that very day. Unfortunately there were no appointments available and we had to schedule our wedding for the following Tuesday May 8th, 2008. The next day after we got paid we went to the mall and blew a large part of our paychecks on rings. He bought a $20.00 stainless steel band from a mall kiosk. My ring was nicer at about 130.00. It was a sapphire in white gold with a few tiny diamonds around it.
That night when we got home Quinn got on bended knee and officially proposed. I giggled and said yes of course. Originally I wanted to keep our plans a secret; the fewer people the better in my book. We were both too excited however and each told a few close friends and family members.
Quinn’s mom offered to provide the flowers and later some pizza for the gathering afterwards. She also offered to give us a ride.. We held hands on the way there giggling and talking softly. Quinn wore his dress pants and tie. I wore a beautiful dress I’d bought on eBay for $.01+shipping a few months before but had never found an excuse to wear.
We arrived later than everyone else. All told there were fourteen guests, our direct family and a few close friends. We were all crowded into the front waiting room of the county clerk’s office waiting for our turn. I couldn’t stop smiling.
We were called into the back room which was decorated prettily. Our clerk was named Antigone. She wore a judge’s robe but her flip flops and jeans were clearly visible below the hem. She was enthusiastic about her job and I think got more poetic and gushy then any preacher or bishop at a regular church wedding. Then with a kiss and a few signatures on a piece of paper we were married.
Afterwards we all went back to our apartment and Ann (my new mother in law) ordered pizza for everyone. I had baked a cake the night before but nobody ate it.
All told counting the rings and the cake I baked we spent $230.00. It doesn’t seem like much now but even if I had thousands of dollars to spend I wouldn’t change a thing about that day. We got married with nothing but what we really needed, our love and each other.