How Much Does it REALLY Cost to Get Married? - Planning our Courthouse Wedding

Let’s just cut to the chase. Weddings are expensive AF. You go to hire a vendor, get a quote in your inbox and cry. I saw a fellow blogger equate wedding planning to crying over spreadsheets, and I hate to say it, but I’m in the same boat. If you have been following along with my wedding plan, then you probably know that we are having a destination wedding in June. People keep saying to me, “Oh, it’s just a destination wedding. It can’t be that bad.” Well, let me tell you. It is. I picked a stunning venue with delicious food & cocktails, beautiful wedding invites, all day entertainment, and a top notch photographer and videographer, and I’m paying the price.

There is so much pressure to throw a beautiful over the top wedding these days. We spend YEARS pinning lush flowers, 3 carat diamond rings, candlelit dinners, and chandeliers hanging from restored barn rafters. We build up this vision in our head, and then when the proposal comes and we go to plan the wedding, there is a rush of disappointment.

My parents are helping us a little bit, but we are paying for about 80% of the wedding. I won’t lie to you, I’m spending way more than I can afford on our wedding, and it has put a huge weight on my shoulders that never needed to be there.

Our wedding planner recommended we get legally married in the US before our destination wedding, so I started looking into what we needed to do to make that happen. I scheduled our courthouse wedding ceremony for February. The ceremony costs $10.00. We will apply for our marriage license a week or so before that and it will cost us $20.00. So there you have it folks. That is what it ACTUALLY costs to get married.

I decided to hire a local photographer, get a simple white dress to wear to the courthouse, a bouquet & boutonnière of greenery, and schedule a celebration dinner for our closest family and friends. My dress was $86.00 from Lulus and the bouquet and boutonnière of simple greenery was $60.00. The photographer is costing us a little over $400 for an hour & a half of coverage. We will get a few shots getting ready at our house, and then downtown and in front of the courthouse! I planned the entire thing in just a few short days and now I am SO looking forward to it more than anything because it’s the day Andrew becomes my husband!

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Planning our courthouse wedding really put things into perspective. To all my fellow brides out there, follow your heart and choose what means the most to you, but don’t stress yourself out trying to live up to an unrealistic expectation. I’ve heard a lot of couples say they are waiting to get married because they can’t afford it. You do NOT need to spend thousands of dollars to become one and have a special celebration!

In the end, all that matters is becoming husband and wife, and I can’t wait to do that at the courthouse next month and then celebrate like crazy with all our family and friends in Mexico. That said, I could have avoided SO much financial stress by scaling back our destination wedding.


We have already paid all of our nonrefundable deposits (yes, I know they are sunk costs), but for what we have spent, I want to enjoy every bit of our destination wedding. Looking back, I definitely would have stuck to a smaller budget and not let “Pinterest” pressure me to throw a gorgeous wedding that is out of my budget. All I want to do is become husband and wife! And for that reason, I’m more excited for February 28th than I am June 1st simply because we will be getting married for real, real!