I’ve always wanted to do a series about inexpensive but great weddings and since it’s a busy end of the week, I thought you’d appreciate getting to know a few more cool people. The following three days will feature three couples and how they had the day of their dreams without sticker shock.

The Happy Couple: Sean and Stacy
Location of Wedding: Popham Beach (Phippsburg, ME)
Date: October 11, 2003
Total Cost of Wedding: $9000 (eek!)
$150 ceremony
$2000 Maine Maritime Museum (reception)
$2000 plated meal
$1000 open bar
$500 band
$200 flowers
$75 car
$3000 honeymoon

Tell us about your wedding day. (How many people were there, what was the ceremony like, overall impressions, etc.)
The ceremony was at Popham Beach on a beautiful, unusually warm fall day in the late afternoon. It was a pretty informal setting – our friend officiating, the ceremony area was delineated from the rest of the beach with stones and seaweed, and we had to shout our vows to be heard over the ocean.

The ceremony itself was non-demonational and we drew from Native American readings and wedding blessings. Within minutes of the ceremony being over, a huge fog bank swept over the beach! So we have some pictures pre-fog and some in the fog.

The reception was tons of fun. I really loved that we had the contradance and that pretty much everyone participated and seemed to love it even though we were crashing into each other. The only thing I’d wished was that we could’ve kept the hall for later in the evening. The museum had a policy of kicking people out at 10 pm which seemed kind of lame to us, though we were extremely exhausted by then anyway.

What were some ways that you saved money in planning your wedding?
Keeping it small – we initially wanted it to be VERY small (30 people) but in the end we had about 75 – still very small by most standards
Having the ceremony on a beach. $50 or so to the State Park plus the cost of rental chairs
Having our friend officiate the ceremony. FREE
Rather than renting a limo, we were able to use an antique car owned by a friend of a friend….we still paid the guy something for use of the car but it was much less than a limo and more fun! $50-$75
Flowers – while we did use a florist, the flowers were very simple and since the wedding was on the beach there was no need to decorate the ceremony site. $200

Where did you splurge, and why?
Contradance band $500 – we didn’t want a cheesy DJ and since we’re both into old timey music we felt this was essential.
Open bar – we wanted everyone to have fun (and dad pretty much insisted on it!) (still bummed that sean and I were too busy to have more than 1 drink a piece….haha) $1,000?
Honeymoon – we both love traveling and to us this was the most important aspect. We went to Portugal for three weeks. I believe we spent around $3000 (which isn’t too bad considering how long we were there. We lived quite cheaply while we were there – stayed at small inns, didn’t eat out every single meal, etc.

What advice would you give to couples planning a wedding on a budget?
Don’t let parents hijack the planning though I suppose in our case it worked out okay since the parents ended up paying more for it than we expected they would!

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