The Carr Report: How she gave her big fat wedding a diet!

by Damon Carr, For New Pittsburgh Courier

The average cost of a wedding in 2022 is $30,000. It’s $36,000 once you add in the average cost of an engagement ring. That’s a whole lot of money! That’s a huge financial commitment for the average person. That dear friend is the reason why newlyweds gaze into each other’s eyes and utter these words as the final statement in their vows, “Till Death do us part.” I’m joking. However, if you think about any major financial obligation you’ve ever made, you rationalize and justify the financial outlay by convincing yourself that you’re going to have it for a long-time. When you purchased that home that cost more than you initially budgeted for, you rationalized it being your forever home. When you purchased that car that was more than you initially budgeted for, you rationalized that you’d keep the car for a minimum of 10-years. As such, when you decided to tie the knot, you wanted the fairytale wedding with all the bells and whistles. That comes with a big fat price. A cost you rationalize and justify.

This is why I was shocked when I stumbled across an article detailing a couple who got married on a $500 budget. That’s not a typo. I didn’t miss any zeroes. Her dress for the wedding was only $47. Say what!? The average cost of a wedding dress is approximately $3,000. Sure you can find a cheaper wedding dress but $47? Who knew? Sheesh! That’s how you give a big fat wedding a diet. I figured, my readers and I can learn a thing or two from this Budget Diva.

The article I read is titled, “I got married in a $47 dress and posted it on TikTok to show that weddings don’t need to be expensive” Google it to read the entire article. I’ll share excerpts from this article which originally appeared in “Insider.” Kiara Brokenbrough is the woman who’s wedding cost $500.

 When my husband and I got married in February 2022, we decided to have a small and modest ceremony. He had recently relocated to California to live with me, so we felt that we shouldn’t spend too much and instead chose to save up for our new life together.

The dress only cost $47 because I ordered it from SHEIN, a clothing website based in China. I always wanted a more affordable dress to save on costs—we only spent a total of $500 on our wedding ceremony and reception, and that includes the cost of my dress and his $100 tux.

Overall, I’m happy that I decided to have a modest and intimate ceremony, and I’m really proud to have spread a message that it’s more important to invest in your marriage than your wedding day or your outfit.

Our wedding began with an intimate, 30-person ceremony in an outdoor location that we did not have to pay for. We rented 30 chairs for $76 and a triangle-shaped arch for $230. The flower petals, cake, and the runner on the floor were all gifted to us, and for the reception, we all went to a nearby restaurant where everyone paid for their own food and drink.

I read this story a few times in preparation for this article. Yet, I’m still amazed at the fact they pulled off an amazing wedding for only $500. I thought my wife and I were creative in how we kept our wedding costs down to $6,000. That cost included a wedding, 2 receptions, 2 wedding dresses, 2 Tux’s, and the Honeymoon. We were way under today’s average cost of $30,000 for a wedding but we were a far cry from $500. I’ll share more about how we manage to get our cost down. First, I’d like to share a wedding cost story on the other end of the spectrum.

I was recently listening to a Ramsey Solution Podcast. This episode was called, “Help, our wedding is going to cost $500,000. That’s not a typo. I didn’t add too many zeroes. I was just as shocked listening to this $500,000 wedding story as I was reading the $500 wedding story.  Below is a summary of his story:

He’s 22 years old, making $90,000 per year. He currently resides with his parents. He has no debt. He’s not required to pay rent but he does help out with groceries and household items for the house. He currently has $30,000 in the bank plus he’s saving 15 percent of his income towards retirement. He’s been dating his girlfriend for 6-years. They’re High School Sweethearts. Safe to say, this young man has a good head on his shoulders. He’s doing an amazing job with his money. He called into the show because he’s thinking about moving out of his parents home and getting his own place to live in. He fears that doing so will hamper his ability to save towards his $500,000 wedding. You’re probably wondering what I was wondering as I was listening. Why a $500,000 wedding? He’s from India. Apparently their wedding celebration is a big extravaganza. In their culture, a wedding celebration and wedding ceremony last an entire week. That’s some serious money for a wedding! That’s a huge financial commitment from the start!  I can imagine them gazing into each other’s eyes, reflecting on the cost of their wedding as they say in unison, “Till death do us part!”

Then there’s this show on Netflix called Marriage or Mortgage. On this show each couple has saved $30,000. They have to choose if they should use the $30,000 to finance an amazing Wedding or use the $30,000 as a down payment on their first home together. Spoiler alert. Ten couples participated. Half chose marriage. Half chose a mortgage. There was one couple whom I thought was the smartest couple of them all. They eloped, got married on the cheap and used the $30,000 as a down payment on their home. Which would you choose, marriage or mortgage?

As for me, here’s how we are able to keep our wedding cost down. We got married on Royal Caribbean Cruise. The wedding package was $3,500. It included a wedding ceremony, A small reception and 7-day cruise/honeymoon. We had a second reception a month later in our hometown. Hence, the reason for two dresses and two tuxedos. Family picked up the majority of the cost. We chipped in with $1,000. The remaining $1,500 was for two gowns and two tuxedos. I rented both my tuxedos.

(Damon Carr, Money Coach be reached @ 412-216-1013 or visit his website @



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