When Kiara and Joel Brokenbrough were planning their wedding, they were both determined not to take on any additional debt for an event that would last just one day.
A typical wedding normally costs an average of about $30,000. The couple lives in pricey Los Angeles, California, where it’s not unusual for a wedding to cost several times that amount. But Kiara and Joel weren’t having it. Instead, they enlisted the help of their family and friends to spend just $500 for their special day.
“Our goal was to just be as minimal as possible,” Kiara explained. “And to spend the least amount of money as possible.”
For starters, they chose a location that may not be The Ritz, but its stunning natural beauty made it one of the stars of the show. The wedding took place at a highway scenic vista high above the Hollywood Hills. There was ample space for guests to park, and the view was breathtaking. Best of all? It was free.
Kiara stuck to her budget when it came to dress shopping, too. Instead of spending thousands on a dress she’ll only wear once, she purchased a $47 white gown from online retailer Shein.
“I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a dress because I had the mindset I’m gonna wear this one time for a few hours,” Kiara said. Her TikTok video of the dress went viral with over a million views!
As for the ceremony, Kiara says their family and friends “understood the assignment” and supported their efforts to keep costs low. Family donated flowers, a runner, and other small details that can really add up. At the reception, guests paid for their own food and drink.
The result was a beautiful wedding on a California hillside attended by loving guests, just as the couple had imagined.
“You have a wedding, with witnesses there to witness you, vowing to your spouse, vowing to God that you guys are going to stay together for life,” said Kiara. “And then you celebrate with food, drinks, and dance. And that’s exactly what we did.”
The newlywed bride is now urging others to reconsider wasting a lot of money on a big event. She advises finding a free location with natural beauty to avoid purchasing decorations, choosing a simple gown, and remembering the point: To get married in the presence of your loved ones!
Kiara says that they “weren’t trying to impress” anyone, they just wanted to get married. Too late — we’re pretty impressed she pulled it off on such a shoestring budget!
Share this story to inspire other brides-to-be to consider a minimalistic wedding like this one.
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