{Meg} My Favorite Movie and TV Budget Weddings | The Budget Savvy Bride
The Budget Savvy Bride

I’m sure we have all been inspired by or enamored with a large, beautiful or extravagant wedding on the tv screen or on film, but I have a real fondness for the small or offbeat budget weddings, complete with a perfect soundtrack that pops up here and there. This is a short list of my favorites and what inspiration we can take from them.

1. Andy and Aprils “surprise” awesomesauce wedding on Parks and Recreation.

You have got to love the crazy, quirky, romantic duo that is Andy Dwyer and April Ludgate. These two not only decided to get hitched after just a few short weeks dating, but also to do it as a surprise for their friends and make it a potluck. I love Andy’s line, “We are in love, so we didn’t over-think it! I cannot overemphasize how little we thought about this!”After inviting everyone to their “fancy party,” items are also requested of the guests; for example,  Andy asks coworker Ben to bring Avatar, 50 pairs of 3D glasses, and a 3D-capable TV. Chris Traeger, played by the gorgeous Rob Lowe, is asked to bring the cake but instead brings something healthier:

Chris: I was in charge of the cake. To be fair, it’s not a cake so much as it is a vegetable loaf. You got your mushrooms, your alfalfa sprouts, your spinach and I had it sweetened with fruit reduction.
Ron: But did they ask you to bring a vegtable loaf or a cake?
Chris: No, a cake, but this is so much healthier.
Ron: So not only does this thing exist, but now you have deprived everyone of cake!

Andy announces to everyone that this is not only a fancy party but also their wedding, and the two are quickly wed in the middle of their living room, April in a short white dress and Andy in a sports jersey.  Andy’s band Mouse Rat rocks out and everyone gets down on the dance floor.

Get down Rob Lowe! Nice shirt Jerry

Now I know how ridiculous and immature this wedding sounds, and in reality sort of is, but if you watch the episode you will see that it has so much heart! I love that they paid practically nothing to get married but were still surrounded by their friends and family and had a meaningful and very “them” celebration. That’s what everyone wants out of a wedding!

So what can we take out of this ridiculous shindig? Well, depending on how you feel about surprises, a surprise wedding could be a lot of fun, especially if all your friends and family are already gathered for a holiday or some other event. Check out this couple that turned their engagement party into a surprise wedding!

The idea of a potluck wedding also isn’t new but is still considered somewhat tacky. But you know what, if that kind of thing doesn’t bother you, or perhaps your friends wouldn’t mind, why not ask for the guests to make a dish? It makes them a part of the wedding and saves you big bucks! In a way it’s the most “traditional” of all since this was how weddings were held hundreds of years ago! There are lots of resources out there for couples planning a potluck wedding.

2. Simon and Elenore’s 60’s ship wedding from Pirate Radio.

Ok, so this marriage may have only lasted 17 hours but that didn’t change the fact that they had a wonderful wedding! The ceremony is held on the pirate radio boat and is broadcast over the radio. The decor and attire is mod, rock and roll, and perfectly 60’s, from the hanging records, Indian flower garlands and flag bunting to the giant turquoise bows on the bridesmaids dresses. You know they had awesome music to dance all night to on a boat full of DJ’s and records!  See a clip of the sweetness here.

What can we take away from this one? after all, most of us don’t have a ship laying around and holding an event on a boat today is probably going to cost quite a bit. But, they clearly had a small wedding that was tucked away, something you could easily recreate by celebrating in a remote location and keeping the guest list small. A friend of ours officiated a beautiful wedding in the middle of the desert in Joshua Tree, if something like that interests you I recommend you look into national parks or other outdoor spaces that are available to the public. If you really would like to tie the knot over the water you may find local boat rentals that could accommodate your party, such as the Creole Queen down in New Orleans.

Mostly what I love about this wedding is the fun decorations that are very DIY and budget conscious. Making bunting and stringing up old records is an easy and cheap decoration that can really set the tone for the event as well as enliven a space. Focus on a particular type of music (in this case 60’s rock and roll) or a particular era can also give the party a theme and breath life into an otherwise cookie cutter affair.

3. Stu and Jade’s Las Vegas wedding

Even though this wedding was held in a drunken stupor at a little white chapel in Vegas, it looks like SO much fun! Check out those powder blue suits and the high roller package, including mugs, hats, and calendars plastered with their awesome photos. Heather Graham looks stripper fabulous in her yellow dress and even though no one can remember it, it was clearly a kick ass wedding. After seeing it I kind of wanted to run off to Vegas and get hitched. That didn’t happen but I have the utmost respect for those who have the balls to do it!


Want to have a quick, easy, and inexpensive wedding? Vegas has always been a hotspot for this, and nowadays there are all kinds of packages, from the slightly silly and tacky high roller one at a corner chapel to elegant affairs at the large hotels. The actual Little White Wedding Chapel offers packages from $200-900! Or if you want something a little fancier you could try the Chapel of the Flowers. Having everything taken care of by the chapel definitely makes a wedding easier and can save big bucks.

This wedding, like the Pirate Radio one, also draws from a certain era to create a theme, the 60’s/70’s! I know my man looks hot in a powder blue suit, how about yours?  If you like the campy vintage look of Vegas then a Vegas chapel wedding could be for you! You would hardly need to decorate, just a good outfit and you will blend right in. Elvis and Priscilla did it in 1967 in their suite in the Aladdin Hotel followed by a breakfast reception for 100 guests. If the king can do it, why not you?

Do any of you love these weddings like I do? What is your favorite TV or Movie wedding? Have you gained any inspiration from on screen weddings?

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  1. This post made my day! I keep begging a friend of mine to elope in Vegas. I mean who doesn't love the high roller package? :)

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