Enjoy 20% OFF at Minted Weddings!

When you shop via links on our site, we may earn a small commission if you make a purchase. Learn more.

Simple Civil Ceremony in Alaska

Many of you might already know Cris, either from her posts here on The Budget Savvy Bride or from her own blog Kiss My Tulle. During her wedding planning, her father became very ill and Cris thought it was important to have a wedding ceremony that her father could attend in case he didn't make it until her original planned wedding day. What was created out of a rushed situation turned out to be lovely, heartfelt, and focused only on what mattered most: celebrating the love of the couple and family. The lack of a fancy dress, detailed centerpieces and excessive decor doesn't make it any less of a wedding. It's still an absolutely beautiful day and a sweet reminder that at the end of the day if you focus on the things and people that matter, the rest will fall into place. xoxo – Jessica

kiss my tulle wedding_0001 kiss my tulle wedding_0003 kiss my tulle wedding_0002 kiss my tulle wedding_0008 kiss my tulle wedding_0004 kiss my tulle wedding_0009 kiss my tulle wedding_0006 kiss my tulle wedding_0005 kiss my tulle wedding_0007

Cris & The Boy

July 22, 2011

Salcha Fairgrounds in Salcha, Alaska

(this was a quickie civil ceremony – read more about why we did it here.)

What was your budget? 

Nothing – this was completely unplanned and unexpected so we decided to focus on the ceremony and getting married part. I think we spent under $200 total.

  • $25 for the marriage application
  • $75 for the marriage license
  • $3.97 for ring pillow fabric
  • $.98 for a box of red dye for the pompoms
  • $60 for a fancy schmancy commemorative marriage license
  • $4.99 for 3 fabric headbands and silk flowers for my bridesmaids and flower girl
  • $1.99 for a dress shirt for The Boy.

For a grand total of $171.93. That’s not a typo. Everything else for the ceremony and informal reception was skipped completely, borrowed, or “donated” (friends brought food for a potluck, another friend made The Boy’s wedding band, and this sweet woman donated her photography services.) We didn’t have time for formal invites so a family friend started a phone tree and someone else posted it on Facebook.

How many guests did you have?

I think about 60-70 people showed up after work or straight from fishing camps. We had everything from days old babies to senior citizens. It was awesome.

What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?

In addition to the DIYs above (which were a nice distraction for my family after all the bad news about my dad), I loved writing my wedding ceremony at 2AM the morning of the ceremony. My sister helped me read it out loud to see how it flowed and then she and my mom actually did readings during the ceremony. I also made sure to leave a spot for my dad to speak spontaneously from his heart (since he was the one who introduced us in the first place). It is such a cool memory.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

I figured out what was important and ignored the rest. Really – it was a must to do the ceremony legally so we made sure to pay all the fees and do all the paperwork. Everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, else was extra. Period.

What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?

Pick your Top 5 Most Important Things. Do those. Be flexible about everything else – this will guarantee that you get the wedding you really want.

What was your biggest splurge?

The commemorative marriage license. It was not a necessity but I fell in love with its Native Alaskan wood carving look and really, really wanted it. Once we got home, I framed it and people always comment when they see it.

What was your favorite detail?

This cute hand drawn picture of us getting married was created by my niece, Cortney. I love it! She carefully created each person in our family and even remembered to include my dad’s signature red bandana!

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Dancing with my dad. I picked one of his favorite songs and it was basically the only thing that happened at the wedding reception. We hadn’t practiced and I was barefoot. He kept dancing me in circles in a mud puddle (and giggling about it). I love that memory.

Please also include a list of all your vendors including any website links.

Golden Heart Memories Photography

*My dad passed away five months after we got married and this was the last time I was with him. By sheer luck, someone videotaped our ceremony which ended up being the last thing we have of his voice. This past Christmas, someone dug out the video and the entire family stopped to watch and remember. I am eternally grateful that I got this opportunity.


The Budget Savvy Bride is the #1 Online Wedding Planning Resource for couples who want to plan a beautiful wedding on a budget they can actually afford. Check out our best-selling book on Amazon, The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer!