Getting married can be vastly expensive. On the other hand, it doesn’t have to be.
Marriage, weddings, and receptions are separate things. The marriage part is a legal contract and sometimes a religious one as well. The wedding is ceremonial, a display that people watch. The reception is a party with a fancy name.
If a couple just wants to be legally married, all it takes is a trip to the county office. Everything else is personal, cultural, and optional. Right now in my county, a marriage license costs $93.50. That’s as low as the cost of getting married here can possibly go.
If you want more than that, there are many choices:
My first wedding was at a wedding chapel, just the two of us. The officiant read a suitable service, recorded music played. His wife took a full set of pictures and signed as the second witness. They tape-recorded the whole thing for us to keep. I don’t recall the price now, but it was very affordable and plenty romantic and memorable. I heartily recommend a wedding chapel to anyone who wants to spend very little but still have the feeling and memories of a full-scale wedding. We could have had up to twenty-five guests, but I was a bit shy back then.
If a church ceremony is what you want, and you are a member of a church, costs for the ceremony may be limited to a fee for the musicians and maybe for the pastor. If you aren’t a member, there probably will be a fee for using the building, too. If you choose a church that also has a space for a reception, then that saves paying for another space.