How to have a dream wedding for 5k

Turns out you don’t need 30k for the “most important day of your life.”

Vanesa Ortiz
22 min readJan 25, 2017


While the wedding industry wants you to spend tons of money on that one special day in your life, I promise you that it’s possible to have a dream wedding for a sixth of the average wedding cost.

TL;DR: A destination wedding can be a much cheaper option than marrying at home. A hotel as a wedding venue has many benefits: low costs, way less workload, more quality time with everyone. Family and friends will want this. Involve them in the planning. Prices are always negotiable. Amazon is your source of cheap wedding stuff, including the wedding dress. Scroll all the way to the bottom for list of costs and bonuses.

After my now-husband proposed in the late summer of 2016, we decided pretty fast that we wanted to have the wedding by the end of the year. We knew it was more common to be engaged for about a year or so, as you need a lot of time to plan and get the funds for the wedding, but we decided to do things differently. We knew right away that we didn’t want to spend a fortune on our wedding, to instead use that kind of money for something more reasonable, like saving for a condo.

However, we faced the dilemma that, despite wanting to be cheap and spontaneous compared to the norm, we still wanted to have a beautiful, traditional wedding ceremony and celebrate with our family and dearest friends. This meant that we didn’t want to do the cheapest version, which is to only do a civil marriage with a nice dinner afterward (this is a nice budget alternative though).

To make things more complicated, we are an international couple (I’m Dominican/German, and he’s American). We decided to do the civil marriage in Copenhagen, as Denmark makes it very easy for international couples to marry within three weeks (follow this guide).
However, we wanted to celebrate a symbolic wedding ceremony and have a big party with our friends and family, with food, music, dancing, etc. Being international meant finding a location that would be accessible to all parties. This turned out to be a blessing, as it opened up the option of not necessarily having the wedding where we lived, which at that time was in Berlin. Instead, we could look at the rest of the globe for…