Melissa and Robert Amos of Uniontown, Ohio, could have spent thousands of dollars on their wedding. They spent $20.
Melissa and Robert Amos of Uniontown could have spent thousands of dollars on their wedding.
They spent $20.
“Originally, we planned to go away to an all-inclusive resort,” Melissa Amos said. “But we decided to buy a brand-new house instead. We just moved in last week.”
So, where can you go for a $20 wedding?
To a flower-bedecked corner of the Rev. Lynn Bressi-Rowles’ living room in Plain Township.
“They are no less married than someone who had a church wedding with 300 guests,” Bressi-Rowles said with a smile.
Bressi-Rowles and fellow wedding officiant Catherine Daniels of Canton both have noticed a significant increase in requests for low-cost ceremonies.
“More weddings are being held at homes,” Daniels said. “It can be so inexpensive. Family members can bring dishes for a potluck or picnic afterwards. And there are other locations also that are free — public locations like parks.”
Daniels said using a park or other free location is an opportunity to eliminate other traditionally expensive elements.
“Get rid of all the ‘shoulds,’ ” she said. “Make it what is meaningful to you, not what the brides’ magazines say.”
If the ceremony is less than an hour’s drive, Daniels charges $175, which covers rehearsal and ceremony. Bressi-Rowles charges $85 for rehearsal and $85 for ceremonies held within the county.
The $20 wedding was the idea of Bressi-Rowles’ then-17-year-old daughter. “Two years ago, she said, ‘Mom, the economy is so bad, you need to do something to help couples out.’ So we brainstormed.”
They decided to offer a simple 20-minute ceremony in their townhouse on Mondays through Thursdays.
“Maybe the courthouse is booked, or they don’t want that atmosphere, but still want something small and private and inexpensive,” Bressi-Rowles explained. “It’s proven very popular.”
Of the 300 weddings she does each year, about half are at her home.
“Just had a call today from a couple who wants to get married here (in two days). He’s shipping out, and they want to get married before he leaves,” she said. “In Ohio, we waive the waiting period. In some states, you apply for the (wedding) license, then go back in three days to pick it up.
“Here, you can get the license and get married the same day. I’ve even had couples call me from the license bureau and say ‘Can we come get married right now?’ ”
Daniels said a lower price for a wedding doesn’t make it less meaningful.
“They put their history and their words and philosophy into it, put their heart and joy into it,” she said. “It can be so beautiful for everyone there.”