Kiara Brokenbrough didn't want to go into debt starting her marriage with her husband, Joel.
LOS ANGELES -- The average American wedding costs $30,000, but two California newlyweds managed to tie the knot on a $500 budget -- with the dress, venue and reception included.
Kiara Brokenbrough didn't want to go into debt starting her marriage with her husband, Joel, and focused on keeping things affordable for her wedding.
"Our goal was to just be as minimal as possible. And to spend the least amount of money as possible," she told "Good Morning America."
Kiara started small in spending for her big day with a dress from Shein that cost just $47.
"I didn't want to spend a lot of money on a dress because I had the mindset [that] I'm gonna wear this one time for a few hours," she said.
The couple held their ceremony off the Angeles Crest Highway with Southern California's San Gabriel and Sierra Pelona Mountains as a beautiful backdrop. Because they did not apply for a public permit, they only invited about 30 to 40 relatives and close friends, Kiara said on TikTok. They only needed to pay for chairs and an arch.
They also relied on support from loved ones for expenses: Kiara's godmother gifted the couple flowers, and her godsister and aunt chipped in with a cake.
The wedding party then headed to the nearby Misty's Lounge for the reception. They did not have a reservation but arrived right when the venue opened. This also meant that guests paid for food and drinks themselves.
"The people we have there, they understood the assignment. They understood the things that we were trying to do, and they really supported us," Kiara said.
The Brokenbroughs hope that their wedding on a budget serves as inspiration to other couples thinking of taking the leap themselves. Kiara added that the most important thing to remember while planning a wedding is the couple's number one goal: their marriage and life together.
Editor's note: This was originally published on April 18, 2022.