Let me tell you a secret when it comes to weddings: You can get married anywhere you want to (at least in North America). All you need is your partner, a marriage licence, a witness and an ordained officiant. That’s it. You don’t need the fancy dress, flowers or chair covers. You also don’t need to book – or pay for – a venue either. That is if you don’t mind having a short, intimate (although potentially public) guerrilla wedding ceremony.
What is a Guerrilla Wedding?
A guerrilla wedding is basically an impromptu ceremony where you, your fiancé, an officiant, and few guests (and a photographer, if you’d like) literally just show up, unannounced, to whatever location you choose to say your “I Do’s”. It has become a modern-day version of eloping. It’s a little more personal than City Hall, but not as elaborate as a traditional ceremony.
Guerrilla wedding ceremonies are becoming increasingly popular because couples are looking for budget-friendly, DIY-style weddings. (It also helps that Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum’s characters had a guerrilla wedding in the 2012 movie “The Vow”.) They are appealing because they can take place just about anywhere you choose. Maybe you want to “walk down the aisle” at a meaningful location, like where you first met. Or maybe you’re more interested in having a unique story and want to have your wedding in the middle of a Haunted House. The possibilities are endless!
Why and how does a Guerrilla Wedding work?
Since venues are one of the biggest wedding expenses, cutting out this cost can save you a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. It’s a great way to share your special day with a few close friends and family members, without breaking the bank. Certain locations (such as parks and beaches) will most likely be free. Other locations (such as museums or amusement parks) will have an admission fee, but are still a significantly cheaper option.
It’s important to choose the location carefully, as certain venues are going to be riskier than others. Security might ask everyone to leave, especially if the ceremony is seen as a disturbance. Or the wedding party can be charged with trespassing if you are on private property without permission – which could end up costing you thousands of dollars anyways. Be sure to really think about how much risk you are willing to take, and maybe have a back-up plan (just in case).
You will have to cut down both your guest list and the length of your ceremony considerably – especially if you choose somewhere where this sort of thing is frowned upon. The more people invited and the longer the ceremony takes, the higher your chances of being caught or asked to leave. Open outdoor spaces are usually “safer” and can accommodate more people (but guest list should still be kept to about 20 people or less). Regardless, you are going to draw attention from people passing by and perhaps even the media. If you don’t want this kind of attention, a guerrilla wedding might not be for you.
Just because your ceremony is small, doesn’t mean your reception has to be. Holding a private ceremony followed by a bigger reception is also becoming increasingly popular. It saves money but still allows you to celebrate with everyone you care about. But again, it’s really up to you and your fiancé. If you’d rather keep the whole day intimate and low-key, you could always ask your guests to stick around your chosen venue (for example, look at the exhibits if you’re at a museum or ride the rides if you’re at an amusement park), or simply take them out for dinner.
If a guerrilla wedding isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps one of these other ways to have a cheaper wedding is more suited to your style?
If you are into bling, which at least lasts for a long time and you can stare at every day, you could redirect some of your wedding savings toward your ring. There are all sorts of online retailers, like this Phoenix-based diamond seller, so you can browse to your heart’s content!
Would you ever consider a guerrilla wedding? If so, what would be your ideal location?