A couple from Los Angeles, California, has gone viral for cutting their wedding expenses to a low of $500.
Joel, 30, and Kiara Brokenbrough, 28, met Las Vegas in 2016 and remained in contact through social media. The couple reconnected in 2018 and began dating soon after.
Joel and Kiara got engaged in December of last year before marrying on February 12, 2022, after connecting through their beliefs.
Their wedding was a “dream come true,” according to Joel, a high school basketball coach and physical education teacher. The ceremony signified their official marriage as husband and wife, and it went over without a hitch.
“You have a wedding, with witnesses there to witness you, vowing to your spouse, vowing to God that you guys are going to stay together for life,” Kiara told Good Morning America. “And then you celebrate with food, drinks and dance. And that’s exactly what we did.”
With little time to organize, they decided on a courthouse wedding, but Kiara wanted something different.
Kiara, a social media manager and content producer, had previously traveled through the Angeles Crest Highway region with companions on her way to a performance. She remembers wanting to get married there, so she made it happen.
Kiara and Joel were married for free on the side of the road, and they didn’t need to get a public permission because their guest count was under 75. Only 30 to 40 family members and close friends were invited.
Many of those loved ones chipped in to make their wedding happen. Kiara’s god-mom gifted her flowers, her sister gave her a runner, and her god-sister provided the cake.
Following the ceremony, they went to Misty’s Lounge in Ontario for the reception, where they “ate, drank, and danced.” Despite the fact that they didn’t have a reservation, the party arrived as soon as it opened. The guests had no trouble paying for their meals and beverages.
“Our village is strong. People paid to fly out here to come to a wedding, and they knew if they wanted food and drinks, it’s available for purchase, and they knew that,” said the budget-savvy bride. “I didn’t hear anyone complain.”
Their biggest expense was an arch for the background, which cost around $200.
Kiara went dress shopping for her wedding gown for the first time in January, trying on dresses that cost up to $1,500. She did, however, find a $47 bridal gown at Shein, a budget-friendly fashion company.
“I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a dress because I had the mindset I’m gonna wear this one time for a few hours,” she explained in a TikTok video documenting her dress-shopping experience.
Joel also opted for something affordable for his wardrobe, only spending about $100 for his suit from Boohoo online.
With that, the pair managed to keep their wedding costs at just $500.
“Couples need to realize that the wedding is about the bride and the groom, first and foremost,” Joel said. “It’s not about the people who attend or who is invited.”
The bride and groom wanted to keep their wedding costs “as low as possible” because they didn’t want to begin their new chapter in life in debt—an notion they hoped other couples would take away from their now-viral narrative.
“Don’t let a budget stop you from marrying that person. If you feel like you need to get married, let our wedding be a sign to you that it doesn’t take all that and it can definitely happen,” Kiara said.
The newlyweds documented their low-cost wedding journey on social media, which you can find on Kiara’s Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.