In this episode of being super cheap about my wedding we are going to be talking about bridesmaid dresses. My two bridesmaids both wore dresses from Amazon! (I even looked at wedding dresses on Amazon for myself but in the end I went with a dress from a typical bridal salon.)

I did have some concerns about getting dresses from Amazon:

Sizing: Sizes on Amazon can be completely insane. If you buy a dress from an Asian-based company you may have to size up as much as four sizes.

Color: The main advantage of the traditional bridal salon is absolutely matching colors. I was worried that dresses from Amazon would not provide the same level of color matching.

Quality: Quality on Amazon clothing can also be suspect, but we had enough time (and free returns with Prime) to try a few dresses out if needed.

However, I am a control freak so I didn’t let my girls pick random dresses. I made a list of about ten dresses on Amazon that came in chiffon and navy blue. I shared this list with them and let them pick from among them.

My Maid of Honor wore this ($60!) dress:

My Matron of Honor (the Amazing A Hopeful Hood) wore this ($50!) dress:

How do you think it turned out?

I think they turned AMAZING! Those are two dresses from two different brands! The colors looked perfect together, they styles complemented each other, and both girls got to wear a dress that they picked out an felt comfortable in.

To finish off this look I had both my girls wear silver sandals which they either had or acquired cheaply. I paid for hair and makeup for both as well.

Now that I talked about my apprehensions about this plan, let me tell you what I think worked so well:

Price: These dresses were both less than $60! You can’t beat that.

Wearability: Maybe it’s because I was the bride and the bride always thinks that the bridesmaids’ dress will be re-wearable, but I truly think both of these dresses can have a second life.

Quality: My fears about quality were completely unfounded. Both of these dresses were surprisingly high quality. We were all very impressed.

Comfort: Both girls said these dress were comfortable for the entire wedding day, which is a crazy long day.

Where did you buy your bridesmaid dresses? Do you like buying clothes from Amazon?



When we got engaged, we were in an interesting situation in that there was no clear choice for an officiant. I turned to the Internet to search for an officiant and was horrified by the prices that I saw. We wanted a simple, short, personal ceremony. We did not want to pay someone thousands of dollars for a 20 minutes ceremony!

My first alternative was to have a friend be ordained online and perform the ceremony. Then I saw that marriages performed by minsters ordained online are not always honored in Pennsylvania. In this search I found out about self-uniting, or Quaker, wedding ceremonies.

Pennsylvania has a strong Quaker heritage and one remnant of that is self-uniting wedding ceremonies. The main difference between a self-uniting ceremony and a traditional ceremony is that in a self-uniting ceremony, there is not minister and the couple marries themselves. Personally, I found this idea exciting and romantic, but my then finance hates public speaking. We compromised by having an emcee help move things along.

I am actually including the exact script that was used in our wedding ceremony for inspiration, or to just copy.

All of the uses of “Bride” and “Groom” were replaced by our names.

Giving Away of the Bride (Emcee, Mom, & Dad)

Q: Who gives this woman to be married to this man?

A: She gives herself, but with her family’s blessing.

Opening (Bride)

We thank you for tolerating us as we choose to step outside the confines of the traditional wedding ceremony, and focus on the things that matter most to us as a couple. We know that many families couldn’t fathom the idea of a wedding ceremony without an officiant, and we are so very lucky that our families not only tolerate our eccentricities, but encourage us to find our own way and love us all the more for doing so.

Address (Emcee)

As Bride said, we’re doing things a little differently. This is the first wedding I’ve seen or been to in a bowling alley. I really wanted to come up with some sort of bowling analogy for marriage, but try as I might I just couldn’t. There are a lot of really smart married folks here who I’m sure could come up with something brilliant, but I’m stuck throwing gutter balls.

This is also the first wedding that I have taken part in the ceremony. I was a ring bearer when I was very small, but I didn’t understand then how important that was. I just knew I had to not drop the really expensive pillow with the even more expensive rings on it.

Today I will be acting as a facilitator. I’ll be asking Bride and Groom a lot of questions. I did not make them up. The Bride sent them to me in a well-organized Word document several months ago, and I wrote them down on these note cards last night. These are questions you may hear a minister ask at most weddings. But I’m not ordained. And I didn’t take a test online to get my license to wed others. Today, the Bride and Groom will officially be wedded by themselves.

Pennsylvania, as a Quaker state, recognizes ceremonies of self-solemnization; which is a fancy way of saying the Quakers believe that marriage is a covenant made between two people because they love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives on earth together.

Why would two folks want to get married? Most will tell you because they love each other. But what does that mean? My understanding, at least in part, is that… two dynamic, unique, and capable individuals decide that they really like each other and want to take on the world as a team. Because they make each other better. They see the best in the other; they celebrate it, cherish it, and encourage its growth. They see the worst in each other and they can forgive and work through it. They put the other first and serve them with their time, strength, talents, and resources.

While there are a lot of things that the Bride and Groom do differently, this is one thing that they wanted to do the same as everyone else. This service is a public declaration of their devotion to each other, this choice, this promise that will last a lifetime. Because while the promise is between two people, they want to make it in front of the people they love, who are important to them, who have helped get them to this point, and who will continue to guide and support them in this next, most exciting part of their lives.

Community Vows (Emcee, Bride, & Groom)

  • Groom and Bride, will you reach out to your community both when you need help and when you have something to celebrate?
    • We will.
  • Community, will you offer the Groom & Bride your wisdom and encouragement in their times of struggle, and celebrate with them in their times of joy?
    • We will.
  • Community, will you listen to the Groom & Bride, and when they request it, give them your best advice?
    • We will.
  • Groom and Bride, will you listen carefully to that advice?
    • We will.
  • Groom and Bride, will you strive as husband and wife to be contributing members of the community gathered here today?
    • We will.
  • Community, will you do everything in your power to support, uphold, and honor the marriage of the Groom and Bride?
    • We will.


Vows (Bride & Groom)

(couple’s vows to each other)

Declaration of Intent (Emcee, Bride, & Groom)

Groom, do you take the Bride, to be your partner in the adventure that lies ahead?

Do you promise to walk by her side to the ends of the earth?

To love, encourage, and support her in her every endeavor?

Do you commit to opening yourself up completely to her and sharing with her your entire being?

To share her laughter as well as tears?

Do you take her as your wife for now until the end of time?

Bride, do you take your Groom, to be your partner in the adventure that lies ahead?

Do you promise to walk by his side to the ends of the earth?

To love, encourage, and support him in his every endeavor?

Do you commit to opening yourself up completely to him and sharing with him your entire being?

To share his laughter as well as tears?

Do you take him as your husband for now until the end of time?

Exchange of the Rings (Bride & Groom)

“I give you this ring as a symbol of my commitment to you and to our partnership in life. You have my heart always.”

Signing of the License (Emcee)

While this wedding is a celebration of love and commitment, it is also a legal ceremony. I ask the Matron of Honor and the Best Man to join me and the bride and groom at the table. The signing of a marriage certificate is not just a legal requirement. It is in fact an ancient custom that represents the concept that not only must marriage be entered into consensually by both parties, but that it is also a social contract between a couple and their community…for the good of all. Signing the marriage document is also a self-defining moment for the Bride and Groom… perhaps one of the most impactful and consequential moments of their lives. So I ask them to sign the document before them. I ask the Matron of Honor and the Best Man to sign the marriage license as witnesses to this moment. May the legal benefits and obligations of marriage enhance your life for all the years to come.

Pronouncement (Groom and Bride)

And finally, by the authority vested in us by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, we officially pronounce ourselves husband and wife!



Introducing DJ You!

So many things about weddings are so expensive and you really have to prioritize what is most important to you. I knew a few things were not important to me, one of which was a DJ. Of course, I wanted people to dance, but I knew that our wedding had a Photo Booth, bowling, and arcade games, so dancing was not crucial.

I turned to the Internet and came up with the best wedding DJ of all: DJ Spotify!

Yes, with just a Spotify Premium subscription and painstaking hours of playlist crafting, you can avoid hiring a wedding DJ. I admit that this choice is not for everyone. If your biggest priority is having a giant dance party, don’t do this. That said, people did dance at my wedding, I have pictures to prove it!

Our first dance.

Practice Spotify.

I clearly used Spotify because it allowed me to use a wide range of music without having to spend hundred of dollars. However, Spotify is not perfect. Not all artists allow their music on Spotify (looking at you Taylor Swift), but there is a way to add the local files from your computer to your playlist.


You have to turn on the crossfade setting in Spotify or your songs will have awkward silence in between them. This will be on your Spotify advanced setting. Experiment with the length of the crossfade, but longer is probably better.

Have an emcee. 

You need someone to run the music and protect it from any persistent song requesters. Our emcee was Josh, a family friend, and professional actor. He also helped facilitate our Quaker ceremony (more on that in another post) and he was amazing!

Make sure your venue has a good music set up.

Our venue provided a DJ booth, speaker system, microphone, and all the necessary wires. You also need a laptop; you don’t want to be doing this on your smartphone.

Cater to the crowd. 

Most weddings are an eclectic mix of people with everyone from your grandmother to your college friends. So you need to play music that will appeal to everyone in that range. For your grandmother, maybe some Frank Sinatra? For your college friends, the latest dance tunes?

Pick some music you like. 

But do play some music that is just for you and your partner. It is your day and not everything needs to be a crowd pleaser. We played “First Date” by Blink-182, a song we both listened to before our first date. You can’t dance to it, but it was a special moment for us.

Separate you music into categories. 

We had a pre-ceremony playlist, a dinner playlist, a playlist for the special dances, and a dancing playlist. The length of these playlists will depend on the length of your wedding reception. We went with 40 minutes of pre-ceremony music, 45 minutes of dinner music and 2 hours and 30 minutes of dancing music. You want to make each of these longer than you think because the worst thing you could do is run out early.

Make sure the categories make sense. Dinner music should be more mellow than dance music.

Go a little bit cheesy. 

I drew the line at “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang. But I did play the “Conga” and “Happy”.

Do your research.

I am not an expert of popular music. I did a lot of Googling about “Songs People Love” and “Songs People Dance To”. Take those as suggestions and figure out what works for you.


I listened to this playlist almost non-stop for months to make sure that the song list and order were perfect. I also made other people listen to it. Everyone was sick of this playlist, but on the wedding day, it was perfect.

TLDR; If dancing is not your main concern, use Spotify as your wedding DJ. Be sure to play a range of music and not just your favorite Gregorian chants.

P.S. I will share the exact playlist that I used at my wedding in a later post.

Would you consider DJing your own wedding? Did you? What songs would you be sure to play? Which songs would you avoid like the plague?