Abandoned Church Wedding Costing Just $1000: Shane & Melissa

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Shane and Melissa didn’t want to spent a lot to get married so they decided to have a small ceremony, with just a few friends and family in attendance, at the derelict St. Agnes Church in Detroit. Amazingly, they managed to do this for just $1000. They didn’t have a reception and they only booked their photographer for a couple of hours.

Melissa wore a borrowed dress and shoes that she already owned. She did her own hair and make up and made her veil herself. Shane’s outfit was from Zara. The church was decorated with just candles and a few vintage props which were kindly lent to them by a family member.

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“I was originally planning to wear a simple black and white cocktail dress, until I showed it to my step-mother”, Melissa began. “She made a point to let me know that it is my wedding, and so special that I should get a dress. I wasn’t opposed to getting a wedding dress, just opposed to spending more money than we intended. However her niece had just gotten married the past Fall so I was able to borrow her dress, and it fit fantastically! What a blessing.”

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“We were inspired by the idea of an abandoned church wedding due to looking at the covenant that marriage truly is”, she continued. “Within the vows ‘for better or for worse’ we felt that this encompassed the clarity and honesty of our dedication to commit to each other no matter the ups and downs. It had a broken and torn apart organ, graffiti walls and shattered stained glass windows but it was amazing. We kept everything simple to ensure our focus on our commitment to one another was not tainted by all the chaos and planning of a traditional wedding.”

“We spray painted wine bottles with chalkboard paint, and put the orchids we purchased in bulk in each of them for our guests. I also handmade my veil, simply by purchasing a flower and tulle. Also, we hand-printed our thank you cards which saved us money.”

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“Our biggest and only real expense was our photographer”, she explained when I asked about their budget. “We choose to spend the most cash on this because we felt it was important to document this day and to have it done professionally. We saved money on literally everything else! We did have to pay a fee to the church, even though it was abandoned, because we had to get written permission to marry there.  We also bought all the flowers in bulk and I made my own bouquet. Finally, we did not host our entire family and all of our friends in the church because of the state it was in. The following August we had a picnic for everyone to come and celebrate with us.”

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Supporting Cast

17 comments

  1. Now this is what I’m talking about! Would love to help someone plan a wedding like this one! Reminds me of an episode of my favorite tv show in the USA… FRIENDS! ;) I wouldn’t even charge a fee for this one…just to keep with the theme! Love it! Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. these are so, so beautiful. I admire this couple for living simply. it’s a difficult thing to do these days. love is enough!

  3. Good for them – there’s a lot of pressure (normally from families) that can end up with you starting married life £10k in debt if you’re not careful – looks like they had a great day

  4. Angela

    Wow, what a stunningly beautiful wedding! Awe inspiring choice of venue, absolutely adore the images against the graffiti. Amazing. Love the snow too. Beautiful bride, beautiful wedding!

  5. Kathi

    The FOCUS was on the commitment, with Gods presence and their commitment to Him – what a way to start a marriage!! Truly what the word “marriage” means according to scripture! May God bless these two…

  6. Tracey

    I’m fighting back tears with this story. St. Agnes was my home parish, and it hurt so much when the church closed. Watching the deterioration after the closure has been like watching a loved one die a slow painful death. Seeing the beauty that Shane & Melissa brought to the sanctuary warmed my heart. I wish them a lifetime of love and thank them for bringing that love to a church that has not been loved for a very long time.

  7. Mary Ellen Riff

    Such a Beautiful Thing. I wanted Nativity in the old neighborhood. But Anthony is Lebanese and wanted St Charbel.

  8. I’m not getting married BUT if I could dream a perfect wedding for me, this would be it… Abandoned church building (ruin porn!)
    Graffiti art against architectural beauty,
    Breaking tradition but still traditional with a edge,
    Kitsch and a bit weird.

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