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Frugal brides on how to have a Kamloops wedding for under $5K

Local swap groups and auction sites help brides save hundreds of dollars
A wedding doesn't have to cost you and arm and a leg, according to three local brides. (via Pexels)

Today's weddings can cost couples tens of thousands of dollars – the equivalent of a down payment on a house or a trip around the world.

It’s no surprise then that some Kamloops brides are cutting costs where they can.

KamloopsMatters interviewed three brides from the River City, all of whom have tied the knot (or are going to) for under $5,000.

From DIY décor to having friends and family help with set-up and take down, these women can attest that planning a wedding on a frugal budget can be done.


Chiara Larose’s biggest expense for her August 2017 wedding was her $900 David’s Bridal dress, which she found on the Kamloops wedding buy-and-swap Facebook group.

“It was the closest (style) I originally wanted for my dress,” she said. “I went dress shopping – I found the dress, and the dress came with a price tag three quarters of my budget.”

Chiaras Wedding2Chiara and husband Travis Larose tied the knot last summer at Albert McGowan Park. (via Contributed/Jessica Meyn)

When it came to photography, Larose paid $550 – money split between a professional photographer to shoot her ceremony, and a friend, who captured her reception. A second shooter offered her services free of charge because she was “testing wedding photography waters.”

Larose bought fruit, veggie and sandwich trays from Costco. In total, without alcohol, her food and non-alcoholic beverages came to $500 (her guest list was between 60 and 70 people).

The couple saved on bridal party attire (everyone supplied their own) and on their reception hall – the city’s Hal Rogers Centre in Albert McGowan Park.

Larose’s uncle provided the entertainment, spinning the tunes off his computer, and the music played through the couple’s stereo speakers they brought from home.

“At the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is that you’re marrying your best friend,” said the 22-year-old.


Nikki Mahlmann will say "I do" in the Shuswap this summer. Her “very low-key” nuptials at The Maples Waterfront Resort in Sorrento include the couple’s four children as the bridal party.

Like Larose, Mahlmann found a photographer at a discounted price. She’ll also be saving big bucks on food.

“Part of the reason we chose the venue we did is because it has a huge kitchen. It’s got two stoves, two fridges, a dishwasher and a barbecue,” she said. “For the kids, we’re doing a hot dog bar and for the adults, pulled pork and salads.”

There won’t be an open bar, she added, but there will be homemade table wine. For dessert, Mahlmann is making one giant cupcake and smaller ones to feed her 50 guests.

Her ivory wedding dress is one she found in the bridesmaid’s section at First Comes Love in Kamloops.

“It was under $250. Because I saved – my budget was $500 – I splurged on a flower crystal headpiece.”

Items like tulle, burlap, table numbers and a cake cutter have all been acquired through swap groups and auction sites.

Mahlmann said it’s important for her to stay within budget.

“I think it’s insane,” she said of what it costs to throw a wedding. “We live pretty frugally just because of the cost of living has gotten so high. I can’t fathom spending $10,000, $20,000 on one day when I can buy a new car, I could put a kid through college. We know we love each other, so having this big, ridiculous party isn’t something we need to justify it.”


Janelle Eising’s wedding tab came to around $1,200. Her February wedding at Rainbow’s Roost was attended by her two small children and parents.

Janelle WeddingJanelle and Scott Eising's winter nuptials by the North Thompson River was attended by just family.(via Contributed)

"We wanted to keep it intimate and about us,” she said, noting she found her blush pink wedding dress online and paid $100.

The short ceremony on the North Thompson River was caught on camera by her step-dad, who used the family’s Nikon.

Instead of a reception, everyone went to Storms Restaurant.

“It was exactly what we wanted it to be,” said Eising. “We had a great dinner there, came home, put (the girls) to bed and watched Hell’s Kitchen.”

Tereza Verenca

About the Author: Tereza Verenca

Tereza Verenca is a multimedia journalist who covers all things Kamloops!
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