The couple in question, Kiara and Joel Brokenbrough, was able to chop down on costs for the main ceremony by utilizing an area off the Angeles Crest Highway. Per a report from regional Los Angeles outlet KABC-TV, the couple did not apply for a public permit. Instead, they chose to invite roughly 30 to 40 friends and relatives, leaving the couple to pay only for guests’ chairs and a wedding arch.
For the reception, the couple chose Misty’s Lounge in Ontario, where guests paid for their own refreshments. Also boosting the success of the $500 wedding was the variety of support the couple says they received from family, with relatives being reported to have helped out with flowers and a cake.
In an interview with Good Morning America this week, Kiara opened up about the experience of planning the wedding, noting that a specific budget wasn’t set. Instead, the goal was to avoid going into debt while putting together the couple’s special day.
“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 said of the experience, which has since been widely cited as a source of inspiration for other couples. “And then you celebrate with food, drinks, and dance. And that’s exactly what we did.”
For comparison’s sake, the national average cost of a wedding in 2021—at least according to data from wedding marketplace The Knot—was $28,000. When broken down by state, the data shows the average cost for a wedding in California in 2021 was $33,000. Neither figure includes the cost of an engagement ring.
Kiara and Joel Brokenbrough’s wedding, as well as the couple’s honeymoon, was documented on the KIARA BRK YouTube channel. See more below.