My Frugal Simcha: A Simple & Special New Jersey Wedding


My Frugal Simcha features reader’s stories about their beautiful simchas – on a budget. If you have hosted a budget-friendly wedding, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Brit Milah or other simcha, we’d love to read about it! Please fill out this form to submit your story.

By Sara Biller

My husband and I got married right after Shavous 2011. This was a second wedding for both of us, so neither one of us wanted an especially elaborate wedding. We planned on a simple celebration with some of our closest friends and family.

We got married in the shul where I lived in New Jersey. The cost to rent the shul was $180 and the Rabbis’ fee was an additional $180. The small shul could hold about 200 people max.

I was very fortunate to have the help of my friends for many of the preparations and set-up. They all helped decorate the shul themselves.

I bought my wedding dress at a second hand store and only paid $46 for it. I borrowed a cream colored shell to go underneath it, and I found some great shoes for $36. My wedding attire only cost $82 total.

I had a friend cater the wedding, which cost $2500 for 150 guests. That was the most costly part of the affair, but it was still a great price! I also paid for the liquor, which was about $500.

I bought the paper goods myself, and my friends helped set the tables. I borrowed the tablecloths from a gemach, and they were free. I was only responsible for washing and returning them.

There is a flower gemach in Lakewood where peoople donate flowers after an affair, and I got all my flowers for free from there. I was responsible for returning the vases the flowers came in. It didn’t bother me that the flowers were of various styles and colors from table to table. In fact, I thought it added a nice touch!

I used some of my favorite songs on CDs for music, which I bought for a total of $36. I had one of the Rabbi’s sons in charge of changing the CDs. I asked one of the Rabbis and a friend’s husband to sing at the chuppah.

We had friends from all our various (and diverse) communities come to the wedding. We had men in steimels, bekeches, black hats and kapotes. My lesbian cousin and her wife also attended the event. All of the special people in our lives came together to join us on our happy occasion.

Sara Biller comes from a kiruv community, and she is a BT. Her husband comes from an old Chassidic family.


  1. Sounds wonderful, Sara! Congrats.

  2. Surella says

    Mazel tov! It sounds lovely.

  3. Michelle says

    Sounds like a beautiful wedding. Mazel tov!

  4. You should have many years of mazal and bracha! Thanks for being an inspiration!

  5. Marceia says

    WOW, cant believe it is almost 2 yrs….seems like it was jsut yest!! As a member of this community it was an honor and so special to be apart of this special day. I have seen many simchas in our ‘little shtebel’ yet this stands out as one of the nicest and most special, I can only accredit that to the simple, elegant and non shmaltzy decor!! You and your husband should have many more happy years together!!

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