10 Low-Key Wedding Ideas from Couples Who Got Married in the 70s and 80s

retro couple sunglasses in grass
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It’s always fun to turn back the clock and learn how the previous generation lived. In a recent thread in a popular online forum, many people openly wondered how people who grew up in the 70s and 80s got married. Luckily, plenty of baby boomers were on hand to clue them in on some seriously romantic stories of their weddings.

1. Simple and Sweet, with a Side of Fast Food

Mac and cheese

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Even though my future bride would have a conniption if our wedding day went like this, I have to hand it to one frugal groom whose marriage I legitimately envy! “We went to city hall on Monday and got the license, made an appointment to get married that Friday morning,” he said. “We both took off work Friday and the following Monday. Got married, went to McDonald’s, then left for a weekend in Napa.”

2. Quick Ceremony Followed By a Lavish Dinner

Guest eating food

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One couple said their decision to save money by having a quick ceremony at city hall enabled them to have the meal of their lives later in the evening at one of the premier restaurants in their city. For newlyweds who want something different than a lavish, expensive wedding, a romantic dinner is a memorable way to celebrate their nuptials.

3. A Small Backyard Wedding

Wedding venue

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Something about romance in the 70s makes us all wax poetic about delightfully small weddings. “I had a small backyard wedding at the cottage behind his dad’s house,” says one bride. “My husband’s brother planted beds of flowers. My mom made my dress, and I embroidered and beaded his dress shirt.

Cake at his dad’s house and then down the street to my dad’s house, where everyone got drunk. We’ll celebrate our 48th this year.” Wow, 48 years, and it all began in the simplest way possible.

4. The Fire Hall Wedding

Daylight makes a halo around dreamy wedding couple standing in church

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One happy couple reveals they were married at their local courthouse, then hours later paid $1,000 to rent out a nearby fire hall with 30 of their closest friends. They call it the best celebration they ever had, and all money saved by being thrifty went to a three-week-long extended honeymoon overseas!

5. A Wedding Fit For a (Burger) King

Woman eating Burger

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What is with people in the 70s and 80s high-tailing it to the nearest fast-food joint immediately after getting married? “Justice of the Peace was out sick that day,” one man confesses. “They directed us to the retired Justice. He ran a paint store. We went in, got married, went to Burger King after, and then went to the laundromat. It was my own personal dream wedding.”

6. The Tranquil Beach Wedding

Empty seats in wedding

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Tying the knot on a public beach isn’t anything out of the ordinary in 2023, but in the 70s and 80s, it was still a relatively novel idea. Countless couples recall their simple-yet-joyous weddings that took on a beautiful sandy beach for a minimal out-of-pocket expense!

7. The Living Room Wedding

Bride And Groom Celebrating With Guests At Reception

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When love is all that matters, a living room wedding is as good as any other location to get married! One man remembers her special day vividly. “My mom’s living room,” he reveals. “Her parents, brother, and a cousin were present, as well as ten or so friends.

We played baroque music on vinyl. There was no big deal made of anything. We got the cake at a bakery, and my husband’s housemates served. My wife and I believe that the marriage is what’s important and that the wedding is mere fluff. We used the money saved to get a good start in life.”

8. The Fellowship Hall Wedding


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Many religious couples opt for a smaller wedding that takes advantage of their church’s event space. One groom even went as far as to make homemade mixtapes to play over a small boombox that served as the only music wedding guests enjoyed at the fellowship hall. Talk about a relic from the 80s.

9. The Volkswagen Bus Wedding

Riga,Latvia - May 28,2016: Green old Volkswagen bus decorated for wedding

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Hippie culture was all the rage in the 1970s, so nobody should be shocked that countless simple weddings took place outdoors with nothing but a Volkswagen bus as a backdrop. I hope some groovy tunes were playing through the bus speakers!

10. The Aquarium Wedding

wedding couple posing in front of fish tank

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You’re wrong if you think an over-the-top wedding can only be found in the present day. Listen to this particularly ambitious 1980s wedding.

“We rented an aquarium and had the ceremony in front of the shark tank,” one woman confesses. “Dinner and reception in the rest of the aquarium. They had staff on hand to answer questions about the exhibits, and it was magical to be there at night with only friends and family.” This sounds truly magical!

This story was inspired by Reddit and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Budget Savvy Bride.

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