For the rest of us, mere mortals, getting married is one of the most expensive things we’ll ever get to do in life, and so most of us go all-out when the big day comes. Celeb couples, on the other hand, have the option to go as crazy and lavish as their bank balance will allow when it comes to tying the knot. And yet surprisingly, there are a lot of celebs who have chosen to wed more or less like us.
Do big names like Jessica Alba or Salma Hayek come to mind when you think of City Hall? Probably not, right? But that’s exactly where these and many other A-listers chose to get hitched. For whatever reason–privacy, budgeting, or throwing off the paparazzi–the following famous couples cheaped out on their big day by celeb standards.
It’s possible that some big couples on the list opted for low-cost nuptials because they’ve married so many times their finances couldn’t take the strain! In other cases, a low-key ceremony meant a super luxurious honeymoon afterward. Here are 20 couples who proved you can still celebrate your big day on a budget (well, a celeb version of a budget at least).
20 Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon
No one would ever expect the Queen of all Divas, Mariah Carey, to get married on the cheap, but Mimi did just that in 2008 in her quick-fire wedding to hubby Nick Cannon. Usually one to make a song and dance about virtually everything in her life, Carey took an unusual step back when she and Nick tied the knot in a top-secret ceremony in the Bahamas.
The couple had only been dating for 6 weeks when their nuptials were witnessed by fewer than 20 guests altogether
(and you know, for someone like Mariah, that’s a pretty quiet wedding party). Unfortunately, the impulsiveness of their wedding may have put a strain on things because the pair suffered a tumultuous 6-year relationship before calling it quits in 2016—just as well as they didn’t go all-out, I guess.
19 Daniel Craig & Rachel Weisz
The real 007 might not skimp on gadgets and fancy cars, but off screen, Daniel Craig prefers to keep things low key, especially if his wedding day was anything to go by. When James Bond’s latest incarnation Craig, married fellow British actress Rachel Weisz in 2011, he may not have had the flash stunts and bravado of his special agent alter ego, but he may have learned a thing or two about going undercover when it really matters. To say that Craig’s wedding day was under the radar of the paparazzi would be an understatement.
The handsome pair exchanged vows in a teensy ceremony in New York, attended only by 2 close friends of the couple and their young children from respective past relationships.
Bond would be proud of Craig’s top secret ability to wed under the nose of the spying paps!
18 Britney Spears & Jason Alexander
As cruel as it sounds, it’s probably just as well that Britney cheaped out for this one particular wedding because it lasted all but 55 hours in the end. In-between setting her sights on Justin Timberlake and Kevin Federline, a young Britney Spears married her childhood friend, Jason Allen Alexander, before getting an annulment quicker than the meat in your fridge could go off.
The then-22-year-old Britney and her brief beau were married in 2004 at the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas after suggesting to each other that they should go do something “wild and crazy, like get married for the hell of it.”
Oops. A bit like Rachel and Ross’ impulse wedding in Friends but without the booze, they instantly regretted it. At least they didn’t book a honeymoon on impulse too!
17 Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt
We all like to imagine celebrities having the perfect fairytale wedding, but in Angelina Jolie’s case, this sounded pretty identical to the truth, almost to the point of a Disney movie wedding. 10 years after first meeting each other on the set of their flick Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Brangelina finally tied the knot in their French chateau in the summer of 2014, and they had each of their kids on wedding day duty. With their combined wealth, Brad and Angelina could’ve hired the best in French catering, dressmakers, and wedding planners for miles around. Instead, they rather sweetly got their kids involved.
Their six children tackled things like baking the wedding cake and sewing the ring-bearing pillow together.
Angelina picked the flowers herself. The wedding itself was a cheap one (unless you count the $3 million watch she gave Pitt as a wedding present, but we’re not).
16 Paul McCartney & Nancy Shevell
How did one-quarter of the biggest band in history celebrate his third wedding? In a modest civil ceremony at a town hall in London, that is. Paul McCartney tied the knot for the third time in 2011 with his American fiancee, Nancy Shevell, and their ceremony was sweetly underwhelming. Having been married to Linda Eastman and his disastrous second marriage to Heather Mills, the former Beatle understandably wanted to keep things simple, marrying again at nearly 70.
The no-frills town hall wedding at the Old Marleybone Town Hall had a relatively small guest list of 30 (just the couple’s close friends and family), and the day was so chill that a few fans greeted the happy couple throwing rose petals as they left the venue.
Most celebs would do anything to keep this kinda moment private, but Macca smiled and thanked the crowd. Ever the showman!
15 Megan Fox & Brian Austin Green
A Hawaii beach wedding at sunset may not sound low-key to us, but the sparse guest list at Megan Fox’s nuptials to her beau of four years is making the rest of us feel popular! According to TMZ reports, there were only around half a dozen wedding guests in attendance that day (including her hubby’s son from a previous marriage). The Transformers star’s decision to go for such an understated ceremony was not even the most surprising part.
Fox had previously declared that she was “not the marrying type.”
So, what changed her mind in June of 2010? She told US Weekly that she loved her boyfriend (Brian Austin Green) and that she was a “very impulsive” person. That explains the quick jet away to Hawaii without so much as a WhatsApp group invite for her friends!
14 Anna Faris & Chris Pratt
When it came to getting wed to then-partner Chris Pratt, comedic actress Anna Faris had an admirably chill outlook to how her wedding day should be. When the couple was asked about their wedding plans shortly after Pratt popped the question,
Faris revealed that she wanted a break from all the drama of her onscreen life.
Looking forward to a simple ceremony, Faris told People magazine, “I get to play and get my hair and makeup done in my professional life, so I don’t really know if I want that fuss for my wedding. A lot of alcohol and no drama – that’s the most important thing.” The couple tied the knot in a super laid-back ceremony in Bali back in 2009 with only a select group of friends and family.
13 Kristen Bell & Dax Shepard
Kristen Bell and her long-term beau, Dax Shepard, are definitely one of Hollywood’s sweetest and most down-to-earth couples, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that they didn’t break the bank with a Kimye-scale wedding.
The pair married in a Beverly Hills courthouse wedding in 2013 for an astonishingly modest $142. Woah! (That’s less than most of us pay for our weekly grocery shop!).
The cute and super relatable couple later shared an Instagram snap of their wedding reception which saw newlywed Kristen getting emotional while her new hubby laughed (in a sweet joking way, we hope!) in her face. With the ability to love and laugh at each other like these guys do, who needs a fancy luxurious million-dollar wedding, right? Utter #couplesgoals.
12 Rosie O’Donnell & Michelle Rounds
The veteran comedian and her late partner, Michelle Rounds, had originally planned to wed in true celebrity fashion–huge guest list, stellar venue, the works. Unfortunately, the pair had no choice but to move the wedding up and make it a low-key one when Rounds discovered that she had been diagnosed with a rare form of tumor.
Wanting to celebrate married life together before her surgery, Rosie O’Donnell and her new wife were able to tie the knot in 2012 before having a proper celebration after recovery. Rounds recovered, but unfortunately, the couple never got the dream wedding they had hoped for and eventually got divorced in 2015. It’s thought that Rounds’ struggle with mental health put a strain on their relationship and is what tragically led to Rounds’ suicide a year after their separation.
11 Stacy Keibler & Jared Pobre
It must be gutting for friends and family of the happy couple to know that they missed out on seeing them get hitched, but sometimes, that romantic spur-of-the-moment feeling can take you and whisk you far away—Mexico, in the case of actress Stacy Keibler and her partner, Jared. The pretty actress and former pro wrestler were headed there on vacation with her businessman boyfriend, Jared Pobre, when they decided to tie the knot there and then.
Making the snap decision to tie the knot en route to their Mexico vacation wasn’t the only impulsive thing about Stacy and Jared’s relationship, though.
Just under a year before Keibler semi-eloped with her Future Ads CEO boyfriend, she had just come out of a relationship with George Clooney, who also tied the knot with Amal in 2014. A case of rushing to marry before my ex does?
10 Keira Knightley & James Righton
Keira Knightley hasn’t had the best of luck in relationships in the past, having brief romances with Rupert Friend, Adrien Brody, and Fifty Shades of Grey hunk Jamie Dornan to name but a few. In 2013, though, the pretty star of Pirates of the Caribbean looks to have found a keeper in hubby James Righton (former member of the British band The Klaxons), and despite Knightley’s star status, their remote French wedding was pretty chill. The pretty Pirates of the Caribbean star opted for an intimate setting in the small French town of Mazan, and while it sounds like epic romantic wedding goals, the length of the whole ceremony doesn’t suggest a big celeb-style budget.
The Mayor of the town revealed that the actual “I Do’s” were done within 10 minutes before the happy couple headed to Keira’s folks in Provence.
Now that’s a chill celeb wedding.
9 Megan Hilty & Brian Gallagher
A lot of celeb couples on this list are a fan of doing moonlit flits and getting married the minute the mood takes them. The actress and Broadway music star Megan Hilty was no different when she and her partner, Brian Gallagher, made it official before even getting out the engagement rings! The star of the hit TV series, Smash, decided to skip the long engagements–or any engagement for that matter–when she wed her hubby in the Venetian chapel in Vegas.
Since it all happened so fast for the multi-talented couple, their post-wedding party guests hadn’t time to bring presents or prepare any funny speeches.
Instead, the couple celebrated as if it was a regular night out with friends. Even their wedding cake was improvised from a Christmas cake. Sounds kinda cute.
8 Zara Phillips & Mike Tindall
Normally, it would go without saying that a royal wedding is a big deal. But, not for Zara Phillips.
The Queen’s granddaughter threw a relatively low-key affair when she tied the knot in July of 2011 with long-term rugby player fiancée Mike Tindall.
Compared to most people’s weddings, Zara’s nuptials were fairytale and glamorous, but up against Kate and Will’s globally-viewed wedding earlier that same year, their ceremony went all but unnoticed in the press. Phillips and her long-term beau wed in Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, and while the arrival of royal guests and celeb pals attracted a crowd of onlookers in the area, it didn’t compare to the mile-long crowds and well-wishers in the run-up to Kate and Will’s nuptials (people actually camped out for days for that!).
7 Amber Rose & Wiz Khalifa
A courthouse wedding might have seemed odd for the likes of Amber Rose and her ex, Wiz Khalifa, but this is where they both ended up when the mood took them to go out and get wed in a small impulsive ceremony. The gorgeous model and her rapper beau celebrated their matrimony in a simple city hall and wore cute matching outfits in black.
Unfortunately, black might have been a more appropriate dress code than the two realized at the time because the pair has since split up! Wiz didn’t hesitate in sharing the happy news on his social media at the time and even teased to followers that a second official ceremony was coming soon: “Me and Amber got married today. Weddings this fall. Thought I’d let y’all know.”
6 Chrissy Teigen & John Legend
The ultra-cute couple that is Chrissy Teigen and her long-term partner, John Legend, have always looked super loved up and close when spotted out and about, so you’d think they’d want to reflect this in a huge lavish ‘shout it from the rooftops’ kind of ceremony upon getting hitched, right? Nah, these guys went beautifully, but not big.
The stunning model and her honey-voiced singer hubby said their first set of I Do’s in a courthouse in New York in 2013,
before holding a more romantic (but equally small) wedding ceremony in Lake Como. The dreamy Italian setting was just fairytale enough to class as a celeb wedding, but the small guest list of friends and family would’ve meant a pretty sparse present table. I doubt that they cared about wedding presses, though. These guys have it bad.
5 Salma Hayek & Francois-Henri Pinault
Salma Hayek’s second wedding to her French hubby, Francois-Henri, was a big blowout in Venice back in 2009 and was attended by the cream of the Hollywood elite, but her first trip down the aisle with her man couldn’t have been further from the glitz and glamour of a Tinseltown wedding. The stunning Mexican film star first tied the knot with her partner and French businessman Francois-Henri Pinault at City Hall in Paris. Although, I guess even the Parisian City Hall has a timeless romance about it.
Whether it was shabby or not (we seriously doubt it), they later made up for it with an epic Venetian wedding. What’s sweet is that the modest City hall wedding was held on Valentine’s Day, and their daughter together is named Valentina. Cute! (Glad they went with that and not Paris courthouse or something.)
4 Matt Damon & Luciana Barroso
The star of The Martian and Downsizing doesn’t often appear in the press as one of the big-spender celebrities of his generation, so it kinda makes sense that he wouldn't want to attract the same kind of attention on his big day either. Matt Damon met his stunning Argentinian wife, Luciana Barroso, way back 2002 when Damon was shooting The Bourne Supremacy. Luciana was working in a Miami bar and Damon fell hard.
The sweet couple married a few years later in 2005 at City hall in New York, witnessed only by mayor Bloomberg and Luciana’s daughter, Alexia, from a previous marriage.
The pair has been together ever since, and 8 years later in 2013, they renewed their vows in a beach ceremony in St. Lucia that was grander than their own wedding! Budgeting goals right there.
3 Jessica Alba & Cash Warren
She might be one of the highest-paid actresses in the world, but you would never guess that from the way Jessica Alba chose to celebrate her nuptials to Cash Warren back in 2008. Almost 10 years ago now, the stunning Fantastic Four actress and her partner (whom she’d met on the actual Fantastic Four set) held perhaps the most modest A-list wedding possible—they were the sole guests! Alba and hubby Cash were expecting their first child together at the time, and while we can't be sure if this was the reason or not,
the pair soon made a beeline for the Beverly Hills courthouse where no friends and family knew of their plans.
Jessica reportedly only changed into a blue dress and wore her hair in a ponytail. TBH, she probably looked as good as if she’d sat in a bridal makeup chair for hours anyway.
2 Orlando Bloom & Miranda Kerr
A lot like his Pirates of the Caribbean co-star, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom hasn’t appeared to have had much luck in the romance department. His recent split and will they/won’t they status with Katy Perry has been more of a focal point in Bloom’s life than his film career. The closest the hunky British actor came to settling down was when he was married to supermodel Miranda Kerr from 2010 to 2013.
Bloom and his Australian supermodel wife had a whirlwind romance in that time, having eloped and welcomed a child together all within 3 years of dating. Between them, the pair could've tied the knot on a luxury scale, but instead, they wed in secret before dashing off for a lavish Caribbean honeymoon. The pair are now on good terms since their split, and hey, at least they spent more of the budget on the honeymoon than the actual wedding, right?
1 Raquel Welch & Patrick Curtis
The sultry bombshell actress of yesteryear and one of the most recognizable women on the planet at one time straight up got herself hitched like an average couple down the street would choose to. Raquel Welch’s brief marriage to her Hollywood film producer beau Patrick Curtis began rather underwhelmingly at the same venue where a future Salma Hayek would go on to marry her partner, City Hall in Paris.
At the time of their 1967 wedding, Welch was known globally as a s*x bomb and icon, thanks to the success of her classic 1966 epic, One Million Years B.C. The stunning actress could have thrown any wedding bash she chose to, but we guess she chose wisely in the end–a discreet ceremony in the most romantic city of them all.