In stark contrast to her daughter’s mega-church wedding last month, 19 Kids and Counting matriarch Michelle Duggar said the day she married Jim Bob Duggar was a “simple” event.
“Our church was still being built so we were meeting in a big gymnasium for services,” Michelle said in a new blog post of her wedding on July 21, 1984. “We actually got married in the hallway of the building — we had set up folding chairs to use as pews!”
Michelle, who was a 17-year-old new high-school graduate at the time, wanted to keep the “expenses reasonable.” (Which is a practice that’s served the Duggars well throughout their married lives!)
“We didn’t buy flowers and barely even decorated the hall. Our backdrop was a lattice that we had woven through with crepe paper. Our colors were all pastels: yellow, pink, green and blue. I even made my own bouquet using fake flowers so I could keep them to decorate my home with later,” she said. “For the wedding cake, I made it myself and froze it. A friend decorated it for me using icing that she made with ingredients I bought for her.”
Michelle also saved by borrowing Jim Bob’s mother’s gown — which was recently displayed at daughter Jill Dillard’s wedding reception.
“Everything we did for our wedding was so inexpensive, but perfect for us,” Michelle reflected. “We wanted to spend our money on our honeymoon, which was our first time to be alone together.”
For their 25th anniversary in 2009, the Duggars had the chance to host a more elaborate vow renewal. But, in typical style, they opted for a nostalgic event with the same songs, “reception style” and pastor.
Michelle revealed that she and Jim Bob also made an effort to show their children how special a wedding day is by reliving it annually.
“We would listen to our wedding cassette again every year on our anniversary. We would reenact the ceremony, show them how we walked down the aisle and tell them the stories about what it was like,” she said. “It was a great moment to share with them in such a special way.”