“Leslie and Ben” – Parks and Recreation – Season 5 Episode 14

Can we just admit that NBC really knows how to put a cute couple together and make the envy of all other couples? Jim and Pam, Liz and Criss, and Leslie and Ben.

The spur of the moment wedding of Leslie, played by Amy Poehler, and Ben, played by Adam Scott, was supposed to take place immediately after a gala put on by the Parks Department of Pawnee, Indiana. Due to the interruption of the ceremony by an name-calling councilman/dentist being punched by Leslie’s boss, Ron Swanson, the ceremony was going to be postponed to their originally planned wedding date three months later. Because her friends love her so much, they grabbed some decorations from the gala and helped put together yet another impromptu ceremony in the Parks and Recreation office in City Hall later that evening.


The bride was escorted by her boss, Ron, while wearing a custom designed tea-length dress. The gown featured a lace boat neckline with capped sleeves, and a fit and flare skirt featuring layers of paper printed with the accomplishments made over Leslie’s career in city government. The color choice for the gala was red and white, so the red floral arrangements were reused along with candles and strands of white lights to turn the office into a small chapel. The couples exchanged vows standing before an archway made of twisted branches in front of drapes of red and white. A small cocktail reception followed immediately afterward, featuring live acoustic entertainment and a sing along.


This lucky fictional couple hardly spent any money for this last minute event. If anything, this wedding scene shows that it does truly show for much it can pay off to know the right people in the right industries. Everything from the food to the decorations were donated to the Parks Department for the gala, so it made absolute sense for them to re-purpose such beautiful and FREE decor. Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to have these connections, so let’s look at what this scene would cost a non-fictional couple.

It’s difficult to gauge how much it would cost to rent an office in City Hall in which to hold a wedding. Your typical courthouse isn’t going to allow for you to hang out and drink champagne and whiskey after the ceremony. You’re really only allotted about 20 minutes, and they’re not going to let you bring in candles and floral arrangements. Since the actual venue is unrealistic, I can’t properly estimate the cost.

The flower arrangements, massive amount of candles, as well as the strands of lights, drapes, and archway could cost as much as $3000, perhaps even more should you hire a professional decorator. According to Classic Event and Tent Rentals, the 10 chairs needed for this particular event would cost roughly $130 including delivery and pickup.

Tom Haverford, played by Aziz Ansari, became ordained on the internet in order to perform the ceremony. You can legally have a family member or friend do the same thing through the Universal Life Church starting at $29.99 for the basic ordination package. Just for fun and an extra $25, they can also get a Certificate of Ordination from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Leslie’s dress was in the process of being made for a wedding being held in three months from the day they decided they needed to be married, so it’s hard to tell how much the actual finished piece might have cost. After a little searching for a custom gown on Etsy, I found a dress that looks similar to what Ann had to work with when she was tasked with finishing Leslie’s dress for $235, however it is made in China. If Ben didn’t already own his tux, the rental fee for that was probably around $200.

Throw in $75 for the upgraded fancy wedding certificate/marriage license from Cook County, and this wedding would run somewhere in the ballpark of $3,700. While that’s not a bad price, Leslie and Ben only really paid for their clothing. Ann paid for their rings when she bought her house, as a sconce from her bedroom was melted down and forged into two wedding bands by Ron Swanson. Nick Offerman should come out with his own line of wedding bands!