- 6 years ago
- Wedding: October 2011
So when we got engaged in April 2011, we knew we wanted a fall wedding in NYC but we weren’t sure where we would wind up after July 2012. So we opted to get married this past October, which gave me 5 months to plan. Which turned out to be totally reasonable and everything worked out well. Since I was also horrified by wedding prices and quite frankly think it is ludicrous to spend a lot of money for 5 hours, I tried to do things a cheaply as possible. We were ok with spending $10,000, which is quite low for NY standards. We wanted to have it in NYC since that’s where we live and also about 70% of my guests were out of town (using planes or driving >3 hours, I didn’t want people to have to rent cars and traipse all over NJ or NY state). I got many of my ideas from a fantastic blogger named citywendy who can easily be found on google and by searching wedding boards for ideas and deals. I figure that since it took me a long time to find good prices for everything in NYC it would be nice to list them out so other people can use them. We had our wedding on the Sunday of Columbus Day weekend so people had extra travel time and we had 63 guests. We also had it in the afternoon, which was much cheaper and was better for people that had to catch flights at night. Overall, our wedding went almost perfectly and everyone said that they had a great time. I hope this is helpful and if you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me. I’m still sadly addicted to weddingbee, despite my husbands complains.
Ceremony site: We both love Central Park so having it there was an easy choice. I did perseverate about the weather a lot and checked the weather forecast every 15 minutes starting 10 days before the wedding. You do need a rain plan since they don’t allow tents which would have been out of our budget anyways. If tornados/hurricanes appeared we would have had the ceremony at the restaurant. You can book any area in the park online and most places are $25 except the conservatory garden which is $400 and you must have a permit. We chose the south garden (there are 3 gardens) and it was perfect and had lily’s blooming and monarch butterflies the day of our wedding. You apply by mail and send in a money order. Norma, who seems to run it, is quite nice and responsive. Granted on the day of, no one looked at my permit, but it seemed like a good thing to have. And I was fine with giving my money to central park. $400 for the south garden.
Drinks: I was convinced I needed to serve people something to drink in Central Park so I got a big wooded box and a case of Poland spring and 50 small apple cider bottles from Red Jacket Orchards. It was more complicated than I had anticipated to buy the little apple ciders, but after some perseverance they delivered them to my apt. And their cider is my favorite so I wasn’t willing to compromise. $50 for cider, $4 for water. The ice was a few dollars. Wooden box was free. Total $58
Music: We had a duet (cello and violin) play for 1 hr during the ceremony. We used Harmonia Strings. They were very pleasant to work with and great with communication. While I did not really hear any of the music, I was told they were quite lovely by guests. $350 including tip.
Officiant: We used Kevin Bain, he was fine and very reasonably priced. $250
Bus to reception: I had a lot of arguments with my dad (who is cheaper than I) that walking from 103rd to 9th St. was not an option, nor was the 2nd ave bus. He still thinks everyone could have taken the subway, but I thought that was ridiculous so I hired a bus. I was rather shocked how expensive it could be to transport people 90 blocks. I emailed and called a lot of places and got numbers as high as $1800. The most reasonable by far was GRAYLINE N.Y./CITYSIGHTS N.Y./NYAS. I paid $350 for a 55 person bus for 1 hr. They were on time and polite. I was told it was quite pleasant and the guests were very happy with it even if my dad pretended to be a tour narrator for the ride down but I think only the first 5 rows could hear him. $390 including tip
Reception + Flowers: It quickly became apparent that having the reception in a restaurant was going to be the most economical way to go after getting astronomical quotes for many places. I was pretty sure if we rented an empty space somehow people wouldn’t have napkins and it was going to be rather pricey. The trick was to find a place that was closed normally during the time we wanted. Otherwise, buying out the restaurant for their busy Sunday brunch was not an option. Also, places that have a back room or event spaces were more reasonable. My husband likes a little Italian restaurant in the East Village, I Coppi and their food is very good and they have a beautiful garden room and seem to be closed on weekend afternoons, despite what their website says. We spoke with them and worked out a deal where it we paid a little less than $6000 total (including tax and service) for a 4 course lunch (appetizer, pasta dish, meat entree and dessert) including white or red wine. The details are a bit complicated as we paid for some of the wine by the bottle and my friends are pretty good drinkers. They also did the flowers and table arrangements for $250 which was included in the total price. The food was AMAZING and people loved it. I have a fair number of foodie friends and people were super excited to get real Italian food and not a tough piece of chicken with some mashed potatoes and asparagus. I really can’t say enough good things about the food they served, the service was impeccible and the space was set up beautifully. They can have a max of 65 and no music. $5800 for all food, drinks and flowers
I love the cupcakes at Two Little Red Hens on the UES and we got 72 cupcakes for $250. People from out of town are still talking about them two months later. I would have ordered them to be all Brooklyn Blackout, but I was nice and got some Red Velvet and Vanilla for non-chocolate eaters. You have to pick them up, but it went smoothly and everyone in the store was looking at us jealously at our 4 giant shopping bags of cupcakes. $250
Flowers: My DOC (Alexandra Townsend) put together my bouquet and the boutonniere, which were gorgeous for $95 total. The restaurant did the flowers for the tables which was $250 and listed under the reception price.
DOC: I really was hoping to not have one and save some more money, but I realized I could not be hauling cider across central park while I was supposed to be getting dressed the day of the wedding. Two weeks before the wedding I hired Alexandra Townsend who was amazing and very reasonable. She met with me several times beforehand, contacted most of the vendors the week before and gave me the good advice not to try to make my bouquet the day before (and she was right, I really didn’t have time). She really made sure that everyone was taken care of on the day of and helped set up everything at the ceremony site including all the water and cider in a big wooden box. Couldn’t have asked for more from her. $300
Photography: We met with Michael from Chadwick Creative Arts and he was great. Very responsive with emails and fun to work with. Very reasonable prices for 4 hrs and we were very happy with our pictures. We got a CD with all the images and 4 hours of photography for $990. I was looking at his website recently and it looks like his prices have gone up since when we booked him though. $990
Make-up and Hair: I used Christine recommended by my photographer. I was happy with how it all turned out and I thought she did a good job with my hair and make-up, but she was a bit late due to subway problems. I was told that this had never happened before, but it was a bit stressful since we were doing our pictures before the ceremony, but it all worked out in the end. $210 including tip
Dress: I went to pretty much all the dress places in NYC except Kleinfeld’s since I think my budget of <$1000 would have made them gasp. Most places were a bit out of my price range, although I really liked Lovely and Saja. RK bridal is empty if you go during the week and I had a quite pleasant experience. Every place I went seemed to agree that 4 months was not enough time to get a wedding dress. Really? How long can it take to make a dress? I’m still puzzled about that. Anyways, I found Kimera via Yelp and got a wonderful custom silk shantung dress for $600. I really loved my dress and I wish I had an excuse to wear it again and it fit perfectly. Yvonne makes beautiful dresses and she really can customize them to how you want, down to the depth of the neckline. And she was not horrified that it needed to be done in 4 months. I also bought a new strapless bra from Iris downstairs who was quite helpful. Total was $685 including a dry cleaning.
Accessories: I bought a bracelet from J. Crew for $29, borrowed my sisters earrings and bought some spanx, Got my nails done the day before with a travelzoo deal for $29 that my friends paid for – excellent shellac deal, didn’t come off for a month, which started to get me worried. Total was about $70.
Shoes: I got some cute flats off of zappo’s for $60.
Suit: Ralph Lauren from Lord & Taylor during a sale. We were super lucky. It is not easy to find a suit for a tall thin person. $269 + 50 for tie from Kimera that matched my dress = $319
His shoes: I don’t count his shoes towards the wedding since he surprisingly bought himself a pair of $240 Frye boots a month before the wedding (I didn’t know he even knew anything about good boots). He then proceeded to wear them every day, to the wedding and is probably wearing them now.
Favors: This was a DIY gone wrong. I wanted to have something nice for everyone that had flown 3,000 miles or driven 6 hours. I saw some cute DIY coasters on some site and decided it would be a good idea to make them. While they did turn out very cute and people really, really liked them, I never want to see another coaster again. They took forever and our apt smelled like shellac for eons. I’m surprised I didn’t die while making them. The total was probably about $200 (Tiles were 0.16 from Home depot, used about 4 bottles of mod podge, several spray cans of shellac then liquid shellac which was much better, scrapbook paper, corkboard and string, and a $14 mini-paper cutter. Glue gun and sticks from my sister. I used a lot of coupons at Michael’s)
Guestbook: My dad drew a tree to make a fingerprint tree so we just provided ink pads and alcohol wipes which were $9
Invites: Used Vistaprint and got invites, RSVP cards, thank you’s and reception cards for $135 plus $24 for stamps and such. Total $159
Cardbox and placecards/stands: Printed out table info and glued them onto paper from Michael’s. Displayed with stands from TJ Max. Cardbox was a metal magazine rack from TJ Max. Wrote the placecards out on paper from Michael’s. Total $35
Total was 10,630
Things not included:
We did not include rings since they were more of an investment than part of the wedding day for us. We got our bands at DVVS in Chelsea for $1800 total. They do very reasonable work and are fun to work with. My engagement ring was from Little King and I am very happy with it, but getting a band to match my ring was going to be a little too much for us. We took a mini-moon in Virginia afterwards that probably ran us about $600 and have yet to determine where/when we are going on our real honeymoon.
I hope this helps someone and saves them from having to send 20 emails to try and find a bus. PM me if you have any questions or want more specifics!