- 6 years ago
- Wedding: August 2012
I got engaged the same year that I was underemployed and searching for a full-time job, so I was nervous about planning a wedding. Especially when I would read things about how expensive it was to get married in the city where I lived, Washington, DC. I don’t consider this wedding to be a budget wedding, but it’s as good as we could get under the circumstances.
We sent out 130 invitations to a total of 240 people. Some were relatives in other countries who would never come, but most might have, so we estimated that we would have 150 guests. It turned out that we will have about 100 guests. Which is still a lot! But we did some things ahead of time, so slightly over-ordered. Which was fortunate.
Venue: a local Conservative synagogue, 2875. The space is beautiful, but I feel like they consider me low-class to be attempting to have a budget wedding. We also looked at several other spaces, but nothing else met our requirements of air conditioning, being Metro accessible, having enough room for a pre-ceremony reception, ceremony, and reception, and a dance floor large enough to have two circles of ethnic dancing. Otherwise, we might have gone with Prince Georges County Ballgroom, the National Women’s Democratic Club in Dupont, the George Washington University City View Room, the Josephine Butler Park Center (no central AC), which were all about the same price. We also considered places in Baltimore, where I used to live, which were slightly less expensive, such as Moses Montefiore Anshe Emuna synagogue, Cylburn Arboretum, and the Maryland Zoo.
Dress: One dress from Goodwill $75, another dress from Unique Vintage $110
Shoes: Naot sandals in white and silver from ebay $31
Veil: Ordered like 5 of these from ebay. They each cost about $2-3, and I ordered until I found one that I liked. No idea what it was.
Headpiece: Ordered a fake braid to go around my head from Tressa the Hairdressa on Etsy. It’s cute. $30.
Groom is wearing his own suit.
Photography: $850, apparently we got a good deal through Saint Anthony’s
Band: 3 piece band for just under $2000
Catering: appetizer course during cocktail hour, kosher Indian meat buffet, pastries including gluten-free chooclate diamonds, $5500, which is about $2000 less than the other two approved kosher caterers. The synagogue has 7 approved caterers, 4 of which are kosher enough for us, and 3 of which seemed worth asking for a quote (the 4th is too expensive). Thankfully one of them was willing to undercut the other two. I hope that the food is good!
Linens: Satin tablecloths 120″ round for 14 tables, rectangular satin in the same color, some plain white ones, white polyester napkins 20×20, about $400 from cvlinen.
Benschers: Yedid Nefesh, 125 for $450 from haggadahsrus.com. We ordered before we got our RSVPs back. Otherwise we would have ordered 100. On the plus side, we are mailing benschers to people who couldn’t come to the wedding, so they can pretend that they attended.
Invitations: Made them in Hebrew and English using Word and the Word Art function (made a circle of words in both Hebrew and English). Took FOREVER, but they look nice. Printed them for $120 at catprint.com plus $35 to print the reply postcards at vistaprint. Plus ordered envelopes for $53 because we needed to start addressing the envelopes before the invitations arrived because we were late sending them out.
Thank you notes: On sale at Crane for 70 cents each. This could have been cheaper and nicer, but I delegated.
Chuppah: $20 tablecloth from cvlinens.com, chuppah poles borrowed from the chuppah pole gemach in Baltimore, chuppah bases are 28 pound beige cement umbrella stands that we split with a friend who got married 2 months earlier $40, which we may cover.
Wedding bands: Tried them on at Macy’s, Sears, a wedding boutique, Kohl’s, and JC Penney. We were going to go into the Diamond District to go shopping for rings, but they’re not open on weekends, so we started with department stores. JC Penney’s were made in the USA and they felt right. I would have preferred 18k gold, but we also just needed to be done with it. $450 for both.
Yarmulkes: 60 black knit for $174 at Zion Judaica. We may have ordered fewer, but again we hadn’t gotten back the RSVPs yet.
Wine glass to break: Free! It already has a crack in it. It’s from Goodwill.
Wine glasses for the ceremony: Again, goodwill. $2.
Wine: $479 for 6 cases: 2 from Trader Joe’s (Sara Bee Moscato, which is kosher) and 4 from kosherwine.com. Again, something that we did ahead that should have waited until we had a guest count.
The shabbat beforehand, we’re serving 100 meals to family members, so that the families can get to know each other. We’re getting food from the grocery store and cooking it, maybe buying a couple of other crockpots. I think that the total cost will be less than $300. We are borrowing 20 chairs from the chair gemach, again for free, and we could borrow a table. Such a striking contrast with the cost of the wedding catering!
Rabbi: An old friend. We are really stuck on what to pay him precisely because he’s an old friend. One person said to pay 3% of a wedding’s costs, which would be $450. I think that it should be more like $900 (50 times chai) particularly because he’s not employed full-time right now, but it’s a bit awkward no matter what.
Total, so far: 14,800. Not including centerpieces or a bouquet because we haven’t done those yet.