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The Surprise is Here!

  • Posted on May 27, 2011 at 9:14 am
Are you ready for the surprises?
  • First check out “From the Groom’s Perspective”.  It is from Noah St. John’s perspective on his wedding 2 weeks prior to his recent wedding.
  • Look for information on a special event that is brewing to launch my book.
  • My book’s title is:  da, da, tada!  New York City Budget Weddings:  Elegant and Affordable.  You’ll learn in my next post the angst I had at coming up with that title.

At one point my manuscript that my editor was looking at had 7 different titles.  Yes, that’s right 7 different titles, but none of them were fully resonating with me as the name of the book.  Then I learned, I needed to relax and the name/title would come to me.  On  www.MaxinesCornerTV.net, I shared that the writing and finishing of the book was like giving birth [No, I personally have not ever given birth to a human child.], with all the angst of giving my child its correct name.  I even wondered, if my book would get a complex from going without a solid name for a month?  Well, now I have my 2nd favorite name for just under a month, now and it feels right and that’s why I feel I can announce it.  Yes, there was yet another name, [for a 2nd whole month] but then I realized that it could be better and this is the culmination of that thought.  So after 3 months of various contemplations I have my title.  Keep in mind that immediately following my finished product or what I thought was my finished product, I thought I had ‘the’ title.  I didn’t even think about another potential title for 2 months.  Mostly because I was busy going back and looking for mistakes, typos and just general cleanups in the manuscript.

New York Budget Weddings:  Elegant and Affordable — I think it has a nice ring to it.  What do you think?  Let me know what it conjures up in your mind when you hear it.  Really!  I am interested.

More later.  Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Weddings around the web

A Surprise!

  • Posted on April 23, 2011 at 7:05 am

Very soon, I will have a posting from the groom’s perspective.  How often does that happen?  Plus, something, an event coming up in the near future.  Keep us in your “go to” websites.


Ciao!

Weddings around the web

A Do It Yourself Wedding in New York City For $15,000 Or Less, Is It Possible? Part III – Tips for you, too.

  • Posted on March 15, 2011 at 10:42 pm
  1. Car Rental for the weekend: Go Green with http://www.ConnectbyHertz.com $160.33/weekend day whether it is for 6 hours or 24 hours. Go with the 24 since you can use it for those last minutes things that come up before the wedding. That is for a smart Fortwo, talk about making an entrance. Keep in mind with Hertz you can pick the car up at one location and drop it off somewhere else, as long as they have a lot. That could save you some time. For instance: pick up at a Hertz on the upper west side and drop it off at one of their hotel locations especially if you’re not going away to your honeymoon right away..
  2. Car rental for the 3-day weekend from Speedy-Rent-A-Car $205.00
  3. Rental from Zipcar.com or DriveMint.com are by the hour from $11.00 – $17.00 for the weekend depending on the car. A Scion Xb or smart Fortwo on the low end hourly or a Mercedes on the high end hourly at DriveMint.com
  4. You can also offer your relatives and/or friends some money to use their cars, or perhaps they could offer their services and their car as a gift, to chauffeur you and your wedding party around for a couple of hours.
  5. What if you want to have your wedding catered, it is still possible to do it economically in a big city, whether it is in New York City or Chicago, or even Boston, you just need a bit of ingenuity to stay within your budget. If you’re a curious detailed oriented person like I am, then you’ll decide this is the fun part, the chase or the journey to your end destination is what you really want. It is actually the magic part about the entire wedding, I think, because you are at the stage where you are shaping the outcome of the day. It will take patience and possibly lots of legwork, to see just what you might be getting for the day of event, but the hunt (for the guys) is on and it can be a great deal of fun. Here are a few tips:
  6. Decide on the type of wedding and plan your food accordingly. The food, reception space and beverages will be the biggest part of your budget, no matter how large or small it is.  Such as casual, spiffy-casual, or formal, (usually sit down) While casual and spiffy-casual may come very close to looking like the same thing, they really are quite different when it comes to food. I have seen casually catered events start as low as $12.95 per person or just under $1200 for 85 people. This is strict buffet style, no seating provided usually, put stand-up cocktail tables in various spots with food arrangements on them along with some passed appetizers, can be just as elegant as a formal sit down affair as well.
  7. My friend’s wedding although it had a very high-church of various cultures feel to it had a casual reception, since all the guests were expected to bring something. With her committee of  ‘wedding corralling ladies’, the guests with each acceptance of the invitation, was then asked what they could bring to the reception. By doing it that way, my friend saved all sorts of money and even had leftovers. Wedding party paid nothing, zero, zip, for that feast. Their reception had everything from appetizers to desserts including rum balls, (YUM!).  Some of us were getting high just from the fumes of the rum balls; additionally there was even a fruit bowl.
  8. Another casual reception could be to have a stand around party with a huge sandwich or various pizzas or have your new mother-in-law make something for the crowd. You can probably strike up a deal with your favorite pizza store once you pass 10 pizzas. Figure at 3 slices per guest and you’ve got it made. For instance, a pizza usually has 12 slices and for 80 guests, you’d have to have 20 pies feeding each person 3 slices each. My neighborhood pizza store sells a large pie for $16 each, but if I ordered 20 pies for 85 guests, my budget for food would be at around $350. Even with spending $350 on the pizza, you must give your guests something to wash down the pizzas, so add $50 – $75 for some sort of beverages.  Have a variety of beverages and pizza flavors and you have a batch of happy guests.
  9. For more organic less oil, use whole grain flat breads; American or Italian version with different toppings, as your starter rather than bread and cheese.

10. Don’t forget to include something for your vegetarian friends or even people allergic or staying away from wheat.

11. Perhaps as I did you can get a combination price with another feature of the wedding. My limousine company managed a caterer and so     I able to receive a combination price. Plus, my new mother-in-law, made something special in large quantities at her son’s request. We had 85 guests, so with the 4-hour use of the limousine and the caterer  it was $625. My new mother-in-law’s food was gratis. Ours was a casual formal of sorts. It was buffet style with seating.  There was enough seating for everyone, but the only things passed were the Hors d’Oeuvres.

12. The formal caterer or sit down with service is where you’ll have to weigh your options on how much is too much. These types often run    as low as $27 per person and up into the tens of thousands. If you’re trying to do a wedding for under $15,000, as I am advocating then you’re probably priced out of this market unless you can strike a deal with one of your favorite restaurants. Perhaps Carmine’s, in which the food is served family-style, but everyone is sitting. This could be a possibility. My friends took me there for graduation and we ordered one full meal and had left-overs for two additional people.

13. If using Carmine’s works for you, I am betting that they can work for your budget as well. Think about it, a main dish for a meal is $21 – 25, which easily feeds 5 – 6 people. If you have 12 tables of 8 could still be less than pricey, but your guests will be full and have potential doggy bags to take home. Roughly your pricing could still be under $1000 ($400), even with the addition of salad, garlic bread, beverages, and dessert. YUM! A pure feast to behold.

14. Decorations are another item that can run into lots of pennies. In this instance, I am talking about the flowers for the bride and the wedding party and the extras for the reception to make it a wedding themed event. The extras could include tulle and floating candles, or almost infinite ideas as motifs or table decorations of some kind. Here are few of my favorites with pricing of the day:

15. Check any of the websites that sell pre-made flowers and you’re good to go. Flower arrangements start as low as $29.95 and go $79.95 for our purposes. Flowers can, of course go into the hundreds from these websites and upward if you use florists.  There are florists who offer budgetary wedding packages, but you will have to ask specifically.

16. To cut cost further, the bride and matron/maid of honor could be the only people to carry flowers and then everyone and everything else could be decorated at the ceremony venue with tulle, or aisle candles.

17. At the reception venue, the theme could be carried further with floating candles on the tables as centerpieces instead of flowers. If, like we did, you have a water feature, add some floating candles, larger than the table candles, to it and call it a day. Candles at the reception venue could run you a whopping $100 to start, unless you want or have a half an acre to decorate.

18. Additionally you could have:  balloons, silk roses, candy, vases of things (marbles, fruit, etc.) at your reception for decorations.

19. Add some special candies or other cheery items for the table; M&M’s or Jordan Almonds or Junior mints. We went with special made-to-order M&M’s. I bought 3 bags and that was all I needed, at $11 per bag, [The price per bag has gone up] it was a steal. And you get to choose your colors so they can coordinate them with your wedding colors. Pretty cool, I think and inexpensive, too.

20. Don’t forget those disposable cameras, so your guests can snap some fun pictures as well. Check out various websites and you might be able to get 9 cameras, all for $35, just like I did.

I hope some of these tips will help and they are useful to bring down the costs  on your dream wedding event.  So, it can be done with a bit of ingenuity, verve, and flair. Dreamers can

Weddings around the web

Our Do-It-Yourself Wedding in NYC For $10,000 Or Less, Is It Still Possible? – Yes, you can still do it.

  • Posted on March 9, 2011 at 3:03 am

Bride & Groom Cake Figurines – A Better idea  See below:

It mostly depends on the strategies you and fiance have decided prior to determining, even your budget. Then you must make a pact between the two of you to stay within budget.  Only go outside the budget if you both agree and after you’ve slept on it overnight, if it’s a big departure.

For our wedding, way back in 2005 I wanted the colors of our wedding to be featured, my dress and the water feature for my husband at the reception.   In my book, New York City Budget Wedding:  Elegant and Affordable,  I will tell you about my excursions to and from the various locations to secure, just what I wanted for our wedding. Right now, I will give you the nitty-gritty about what I reaped from my excursions.

Now most of the pricing is almost nine years old, but these are for you to get other ideas for savings on your wedding.  Here were our (Pearson-Fulcher) costs for our 2005 wedding:

Dress $536 – (Filenes’s Basement Westchester)  – It was a $3500.00 dress, originally.  I miss that store, but now there still others even in NYC that you can YOUR dress.

Tux Rental $56 – Men’s Warehouse (Downtown Brooklyn, NY)  – Men have it SO easy.

Cakes $825 – (Alegria Cuisine)  [3-Tier wedding cake & Jamaican Black cake – in the favor boxes.]  Guests love that, nothing to dust, just eat and remember.

**Wedding Cake Toppers $149 – (My Memory Dolls)  Personalized Cake Topper (If these were available in 2005, we would have bought one.)

Limo/Catering $375/$625 = $1000 – (Limos For Less of The Wedding Connection)

*Special added catering $0 – (Wedding gift from Mother-in-Law)

Professional Photographer $400 for 5 hours – (Childhood friend of groom) Cliff Weissman 

*Video $0 Best Man’s (cousin) gift – (Negmaron Media)

Ceremony/Minister $800 – (Christ Chapel  Riverside Church Dr. Rev. James A. Forbes, Jr.)  Dr. Forbes is back for 6 mos. or so.

Flowers $375 from Flower Wholesaler – (Fifty Roses)  So many other options now in 2014, but you still get fresh flowers of your choice, here.  Plus, they are SO helpful.

Reception rental and 2 cases of champagne $1251 – Galapagos Art Space (formerly located on North Sixth Avenue in Williamsburg-Brooklyn).  They are now located in DUMBO’s first LEEDS building and 10 times the above amount, plus the liquor.  Just think I helped give them the idea to market as a wedding venue.

DJ $250 – 4.5 hours – (Friend of cake baker/decorator) Always check that they have your music.

Printer $68 printing wedding invitations & thank you notes (Epson Printer)

Papers Invitations, Envelopes, [Inner/Outer] Thank You Notes/Envelopes $82 (Paper Presentation) Beautiful papers and the staff is so nice.  Sara is the manager.

Save-the-Date magnets $16 – (VistaPrint)

Vocalists during ceremony:  Diana Solomon-Glover and Andre Glover (A gift from both)

Miscellaneous Favors, candles, material, silk rose petals, disposable cameras, decorative Chinese boxes, & tissue paper $350 – (Save-A-Thon, Oriental Express)

Honeymoon Cruise & extras $1391 – (Liberty Travel)  I’d recommend the person I used, but she has since retired.  She was SO helpful and patient.

Our total expenditures in 2005 Wedding/Honeymoon $7400, some might say we did not spend money on everything, so we can’t really say that we had a savings.  *A gift is still worth its value, whether we paid for it or not.  Definitely, but we did use  money and lots of it for our special day, just not the city or national average.  Our cake was a bit more than I thought it would be, but was an extraordinarily beautiful cake, too.  Plus, it  took a lot of hard, intricate, and patient work and our parting favor was bite or two of Jamaican Black Cake.  So we splurged in different areas, but we were still able to keep our wedding well under $15,000, WAY under, and that is an achievement, especially in New York City.  I would hazard to guess if we did the whole thing over again, it was STILL be way under $15,000.  Let me help you do the same.   Dreamers can.

If you purchase a product via links on this page, I may receive small payment or commission from your purchase.

 

If you need help with strategies for your wedding:  Contact me via email cpf@budgetweddingsnyc.com.

 

 

 

Winter Wedding Favors

It mostly depends on just what it is you want your fantasy day to say and whether or not one thing is the most important item or if you would prefer to have featured several things. For me I wanted the colors of our wedding to be featured, my dress and the water feature for my husband at the reception. At another time I will tell you about my excursions to and from the various locations to secure, just what I wanted for my wedding. Right now, I will give you the nitty-gritty about what I reaped from my excursions.

The pricing is almost six years old, but these are for you to get ideas for savings on your wedding.  Here were our costs for our 2005 wedding:

Dress $536 – (Filenes’s Basement Westchester)

Tux Rental $56 – Men’s Warehouse (Downtown Brooklyn, NY)

Cakes $825 – (Alegria Cuisine)  [3-Tier wedding cake & Jamaican Black cake – favor]

**Wedding Cake Toppers $149 – (My Memory Dolls)  Personalized Cake Topper (If these were available in 2005, we would have bought one.)

Limo/Catering $375/$625 = $1000 – (Limos For Less of The Wedding Connection)

*Special added catering $0 – (Wedding gift from Mother-in-Law)

Professional Photographer $400 for 5 hours – (Childhood friend of groom)

*Video $0 Best Man’s (cousin) gift – (Negmaron Media)

Ceremony/Minister $800 – (Christ Chapel Riverside Church Dr. Rev. James A. Forbes, Jr.)

Flowers $375 from Flower Wholesaler – (Fifty Roses)

Reception rental and 2 cases of champagne $1251 – Galapagos Art Space (formerly located on North Sixth Avenue in Williamsburg-Brooklyn)

DJ $250 – 4.5 hours – (Friend of cake baker/decorator)

Printer $68 printing wedding invitations & thank you notes (Epson Printer)

Papers Invitations, Envelopes, [Inner/Outer] Thank You Notes/Envelopes $82 (Paper Presentation)

Save-the-Date magnets $16 – (VistaPrint)

Miscellaneous Favors, candles, material, silk rose petals, disposable cameras, decorative Chinese boxes, & tissue paper $350 – (Save-A-Thon, Oriental Express)

Honeymoon Cruise & extras $1391 – (Liberty Travel)

Our total expenditures in 2005 Wedding/Honeymoon $7400, some might say we did not spend money on everything, so we can’t really say that we had a savings.  *A gift is still worth its value, whether we paid for it or not.  Oh contraire, but we did spend money and lots of it for our special day, just not the city or national average.  Our cake was a bit more than I thought it would be, but is an extraordinarily beautiful cake too.  Plus it  took a lot of hard, intricate, and patient work and our parting favor was bite or two of Jamaican Black Cake.  So we splurged in different areas, but we were still able to keep it under $15,000, WAY under, and that is a feat, especially in New York City.  Dreamers can.

If you purchase a product via links on this page, I may receive small payment or commission from your purchase.

Weddings around the web

A Do It Yourself Wedding in New York City For $15,000 Or Less, Is It Possible? Part I

  • Posted on March 1, 2011 at 8:39 pm

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A do-it-yourself (DIY) wedding in New York City sounds like an oxymoron, but it can be done. There are various ways of complying with that statement above and all for under $15,000. Even well under $10,000. You can still have quite an extravagant wedding, even an over the top wedding for under $15,000 AND in New York. Let me show you how it can be done, including your honeymoon. Now I know you’re thinking that is impossibility, but it is not. My husband and I did it and so can you, even in 2011.

Our wedding was almost six years ago, and I know you are thinking “Com‘on inflation has set in, things have probably almost doubled.”  It can’t be done, but I will show you in my new book just exactly how it can be done and save you well over $35,000.  When we got married the New York City average cost of a wedding was $35,000, but now in 2011 it is up to $50,000.  That to me is even crazier.  Think of what you can do with that money that can last a lot longer than one day of celebration.  

What if you only wanted one thing to be the major featured item? Of course, it does not have to be just one thing, it can be several, but just so you don’t go crazy, I suggest you choose one to two items rather than a whole slew, but if you want more than that, don’t do any more than five. Most brides start off believing they can do it all and realize within eight to six months of wedding planning that they can not. Most often that is when a meltdown or ‘Bridezilla’ starts showing up.  A friend’s help comes in quite handily, after all your really close friends will have asked you all along what they can do to help. At about ten to eight months out from the wedding is the best time to take them up on their offers. I did. More about me later, though. I have a friend who did a wedding with a potluck reception at a very famous church here in Manhattan and even though it was phenomenally delicious, to my idea that was not even the featured item in her wedding. I am getting ahead of myself though.

Her wedding had a committee of three women -the project managers- to help her stay within her budget which was WAY under $10,000. I believe she and her new husband paid no more than $6000 for their entire wedding, which included the reception space in that very same famous church, which was because she is a member and soloist at the church. They did not pay for catering which can be quite pricey when it comes to weddings. In fact, the wedding couple paid nothing for the food at the reception, so plus the cost of the space, If they’d paid for catering it would have run close to the $6000 for their 150 guests. By having a potluck, she paid nothing other than the cost of the hall. The Chapel at this famous church cost me cost $800 (In a previous article, I said $1200, but in reality it was $800 for mine.) in 2005, but for the aforementioned last year, she paid $1500. I got the members’ cost, but last year, there was no differential between members and nonmembers, so even though she is a member, she had to pay big bucks.  This year there is a membership price differential in that there is a percentage off for various costs of your rehearsal dinner [Free], ceremony and reception.

My friend’s wedding costs are approximations, because I didn’t pry that much…  Forgetting about the cost of hers and her husband wearing apparel which I can tell you he had his own tux in his closet and her wedding dress was bought from a non-wedding wedding store on sale.

  • Since my friend is a singer too, she had friends who sang during her wedding, that were of course gratis or gifts. Basically that is a win-win situation all around. Since you tap your friends, you tap the voices you want singing your songs of choice. That’s what I did and both she and her ex-husband sang at my and my husband’s wedding.
  • Here’s a big tip if you don’t want to spend big time money on your dress, if it’s to be one of the featured items, go to a non-wedding store in search of your gown. Personally I went to Filenes’s Basement bridal store, a year before my wedding and bought a dress for $536 with tax, so it is possible to pay for a dress under $3000. But my friend did not go the bridal store route. She went to Paramus Mall to Lord & Taylor. I don’t remember exactly how much she paid, but I do know it was almost half as much as my dress.
  • She also did not go with a traditional veil, but went with a tiara alone. For mine, I had both, but did not pay a premium for either. I made up my own veil for less than $10 and found a tiara that didn’t look cheap at Claire’s Accessories for less than $20. She wore a tiara as well. A gold tiara, which costs no more than a $100.
  • For her reception, she had no music we’d had plenty during her wedding ceremony. In another article I’ve already told you about using your own Mp3 player and saving big bucks in that respect. If you do want to hire a DJ or reception host, I suggest you go with a friend of a friend who is just starting to spin, but that the friend can vouch for their abilities, if you have not experienced them for yourself. Although there are DJ’s out there who can give you a great price as well.  You just have to flexible with where and how you find them.
  • Remember, whatever you do, GET a contract. One that spells out exactly what you want and expect them to do at the party. That means the songs you expect and when. That way, the surprises won’t have anything to do with dancing. Both you and your guests can be happy without much annoyance on anyone’s part. New DJ’s can start as low as $75 an hour and go up from there. If you want an established DJ, it could be as much as $125 – $350 an hour. This again is if you want to stay within your budget of $10000. Just remember you will need your DJ for at least four hours, so do your multiplication from there.
  • Transportation: Ah, you can go the traditional route with the white limos, or you can go with black limos, too. Did you know that the color of the limo can determine the price? White limos are more expensive and if especially, you mention wedding [additional money is often added] for that special day. Just be glad that you are not going to prom, because that is the limousine’s big day(s) for money making. Limousines can be anywhere from $500 for a two and half hour rental to, of course thousands. To save more money, if you are friends with a special car association you could rent or borrow the owners’ cars. Or now with the Internet companies, Zip Car, Drive Mint or even Connect By Hertz, you could rent a car of your dreams for a great rate. Each of these dot com hourly car rentals can save you a bundle. Think about it.
  • If you have a friend who has an exotic car that rarely gets out find out from them if they would be willing to escort you around the city, either right before the ceremony or right after the reception.  Transportation – Getting to and sometimes from the wedding ceremony can be challenging when it comes to keeping costs down, but with these suggestions you can be home free.
  • Did you guess already that the featured item for my friend’s wedding was the dress? Well, if you did you would have been correct. The bride wore, what appeared to be gold. In actuality, the dress was a copper lace with a light pink undergarment that peeked through, which made the dress upon entrance and even as she continued to walk down the aisle appear to be molten liquid gold. She was drummed in. Of course, the bride is usually the center piece of most weddings, but as they say in the theater, people were humming the dress the rest of the evening, especially since she was able to match the dress with a cape, that was already in her closet.  Another pure savings.

Weddings come in all sizes and in all price points.  Don’t get suck into believing just because your wedding doesn’t cost the city or even the national average, that it can not be as festive and sophisticated.  It can be and everyone will have a great time, too.  We certainly did at my friends’ wedding.  Dreamers can!

Wedding Formality Is Up To You . . . Again

  • Posted on March 1, 2011 at 12:42 am

The wedding  formality is up to you again, of course.  Formal usually has to do with the attire of the wedding party and the time of the wedding.  The later the wedding usually the more formal it is.  For instance, an eight o’clock in the evening wedding and especially if it is on Saturday night, is going to be considered formal, especially if the bridal party is in black tie and possibly tails.  That will imply that the guests are to arrive in similar attire for the men and long dresses for the women.  In that case, the guests are going to expect a sit down dinner, which can drive the cost of your wedding up exponentially depending on the number of your guests.

Summer weddings lend themselves to a more carefree or of an informal nature and are especially easy for both the wedding party and the guests.  Most brides do not make their guests (especially the males) wear a full set of tails unless in a cooler or cold climate.  The guests along with the female bridal party could wear between knee and tea length dresses in the color or colors of the bride’s choosing.  The groom and groomsmen would wear dark suits also of the bride and groom’s choosing.  Most probably, that would fall within the black or navy family.

Guests could wear any or all of the above unless it is specified on the invitation.  Remember the invitation is the clue for the guests and what they are to wear.  You will of course, get a renegade or two that will wear something completely different from the norm, but that’s what a party is all about anyway, right?  The party’s the thing when it comes to the whole money situation.  Think about what is important for your new life together; talking about money or everything else that is bound to come up in your new lives together.  Dreamers can.

Weddings around the web