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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

Riverside’s Wedding Open House – 2/19/2011

  • Posted on February 21, 2011 at 10:47 pm

As a new author, it is often a delight to be invited anywhere.  A couple of weeks ago, I was at the place my husband and I got married, Riverside Church and ran into the wedding consultant.  I asked for a wedding packet and explained that I was writing a book about New York City weddings on a budget.  Ms. Gregory promptly invited me to the annual Wedding Open House at Riverside Church.

Today, I had the privilege of attending in which she quite graciously introduced me as a new author and I was then allowed to hand out fliers about my upcoming eBook which will go live by the end of this month.

Riverside’s Wedding Opening House is unlike any other wedding event you might attend, including any wedding expo.  Talking about them in the same sentence, though is talking apples and oranges.  The Wedding Expos that I have attended, had a big business machine feel to them, with lots of moving parts and lots of people trying to get the bride and groom’s money right away, by putting fear in them about loosing the date of their choice if they don’t sign up that very day.

Riverside’s annual wedding event has a more leisurely feel to it.  There is no rush, rush feel or a sense that you must do something and do it now or lose out forever.  At this year’s event there were families, a few grooms only and of course the brides, and bride and groom experiencing the feel of a Riverside Church wedding.  The various rooms were made up to look, feel, and in some cases taste what such an event could be, at Riverside Church.

There was the annual raffle of winning a wedding ceremony in the Nave, which can easily seat 2000 on the main floor, saving them approximately $1500 – $1800.  There was an addition of a new raffle winning a reception for one hundred people including an open bar, easily a $15,000 – $18,000 prize.  The tickets could have been purchased only during the open house and were non-transferable and could not be sold.  The two happy couples William and Sylvia won the wedding ceremony and Pete H. and his bride won the reception and open bar.

Next year, if you are in the market for a wedding event, I suggest you go to Riverside’s, very definitely.  The set up is beautiful throughout the church, plus there are giveaways around the church to entice you to look around, especially if you miss the guided tour by Ms. Gregory.  There is even a question and answer session in which more in depth information can be garnered.  Make sure you go prepared with your questions.  Here are just a few of the questions asked:

A Parent: Where does the wedding party begin?

Ms. Gregory: I am the first stop, for which you can schedule an appointment and we talk in depth about what you might want, the budget, and the number of guests.  You may also either email me, (best) or call me.  If you are ready to book, then definitely set up an appointment, and I will get you started in the process including your reservation of a room, along with the deposit.   Additionally, if you want your reception here, I can let our catering service, PashaEvents, know that you are booked and ready to have them (the Caterers) contact you.  You (The reservers) may also do that on your own, as well.

Bride: Can secular music be played during the ceremony?

Ms. Gregory: During the ceremony, you may only use sacred music, which you make the decision on what it is.  This is a sacred space and we are strict with having only sacred music played during the wedding ceremony.  At the reception it is your choice of musical style.  You may hire an outside entertainer, or band.

Bride: How long is the ceremony?  How long before the reception begins?  How long is the minimum time for the reception?

Ms. Gregory: The wedding ceremony is typically 30 minutes.  The reception can be scheduled to start immediately or within the half hour of your ceremony’s end.  Typically any place you speak to about receptions will measure their price by the time needed.  We schedule you for an hour cocktail, and four hours for the reception and if you would like dancing as well, that includes more than enough time.

Groom: How much is the reception?

Ms. Gregory: Our pricing is competitive with other venues of our caliber, so our price per plate/person is between $105 -$155.

Groom: Can there be two ministers side by side performing the ceremony, one in English and the other minister in another language?

Ms. Gregory: We have several ministers on staff from which the bridal party can choose.  If their choice is not available, we go down to the next minister who is available.  Often there are requests for a minister, who is not a member of the Riverside clergy staff, who can perform weddings at Riverside Church, then they are allowed to do the homily, and liturgy.  Having another minister duplicate verbatim what the English-speaking minister will say lengthens the ceremony by two, possibly three times as much. and that is why they may join the service, with their specific part or feature, but only be one or two parts, not the whole ceremony, usually the homily and liturgy.

There were many more questions and I was even able to get a short interview with Ms. Gregory after the event.  If you are in the midst of or haven’t yet booked your wedding venue, I invite you to take a look a Riverside Church of New York.  And if you get the opportunity to go in February to go to their Open House, I would say, definitely go next year and maybe I’ll be there, too with another new book, or edition.

Weddings around the web