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Unique Wedding Ideas for the Last Minute Wedding

  • Posted on March 7, 2011 at 8:26 am

The following article is one that I saw on by Brad Maverick, that I thought you might enjoy.

There are many unique wedding ideas that are being done today. People today are doing less traditional things in regards to getting married. Some people do it because they want to be unique and stand out from other types of marriages out there. Others do it because it can be a way for them to save money. Weddings can be expensive and you can do something to spend less about it. Others do it so that the big event can be memorable from the rest.

Here are a few unique ideas that you can try for your big day. Instead of using expensive flowers and vases as your centerpiece, you can do something on your own and make them instead. You can choose cheaper flowers and choose some inexpensive materials. It can make your centerpiece unique.

For your wedding favors, why don’t you try giving out seeds? These kinds of DIY wedding favors are the rave today because it is unique and inexpensive as well. There are a lot of do-it-yourself favors that you can try as well.

For your gown, you don’t have to have one made or buy an expensive one. Did you know that you can rent a gown or you can choose an inexpensive one? There are a lot of stores that sell affordable gowns that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on.

Another way to have a unique wedding is to have a theme that is one of a kind. Find an activity or object that you and your future spouse enjoy doing and you can base your wedding theme around it. For example, if you and your fiancée love baseball then you can choose a baseball theme wedding. These are the few unique wedding ideas that you can try.

CharLena’s additions to the Baseball Theme:

All wedding party is part of the line-up with the Bride & Groom choosing between Catcher and Pitcher.

Everyone is dressed in some form of baseball related attire or equipment, except the Bride, Groom, and Officiant.

The wedding party could be dressed as bats.  (This is just silly, but could be fun, too.)  Or wear their favorite baseball team’s hat.

Everyone is dressed in their favorite baseball jersey or warm-up jacket depending on the time of the year or whether the wedding is outside.

Move the theme outside and have tail gate party (reception) just like you would for the playoffs.  (Inexpensive and fun, what’s not to like?)

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

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!

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.

The Budget-Minded Wedding Couple

  • Posted on January 26, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Welcome to Budget Weddings NYC.   This is your portal to the New York City wedding process on a budget.