Tag Archives: budget

Our Affordable BK Wedding

I got married. A while ago.

This blog has been sorely neglected. It started as a planning tool for me, but, as we got closer to our wedding and as hubs got more involved, we used a lot more google docs and our free wedding website and shared bookmarks for the planning, and much less with this blog.

We didn’t do the best job in the world tracking our expenses, but I do feel comfortable saying that our total wedding cost came in under $5,000, which is a feat for 100+ guests within the five boroughs. Since I’m no longer planning or reviewing various options, I will probably not update this blog with any sense of urgency, but it does still exist, I am still around, and I do have information about some things that I looked into. So if you feel like asking, please do go ahead and comment with questions or contact me directly, and I will post about it.

In very broad strokes, we saved a lot of money in these ways:

  • Venue: We went with the Dumbo Loft. Chris, their events guy, was a pleasure to deal with. They offered their own rentals, which were totally reasonable, and, though prices for Saturdays went up over the course of our lengthy engagement, the cost for a Sunday event remained $2,400 through 2011. I had some communications with the people at the Green Building following my initial review way back. They’ve really revamped the place. My impression is that they are great to deal with, have done away with their weird old rules, and it looks like an amazing place, but the cost has gone up with all of the changes, and it ultimately rang in at nearly double the venue we went with.
  • Potluck. We did it. It worked. If you are thinking about doing it and fear that there won’t be enough food, fear not. There was so much food. It was amazing. We did a little map suggesting places to purchase things for out-of-towners with no kitchens, and we delegated some bulk food things. We included a page on our free website with a google form for the things we wanted. I can expand on all of this later if anyone desires.
  • Disposables. Instead of renting dishes, we went with biodegradable disposables. Not the classiest, but nobody seemed to mind. I was gifted with lots of mason jars from a friend’s wedding, which I painted with a little slash of chalkboard paint to personalize, and we used those as glasses and favors (though people forgot to take them home and I am, in turn, passing them on to another wedding party this month). But we had biodegradable cups at the ready as back-up, and they were fine and were put to good use.
  • Decor — I delegated! I put a couple of friends in charge of doing the tables. I purchased some vintage sheets to use as runners. My friend found table cloths for like $50 total on eBay, and they basically gathered little veggies (my suggestion – it was fall) and candle-holders and baskets and various things that they had on hand and made ’em all pretty. Kind of like potlucking.
  • Drinks — OK, so we were given wine. We got lucky there. But our plan before that was to get a few cases of the 10 under $10 from Astor wines. We got kegs through a bar that we frequent, which I think got us wholesale prices. My husband insisted on two kegs, but we would have been fine with one. We had two cocktails prepared (again, one was a wedding present from friends who brought the booze for that drink and assembled it there. I provided booze for the other, but friends mixed it up) and a bunch of drinks that the in-laws picked up at CostCo.
  • Ceremony — I wrote it. My stepfather got himself ordained and officiated. I loved writing the ceremony so much that I thought about getting myself ordained and registered as an officiant so I could keep writing weddings. Is that weird? I might still do it. It felt good to have something that was personalized all the way through and deeply authentic to us.
Surely I am forgetting some other things that saved us money. And there are more details on all of the above. The bottom line is that we went with an affordable venue, and we asked for people to pitch in and help rather than purchase presents. I will say that I am the kind of person who loves weddings and loves being on the flipside of these requests. One of my old BFFs and I spent days preparing a sweets table for another friend’s wedding earlier in the summer (from whence the jars came), because we grew up in the same community, and it was a labor of love. I made a wedding cake (again, collaboratively) this spring because I love a baking challenge and wanted to do it. I love all that stuff, so I felt comfortable making it a part of my own wedding. One of the best compliments I got on the wedding (or in general) was when a guest told me that she thinks of me as a good hostess, someone who loves cooking and feeding and taking care of people so much, and that it was nice that I gave people the opportunity to do that for me. I was blown away.
That said, I had a ton of anxiety about asking for so much help and asking others to perform such labors of love for me. I had a lot of pangs about growing up in a close-knit community and potlucking every single week of my childhood but no longer living in the same town as those people and feeling a lack of community here in the city that I could rely on in that way. But you know what? I asked anyway, and people showed up for us more generously and profoundly and beautifully than I could have hoped. Those people from my childhood schlepped decorations and garden-grown flowers and food to the city in cars. Family members rented apartments instead of hotel rooms in part so they could cook and prep. And newer friends, people I became close to in recent years or some only in recent months, offered crock-pots and bulk cooking and set-up. I was concerned, going in, that I didn’t have a ton of friends like myself in terms of wanting to take on large-scale cooking projects, but it was amazing how much community came out of the woodwork. Just amazing. If we can do it, you can do it.
If you want any more details on any of the above, or if you want to know what we did about x,y, or z, anything I’ve totally omitted from this post, feel free to comment or to drop me a line using this form, which will send me an email rather than posting publicly. I like sharing ideas.

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