A New York City Wedding for Less than $14,000

A New York City Wedding for Less Than $14,000

Nothing has tested my frugal super powers more than planning a wedding in New York City.

When I first sat down to estimate our wedding costs, I budgeted $1,000 for flowers. Haha, naive Luxe.

That’s the thing about weddings. You have no idea how much they cost, because most likely you’ve never planned one before. So when you sit down to do your budget, it’s basically like making up numbers.

But! As someone’s who’s gone through the trenches, today I wanted to show an example of what a wedding looks like in New York City, and exactly how much it cost. Three reasons why:

  1. Wedding costs is something that many people don’t talk about, and in a place like NYC where everything is insanely priced, I hope these numbers can help other brides.
  2. I think I prioritized things a little differently and there could stand to be a little more diversity on how weddings go down, besides what you see in bridal magazines, Pinterest, etc.
  3. You don’t need to spend a gazillion dollars to have a nice wedding.

The Vision

The vision was “laid-back yet luxurious un-wedding.” My husband was happy to let me use the wedding as a creative outlet, so I had fun looking at chic fashion events for inspiration. That meant the details mattered to me.

The Budget

We wanted to spend no more than $15,000, which was less than 10% of our annual income. I would have loved to have a wedding at an iconic rooftop. We could have easily afforded it, but we wanted to be practical, while still staying true to our personal tastes. Don’t get me wrong: our wedding was important. But other things are important to me, too. Like saving up a bunch of money so I don’t have to work if I don’t want to.

The Strategy

A wedding should be approached with a strategy, like everything else. You pick the stuff you care about, spend on those, then cheap out on the rest. To get the “luxury” in New York City and keep our budget in line, there were two major strategies:

  1. We reduced the guest list to close family and best friends only. This is the easiest way to cut costs. We had the luxury of doing this because neither one of us has huge families and our families are super chill. My mom had some initial ideas of what the wedding should look like, but ultimately, she cared most about me being happy.
  2. We took a hard look at traditions and did without anything that wasn’t meaningful to us.

Things We Wouldn’t Do to Save Money

Not to say that you shouldn’t do these things, but these were our personal preferences.

  1. Have the wedding on a day besides Saturday. We debated having the wedding on a Sunday night to save money, but we ultimately felt like Saturday was the most convenient for our guests.
  2. Make people stand at the ceremony. With some older guests and friends with babies, chairs were mandatory. So this ruled out basically any park as a venue.
  3. And last: the controversial one. We didn’t ask our friends and family for labor*. My sister is a floral designer and one of my best friends is an events planner. Easy way to cut costs, right? But I wanted them to have fun as guests, not work. So yes, we spent about $3,000 we probably didn’t have to, but honestly, we weren’t really pinching pennies or anything since we had already saved up the funds for our wedding ahead of time. No big deal.

*We did ask a distant friend to officiate and my friend to record the ceremony from her seat, though.

Alright, so let’s see how we did!

Wedding Summary

Total cost: $13,999.04
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Time of year: Summer (peak timing)
Venue type: Brownstone restaurant
Guest count: 32 (and a bunch of babies!)

What We Splurged On

The Location – $$$$

Our biggest splurge that basically DOUBLED the cost? Having it in New York City. This is something I refused to compromise on. Neither one of us is farm-y, religious, or feel particularly tied to our hometowns. Any place else wouldn’t have felt true to us.

NYC Wedding Ceremony Decor Details

Photography – $3,105

Photography was really important to both of us, and the right style was critical. I look really dumb when I try to pose for pictures, so we wanted someone who wouldn’t make us pose, but rather capture us naturally. I also wanted a style that was a little moodier and more cinematic. Something that looked more “real.” So we looked more for personality and style, rather than picking the cheapest option. To save money, instead of an all-day package, which would have cost $5-6,000, we picked an hourly rate instead. Our wedding was shorter than average, so no need to go with the full package. We also skipped engagement photos to save money, and I don’t think the wedding day photos suffered for it.

NYC Wedding Ceremony at Brownstone Restaurant

Flowers – $2,399

I contacted 17 florists. SEVENTEEN. Again, it wasn’t about the cheapest option. The flowers were important because we picked a blank canvas as our venue. If you have a naturally beautiful location, you don’t need flowers, but I wanted to create a look from scratch. I think tropical flowers and greenery are really dramatic, so I thought they could be used minimally but still add impact.

NYC Bridal Bouquet

NYC Wedding Ceremony Flowers

Wedding Favors – $1,145.64

We didn’t have dancing, but we wanted to have our one, unique wedding-esque activity, so we hired an artist to paint portraits of our guests. We ended up paying twice as much because the first person we lined up fell through at the last minute.

Live Painting Portraits as a Wedding Favor

Guest Portraits - Wedding Favors

Eyelash Extensions – $313.50

OK, this is the one splurge that was just for me. I didn’t want to wear a lot of makeup, so I was banking on the eyelash extensions to do most of the “prettifying.” And of course, I booked one of those “celebrity eyelash artists,” because if there’s one time to indulge, it’s your wedding day. I also wanted them to look really natural, so I figured a more expensive guy would do a better job with that.

What We Saved On

Venue – $700

The ceremony and reception were in the same location and the fee was $350 for each. The venue was a homey restaurant in Brooklyn, housed in a lovely brownstone building. If you look at my Instagram feed, you know how much I love brownstones!

NYC Wedding Ceremony Setup

Food + Drink – $3,038.05

One hurdle we faced was food and drink minimums. The lowest minimum we could find for an evening wedding was $6,500. That meant we’d have to invite more people just to meet the minimum. Instead of trying to add more people, we decided to go with a daytime wedding, which fit our guest list way better.

NYC Wedding Brunch

Bridal Outfits – $768

This was a cost that I was super practical about. Since I’m only wearing these clothes once, I didn’t see the need to go all out. In case you missed it, I got all my wedding outfits basically brand-new from eBay.

Cake – $160

For the cake, taste was more important to us than how it looked. So we decided to not go for a traditional cake and just bought two cakes that I love from Lady M.

Best. Decision. Ever. The mille crepes cakes are comprised of 20 crepes with a thin layer of cream in between. So light and fluffy and delicious!

I was worried that the one tiered cakes would look kind of sad because we didn’t put a lot of money on the cake decor, but I think the florist did a good job making them look nice.

NYC Lady M Wedding Cake

Later, the florist added more greenery and repurposed my bouquet to jazz up the cake table even more. Yay to resourcefulness.
NYC Lady M Wedding Cake Details

Hair and Makeup – $10

For hair and makeup, I didn’t want to look like a different person. I decided I’d do my own makeup, using what I already have and buying just a few things to fill the gaps. I bought foundation and a lipstick from Sephora, but I’m using them in my day-to-day life so I don’t count those as wedding costs. For hair, if I did it myself, I would have had to spend money on tools I’d only use once or twice. This was something I felt I needed a professional for. So I used a promo code and booked a Glamsquad stylist to come to my house. Instead of picking a bridal look, which would have cost more, I picked a regular style since I only needed waves. Then the makeup artist got super lost the day of so they bumped the cost down to just $10 instead of $25.

Officiant – $0

My husband had an old work friend who was ordained, so we saved about $5-$600 this way.

Best ROI

There are two:

The first was the day-of coordinator. We negotiated the cost down $600 since our wedding was small, had fewer things to coordinate, and we were really organized already. At first I questioned whether or not this was needed because our wedding was so small. Plus, we planned everything ourselves and since I’m a natural planner, I did the day-of timeline, put together all the floor plans, etc. However, our coordinator was awesome and if she wasn’t there, I would have been worrying about all these details on the day of instead of being present at my own wedding. 10/10 would recommend.

The second best thing we did was give my friend an iPhone to record the ceremony and various bits throughout the day. Having some video was really important to me, but I didn’t think a professional was worth it, so we put my friend in the second row so she could tape the ceremony from her seat. The footage isn’t perfect, but it didn’t have to be. Seeing people move and talk is so much different than a static photo, and I’m so happy we were able to capture some moments.

Worst ROI

The officiant. He cost $0, but he didn’t write anything for the ceremony and showed up with 20 wrinkled papers that had nothing to do with our wedding. I totally would have paid $600 to have an officiant who actually showed up and did was he was supposed to.

Three Money Lessons Learned

1. Focus on the Big Wins

You don’t have to pinch pennies on every single category. Focusing on a few of the big-ticket items is more efficient, and then you don’t have to compromise on every little thing. For example, just by not buying an engagement ring, that gave us $3,000 to use on something else.

2. Creativity Costs Money

Major lesson learned here: If you want vendors who are at the top of their game and forward-thinking, you’re gonna have to pony up the money. For example, all of the creative, magazine-worthy florists I loved cost $4,000 MINIMUM. I had to go through so many florists to find one that got my style and was reasonable. The same thing with the photographer.

3. Investing Is My Best Friend

I fronted most of our wedding because I was scheming to earn more credit card points. I remember writing an e-mail to my friend saying how scared I was to see how the wedding would affect my net worth. But look, my net worth still increased while I was paying for the wedding.

How could that be? Investing, my friends. It’s the only way I know of to make money without actively doing anything.

The Full Breakdown

Costs for a Brooklyn Wedding with 32 Guests
Category (Highest to Lowest) Cost
Photographer $3105
Food & Drink $3038.05
Florist $2399
Favors $1145.64
Weddings Bands $866.65
Bridal Outfits $768
Wedding/Event Planner $600
Paper $425.75
Venue $350
Ceremony Site $350
Wedding Day Makeup $313.50
Wedding Cake $160
Decor $130.10
Groom’s Attire $87.78
Transportation $71.87
Engagement Ring $52
Gifts $39.10
Wedding Day Mani/Pedi $36.75
License $35
Postage $14.85
Wedding Day Hair $10
Reception DJ $0
Videographer $0
Ceremony Musicians $0
Officiant $0
Reception Band N/A
Rehearsal Dinner N/A
TOTAL $13999.04

What about you? Wedding priorities are insanely interesting to me, so what were your top splurges? What surprised you the most when planning your wedding?

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  • The friend and family labour topic is so interesting! We were part of a wedding two years ago where everything was done by friends and family (including us) and it was kind of amazing! It was a small wedding (60) people and all we had to do was prep the wedding cake cupcakes, set up tables for dinner and move them for reception. If it had been a bigger wedding it would have been a nightmare. But, I kind of loved being involved. It was Mr. TA’s best friend who got married so maybe that’s why, but if we ever go that way, I’m going hard on DIY!

    • That is awesome you loved helping out at your friend’s wedding! For me, I think it would have just added more stress. My sister lives elsewhere with two small kids, so having to leave them to set up flowers just would have been a bad scene. Plus, we actually only had like, 45 minutes to set everything up (crazy, I know) due to venue policy, so it was nice to put that pressure on professionals instead.

      I always thought I’d DIY since I’m crafty, but interestingly, I didn’t do much. I tried to DIY the invitations, designing it myself, spending $10 here and there on paper and envelope samples, then trying to print from a million printers. Um, that added up in terms of time and money. And then at the end of the day, I just ordered ready-made ones. I also designed and made the signs and made the ringbearer pillow. Pretty sure I lost money on the pillow because of all the time I spent on it.

  • Cody @ Dollar Habits

    Beautiful photos! Congratulations, Luxe!

  • The photos are so beautiful. I loved that you had an artist paint portraits of everyone…that’s brilliant and also why I love small weddings because you can get really intimate and personal with what you did with your loved ones. I contemplated getting lash extensions too-so I wouldn’t have to wear any makeup but as usual when you’re planning something big, I lost track of time. Would you recommend getting them done? I hear so many mixed reviews. I did my own makeup and that was when I had my “bridezilla” moment because I started trying to add on things (not me) and it looked really bad and had to do it over twice before running out the door. I didn’t have any flowers because I too didn’t realize how incredibly expensive they are and because they weren’t a priority for us, that was an easy expense to cut out of our wedding cost. Loved reading your wedding experience-seems like you really made it yours as much as possible 🙂

    • Yeah, people thought the portraits were really neat and it encouraged mingling. There was no way we could pull that off with a bigger wedding. I also had to make sure she could do them in less than 5 minutes so everyone could get one. So, that was a part of the price. People who are experienced take longer to paint/draw, so some of the guests would have gotten left out.

      I don’t think the eyelash extensions I got were worth $300 plus. I mean, they looked really natural, so that was nice, but you could get a similar effect by going to a cheaper place that’s like $100. They were still synthetic eyelashes. If you have sensitive eyes you might find them irritating, but I think they’re fun to do once for a beach vacation where the eyelashes can be your only makeup 🙂

      Oh no, about the makeup–that’s sooo stressful! The first thing I did was go get a makeover at Sephora. The makeup artists did a really great job. So I thought I could try to replicate the same thing at home. NOPE. I decided I’d still do it myself, but I practiced every single weekend trying out different looks, taking selfies, etc. At the end of the day, I went with my normal look, but just a little heavier/brighter. I considered eyeshadow but I don’t ever wear it in my everyday life (hello, oily eyelids), so my strategy was, if I don’t wear it in my everyday life, then I’m not gonna wear it on my wedding day. I have no regrets if my makeup looks really light in pictures because at least I look like me! Also, I got my makeup done once professionally and I looked like a drag queen, so that also scarred me for life.

      • Yea that’s definitely some pressure for the artist but they turned out great!

        I guess the only thing other than the price and potential for a reaction with the lashes is that I can’t rub my eyes haha

        Not even kidding one time in high school for a dance, my friend did my makeup for me and I looked like a clown…somehow I had a really pale foundation on and really bright red cheeks…it was a mess. I only trust myself with makeup and maybe….a professional if I was forced into doing it.

        • Yeah, def check out some of those places by K-town. You can’t wet them for 24 hours so there’s some level of maintenance. By day 3 I was pulling them out. So now I have sparse lashes, haha.

          I’ve discovered my version of “a lot” of makeup is different from other people. I’m like, yeah, eyeshadow is a lot. And other people are like, oh, contouring, smokey eyes, and highlighter is a lot. I think you are also the only person who knows what’s best for your face, so it’s hard to trust people. For example, I have the kind of face that can’t take a lot of colors because it looks like too much. I can only wear one eye product or else I look like a drag queen. Meanwhile, others can wear the same makeup and it looks great on them.

          • I agree, I just don’t feel like me with all the makeup…it just doesn’t feel comfortable for me and but the way other people pull it off so effortlessly is pretty amazing. Eyeshadow is not even a thing for me haha I wore one color on my eyes for my wedding and I was questioned by a few people…but at the end of the day I got to do what felt good to me…and that’s all that really matters 🙂

  • Gorgeous wedding. Currently planning my own NYC wedding and (fortunately and unfortunately) have a large guest list. Still, so many of these tips can be applied despite the guest count. My biggest question to you is how the heck did Glamsquad only cost $10!!!!!! Did you have credits or something?

    • Oh yeah, I used a referral code from someone else, so it was $25. But the day of, the stylist got really lost going to the wrong address. She was 45 minutes late! So I called to complain and they gave me a major discount, hence the $10. If you need a code, you can email me (hi@theluxestrategist dotcom) and I can see if I have one. I would recommend it if you have a fancy event to go to, but make sure there’s no confusion about where you live!

  • Thank you for the kind words, Cody!

  • Beautiful wedding. I think you got the most important things right. I’m so glad you didn’t ask any guests to work on your wedding day because you’re absolutely right. They’re there for you, not to work for you even though they might have done it gladly. Good for you, Luxe!

    • Thanks, Darren. I think there are some folks that really ARE on a budget and might not be able to achieve a nice wedding without some labor help, but for us, that wasn’t the case.

  • Taylor Lee

    That cake! Nom.

    We’re starting to dip our toes into wedding planning now. I’ve been surprised just by how much things tend to add up, even for a fairly modest gathering. We’re prioritizing having an outdoors event, which has its challenges with regard to kitchen access, water, etc. We’d like to have some talented friends provide music, photography, officiate and for us to pay them, but I can definitely see it get tricky.

  • GYM

    Gorgeous gorgeous! Lol, that’s great you wanted to look like yourself, I told my makeup artist to make me not look like myself but myself. Love the floral decor, it really makes the white walls pop! It doesn’t sound like you had any bridal party, we didn’t either to save money and it was hard to pick who would be in the bridal party anyway. I didn’t end up getting a day of coordinator, but my friend did help out. We got them gifts to help out (some did speeches etc.). My husband wanted to cheap out on the photographer (he said his friend could do it, he liked photography as a hobby lol) but I insisted we needed to get a professional.. I agreed to not have a videographer though since that adds a few thousand dollars. Congratulations on your beautiful nuptials!

    • Every time I’ve had my makeup done by someone else I’ve basically hated it. So I learned my lesson this time. Even though I’m not professional I didn’t have to look perfect or anything.

      Yeah, other couples tended to go way minimal in the space, but I thought it would be cool to do something different by adding color and texture. No, no bridal party. I didn’t see a need for it, personally.

      “Photography as a hobby” = run away like crazy! Just because someone has a nice camera doesn’t mean they have a good eye…

  • Very mature and thoughtful post. I’ve heard of people who use their connections for free labor. It’s sort of like blackmail, how can you stay friends with them if you decline? It’s like expecting them to fly out for you even though they were recently lay off, I’ve heard of a lot of rants about that behind a friend’s back from the rest of her friends. Not a great way to keep your friends I must say.

    • Thanks, Lily. Yeah, the whole asking friends to help is so tricky. I’m sure there are plenty of people who’d love to help, but at the same time, could you really say no, even if you didn’t want to? My friend is still complaining about the time she was told to bring a salad for a potluck wedding, and also had to move her chair from the ceremony to the reception. I think the line between helping and taking advantage is pretty thin…

  • Jen

    Love this post! It makes me so happy when others also carefully evaluate their choices rather than just ‘going along with it’ and society’s expectations. Your wedding is yours, and you should celebrate in ways that are meaningful to you and your partner. Anyone who loves you enough to be present will understand if you choose not to follow certain traditions, or to follow certain ones. It looks like you struck a perfect balance, and the photos are stunning. Congratulations, and I wish you many decades of happy married bliss!

    • Awww, thanks! I feel like the wedding industry sway is so strong, and I get sad when people get bullied into doing things that aren’t true to themselves. I’ve seen a couple wedding threads where the bride said their mom basically bulldozed them into x, y, or z, and if that happened to me, I’d be miserable.

  • Ditto, cheap flowers never make anything feel good. I myself obviously like the expensive orchids.. 😉

    • I don’t think doing flowers is as simple as throwing a few blooms into a vase, either. My sister is a floral designer and she’d be pretty insulted by that assumption. And I can definitely tell the difference by an arrangement that is well balanced in terms of structure and color, versus one that isn’t. Some arrangements look just like the Dutch paintings in museums! Swoon.

  • We got a lot of compliments on the cake! I also annihilated the leftovers in a day. So, no frozen cake on the anniversary for us, oops.

    Yeah, I think sometimes with modest gatherings there are just some things that you can’t save on. Like the photographer, dress, etc. So, in some ways, the bigger weddings are way more efficient.

    We also wanted an outdoor wedding. Something garden-y or in a backyard, but it was so hard to find one. And no, we don’t happen to have parents with a nice brownstone in the city. Ultimately, the indoor one worked out because it was a hot day, and my husband sweats a lot.

    It’s awesome that you plan on paying your friends. For me, the coordinating and flowers were both a lot of work, and the people were close to me. But if it was a distant friend I might have considered it, like the “free” officiant we got.

    A note on the officiant: please make sure you see the full script that they will be using. We were, um, surprised by what was said at ours. And not in a good way.

    Good luck with the planning!

  • I liked how your friend was able to record your wedding on an iPhone instead of hiring a professional. We did the same thing for our wedding, my sister in-law and a friend recorded it on their phones and it really wasn’t that bad, good enough for us.
    Can’t help it but I really like that you guys hired a artist to paint portraits of your guests. That is definitely original and probably one the things your guests talk about when discussing your wedding.
    Great wedding altogether!!

    • Hi Kris,

      Totally agree with you. I didn’t really need a “professional” video with like romantic music, voice overs and stuff. Not my style. And it was so neat to be able to see moments I wasn’t around for, like how cute my little niece was walking down the aisle.

      Yeah, I loved being able to spoil our guests with a fun wedding favor. Everybody thought it was cool and I definitely think makes things more memorable! I hope they talk about that, the cake, and the flowers 🙂

      Thanks for the comment, as always.

  • Gorgeous example of a wedding that was meaningful and memorable even without a lot of bells and whistles! The portraits looked fun btw, and something people would actually enjoy vs. another knickknack. 😆

    I come from a culture where a small wedding would mean inviting 400 people – I’ve been to weddings in my city with easily 1000-1200 people and only one wedding that I can remember with less than 100 people lol! – and well, it makes me leery of having my own wedding in the future in this community. It’s super frowned upon to not invite every single acquaintance here – my grandma and parents won’t hear the end of the passive aggressive remarks for weeks! – and that just doesn’t agree with me. 😂

    • I try not to let knickknacks into our home, so they definitely had no place at our wedding.

      I think the cultural expectations are tough, but I think if parents really love you then shouldn’t your happiness be #1? We also had a cultural wedding for my mom. I told her she had to plan and pay for everything, and we would just show up. It was very homemade and inexpensive, because she used her network to make it happen. She never asks me for anything so we both felt good about doing this one thing for her was a fair compromise.

      So maybe when the time comes you could do both?

      • I am thinking of doing both actually, though some people point out it’s ridiculous. But what works and makes everyone and their wallets happy, right? Kudos to your Mom for making all that happen by getting her network to pitch in!

  • Mustard Seed Money

    My wife and I were both really frugal all through out. We decided to save as much as we could because we really wanted to move into our house debt free, which included not having a mortgage. We were able to do so a couple of months later and being debt free was the best thing we’ve ever done. So while we could have had a more extravagant wedding I wouldn’t change what happened for a second 🙂

    • I think a lot of times other financial priorities seem to get overshadowed by weddings, so it’s awesome you kept your eye on the prize!

  • Pia

    My husband is a diva. And thus, our wedding ended up costing $35k. Because he wanted the best of everything. I saved where I could, by buying a second hand dress etc but he ran wild. However, I went with it because you only get married once (if I do end up getting married again, then we are doing a cheap courthouse wedding thank you very much) and he really doesn’t ask for very much else nor spend very much money at all otherwise.

    • It sounds like you and your husband have a great relationship. I’m lucky my husband has kind of shifted his spending habits to match mine, but the true compatibility test is figuring out how to compromise when it comes to money, like you did. And I’m sure you had a great time, anyway!

  • Diane

    Beautiful, thanks for sharing! The photographer and flowers really added a lot. We also got married this Feb. Although we had been engaged for a year and a half we only had 3 weeks to plan because it was an international wedding and we got issued a very short time frame by the embassy. We did it in husband’s hometown in Switzerland in a local city-owned castle. City owned castle meant we paid only city fees to use the space ($120). A February Saturday wedding meant everything we wanted was available.
    Overall the biggest expense was probably dinner which we paid a few thousand for, we had 50 wedding guests and according to the space at the venue not everyone was invited to the dinner. I probably would have rather gotten a bigger venue and invited everyone to dinner, but didn’t really have the time or resources to do it as everything local required you to speak Swiss German. Also I was first trimester pregnant and could not be bothered. Plus husband was a champion and organized the whole wedding. We paid around $3000 overall and got about $2-3000 in wedding contributions that offset the costs nearly entirely. It’s good to think back and reflect on these stories! Thanks for opening the space to share!

  • Congrats! I love all of your personal touches- our top splurges were photography and videography. For videography, we paid for a 10-12 minute snippet of the day [the video that people usually post to FB, haha]. We saved THOUSANDS by doing this because a) we knew we were never going to watch 8 hours of footage and b) we wanted to share the wedding day with my grandparents in China.

    We also splurged on a traditional Chinese tea ceremony [complete with traditional Chinese outfits] because we knew it would make my parents super happy. It was admittedly a pain to plan out, but all the parents and grandparents enjoyed it, so it was totally worth it!

    We thought we were saving money because the venue coordinator was supposed to be free day of coordinator [which would have been honestly the easiest job in the world with my very detailed, color-coded itinerary] but she was MIA the day of.

    • Thanks, Ying! I’m glad someone else is on the video train, too. I was so adamant about it and I loved seeing some moments I wasn’t around to see (like, what guests were doing before I arrived). Phew to not getting the 8 hour raw video, because that would have been a beast. I’m sure your grandparents totally loved being able to see the wedding from afar. The one thing I regret is I didn’t give my friend a shot list for the video (so I could edit it myself). But the video was the one thing that got tacked on at the end, so organizing that part was the last thing on my mind. Anyway, I’m still so grateful I got some priceless shots.

      I’m glad you were able to incorporate your culture into the wedding, too. We did a separate wedding for my mom, which was super cheap (hello, she still holds onto her immigrant ways), and she got to control everything so everybody was happy.

      We had a “venue coordinator” too, but my thought was that they only cared about managing stuff from a venue perspective, and not for the bride. So maybe it’s overkill, but I hired my own day-of coordinator and even my friend said she was awesome!

      Haha, I was a super organized bride, as well. The funnest part was making all the floor plans!

  • Hi Diane,

    I agree, I that the photographer and flowers cost a lot, and those should be the top line items driving your budget (if you care to have either).

    A castle for a wedding sounds EPIC. It sounds like you were pretty creative considering the timing you had, and it’s awesome that your husband stepped in to organize everything.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience!

  • Bravo, LS! A $14,000 stylish wedding in NY is a definite accomplishment. My wife and I were very frugal with our wedding, spending less than $5000, but there were a few areas where we cut corners and looking back, I wish we hadn’t. For example, my father-in-law handled the photography, and while it’s a fun hobby for him, the result left a lot to be desired. That said it was a wonderful day, we escaped with our finances intact, and have nothing but great memories. I love the idea of the portrait artist, by the way, very original! : )

    • Thanks so much, MMM! Trust me, there were a lot of dark moments when searching for a venue. Some prices made me want to hurl, so I feel like pretty proud for not spending the average $35k or whatever for a wedding here. I feel you on the cutting corners. We did that for the officiant and I had no idea how important he would be, until ours came so ill-prepared. Some things ARE worth the money. I hope you got at least one good pic! For me, that was our expectation and so we ended up being pleasantly surprised. And yes, the portrait artist was one of our favorite parts! Since our wedding was really chill, we wanted one “stand out” moment ppl would talk about!