|Who wouldn’t want an NYC wedding? –credit|
While not a personal financial priority of mine, I do feel for my fellow New Yorkers who want a glam wedding without the crippling cost. Weddings here top out at $65,000, over twice the national average of $20,000, according to 20/20, which cites theknot.com as its source.
Just like anything else in the Big Apple, with a little planning, some creativity, and a few savvy tips, your wedding can come at a bargain.
A coworker of mine, for example, never got a proposal out of her now-husband. They bypassed the expensive engagement ring and went straight for a simple wedding. Soon after, the several grand they saved on a diamond helped them buy a place. She still got a gorgeous ring, too. Instead of a wedding band, she opted for a stunning pearl-and-garnet set in yellow gold from vintage jeweler Erica Weiner. Speaking of vintage, you can save some green and help a good cause by letting your dress be your something old and your something borrowed.
The nonprofit thrift store HousingWorks provides lifesaving services like medical care to poor and homeless individuals living with HIV/AIDS. They also have appointment-only bridal shopping. Or, rent HousingWorks Bookstore and Café in SoHo for your ceremony and reception, with all proceeds going to HousingWorks programs.
|Housingworks is a magical place for a wedding –credit|
Of course, especially in spring and fall, many New Yorkers want an outdoor wedding. For Central Park fans who don’t want to shell out big bucks for the Boat House, snag a wedding permit through the Parks Department instead. For parties of 20 or more a wedding permit runs $25, plus $100 for a photographer permit.
One of the more desired locations, the Conservatory Garden at 105th Street and Fifth Avenue costs a bit more, $500 including photographer. Proceeds go to another great cause, The Central Park Conservancy. Intimate gatherings fewer than 20 warrant a free pass, but remember, whatever the group size, restrictions apply regarding extras like folding chairs, music (live or stereo), etc. Or, for country transplants like me, get hitched on a local working nonprofit farm right here in NYC (really), at the Queens County Farm Museum.
|A Traditional Indian Wedding in Central Park –credit|
Hosting brunch instead of a dinner reception also saves cash (and besides, who would scoff at an open bar with Bloody Marys and mimosas?), as does setting your big day for a Friday, or even a Monday holiday. Venues, caterers, photographers, bands/DJs, and other services all lower their rates by at least ten percent for dates that don’t fall on a Saturday or Sunday. Also, in a creative town like NYC, independent artists can do your centerpieces, hair/makeup/nails, veils, party favors, cake (or fun alternatives like cupcakes or a macaron tree), all at reasonable rates.
Break even, reduce waste and keep the do-good theme going with a small per-person donation in lieu of flowers and/or takeaways. For each ten-person table, instead of buying a $100 centerpiece, make a $10-per-head donation to the worthy cause of choice. Way to get your marriage off on the right [financial] foot!
|A yellow cab can be a great wedding vehicle! –credit|
The many options that come with planning an NYC wedding can be overwhelming at first, especially given the pressure to make the day perfect for everyone from the bride and groom to out-of-town guests looking for the best of New York. With so many wedding pros here to help, anything can be incorporated into a ceremony or reception. It doesn’t have to be all dress shopping at Kleinfeld’s and ring choosing at Tiffany & Co., although I guess it could.
For gals like me who shy away from flashy fetes, go with what feels right and won’t max out your credit cards. You can even skip the fuss altogether and do what couples have done for hundreds of years: head to City Hall (or your residing Borough Hall) to be wedded in one of this town’s most historic buildings, and in one of the most simple, classic, yet quintessential ways to get married in New York.