Saving on a Brooklyn Wedding

My friend Jen sent me a link to this great article from Brokelyn about how to save on your wedding, particularly if you’re living/having the wedding in the Brooklyn area.  I love all the ideas, particularly #15, about having a dessert truck park in front of your venue!  (Plus the suggestion is from Ryan of Dish Food, one of the caterers we’re considering.  Nice!)

17 Ways to Save on a BK Wedding – by Nina Koske – April 6, 2010

Planning and budgeting a wedding can be a joyous, exciting, financially eviscerating event. That’s why Brokelyn Labs contacted local wedding planners, caterers, florists, photographers, bloggers, stationers and even Brokelyn readers to pull together this list of the most creative, “why didn’t I think of that” ideas to save money for your big day. From DIY catering schemes, to off-the-rack dresses, don’t get married without them.

1) Don’t fall for the $3,000 wedding-dress hype. “Check out sites like OnceWed for preowned wedding dresses…the dresses are usually in excellent condition since they’ve only been worn once, and you’ll be getting them for a fraction of the price. You can also consider buying a bridesmaids dress. Companies like Thread and Simple Silhouettes have bridesmaids dresses that also come in white for the bride, and you’ll be getting them at bridesmaid’s dress prices. Or buy off the rack at department and retail stores. Nordstrom, Macy’s or BCBG always have a selection of white evening and cocktail dresses and you’ll be sure to find a great dress for less than $1000. If you buy a simple dress, you can embellish it with a belt, flowers, ribbon, lace, buttons, or whatever you want to add some detail.”
— Vané Broussard, blogger, BrooklynBride

2) Use a one-piece invitation. “A big thing now is a tri-fold invitation with a tear-off reply card. Your invitation can then have one continuous detailed design and lots of information across three panels on each side, but because you are only printing one piece it cuts down on your price for all those component pieces.”
— Melinda Morris, Lion in The Sun

3) Or, make your own. “The Arm, a letterpress studio in Williamsburg, rents out their presses  for only $15 an hour, which are available if you take their awesome tutorial workshop. We printed our own invites which was so much fun and totally affordable. We spent $175 on all materials and the press rental!”
— Megan Thompson, Brokelyn reader

4) Stick with one kind of flower. “For strict budgets, just use one or two types of flowers in bud vases. All you need is one per bud vase, scatter a few along each table and you’re set!”
— Tassy Zimmerman, Sprout Home

5) BYOB. “A friend of mine bought all her wine beforehand at Trader Joe’s, for a much better price than the catering company.”
— Nicola Monat-Jacobs, Brokelyn reader

6) Limit open-bar times. “Have an open bar for the 2-3 hours after dinner instead of having an open bar for 4-5 hours for the whole event. Before and after the open bar, serve only beer and wine, and have a cash bar for liquor.”
— Catherine Saillard, iCi Restaurant

7) Get married on a Wednesday afternoon in March and procrastinate on planning.
“Any couple getting married during a non-peak time (e.g. Friday, weekday and winter months) should aggressively negotiate with all their vendors. Also, booking early doesn’t always pay. The closer to your wedding date that you hire a photographer—e.g. 6 to 8 weeks in advance or less—the more likely the photographer is to cut  a steep discount because they have a diminishing chance of getting booked”
— Lisa Draho, Joshua Zuckerman Photography

8 ) Make your own photo albums. “There are companies that do magazine-type albums you can find online for much less than photographer albums like or
— Karen Wise, photographer

9) Let your guests be your photographer. “At our wedding, we put a business card on each seat asking people to upload all of the photos they took at the wedding to Snapfish. We had a photographer, but a lot of the pictures we used in our wedding album came from guests. Without a photographer, I think we would have been just as happy.”
Liz, Brokelyn reader

10) Think open art studio, not Grand Prospect Hall. ”If you’re looking for an affordable venue, consider a raw type of space with a more flexible event-time limit. This lets you have your close family and friends for an actual meal and then offer an invite to the guests more on the fringe for dancing and elaborate dessert/late food stations. Places to check out include The Dumbo Loft for sure, 450 Union, and Dumbo Arts Center.”
— Chris Rechner, The DUMBO Loft

11) Skip traditional wedding musicians and find a local band you like. “We couldn’t afford a wedding band or a dj, so we went on myspace and found a local blues band that was more than happy to help. We paid them a small fee and they joined us for food and drink! The singer even did the sound for the wedding ceremony!”
— Chelsea, Brokelyn reader

12) Buy your own meat. “I had a friend who provided the meat to the catering company. He went to a bulk-meat place and bought it all. This allowed him to save with the catering company, although it is a chore.”
— Nicola Monat-Jacobs, Brokelyn reader

13) Or skip it altogether. “We are vegetarians and hosted a great 4-station dinner with 5 pastas, 5 entrees, 10 salads, and 5 sides — and it took $15 a head off of the catering bill! That was a $3,000 savings! And no one complained!”
— Liz, Brokelyn reader

14) Have your friends serve the food. “A great less expensive option if you are having the wedding in a house or a backyard tent, is just to have your caterer bring the food and drop it off, you do the rest”
— Loren Michelle, Naturally Delicious

Have the Treats Truck park out front.Have the Treats Truck park out front.

15) Outsource your catering.”A way to save on the overall cost of your wedding would be to choose a venue that does not require you to use an in-house caterer. Three Brooklyn wedding venues that allow you to do this, Galapagos Art Space, Smack Melon Studios, and The Bell House. Or, depending on your style of wedding, instead of a costly cake and dessert car at your wedding, hire The Treats Truck to drive up and provide all sorts of fun sweets and desserts, a cost effective alternative or addition to your wedding cake.”
— Ryan Corvaia, Dish Food & Events

16) Kill the “Zoe & Justin” shot glasses filled with jellybeans. “You don’t need to have favors. You don’t have to have all the details, pick and choose what’s important to you.”
Anne Chertoff, wedding blogger, From “I will” to “I do”

17) Enlist the help of your friend. All of them. “Think of all of your friends and friends of friends and see who might be willing/able to pitch in. Cashing in on relationships—without taking advantage—is a great way to save money while making the wedding unique at the same time”
— Kristen Purdy, Brokelyn reader


About Ally

What started as a joke at a White Castle and a prank on a friend, ended with a box of cupcakes with an engagement ring in it. This is the story of our not-so-traditional wedding.
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