The Countdown Begins.
Erik and I got engaged a little over 2 weeks ago. This is what happened afterward:
We decided before we got engaged that we wanted to get married in New York City (or at least, in the vicinity). We met here (well, sort of), we dated here, we both live here. It was perfect.
But we quickly learned out how much it costs. At the cheapest, we found a place forty-five minutes away in Westchester that would serve our guests at $125 per person. We quickly realized our desire to have all of our friends and family in attendance wouldn’t work, and we dropped our guest list from 150 people to 120 people. If you times 120 by the per person cost, then by service fees and tax, it comes to a whopping $19,822.
So, basically $20K just to feed people, nevermind the dress, the flowers, the DJ, the photographer, the CAKE. Et cetera, et cetera.
Having a budget wedding in New York City is possible. I know at least two people who did it, and I’m sure there are others. However, several cost-cutting factors were not appealing to us. We didn’t want a small wedding. Erik has such a large family that we’re essentially at 30 guests before you even glance over at my side. Plus our friends. Cutting our guest list down was something that would have made us very sad.
I didn’t want to get married outside. Weather in New York is even more temperamental than in Oregon, if you can believe it. In Oregon, it rarely rains during the summer. In New York, it can rain at will any time of year. Makes forecasting especially difficult. Many budget locations are parks, but that just wasn’t my dream. I knew I wanted to get married inside, and to avoid the stifling humidity of East Coast summers, I wanted to get married no later than mid-May, but no earlier than the end of April.
I also wanted great food and a lovely venue, but I had never imagined myself marrying somewhere rustic, although I have seen some beautiful weddings held at farms. Getting great food for the number of people we wanted was going to be very pricey.
Edit: A couple people in the comments have mentioned saving money through DIY projects. I totally agree that’s a great way – but I am not nor have I ever been crafty! It’s not something I have a passion for, and I was nervous that if I put too much effort into making things cheap or DIY, that I would end up not being happy with what I got and “settling.” It works great for other women, but I just don’t think it’s my personality.
When we thought about getting married farther outside of the city, we realized that it would probably make things a lot cheaper. But then I thought, “Well, if we’re not going to get married in the city – or at least near it – then we might as well get married in Oregon where we have at least some connection to!”
Wedding planning quickly turned from giddy excitement to downright loathsome. At one point, I uttered the words, “I hate wedding planning!” and we hadn’t even been engaged for a week! We had received quotes from over 30 venues in the area and we had only found two that even looked remotely promising, and that was with a lot sacrifice (namely money) and fears about hidden costs.
Around that time, I found a post on Style Me Pretty that was held at a wedding venue in Oregon called the Abernethy Center. I had heard of it, because the Abernethy Center is actually very close to where I grew up. However, I had never gone inside, so when I told my mom about it, I asked her to visit it and let me know what she thought.
She called me the next day and said, “It is GORGEOUS!” She went on to tell me how beautiful it was, how nice the people are, how nice everything is about it. The price? $59 per person, almost $100 less than venues in New York City, and almost $70 less than the venue in Westchester. Not only that, but both of our families are primarily West Coast-based, which meant it was more likely our families could afford the trip.
Good weather in Oregon is basically only guaranteed in three months: July, August and September. We quickly had to change our ideas about when we would get married. My birthday is in August, so we immediately tossed August out the window. My mother is a schoolteacher, so we immediately scrapped September. That left July.
We ended up settling on July 9, 2011 after Erik quickly declared that if we got married on the 9th, our wedding date would be 7/9/11 – or for those date geeks out there, sequential odd numbers. My mom put the deposit down yesterday, so the date and venue are ours!
So there you have it, folks! We have a date and a location. We’ll be visiting our venue for the first time in July, along with several other prospective vendors. Which means… we’re not going to the Children with Diabetes conference after all. I will be at Roche, but immediately flying to Oregon afterward to start meeting and booking vendors.
Let the countdown begin!