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The Countdown Begins.

May 18, 2010

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!

  1. May 18, 2010 10:52 AM

    Yay! 🙂

  2. May 18, 2010 10:55 AM

    Yay for countdowns!! I hate how much weddings have to cost… and we’ve been watching all the Say Yes to the Dress and Rich Bride, Poor Bride we can, and it seems our budget is RIDICULOUSLY small compared to what’s average. I’m all about DIY projects and eBay lol and so far it’s working wonderfully! Let me know if you need anyone for invitations or Save the Date magnets *bats eyelashes* lol 🙂

    So glad you found somewhere wonderful AND affordable!

    • May 18, 2010 11:04 AM

      I am definitely still planning on saving money, but I feel that with a more relaxed budget, I will be able to breathe a little easier. So much of our budget was going to go to food, and it just didn’t make sense to spend that much money. We could have done DIY projects, or just left certain things out, but I have a feeling I would just stress about it and that isn’t good either!

  3. May 18, 2010 10:55 AM

    Looks gorgeous, hun! Glad to see everything is working out so far. Can’t wait for more updates. =)

  4. May 18, 2010 10:58 AM

    Congrats on setting the date! (Awesome date, btw!)

  5. Amalas permalink
    May 18, 2010 10:59 AM

    For my wedding, I splurged on food and photography. Attendees remember the food and then you have nice photos to keep. Other than that, it’s not really important. I did a ton of stuff DIY and it saved a lot of money.

    • May 18, 2010 11:03 AM

      It’s going to be tricky to do DIY stuff now because I am planning the wedding from 3,000 miles away. I thought about doing more DIY stuff here in New York, but I was worried that it wouldn’t end up the way I wanted and that I would just get frustrated. Being on the West Coast also makes sense as far as our families go. It would cost them so much money to fly out here for a wedding!

  6. May 18, 2010 11:22 AM

    Sounds like a win/win situation.

  7. May 18, 2010 11:23 AM

    Congrats! That’s good news 🙂

  8. May 18, 2010 11:34 AM

    CONGRATS! I know it may not seem like it but those are two HUGE accomplishments out of the way (date and venue). Now it’s just down to the details falling into place. . . and dress shopping! Good luck and have fun!


  9. Corri permalink
    May 18, 2010 11:49 AM

    It sounds lovely! Now you can stop stressing and start enjoying all the fun planning things. Love you!

  10. May 18, 2010 12:54 PM

    Congrats and Congrats on getting a date and possible venue! It sounds like it will be wonderful now that you’ll be closer to most of your family and friends.

    • May 18, 2010 12:57 PM

      Haha, no, that is our location. My mom put down the deposit yesterday!

  11. May 18, 2010 7:06 PM

    That is FANTASTIC! What a huge saving – and the venue looks absolutely dreamy. Such a great decision 🙂

  12. May 18, 2010 7:20 PM

    oh how fun! congratulations the place looks gorgeous!!

  13. May 19, 2010 1:52 AM

    How exciting!!! I wish I had thought more about the month we decided to get married. November…so close to the holidays and my Birthday in December. It worked out well anyways with everyone who could come. I did my own wedding invitations, save the date’s, and wedding programs. Let me know if you have questions and I’ll be glad to help you and refer you to some websites I went to.

  14. casey permalink
    May 19, 2010 12:07 PM

    yeah! how fun. I agree with one of the above posters, pick what is important to you… do that stuff well and splurge a bit if you want. the rest, only matters to you. no one else.
    we used a ton for magnets, postcards, even business cards as favor tags. You can always find used stuff (Crinoline) that won’t matter really. I used a ton of my parents stuff (cake cutter and knife) so that we got more of the emotional benefit of it rather than spending money on stuff we didn’t need.

    enjoy! this part is fun and emotional and stressful 🙂

  15. May 19, 2010 1:31 PM

    I’m so excited for you guys!! I’m sure it’ll be BEAUTIFUL!!

  16. May 20, 2010 5:12 PM

    I’m putting this on my calendar! It’ll be cheaper for me to fly to Oregon from SF, 😀

  17. May 20, 2010 5:14 PM

    Speaking of invitations and save-the-dates and such, I’d be willing to design you some as your wedding present!

    • May 20, 2010 5:21 PM

      I could probably print them for you, too. Depends! Let me know.

    • May 20, 2010 6:04 PM

      I’ve had about 10 people offer me various services but most of the stuff that’s been offered is too far away for me to think about yet! But I may inquire later this summer. 🙂

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