When you think of wedding planning, your mind may skip to browsing glamorous Pinterest boards and sharing romantic cake tastings with your partner. But unfortunately, with all the fun stuff comes the daunting task of budgeting for your wedding day. Don’t worry - I’ve got some tips for you on how you can best create your NYC wedding budget with the fewest headaches and the prize of a dream wedding waiting for you at the end.
Okay, so you’re ready to start planning your budget. The first thing that you need to do is figure out who is contributing to your wedding and how much they are comfortable and eager to gift. I know it can make for some potentially awkward conversations, but assuming grandma is going to contribute $10,000 and finding out that she was only budgeting for $1,000 can definitely create some planning pains.
So, it’s time to have some talks. There are absolutely ways to have these conversations without coming across as greedy or unappreciative; just be gracious and direct and totally open to hearing the answer, “We wish we could contribute, but we can’t right now.” And remember, every contribution to your wedding is generous, no matter the size, so remember to be grateful to those who are helping to make your perfect wedding day a reality.
The next thing to figure out is your own budget - how much can you and your partner actually afford to contribute to your wedding? Take a look at your salaries and your own monthly budget to see where there is room to start setting aside excess funds for a wedding and see if there are any places you may want to consider making some compromises.
As fun and as easy as it sounds to just pull from whatever you may have in a savings account, remember to be responsible. A wedding, while a once-in-a-lifetime event, shouldn’t drain your bank accounts. Keep in mind there may be some upcoming big costs down the road that you’ll be grateful you’ve saved for, like a potential downpayment on a house or starting a future family. While it’s tempting to spend what you have now, just know that your future self will thank you for not spending everything you have on what is ultimately one day of your life together.
Your guest list can greatly affect your budget; planning an intimate Micro Wedding for 40 people is likely going to be less expensive than a grand ballroom event for 250 (but not always!). One of the best ways to save money on your wedding is by sticking to a list of the people you actually need and want to have celebrating with you. Maybe your sixth-cousin-twice-removed doesn’t need an invite, or Marcy from your mom’s yoga class. But even if you do want to include them, figuring out your guest list early on can be a big help when it comes to budgeting. And don’t be afraid to make some of those cuts - it’s your wedding day, and it is absolutely your prerogative to spend it with people who love you and your partner unconditionally!
Compromise can be a big headache when it comes to budgeting, and I don’t just mean in a sitcom-esque, “Relationships, am I right?” kind of way. What may be really important to your partner may not even make it onto your list of priorities, and what you’ve been dreaming about since you were a kid may not matter in the slightest to them. This is where you’ll need a little give and take. Maybe you don’t care about apparel, but your partner has always envisioned splurging on designer attire for their wedding day. Perhaps you envision walking into a floral wonderland with dramatic floral arrangements on every open surface while they think flowers are an easy line item to eliminate and save some extra pennies.
Take the time to think about the things that are most important to you when it comes to your wedding, and then have a conversation about it. Maybe you do splurge on attire and florals, but you scale back dinner to upscale hors d'oeuvres and Champagne. Or even cut a few extra people from the guest list in order to indulge in a late-night food truck or the rooftop venue you thought was a little out of reach. It’s your wedding and your budget - make it work for your vision!
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that an NYC wedding is inherently more expensive than other cities or locations. After all, everything is more expensive here. But if you are dreaming of a wedding with all of the sleek sophistication and urban style that comes with New York, then there are plenty of ways to make a wedding fit your budget. Again, it just may come down to that little artful negotiation known as compromise.
Keep in mind that there are many different ways to have a wedding in NYC. You can have an intimate Micro Wedding, a super low-key courthouse wedding, or a spectacular event full of grandeur. Here are some things to consider as you start to create your budget for your NYC wedding:
Where you have your wedding sets the tone for a lot of your other planning decisions. So you may want to start off by thinking of where you’d like to host your event. There are plenty of grand ballrooms and rooftop event spaces with breathtaking views of the city. But if you’re looking for something a little more understated but no less beautiful, check out some of NYC’s amazing restaurants that may have private dining spaces for a world-class meal. Your venue can determine your wedding date, the size of your guest list, and a lot of your decorative choices, so it’s smart to start with finding your venue and continuing to fine-tune your wedding from there.
A lot of people believe that the most important part of throwing an amazing wedding is having great food. Keep in mind that whether you are bringing in catering or using your venue’s in-house catering, a lot of them can work with you to create offerings that match your budgetary needs. Talk to your partner about what you envision; would you be okay with some mind-blowing appetizers and small bites, or do you have your hearts set on a global buffet or plated surf and turf?
Florals help to create a dramatic and romantic aesthetic for any wedding. The fact that they are entirely customizable to suit your wedding colors and vibes makes them an easy way to transform a space into your unique event. That being said, they can also add up fast. If you’re planning on bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, archways, and more, you’re definitely looking at many thousands - if not tens of thousands - of dollars. Figure out which florals you can’t live without. Then if you’re looking for a way to save a few bucks, visit one of NYC’s amazing floral warehouses to purchase your flowers on your own and ask your friends and family to help you arrange them the day before the wedding!
The right band or DJ can totally set the mood for your wedding. So think about the vibes you want to set before you start looking! Are you hoping to get everyone out on the dance floor? Need someone to help get the crowd moving? Or maybe you’re skipping dancing entirely (we love a good Spotify playlist), and you want to try something else to entertain your guests, like a live portrait artist or even a tattoo artist!
A great wedding planner can be the most underrated and most important person on your wedding day. Other than you and your partner, of course. You deserve to experience every moment of your wedding as the center of it all. You shouldn’t be worrying about setting up tablescapes, making sure everyone knows the timeline, or clearing out trash at the end of the night. Even if you’ve got most of the planning down, hiring a wedding coordinator is a fabulous idea for any couple that just wants to enjoy their own wedding and live in each moment.
Photography and videography may be one of the most important investments when it comes to a wedding. The food will be eaten, and the plates will be cleared, the flowers will wilt, and maybe some small details will make their way into a memento box. But your photos are how you’ll look back and remember every moment of your beautiful wedding day. It is so important to find a photographer whose work and style align with yours. Additionally, someone who understands the importance of capturing every moment with authenticity, respect, and artistry. Need a little inspo? Check out some of my work right here on my website! See what a great wedding photographer can do for your wedding.
Some of the best weddings have been pulled off with the smallest budgets. Because as long as they reflect you and your partner and what’s important to you, your guests will love to celebrate by your side. So what are you waiting for?? Go get that NYC Wedding Budget started so you can get to the fun stuff!
Whether you have your budget in order already or are looking for more NYC wedding info, I would love to chat! I love helping couples plan their dream day. But capturing their special day in beautiful photos is my true love! Reach out today to chat about your dream wedding photos!
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