I eloped in NYC. Here's how much it cost.
I got married last month in a small ceremony in Central Park 🥰
I thought it might be fun to run through our wedding planning process and lay out exactly how much we spent. A micro-wedding money diary, if you will.
Because we decided to keep the wedding very small, only 14 guests (including a toddler), and everyone was coming from far and wide to attend (New Zealand, Australia, New Mexico, Iowa, and Washington) we didn’t plan only a wedding, we planned an entire long weekend, with outings and activities for four days.
Here was the itinerary:
- Thursday: Dinner the night before the wedding in Brooklyn
- Friday: Wedding ceremony in Central Park + dinner + boat ride
- Saturday: Yankees game
- Sunday: Brunch in Soho + pizza dinner in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn
I’ll break down the cost by day, and add everything up at the end for a grand total.
Planning a micro wedding in NYC #
We kept the planning as simple as possible. We sent out save the dates and wedding invites using Paperless Post, which meant everything was digital. Instead of purchasing a domain name and creating a wedding website, we created a Notion page and shared it with our guests. The Notion page is where I put all of the itinerary and details about the wedding weekend. I also sent out a couple emails reminding guests to wear comfortable walking shoes, take allergy meds, and have cash handy just in case.
|Paperless Post save the dates & wedding invites||$25|
Personal care costs leading up to the wedding weekend #
In an effort to include everything involved in making this wedding happen, I also wanted to include the haircuts and nail appointment costs. These things add up!
|Nails (incl tip)||$103|
|Sam haircut (incl tip)||$130|
|AJ haircut (incl tip)||$80|
I spent the day hanging out in DUMBO with my family, who had arrived the night before. We walked under the Brooklyn Bridge, rode Jane’s Carousel, and ate lunch at Time Out Market before taking the train to my apartment to get ready.
Since some of our guests were arriving this day, the only thing we had planned on the evening before the wedding was dinner. We booked at Terre in Park Slope, and had a fabulous time. We sat in the garden patio which is cozy and bright. The food and service were exceptional. If I had to pick a favorite dish I would pick the pesto and shrimp pasta.
|Dinner at Terre for 16 (incl tip)||$1,500|
Wedding day! As you might expect, this is where the bulk of our expenses come from.
To reiterate, since we kept the guest list small, we were able to splurge on other things, like a sunset boat ride and vintage taxi to escort us to dinner. And while I tend toward frugality, throughout the process AJ kept reminding me that it was ok to spend money to make the experience extra special for us and our guests. I’m so glad I listened to him! The weekend did feel special, and once everything ended, I felt proud of us for planning such a memorable weekend.
Beautiful photos to remember the day were high on my list of priorities. I found our photographer Daniel Bergen through the power of Google search. I was looking for studios in NY that offered 35mm film wedding packages and Chellise Michael Photography came up at the top of the search results. When I reached out, they said they were already fully booked, but one of their experienced photographers might be available to pick it up as a freelance gig. And that’s how we got connected to Danny, who was the absolute perfect fit for the occasion. He immediately made us feel at ease, which was so relieving because I don’t naturally feel comfortable in front of the camera.
Our officiant, Jessica Bloom from Honeybreak Officiants, I also found via Google search. They have a variety of officiants listed on their website and when I read their bios I was drawn to many of them, which seemed like a good sign. Jessica crafted a personalized and memorable ceremony for us and I’m glad we hired her.
My dress was super simple and cheap. I ordered it online from Lulu’s, and it was $64. I got it hemmed for $80. I wore jewelry and shoes that I already owned and I borrowed a veil from my coworker who had gotten married a few weeks earlier.
AJ wore a rented suit and custom pink and white Nikes. If you can believe it, his whole outfit was a complete surprise! I had no idea what he was going to wear before the day of the ceremony. I was so delighted to see what he put together. AJ also surprised me with a special wildflower flower bouquet — made entirely of legos! This might be my favorite part of the whole wedding, because now and forever I have this beautiful lego bouquet sitting on my desk.
My wedding band is from Artemer, a Tel-Aviv based jewelry design studio. AJ’s is from Amazon and cost $20, lol, but the plan is to get him something nicer whenever he comes across a ring that sparks his interest.
We booked dinner at The Greek Tribeca partly because it was close to the boat dock and mostly because when we tried it out they had this incredible orange olive oil cake that we couldn’t stop thinking about. Not only was the food fresh, beautiful, and flavorful, but the staff and owner made our guests feel special and cared for. My mom will probably talk about this restaurant for the rest of her life. Shoutout to the watermelon drink, which was delicious. I can’t wait to eat here again on our anniversary.
Last but not least, we booked a sunset cruise with New York Harbor Tours. The captain and crew were so friendly and accommodating! Especially since dinner took longer than expected and we were an hour late 😕. For our guests, this was the cherry on top of an already perfect celebration.
|Dress & tailoring||$144|
|Suit & shoes||$422|
|Photographer coverage for 3.5 hours||$3,724|
|Central Park event permit||$25|
|Lego flower bouquet||$50|
|3 SUVs to drive people to dinner||$504|
|Vintage yellow cab for me & AJ||$350|
|Dinner & dessert (incl tip)||$2,319|
|Fujimax film for instant photos||$100|
|Drinks for the boat ride||$85|
We knew our guests would enjoy attending a sporting event so we purchased tickets for a Yankees game. At first we were considering buying a package that included pre-game drinks and lounge access, but in the end opted for regular tickets that cost around $50 each. We sat in section 430, which despite being pretty far away from the field, were great seats because they were in the shade 😎.
Ticketmaster makes it hard to buy 15 tickets at once (they limit each houshold to 9). So my parents bought half since they have a credit card with a different household address.
The game itself was packed! We rode the train, got off at Yankee Stadium, and did our best to find the rest of our guests so we could enter the stadium together (all of the tickets were on mine and AJ's phones in Apple Wallet). If I could do it again, I would figure out a way to pass out tickets to individuals so that we wouldn’t have needed to enter all at once.
|Yankees tickets for 15||$827|
On the final day we planned brunch at Freeman’s. I booked this place because I knew they had space for larger parties, and this ended up being just what the group needed. After being stuck at really long tables the past couple of days, Freeman’s sat us around a big square table in a private room. This opened up conversation to the whole group, which strengthened connections between our guests.
Once again, the service was incredible, and so was the food. We had a lot of leftovers, which the staff kindly packaged up for us. We froze most of it and it has continued to nourish us throughout the month.
That night we had an impromptu pizza party at Fort Greene Park. The relaxed nature of this meal was a welcome change, especially for my two-year-old niece who desperately needed to run around a playground to release some of her pent-up restaurant anxiety.
|Brunch for 13 (incl tip)||$1,609|
|Pizza at the park||$166|
Final thoughts & grand total #
Planning a wedding, even a small one, is a lot of work! I’m grateful to AJ for being my co-planner. I never felt overwhelmed with the wedding planning tasks, although sometimes it involved sending a lot of emails which is just not that fun.
We spent $16,846 in total, which feels like a lot! But it’s nice to know that this amount was spent across four days instead of just one. And it was totally worth it for all of the memories that we made with our guests.
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