The Budget Savvy Bride » Michelle helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Fri, 23 Jan 2015 18:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 {Michelle} Wedding Update Tue, 27 Sep 2011 15:09:33 +0000 I’ve been absent for about a month now. I apologize about that. There’s a good reason for this whole falling off the face of the BSB planet — Japh’s mother is terminally ill. She was diagnosed with breast cancer just under 2-years ago (right after we first met). Things were looking good this past February but beginning in July things have been on a steady decline.  The past few weeks have been especially hard once the decision was made that there would be no more treatments and that she’d be moving onto at home hospice care.

As it stands now, we are going forward with wedding plans but finding the time to document then has been difficult. Japh and I travel out to his folk’s place every weekend to be with his family which kind of puts the kabash on photographing our wedding projects. For now I won’t be able to continue committing to blogging about our wedding. Best of luck to you and yours.


]]> 2
Book Themed Wedding Invitations Thu, 25 Aug 2011 12:34:12 +0000 About two-months ago we had (basically) decided on the design and layout for our invitations but somehow the actual “making them” part fell to the wayside. We revisited the invites when we realized that we had planned on getting them out into the mail by the first week of August and that time had come and gone. This was last week. So in a frantic panic we would email one another with different variations of the invitation, RSVP postcard and miscellaneous other options for tying it all together. Finally we decided on this:




So let’s be honest for a second, sometimes people aren’t always the sharpest of tools in the shed — That’s why we decided to add a bit of tongue and cheek insert explaining the “Song Request” on the R.S.V.P. Also, if you were wondering I’m the Belafonte lover and Japh is the Crosby one.

I created the above three in separate Microsoft Publisher files (it’s a silly simple not oft used software which I find really odd because overall it does a moderately good job with creating stationary items). After a bit of back and forth we decided to go with the font Futura (it took a while to find a free download but as always, if its on the internet — it’s gotta be free somewhere!). I have a template (in the form of MS Publisher) for the RSVP postcards should anyone be interested. Just shoot me an email at and I’ll reply with such. The actual documents aren’t slightly fuzzy like they are displaying here. It seems as if there has been a bit of fuzzing around the edges of some of the verbiage when I converted these to .jpg files.

 Whaddaya think?


]]> 3
{Michelle} Not Sure If Anyone Noticed But… Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000  

I haven’t posted in a while. Things have been…rough. Though, things are okay. Actually they are totally okay it’s just that life has a funny way of being inconvenient. That being said I just wanted to drop a quick update so that I didn’t leave you all hanging in the dark for too long. A few things:


  • After my last post about budget woes we happened upon a minor financial windfall (not big enough to leave all my anxiety behind but enough to keep the panic attacks at bay).
  • Fun Fact – We’re getting married on the 56th Anniversary of Doc Brown’s discovery of time travel!
"Marty! We've Got To Go Back!


  • Multiple friends have offered fun ways to incorporate Back to the Future references during the reception. My favorite thus far is that at the end of the night someone grabs the mic and says “Hey! Why don’t you make like a tree…and get outta here”
  • I’ve somehow succumbed to the fact that there will be light sabers at our wedding.
  • This Saturday we’re hosting a Craft-o-Thon at our apartment (we have conned most of the bridal party with food and booze)
  • I’m excited about giving Katie’s Napkin Flowers a try
  • I’ll have a much better update for you next week

Until then, have a lovely weekend!

]]> 0
Funding Your Wedding Fri, 15 Jul 2011 16:30:22 +0000 I’m starting to stress about our $15k budget. We are funding 95% of the wedding and taking out a loan for what is basically the biggest party we’re ever going to throw for ourselves is not an option (this is not property or a business venture, and therefore it is not an investment which [in our opinion] is the only type of thing that constitutes as loan worthy). In January Japh and I both sat down and laid all of our financials out. It was terrifying but I really think it was the best move. I developed a budget and things have been going fairly smoothly since until about 3 weeks ago when I came to the conclusion that unless a major financial windfall (lottery, long lost relative inheritance) occurred, we’d be about $2k short on our final payment due to our venue. This conclusion basically turned into a panic attack. Like a real one. With tears.

Now, I’m not much of a crybaby and after a stint of blubbering we started thinking of inventive ways to cut costs (besides the normal ways to save, i.e. cutting back on extras like expensive dinners out, drinks at pricey beer gardens, etc.). Since our venue is a fixed price, nothing can be done about that, but all the other little things we could either do without or come up with less expensive options. Here are a few of the things that we have done to save money:

Pay in trade

Merlot Peppers!

Japh and I have an urban farm growing on the roof of our apartment building. Well, it’s not exactly a farm (yet); we established this as a mini-business venture earlier this year called “Little Mushroom Farm”. We actually don’t grow any mushrooms, the name is a pet name Japh has had for me since we started dating — stop it, I can feel you rolling your eyes ;)  BUT we do have a sustainable organic large(ish) garden, and we’re currently growing about 9 varieties of heirloom tomatoes (Japanese Trifele, San Marzano, Roma, Tomatoberry and Black Krim to name a few), as well as other interesting produce like Merlot Peppers, Trombocino Squash, Cubano Peppers, Ping Ting Eggplants and Chocolate Habenero Peppers.


So, I was thinking we could pay you in cucumbers. Cool?

A few months back my friend Rick had a lovely simple ceremony and I really enjoyed the style of his officiant. During the party I got a chance to chat up the officiant (with obvious ulterior motives) and found out that while Will enjoys officiating, it’s not his main source of income and after a few questions to my friend I discovered that Will is very willing to take payment in the form of trade. (Sweet!) .

I sent Will a message requesting his services for November 5th and asked what he would accept as payment. He relayed that his going rate is $200. Which is not unreasonable, but for a couple of who is trying to save funds wherever possible I thought it prudent to counter with the option of trade. I will say that I threw it on a bit thick, in that I listed all the deliciousness that we are growing and hit the send button hoping that it would be enough to entice at the very least a partial interest in trade. In the end I received a message that stated “A box full of fresh local veggies?! You’ve got a deal”.

Sell unwanted things on Ebay

Trust me, I know this sounds silly because when Japh approached me with this concept I thought “Psssh, Ebay?”, but hear me out–for us its been a pretty sensible option. Over the past two months we’ve made $200+ in pure profit. I guess it also helps that I seem to have a lot of clothes that I pay no mind to anymore, and we price them very reasonably. At the rate we’re going, we should bank another $400 (for a grand total of $600) that will be put towards our wedding efforts.

Buy things on Ebay.

While it is hard to judge if you’ve found a good seller or not (open communication is key) Ebay is a wonderful resource. It does take a fair amount of research and stalking but I was able to get Japh’s suit, as well as one for my Brother and one for the Best Man for about $150 a piece. We went for a vintage theme and the fellas will be wearing 3-piece corduroy mod-style suits in different shades of brown:

Japh’s Suit (Never worn vintage with leather buttons – Gorgeous!)


Design your own stationary (and print it at work, if possible)

Japh is a Photoshop wiz. He first showed off his skills to me when we decided this past Christmas to send out joint cards:

The message inside was “Merry Christmas! From our street to yours”

For our Save the Dates we stole an idea straight from here, but you know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Japh created the JPEG file and I worked out the formatting details in Microsoft Publisher. They turned out pretty nicely (though, I’m pretty sure that only a handful of our guests got the reference of it being an original Penguin Classics book cover — such is life, not everyone can be a lit nerd).Presently we are working on the final stages of our formal invites, but I will say that library card return cards will be involved to keep with our literary theme. Onto cost savings — printing your own stationary can save you a damn bundle if you have resources that you can exploit. OK, so maybe this is slightly questionable when it comes to business ethics but you know what? We’ve got a wedding to pay for and I’ll use every resource that I have (also, it doesn’t hurt that my boss is completely OK with me using the terrific commercial grade office printer).

The Save the Dates cost us a total of $12.00 (for postage)! Saving us approximately $125.00 (this is based on checking around to see what the going rate for a professional to handle the printing and formatting for us — typically vendors were selling them for around $2.50 per postcard).

Not including the money we’ve saved from DIY projects (tutorials of which for crepe paper flower garlands, birdcage veil, tree branch centerpieces, photobooth, bouquets  and more will be coming soon) so far our creative efforts have saved us approximately $500, not including the extra monies that we’ve been making on ebay :)  I’m still a little concerned with making it all work but I feel much better after working out creative ways to save with Japh.

]]> 5
Choosing our Wedding Photographer (and our engagement photos!) Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Finding a photographer was the second most important thing on our wedding plan list (the first being the venue). I quickly found out that this is not a service that comes cheap, and we had decided that if we had to shell out the big bucks for a collection of memories then so be it. I scoured websites, forums, magazines, top ten lists, etc. in search of a photographer that was creative, had a journalistic style and wouldn’t direct us to do (too many) cheesy poses. The amazingly fantastical ones all came with a price tag of about $2,500+. My heart sank wondering where we would come up with the money to pay for such extravagant excellence.

As a last ditch effort I found myself on Craigslist. The advertisements ranged from hokey what seemed to be “fly by night” companies, individuals and large scale outfits. Each one promised to be the best of the best, and perhaps my tastes are unlike the general customer but most of what I saw was pretty crappy. Cue heart sinking coupled with anxiety. Then (there’s always a “then” isn’t there?) I found KimThao Photography and I’m just going to put this out there — I absolutely adore them. Yes, them; they are a wife and husband (Kim and Jimmy respectively) creative super team.

After some email correspondence and some Flicker portfolio checking we were ready to set-up a meeting. I should also mention that Kim and Jimmy are by far the most reasonably priced photographers that we have come across–Period. Our package includes:

  • Engagement Session with both photographers (no time limit)
  • Engagement Photos (professionally retouched sent via “WeTransfer”)
  • Wedding Session with both photographers (also, again — no time limit)
  • Wedding Photos (professionally retouched sent via “WeTransfer”)
  • All photos to be sent within about 24 hours of the event

Total Price: $500. Seriously — 500 bones. Amazing? Yea–I know. Also, photos within (approximately) 24 hours? That’s basically unheard of. What’s even better is that Kim and Jimmy are incredibly charming, amiable and talented. They work really well together and they made Japh and I feel very comfortable during the Engagement shoot we did earlier this month. Here are a few of our most favorite shots:

I had a hard time keeping a straight face














Normally we aren't into the "cutesy forehead to forehead" thing, but we dig this one






























All together now..."Awwwww..."






























Taken a few blocks away from our apartment under "The Hellgate Bridge" in Astoria














One of our favorite picnic spots under the Hellgate






























Gazing into our future...Kidding ;)






























Probably my favorite but Japh say's that only because I look better in it than he does :)






























Enjoying drinks at Crescent & Vine -- the best wine & craft beer bar in Astoria














I cannot say that I'm terribly fond of this one but Japh really loves it














I don't recall how this happened but I kinda think it's great























We took these on Saturday June 2nd in the afternoon. We shot mainly in Astoria Park which is what Japh lovingly likes to call “Our Park” due to the proximity it is to our home. It just seemed like the perfect place for us to get some great photos of ourselves. At around 7p the following day I had an email with photos to download from Kim and Jimmy. I know I mentioned it before but I just cannot get over how dedicated Kim is when it comes to turnaround time. She really is passionate about photography and being a client of theirs is a serious treat. They’re currently based in New York, Manchester (UK) and Paris. If you live in any of these areas I definitely recommend reaching out to them.  More samples of their work  can be found on their Facebook Page.

General Note:

We haven’t received any discounts or extras from Kim Thao Photography for going on and on about them in this manner.We genuinely are incredibly pleased with their services and wish them loads of luck with their business.








































































]]> 6
{Michelle} Adventures in Dress Shopping – Part II Fri, 24 Jun 2011 16:30:45 +0000 Last week I posted about my initial dress shopping trip, as well as my dumb idea of deciding that the first time my family and Japh’s family meets we should go dress shopping. Alright, it wasn’t a completely dumb idea but I’ve had better ones. I’ve previously written about our “parents meeting parents” experience here (Back-story: I have a personal blog that morphed from a NYC dating blog to a space that I’ve carved out on the internets to use as an online journal that I intermittently update). Moving along–so our parents meet and the ladies (my mom, Japh’s mom and Japh’s two younger sisters) and I head over to the dress shop.

I adore the sleek 50's lines in this one

We arrived a bit late for our appointment but the one previous to ours was running a behind schedule so all was not lost. Kimera Designs is not a traditional wedding dress store. It’s teeny (but quaint) and it encompasses about 2 small sized rooms. The second of which is where the dresses are kept — out in the open for customers to peruse and pull ones they would like to try on. Yvonne, the shop’s owner and designer was occupied with the previously mentioned client so we decided to look through the racks and find something for Japh’s sisters.

Now imagine a small boutique style shop located in an upper crust neighborhood in Brooklyn (for those of you who aren’t familiar, this particular park of the Bk is littered with expensive specialty shops. These shops are also seriously small due to the high cost of rent), and I brought a party of five anxious women to search for dresses. My soon to be sister in laws are lovely, and I’m quite lucky to have them in my life but like myself, they can be a bit…loud. They also don’t take well to being told what to do, and when Yvonne prompted one of her less than adept saleswomen to assist us things got a little hairy.

Japh's youngest sister looked fantastic in this one

So there we are going through the racks when we are approached by the saleswoman, let’s call her Heather*. Something about Heather strikes me as a bit…off putting. Her face is twisted in a permanent look of disdain. She seems aggravated with us and doesn’t attempt to hide it. I start pulling a few dresses for the girls to try on. Some were good and some were bad (for their shape). One particular dress that Japh’s youngest sister put on was just downright unflattering and just as we are about to tell her so Heather* jumps in with a lecture about high fashion and how we’re not giving the dress a chance. Okay–really? This is coming from the woman who’s wearing khaki capris, a too tight ironic t-shirt and Crocs? Heather continues for a bit and the girls are quiet but I can tell that they aren’t pleased with being spoken to as if they are fashion morons.

At this point I’m mildly aggravated and decide to chime in–I tell Heather that he assistance is no longer required and that if she would just scoot along I’m certain that we’d be fine without her charming words of wisdom. Heather rolls her eyes and then Yvonne prompts her to leave us be. I typically have a pretty bad temper but I tried my best to be as insulting with a civil tone, just as this woman had and while the tension in the room was terribly thick I think that stating such to her was the best way to defuse the situation.

Another gorgeous option

In any case, we found dresses for both girls but afterward I had intense feeling that the price point was not to their liking. Kimera’s dresses start at around $175.00. The ones that looked gorgeous on the girls came to around $275.00 each. For a custom made dress that’s pretty standard. About 95% of the wedding is being funded by Japh and I (my parents are purchasing my dress and accessories — which as a side note I scored for just over $500, including taxes and alterations) and at the time, I kinda felt that the least that could be done by  his side of the family is buck up for the dresses for his sisters. Thinking back on it, that was entirely selfish of me and I’m pretty embarrassed and disappointed in myself for thinking such. Unfortunately I did not come to this conclusion until about 5-weeks ago. At the time of this occurrence (early April) it had been settled that the girls would wait until June and then place deposits on their respective dresses.

As you can see, all the dresses here are of different styles; I’m not really into the concept of all the gals wearing the exact same outfit due to the fact that all three of them have totally different body types. Cathie is tall, slim and statuesque. Sarah is tall with fantastic broad shoulders and looks great in halter and strapless styles. Becky is short, curvy and far bustier than the rest of us. I don’t think that it would be possible to find a dress that would suit them all. The color will be in the same family (we’ve chosen brown) which will help tie it all together.

Over the course of the weeks between this instance and now I’ve gone back and forth on the most economical and eye-pleasing course of action for the bridesmaid dresses. Once we finally all agree I’ll update.

Has budget been an issue for your bridesmaids? What do you think is a reasonable price for a dress?

]]> 0
{Michelle} Adventures in Dress Shopping – Part I Fri, 17 Jun 2011 12:00:49 +0000 Japh and I “announced”our engagement in February. By announced I mean that after telling close friends and family in person we changed our Facebook status.  We had an Engagement Dinner Party at the end of February and after that we kind of fell off the wedding planning wagon. I felt good about the fact that we nabbed our venue, and booked a photographer. I figured “Meh — we’ve got plenty of time”. Then I started getting pressure about my dress. People would ask “Oh, what sort of dress did you get?” and I was like “Uhh…I haven’t started looking”. People approached my response with shock at first and then basically scolded me. “What do you mean you don’t have a dress?”, “I can’t believe you would wait to take care of something SO important”, “You know, you should order your dress like 8-months before the wedding. You really should get on with it”.

Although these words made me moderately anxious I still believed that I’d be fine. I had no intention of purchasing a flouncy dress that would take ages to make or have to be special ordered. I started browsing on the internets sometime in early March and I was seriously unimpressed. Most of the dresses I came across were huge (meaning poofy) with lots and lots of crap on them. I just can’t get behind the Cinderella aspect of wedding dresses. I also can’t get behind the prices. It amazes me that so many of these gowns are $1,500.00+. I mean really, it’s just a dress. Is it important? I guess to a certain extent but there was no way that I was going to spend that kind of dough on something I would supposedly only wear once (“supposedly”  will cover the times when I may or may not get caught donning my dress around the apartment post wedding for funsies).

Another factor (outside of my own personal style of having a simplistic wardrobe) is my age. I turned 30 this past April and while I don’t feel as if that’s very old I do take issue with people in general not dressing their age.


The first designer that caught my eye was J Crew and while I loved the clean lines and lack of embellishments it still wasn’t quite what I was looking for. Then one day I decided to take a stab at Yelp has a section called “Talk” in which readers can ask / answer questions. A simple search for “cheap wedding dress nyc” and I came across this thread. This then led me to Kimera Designs. All it took was one look and I knew that this is where I’d find my dress.

I promptly made an appointment and dragged my dear friend (and bridesmaid) Cathie to watch me play dress up:

Cathie gushed that is was “gorgeous” and “perfect”, and while I did love the look, I felt that the eyelet lace would be better suited for a summer wedding and in November it may look a tad silly. So I tried on one other and then decided that the above would be the dress but in a different fabric. Now the only thing to do was get my stubborn mother who really doesn’t enjoy shopping to travel down to Brooklyn and see the dress.

At this point (March 2011) Japh’s and my parents had yet to meet. We had scheduled a lunch in early April for both parties to mingle and get to know one another. I thought to myself, “well, if my mom is going to be there and his mom and sisters are going to be there maybe we should all go to the dress shop?”. Sometimes I don’t have very good ideas. Next week check back to find out how an unruly saleswoman get’s put into her place and how I deal with Japh’s family with regards to what is a reasonable price for a bridesmaid dress.

]]> 4
{Michelle} Inspiration Board – It’s All in the Details Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 It seems to me that inspiration boards are fairly popular when it comes to planning a wedding. To be quite frank, I found them to be a bit silly. Meaning, do I really need to take the time to put together a digital collage of other people’s ideas?  Will this somehow manifest itself into a useful planning tool? Okay, so I still think they’re silly BUT I have to admit that after I took a bit of time during a lunch break about 2 weeks ago I’m embarrassed to say that it was kinda fun — okay, okay — it was really fun.

I wasn’t entirely sure how to go about putting one together so a quick Google search afforded me a plethora of options and templates. Most of the better ones you have to subscribe to and I was just looking for something quick and simple. After giving a few dozen a look I pretty much figured the best way to make one would be to use PowerPoint (no signing up to some rando website and easily can be converted into a jpeg file for swift sharing).

This one below is a collection of items and tutorials that I have come across via the interwebs that I would like to incorporate into our reception decor. In my previous post I wrote about how Japh and I will be having both our ceremony and reception at a bookstore, and with all of the gorgeous wood bookcases and steel spiral staircase we don’t want to overwhelm the space with too much.  I also threw in a photo of my engagement ring for good measure ;)


Starting from the top right and working right to left, line by line–like a book:


1)  Orange crepe paper flowers. We’ve decided that fresh cut flowers are just too expensive and I’ve always enjoyed the idea of paper flowers that can be made months in advanced in the exact colors / shapes that we want. I came across this straightforward tutorial titled “Make Flowers From Crepe Paper” from a nifty little site called How About Orange. Thus far this is my favorite DIY project. Once I have a good handle on these I will update you all on the progress.

2)  Tree branch centerpieces. Japh is from a very small town in Northern New Jersey. It’s nothing like the shenanigans that we see on the Jersey Shore. He grew up in a log cabin that his folks still live in to this day. It’s gorgeous where he grew up. It’s also very very country, and for a city gal like me the novelty of lots and lots of trees is just darling. In any case, as a way to add a rustic edge we’re thinking branch centerpieces similar to the ones pictured (photo source: I really like the idea of the tea light candles but I’m not certain if they’ll allow us to have open flames near books…

3)  Book paper flowers. This photo came from an engagement shoot that I found on the site Green Wedding Shoes. One of the ideas that we have been tossing around is utilizing book paper for the bouquets and boutineers.

4) Old Books. “I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany” – Ron Burgundy (photo source: uncertain, this is one of the many internet clippings that I have saved and cannot recall from where).

5)  Yellow paper flowers with twigs. I adore Talk Crafty to Me.

6)  Stacked books with tin can accent. I have no idea where I found this but it does encompass the concept we’re moving towards.

7)  Library return cards. These will be used in our invitations.

8)  Yellow diamond ring. Since our engagement just sort of happened one evening, we didn’t have a ring. I used to design and make jewelry so needless to say I am pretty particular about my gems. I’ve never been a fan of white diamonds but a yellow diamond? Oh yea, I can get behind that. For funsies I started checking about for the perfect non-descript ring (I’ve never enjoyed flashy. Also I tend to lose things so something stupid expensive would just make me uncomfortable. Also, we have a $15k total budget and that includes the engagement ring) and I came across Louisa’s Gallery. Lousia’s designs are right up my alley and her prices are fantastic. Unfortunately the ring that I fell for was $510. Now, perhaps to many people that isn’t a lot of money for an engagement ring but it just didn’t fit within our budget. We decided to send an email to the designer to ask if there was any wiggle room with the final price and she replied that if we were okay with a slightly thinner band that she’d lower the price to a flat $400 and throw in insurance and shipping. SOLD! I had been eying some of her simple stack-able rings to use as a wedding band so the minor loss in the e-ring will be made up for in the band.  Here’s a larger shot of the ring:

Lovely, isn't it?


9)  Penguin Classics book jacket design (source: Orange Crate Art. This was the initial inspiration for our Save the Dates (that have been designed by Japh but I just haven’t gotten around to printing them at work).

10)  Married couple & typewriter (source: C Star Events). Japh collects old typewriters and we’ll be using one of his as our guest book.

What sort of DIY aspects are you accenting your wedding with? Also, any tips, tricks and the like would be greatly appreciated!

]]> 0
{Michelle} Desperately Seeking Fabulous Yet Affordable Venue. Traditional Catering Halls Need Not Apply Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 The first thing that we started looking into (pre-engagement ring hunting) was the perfect venue. Traditional catering halls just don’t do it for us. We weren’t completely certain as to what we wanted, we just knew that we wanted it to be different. I believe I may have spent the better part of an entire weekend tunneling through the internet. Continuously clicking my mouse as I viewed and scrutinized every raw event space website in Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn. Why a raw space you ask – well, because I thought that perhaps it would be a touch cheaper.  Boy was I incorrect.

Now don’t get me wrong, a blank slate of a space is a fantastic concept if you have the means to set it up inexpensively, but after I reviewed the cost of the space (most of which fell into the $7k – $11k range!) then factor in food, beverage, tables, linens, staff, etc. – I discovered that I would have a minimum of a $25k wedding on our hands and that just does not seem reasonable.

I decided to take a step back for a few days and brainstorm with Japh about the best course of action. I have a tendency of being a little neurotic when it comes to planning (neurotic in the nicest sense. It’s quaint to have check-lists and to basically give yourself an anxiety attack while you rack your brain to make sure that you’ve covered every last detail, right?). Due to this condition I just could not stay away from continuing to seek out the most fabulous and budget friendly venue in NYC.

Then one day in January I came across an interesting filter on The Knot; an option to select only “unusual / alternative” venues. I chose “Manhattan” and a short list appeared on my screen. The first one I noticed was called “Housing Works Bookstore Café”, I was already in love. Japh and I have a bit of a familiarity with the Housing Works charity; we stumbled across one of their thrift shops during a day-date in the summer of 2010. It’s a wonderful organization and their mission is something that we certainly get behind:

Housing Works is a healing community of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Our mission is to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain our efforts.

Outside of the fact that all the proceeds for the wedding will go towards the charity, the space is a bookstore! I’m a big reader and collector of first editions—Japh is also incredibly well read and has been working for a bookstore for a number of years now.  And the pictures of the space…

(Source: Housing Works)

So yea, this is our venue. It’s the first one we took the time to check out physically and it’s just damn near perfect! Also, the price-point suits our budget. Here’s a quick breakdown for a minimum of 60 guests:

  • Space Rental (2-hours for prep & 4-hours for ceremony & reception): $2,680.00
  • Equipment Rental (tables, linens, flatware, etc,): $1,080.00
  • Cocktail Hour Hors d’œuvre: $603.00
  • Open Wine & Beer Bar (3.5-hours): $1,935.00
  • Organic / Locally Grown Buffet Dinner: $1,350.00
  • Cupcakes (assorted): $360.00
  • Staff (3-chefs, 1-floor captain, 2-bartenders & 3-servers): $1,799.00

Tentative total for 60 guests = $9,807.00. Everyone after 60 will cost $115.00 person. We’re thinking that we’ll probably fall into about the 65 guest category, so our final invoice will probably be closer to $10,382.00. Yes, that is an astounding amount of money and just about 70% of our total budget BUT it’s all inclusive which means we don’t have to worry about an outside caterer or staffing or table rentals. We already have some great DIY projects for the centerpieces, bouquets, photobooth and stationery which will (hopefully) be at minimal costs. Fingers cross that we can do the rest for under $4k!

]]> 12
Meet Michelle Fri, 20 May 2011 16:00:03 +0000 Hey there BSB readers! My name is Michelle and my fiancé Japheth (for those that are curious it’s pronounced “Jay-Fifth”) and I hail out of Astoria, Queens NY. I’m seriously looking forward to sharing my pre-wedding projects, experiences and potential mishaps with you over the course of the next 6(ish) months.

Japh & I, Dec. 2010


How We Met (the abridged version)

Japh and I met by way of (yep, that’s right—we’re an internet dating cliché) in November of 2009. He sent me a playful smart aleck message and I was slightly put-off but then I started perusing his profile and there was a photo of him dressed as Cyclops from The X-Men for Halloween and I thought to myself “Well now I HAVE to go out with this guy” (no seriously, I really love The X-Men). Email banter manifested itself to instant messaging which then turned into long text messaging sessions throughout our respective workdays.  All was fantastic with the exception that he lived about 80 miles away in a small town in Northern New Jersey. To be honest, at the time even though I found Japh to be completely perfect for me I just didn’t see how we were going to work around the distance. Our first date lasted 8+ hours. By date three Japh wanted to “put this on lock” and asked me to be his girlfriend and the rest is well…moving along quite nicely.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make you love a person

The Proposal

After dating long distance and basically having a “weekend” relationship for 10 months, Japh’s car died. Instead of throwing money into a new car we decided that it was time to see if we could make this relationship work on a full-time basis (having him living in NYC meant there was no need for a vehicle). He moved into my place in October of 2010. Fast forward about 3-months and we find ourselves lying in bed talking about future plans and it just sort of happened organically—we love each other and it just seemed like the natural thing to do. There was no ring or formal “will you marry me” that night, just an overwhelming feeling of wonder and trust.

The Wedding Budget

I’m a numbers gal who loves equations and all things math related. After a bit of calculating I figured that the cheapest and chicest way for us to throw the type of celebration that we wanted without depleting our bank account would be to go the DIY route. Both of us are big on up-cycling so I feel that we have a bit of an edge when it comes to making things. Also, our family and friends are crafty (which translates to lots and lots of appreciated costless labor!).

Our overall objective is to have a NYC wedding on November 5th, 2011 for >$15k with 65 of our nearest and dearests. After conducting a bit of initial research, this proved a risky goal due to the fact that living in one of the most expensive cities means that on top of the ridiculous costs of wedding related items that lovely NYC price tag is attached as well. There have been a few bumps in the road but thus far we’re doing well and keeping on the straight and narrow budget-wise.

To reiterate, I’m stoked to be sharing this life altering experience with you all and hope that the challenges that we face will be both helpful and humorous.

]]> 2