Welcome to another edition of the Budget Savvy Wedding of the Week! This time we are sharing a lovely and classic Brooklyn wedding with you! The budget is on the higher side of the weddings we typically feature but because of the location of the wedding as well as some creative steps they took to save money, I’d definitely say it qualifies as budget savvy! The gorgeous photos by the fabulous NYC photography duo Moss + Isaac capture the day so well. Hope you enjoy this installment of our budget savvy wedding of the week!
Graham + Elizabeth
August 20, 2011
The Montauk Club in Brooklyn, New York
What was your budget? If you are able, give us a rough breakdown of how you spent your budget.
Approx. $18,000, with most going to the venue (space, food, table/chairs, cocktail tables…); $1000 on hair/makeup/dress; about $700 on invitations; $350 on cake; $900 on flowers)
How many guests did you have?
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
For about a year prior, my mom and I bought any black or white photo frames (the wedding colors) on sale or at flea markets or donated from friends/family. Then my husband and I printed out photos of our friends and families to fill the frames. We displayed the frames on a table near the guest book for people to look at during the reception. People really enjoyed finding themselves and talking about old times.
We also made our own bookmarks as favors and table numbers. My husband and I each chose five of our favorite books (we were both English majors in college and now he is a journalist and I’m a high school English teacher) and then our favorite quotes from each book. The table numbers included a picture of the book and the quote, and the bookmark favors were the same, but with our names and the wedding date on the back.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
Making our own table numbers and party favors (with Mom’s help) saved a lot. I also shopped on a tight budget for the wedding dress and hair/makeup. We tried our best to go local and found that most businesses, when they found out you lived in the neighborhood and would probably be repeat customers, were willing to work within the budget. Also, finding a venue that needed little in the way of decorations helped. We did absolutely nothing to the cocktail area and ceremony space, but because the venue had so much character nobody noticed.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Tell your budget up front and then let the vendors do their jobs. Unless you’re absolutely dying for a certain kind of flower or a certain type of invitation, you’ll get more bang for your buck (and usually a much nicer product than you imagine) when you just tell people, “Here’s what we can spend…GO!”
What was your biggest splurge?
The venue! Even though it was cheaper than most (by New York City standards) it was still much more than we had anticipated. We spent a lot of time tweaking the budget, but in the end it was worth it. The venue was beautiful and saved us a ton of money on decorations, as well as allowed us to have the ceremony and reception in the same place (another big save).
What was your favorite detail?
I loved the literary quotes we used for various elements of the wedding. The guest book included a quote from EB White’s “This is New York” and the table numbers/book mark favors had quotes from all kinds of books (from “Catch 22” to “The Catcher In The Rye” and “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn”). Finding all those quotes from our favorite books was a project I really enjoyed.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
My husband and I took our formal pictures before the ceremony so we could spend more time at our reception. We had already seen each other before getting married and I was nervous it might take away from the big moment, but it was actually really great. That half hour (between finishing the formal pictures and the start of the ceremony) we hung out with our wedding party in the bridal suite eating bagels and drinking orange juice and just relaxing. It was such a calming time, just me, my husband, and our best friends and family.
Venue: The Montauk Club, Brooklyn New York | Hair/Make up: Blondi’s Hair Salon | Cake: Homestyle Bakery | Photographers: Moss and Isaac | Flowers: Academy Floral | Invitations: PartyCity Yonkers | Dress: RK Bridal
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.