How We: Planned A $6,500 Restaurant Wedding In Queens, NY

It can be done!

Chet, Human Resource Supervisor & Ingrid, Special Education Administrator and Early Intervention Therapist

Planned Budget: $5,000 including everything

Actual Budget: $6,500 including everything (yes, even dress, suit, rings, shoes, and hair and make up for me and my daughter)

Number of Guests: 50 (including children, photographer, and officiant)

Where we allocated the most funds

We allocated the most funds on the venue and the food. Because this was such an intimate affair and the focus of the celebration was the food, we made sure that we had awesome food and that we had food for everyone. This also became our most expensive detail by default, since the more guests, the more funds are needed. We also made sure that we set up a budget for a wonderful photographer as we wanted to enjoy the memories for years to come, and for really nice flower arrangements, just because we wanted them!

Where we allocated the least funds

Since this was such a small, intimate affair at a restaurant/yacht club, we did not need a DJ or MC or even a wedding party. We worked on the favors ourselves with the help of my best friend and her daughters, who also helped coordinate the events of the day. Having enlisted them as my right hand gave me peace of mind and allowed me to concentrate on what was happening that day: We were getting married!

What was totally worth it

When we first got engaged, the most arduous task was to find a good date when everyone would be available. We were planning an intimate affair so everybody’s presence was important to us, so even though this took longer than we wanted (and a few alternate days), it was definitely worth it! Having my best friend and her daughters help with parts of the planning (and also throw me a fabulous bridal shower!) was definitely a plus. They helped with everything from input on little details to coordinating the day’s events. I could not have done it without them! Having a second dress to change into for the after-party at the bar was also totally worth it, as I could relax and enjoy the evening with my friends in more comfortable attire. And of course, we never regretted our fund allocation, as having great food and great pictures meant a lot to us.

What was totally not worth it

Worrying about the details and worrying about not being able to invite absolutely everyone. In the end, the fact that the event was so intimate made it even more special! We spent a long time trying to figure out the guest list, and at the end we decided that whoever we could not invite to the reception, we could meet at a local bar for drinks after the reception. This was a hit! Many of our friends came to celebrate with us at the after-party.

A few things that helped us along the way

It really helped us to always remember that all we wanted was a small city hall ceremony with lunch for our families. The fact that we were having anything more than that felt like icing on the cake. Having a supportive family and supportive friends helped tremendously and added the fun needed while planning and preparing. Having family members that really, really helped us was a must! We could not have put this together without the help of Chet’s nephew. Having my daughter to talk to, lean on, and be there for me every step of the way… I could not have done it without her.

My best practical advice for my planning self

As my husband says, you have to have a practical mind to have a practical wedding! If you think in terms of “practical” then you will have the time of your life! Remember, all you need is the couple, the officiant, and maybe one or two witnesses. That’s it! Everything else is just add-ons.

Embrace the unexpected! Our youngest flower girl decided that she would not throw any of the rose petals while she walked down the aisle. Rather, she waited until she was in front of the minister to start throwing petals on the floor… she then proceeded to pick them up, and throw them again, and this went on for quite some time! She got in between my legs, my husband’s legs… it was hard not to laugh! It definitely wasn’t what we had planned, but it was the cutest and sweetest thing that could have happened, and we still talk about it at every family reunion.

How We: Planned a $6,500 Restaurant Wedding in Queens, NY | A Practical Wedding (13)

Favorite thing about the wedding

Everything! Saying our vows, having this very intimate, precious moment with the one I love, having my daughter be my Maid of Honor and give me away… being surrounded by the most important people in our lives… there isn’t one moment that goes by that I do not cherish this day and wish I could relive it all over again.

Anything else you want to add

We started out with a lower budget goal, about $2,000 to $3,000. Our original plan was to have a small wedding at city hall, then take everyone out to lunch or an early dinner. As the plan “evolved” the budget kept getting bigger. We were worried about the logistics of having everyone at city hall, and having everyone be comfortable. We were especially concerned about my youngest brother, who has multiple disabilities, and wanted to ensure that this would not be a tremendous hardship for him or my mother.

We ended up deciding to have the wedding at the Douglaston Club. We arranged to have the ceremony there with the help of a local pastor, took pictures in the beautiful surroundings, and this way we made sure that everyone would be comfortable. As we were planning, we kept telling ourselves that we would not spend more than $5,000 and that would include everything, but we also allowed for some flexibility in the budget as ideas started to flow.

Having a very small wedding meant that every single person there was visible. In setting the day for the wedding, we had to make sure that everyone had a very good chance of being able to attend. Having everyone there meant a lot to us, so we checked with our frequent travelers and our out-of-state family (Chet’s son flew in from Switzerland, my mom and brother flew in from Argentina) to make sure that they would be available for this very important day in our lives. My daughter also played a very important role in my wedding, and I could not have done it without her by my side. She was my rock.

Even though weather reports for that day indicated that showers and clouds were to be expected, it actually turned out to be a very beautiful, sunny, warm fall day. But no matter how beautiful it was outside, it could not match how beautiful I felt inside. It was a peak moment in my life.


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  • Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is so hard to balance wants, needs, and expectations within a budget. Thank you for sharing how you made your decisions and where you placed your priorities.

    • Ingrid Amorini

      thank YOU so much!

  • It’s so nice to see Ingrid and Chet’s photos and advice up here! Their wedding was so joyful! (And those flower girls were even cuter in person!)

    • Ingrid Amorini

      Sarah, you were a joy to work with and I will never forget how much fun we had!

  • Class of 1980

    OMG, that photo of you two kissing and the flower girls!

    • Ingrid Amorini

      thank you :)

  • Val

    Congratulations! This is truly amazing. I’ve never heard of The Douglaston Club – must one be a member in order to have a wedding there? I’ve been sinking into the realization that having a wedding for 10k or less with 70ish guests in NYC is nearly impossible and then your lovely article shows up. Thank you!

    • Ingrid Amorini

      For the Douglaston Club in particular, you have to either be a member or be sponsored by a member. We were sponsored by a member. But believe me, if you talk to any restaurant and you are willing to downsize in any way that seems acceptable to you, you can have a beautiful wedding and have a great time. Because we just wanted to be married, the only requirements we had were the basics: us, the officiant, the witnesses. We were just lucky to have everything else! You will make it happen!

  • Ariel

    I totally own those shoes!

    • Ingrid Amorini

      they were going to be very “visible” so I had to make sure they made a statement. Thank you!!

  • vegankitchendiaries

    WELL DONE for getting this done within a great budget in an expensive city. Nothing about your wedding looks cheap! In fact, it looks regal and decadent! We’re aiming for a similar budget as you and the ‘How We Did It’ posts are especially helpful at calming my nerves to show it really can be done and look completely amazing. Congratulations and thanks for sharing! x

    • Ingrid Amorini

      Trust me, you can totally do it!

      • Guest

        Can I ask if you have to be a member at the Douglaston Club to have a wedding there? I am also in Queens NY and I am looking to spend around the same amount.

  • Hayley Tuller

    That dress tho!!! So chic!

    • Ingrid Amorini

      thank you!

  • Valerie Day

    I love this! I love your attitude, and how the things that were important to you were grounding. Getting married next month and this is exactly the daily reminders I need. Also, beautiful wedding, love the idea of inviting others to the after party (co-workers, classmates, people in our extended networks).

    • Ingrid Amorini

      thank you! Congrats on your upcoming wedding!

  • DavidJennifer

    It was a practical and perfect wedding. You were great at planning everything so well. Thanks for sharing your wedding planning experience. It is very helpful for many future brides who might need some ideas to trim the cost for better reasons.

  • Thanks for sharing this story! We are thinking of doing something similar for our wedding. Was any one offended that they were invited to the bar afterward but not the reception? I don’t want to step on any toes but we really don’t want to have a big wedding so lots of close friends won’t be at the ceremony/reception. But a bar afterward sounds perfect!