We Eloped in NYC for $350 and Did It Completely Our Way

Because... why not?


Wanda, Content Editor & Henry, Adjunct Professor and student

Sum-up of the wedding vibe: A spontaneous celebration of who we are as a couple, conducted in secret ninja style.

Planned budget: $100

Actual budget: $350

Number of guests: 2


Where we allocated the most funds:

Photographer: We were sort of eloping, so at first we didn’t think we’d need one. But then we talked about it, and we’re both close to our families, all of whom live on other continents (Asia and Europe), so we figured this was the only way they’d ever get to experience it. We found Emily on Thumbtack, maybe two or three days before, and when we saw the photos, we absolutely had no regrets. We hired her for $150 for ninety or so minutes. She was just so laid back and warm, and gave us photos that weren’t stiff or cheesy—just modern, natural, light, and still pretty romantic. Very much our cup of tea.

Food: We probably paid a little over $200 for brunch for three, not including tip. We didn’t have a reception per se, but we still wanted to celebrate, so we went to have brunch at Freemans. The restaurant’s vibe is absolutely perfect! It’s located in a little alley in Soho, and it’s just so quaint and charming and yet not in an overtly girly way. And nice brunch cocktails. Again, perfect.


Where we allocated the least funds:

Clothes: The bulk of what we wore we already had in our closets. I just sprang for the cropped sweater last minute because I saw it on my way home, and it was about $20.


What was totally worth it:

We already have a HUGE engagement party scheduled for December of this year in the Philippines, and we were planning the proper wedding in England the following summer or fall, but I guess we also just wanted to do something for us, especially after the weirdness of the current events news of this year. Now whatever happens, we have the legal evidence to prove that we are, indeed, family. That’s just a great feeling.


What was totally not worth it:

We barely spent on this so nothing was NOT worth it. If I really had to pick, perhaps getting my hair done. It was nice, but I could probably have done a passable job on my own.


A few things that helped us along the way:

Blogs about elopements and marriage ceremonies at city hall. The online application for a marriage license, which meant we knew about the twenty-four-hour waiting period and that we would have to take two days off from work (once for the license, and again for the ceremony). Also, buying the bouquet from the man outside made me feel very much a bride! And buying the rings in city hall. We hadn’t been planning on rings, but when Henry spotted them, we decided to just go for it.


My best practical advice for my planning self:

Sometimes no plan is the best plan. Have a general idea of what you want to accomplish, i.e. get married, and just go for it. Sometimes overthinking and overplanning can paralyze you.

Favorite thing about the wedding:

That it was completely and totally just about us. We weren’t making anyone else happy, just us.


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