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Sometimes a Ferry in New York Is the Perfect Place to Get Married

PLUS a celebration of love aboard NYC's public transit? Yes, please.

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Bethany, Comedian & Keith, TV producer

Sum-up of the wedding vibe: The most NYC wedding ever!

Planned budget: $25,000

Actual budget: $30,000

Number of guests: 200

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Where we allocated the most funds:

The venue did all the work for us: Food, decorations, open bar, and live band were all included, and that bill was $25,000 (including taxes and gratuity). The one-stop-party-spot that is Radegast Biergarten took one lump sum to handle catering, a top shelf open bar, decorations, booking a live band, delightful waitstaff, and gorgeous location. With them taking care of all the details, we only had one job to do: have the best night of our lives!

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Where we allocated the least funds:

Booking the ceremony location, the Staten Island Ferry, was about as cheap as gets: FREE (albeit risky!). We bought fans for the guests to cool themselves with and made signs to help wrangle everyone to the right location. We also planted a few surprises along the way, like hiring a violinist (Melissa of Circadian Clock) to start the ceremony with classic wedding songs, having two comedians (Jessie Glasgow and Molly Gaebe) lead the party charge in “Beithney” hats and neon clothes, inviting a musician (Mark Shock) to perform The Cure and Weezer covers on the “dreadful” subway transfer from the 1 to the L, and having a comedian (Eric Yearwood) greet us outside the subway with his best German accent (and in lederhosen!) to take the crowd to the biergarten. What we saved in money, we spent in time: intricately planning the most fun experience we could imagine!

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What was totally worth it:

Sharing our ceremony with the commuting strangers on the Staten Island Ferry and NYC Subway made our day! Strangers seemed to get a kick out of our DIY celebration. This was a rather unconventional wedding with a lot of variables that could have failed… but they went smoother than a fresh tub of hummus.

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What was totally not worth it:

Stressing out before the big day. I (the groom) had a bad feeling about holding this event on a commuter ferry and subway during rush hour. Fortunately, I had faith in my bride, who insisted that even if things went sour, we could just roll with the punches and have a blast anyway. She couldn’t have been more right… and everything went smoothly to boot!

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A few things that helped us along the way:

  • I scouted the Staten Island Ferry one week prior and it really helped give me a lay of the land. I learned we only had twenty-five minutes to pull off the ceremony and picked the best place to hold our run and gun service.
  • Our officiator, Bevin “Rev Bev” Cohen, was an utter delight. She’s our best mutual friend, having been in our lives for over three years (and in Keith’s for over seventeen!), so she knew how to set the perfect whimsical-yet-thoughtful tone. We couldn’t imagine having anyone else unite us together for the rest of our lives.
  • The weather was on our side! Despite a temporary shower mid-ferry ride (which actually cooled things down), it was a beautiful and sunny day in NYC.
  • Supportive friends and family who were eager to celebrate in such quirky way. If these guys weren’t ready to throw down with us, from the unauthorized ferry ceremony to the raucous subway ride to the reception, the wedding would have been way less fun! But everyone’s love and excitement was contagious, and it fueled the greatest day of our lives.

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My best practical advice for my planning self:

Don’t stress the details… if people love you, it’ll be fun. Don’t overthink anything and don’t worry about fitting into the mold. If it seems fun, it’ll be fun!

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Favorite thing about the wedding:

It being unique to us! Everyone said it was perfectly tailored for our personalities. Partying on the subway to get to the reception with our best friends, family, and a bunch of strangers was amazing. It was the most joyous subway ride of my entire life, and surprisingly, the NYC commuters seemed to enjoy it as well.

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Anything else we should know:

We also have a wedding video! You can see it right here. And a few NYC publications have some fun write-ups about the day.

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