Our $25K Laidback and Gorgeous Queer Wedding

A boozy and joyful celebration of love

Anjuli, Head Registrar at an NYC Gallery & Victoria, Bar Manager

sum-up of the wedding vibe: Casual but classy.

Planned Budget: $20,000
Actual Budget: $25,000
Number of Guests: 75
Location: Huckleberry Bar, New Paltz, New York
photographer: Parenthesis Photography

Where we allocated the most funds:

The venue, Huckleberry, which included food, drink, and staff. When we sat down and discussed what was important to us, we knew that we wanted good food, a friendly bar/cocktail station, and a welcoming and picturesque atmosphere. We thought that an a la carte approach would inflate our budget and create logistical headaches, so we had the ceremony, reception, drinks and food, all at one location that met and exceeded our needs.

Where we allocated the least funds:

Music and decor. We were able to use the venue’s sound system and our friend DJ’d using Spotify. Another way we lucked out with Huckleberry was how much they helped with signage for our event. They made chalkboard signs welcoming our guests and listing the the order of events. Also, the space is so cutely decorated that we didn’t have to add much in the way of decoration.

What was totally worth it:

Our venue and incredible photographer, Kathleen. Considering the amazing job they did, we honestly felt we that the value we got was more than we imagined we could get for our budget. We initially disagreed on how important a good photographer would be and how much we should budget for one. One of us originally thought it wasn’t as important to them, but we are now both so grateful we chose the one we did. The day went by so fast, and the ability to look back at these wonderful moments, captured so beautifully, was worth every penny and more.

The venue was total dream come true. It checked off all of our boxes while also managing to fit within our budget. We definitely recommend using a fully staffed restaurant or bar. They’ve got the product, the familiarity of the space and menu, and the chemistry of a staff that knows how to work together. We also never planned to hire professional florists or have much in the way of flowers, at all. We thought we would buy some supermarket flowers and maybe make a few small table arrangements. However, as the day approached, one of us had a change of heart and realized that we might not have the time or energy to for a lot of DIY projects.

We found a local farm close to the venue, where you could order an assortment of beautiful flowers by the bucket. They were so beautiful and fragrant; all we did was grab a bunch and stick them a few mason jars. Additionally, the events coordinator at the venue recommended a local florist who designed a gorgeous hanging arrangement the truly made the designated ceremony area feel special and sacred.

What was totally not worth it:

Arranging room blocks. As our wedding took place a few hours north of our where we live. All of our guests had to travel for the event, so we thought it would be helpful to reserve room blocks with some of the local hotels. The room blocks were more of hassle than they were worth and our guests did not save anything by booking through our reserved blocks opposed to booking on their own.

As a result, most just ended up getting AirBnBs. Also, we opted to do DIY invitations as opposed to using a service like Minted. One of us learned hand lettering just to address the envelopes. We also lined every envelope with patterned paper. This all took several weeks to do and although we received many compliments on our invitations, it was not worth the hand cramps and we will never get that time back.

A few things that helped us along the way:

Our friends and families kept us sane the days approaching the wedding, as well as the day of, shuttling us back and forth from random last minute errands, and making sure we were fed and hydrated when we couldn’t think about doing that for ourselves. They all pitched in to help out in so many ways. Our officiant was our mutual friend, whom we met through. Victoria’s bosses generously lent us their house nearby for the weekend and let us host a small rehearsal dinner there, catered by Anjuli’s Aunt. Additional Aunties and cousins stayed up into the wee hours after the dinner to help make the mason jar table arrangements. Also, we should send a shout out to APW, through which we found our amazing photographer.

My best practical advice for my planning self:

Offer vendors cash for a discount. It’s the best advice that we got and saved us a lot of money.

Favorite thing about the wedding:

Being surrounded by our loved ones and sharing our joy with them.


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