Our $15K, Manhattan Wedding On The High Line

New York City love forever

Audrey, Production/UX Designer & Will, Attorney

sum up of the wedding vibe: New York City wasn’t just the location; it was the guest of honor.

Planned Budget: $15,000
Actual Budget: $15,000
Number of Guests: 18
Location: The High Line, New York City

Where we allocated the most funds:

The photographer, lodging, and dress. When planning our wedding, we both agreed that we didn’t want to skimp on wedding photography. We found Jon through a friend who had used him for her elopement a few years before us, and as soon as we spoke to him we knew he was the right choice for us! The Airbnb where all of our guests stayed, which doubled as the reception venue, also took up a big part of our budget. And the dress (and cape) weren’t exactly cheap.

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Where we allocated the least funds:

Perhaps surprisingly, the wedding venue, food, drinks, and flowers! Our short ceremony took place in a public park, the High Line, and our group of guests was small enough that we didn’t even need a permit. A close friend officiated for us, which was not only a cost-saver but also super special and personal. Audrey’s number-one requirement for the wedding was that we have dinner catered from Pies ’n’ Thighs, one of our favorite restaurants that has hands-down the best fried chicken and biscuits. We picked up beer, wine, whiskey, and champagne from a nearby bodega. Our wedding cake from B Cake NY was a gift from our officiant.

After seeing how much floral arrangements could cost, Audrey decided to DIY it. The morning before the wedding, she woke up early and hunted through the New York Flower District until she found everything on her list (including her favorite, peonies!). With help from some of the guests, she made her bouquet, ten boutonnières, garlands to decorate the reception space, and cake florals—all for $250. Pro-tips: Having a list of must-haves, nice-to-haves, and substitutions was really helpful as well. Dress comfortably, go early, bring cash, do your research about what’s in season, and most importantly be flexible and go with the flow.

A few other things included in our budget were hair and makeup by Julissa Lopez , nails by Vamp Claws, travel, rehearsal dinner, food and drinks for everyone’s stay at the Airbnb, decorations, and gift bags.

What was totally worth it:

Finding a great photographer was totally worth it. Not only did we get incredible photos, but Jon took the time to really understand our personal styles, and he was instrumental in helping us plan our outdoor quasi-elopement in New York City. He was able to perfectly capture the grit and beauty of the city in winter.

What was totally not worth it:

We ordered way too much food and ended up with more leftovers than our guests could pack away. But having too much fried chicken is always worth it.

A few things that helped us along the way:

Flexibility was key! We had no idea what the weather would be like on our January wedding date, so we were prepared to make it happen rain or shine (or sleet or blizzard). We weren’t tied down to any particular spot for the ceremony itself, so we had the freedom to adjust for weather and crowds or move indoors if necessary. Accepting help from others was key too, especially since we were DIYing so much of it. With the help of friends and family, we were able to get more done and spend more time actually enjoying our day. For example, while we were out taking wedding photos around the city, a few friends set up an iPad “photo booth” with a tripod, backdrop, and props we ordered from Amazon. It was a total hit, and we got some pretty great photos and GIFs out of it.

My best practical advice for my planning self:

Keep hold of your vision. Stay grounded. Because in the end it’s all about the two of you.

Favorite thing about the wedding:

It was perfectly… us.


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