Our $40K Brooklyn Urban Meets Rustic Extravaganza Wedding

When a bottle of Champagne walks onto a chicken bus

Jill, Project Manager  & Luke, Project Manager

sum-up of the wedding vibe: Our #1 goal was to make sure it was a fun day for everyone.

Planned Budget: $35,000
Actual Budget: $40,000
Number of Guests: 15 at the Ceremony, 120 at the Reception
Location: Urban Cowboy Brooklyn, Brooklyn, New York
photographer: Love + Wolves Co.

Where we allocated the most funds:

About half of our expenses went towards the evening reception at Three’s Brewing. Aside from that, we prioritized the cost of reserving Urban Cowboy and their associated “Treehouse” for two nights (which provided accommodation for most of our immediate families for both nights, the rehearsal dinner venue, the ceremony venue, and a place for everyone to get ready on the day of).

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Where we allocated the least funds:

Our wedding rings were actually the least expensive item on our budget. Luke got a tattoo ring for $100. Our engraved wine stoppers from Etsy for party favors were also very affordable. We saved a lot by not spending much on decorations since both venues had such unique vibes on their own.

What was totally worth it:

Daniel’s Chicken Bus!! We had our ceremony in Williamsburg and had to get our family from there to the reception venue so we knew we needed to rent some type of transportation. Jill searched for “unique party buses in NYC” and as soon as she saw Daniel’s website she knew it had to happen. The best part was that our immediate families didn’t know what they were in for until they walked outside to board the bus and the Daniel himself embraced them with hugs! We did a Polaroid guest book, and the cost of the film and a quality Polaroid camera wasn’t cheap, but flipping through the guest book the next day was so much fun. We decided to order local Mexican food the night before the wedding and hosted our immediate families at the Urban Cowboy. It allowed everyone to relax and spend quality time together and it was so much more affordable than booking a restaurant.

What was totally not worth it:

Desserts! We decided not to provide cake for everyone because it was so expensive to purchase and then pay for a cake cutting fee, but we did provide five types of mini desserts. There were SO many left over we ended up needing to throw them away. Jill stressed about the centerpieces a lot before the wedding and ended up renting geometric vases from the florist that weren’t exactly what she wanted (but were a lot cheaper than buying the ones she did). That stress was a total waste of energy! Everything came together very well and our guests were there to have fun—not critique the vases!

A few things that helped us along the way:

Jill kept a master spreadsheet of the total budget and made sure to keep an eye on the bottom line as decisions were made. When we created that spreadsheet we put a “placeholder” cost for everything we could think of—right down to buying plastic champagne flutes for the toast after the ceremony. This helped us make financially responsible decisions earlier in the process, knowing that we had a lot left to commit to.

My best practical advice for my planning self:

EVERYTHING is negotiable. And many vendors offer discounts during their off season, so take advantage if you can.

Favorite thing about the wedding:

We didn’t plan a first dance but our band called us up at the last song and it turned into a bit of an encore with all our guests.

Anything else:

This day should be fun! Nothing should be taken too seriously—especially not centerpieces. It will be over before you know it so soak up every moment, even the opportunities to plan it. Allow yourself enough time to be comfortable with the decisions you need to make.


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