My Wedding Cost Less Than A Month's Rent

Paying for a wedding is no easy task, and expenses can vary by tens of thousands, depending on size, location, and type of event. We asked one recent bride to spill the beans — anonymously, of course — on every wedding-related expense, from the dress to her handmade invitations, for her Brooklyn wedding.

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Job: Editor
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Salary: $60,000/year
Partner's salary: $50,000/year
Number of bridesmaids: 0
I'm an editor; my salary is a little over $60,000 a year. My partner makes violin bows for a living, and makes about $50,000 a year.

My partner and I vaguely planned our wedding together over a few months, but much of the "planning" involved me trying to cancel it and him talking me out of canceling! I've been putting it off for nearly 10 years, because the whole wedding thing — having a ceremony, spending probably-too-much money, all of our family members hanging out together and looking at me — makes me uncomfortable. But we have a kid, so the bottom line is that marriage solidifies our legal rights as a family. Bonus: Very cute wedding pics of our son in his Fancy Overalls.


Marriage license: $35

Rings: $200
=Total: $235

We've been together for almost 10 years and have been wearing rings since Year 7, I believe. My partner made his out of bow silver and he designed mine out of the same, and bought a Montana sapphire to put in it.

Bridal Shower

Total: $0

My boss and coworkers brought marshmallows and LaCroix to our team meeting that week in celebration, a.k.a. exactly the bridal shower I wanted (they know me so well).


Total: $0

We had the wedding in a public park near our apartment in Brooklyn (in NYC, weddings in public parks that include fewer than 25 people don't require a permit), and my high school bestie was already internet-ordained, so we didn't even have to pay his fee.

Some people brought Champagne and picnic stuff to the park.


Restaurant dinner: $0 (paid for by in-laws)
Subway fare: $5.50
Uber home: $40
=Total: $45.50
We had dinner that evening at a — really great, pretty fancy, possibly Dan Barber-run — restaurant in Manhattan. (Matthew Broderick and SJP were there, too! We didn't hang out, sadly.) My partner's parents secretly paid for the dinner (my family thinks my partner and I paid, shhh), which was about $3,500 for 14 people: four courses, hors d'oeuvres, wine, and beer. I still kind of feel guilty about this because it seems like an insane expense, but I guess in the grand scheme of weddings, it's not.

We had dessert at the restaurant, and neither I nor my partner can remember what it was. I remember it being tasty! But not as tasty as the Grüner Veltliner, evidently.

We took the subway there, but took an Uber home afterward (about $40).


Total: $0

My sister-in-law, who does flower arrangements for a restaurant, got my bouquet at my local florist/skateboard shop (yep, it's a thing), and I have a sneaking suspicion it was somewhat expensive. I would think $100-plus, but I'm not positive. It was SO pretty.


Supplies for handmade invitations: $30
I'm kind of a postcard and stationery nerd, so I think half the reason I was willing to get married was the prospect of writing on some really nice paper with some really nice pens. (Because what 6-year-old girl doesn't think, Someday, I'll get married and be allowed to spend $30 on pens, am I right? Just me? Oh.) Of course, this was only doable because we invited 14 people, some of whom lived together, so I think I made maybe nine invites total.


Total: $50
My friend, who is a lawyer but moonlights as an uncannily talented photographer, came to the park and took some super-cute family photos. My favorite is of me and my "bridesmaids" — my two brothers, my sister, and her baby — who all showed up in vaguely matching outfits entirely by accident. We paid my photog friend $50 and a bottle of bubbly.

Dress & Accessories

Dress: $50
Shoes: $80
Total: $130
I did have lofty hopes of going nuts and getting an amazing $300 dress I would wear FOREVER, but the dress I liked best (navy with a lace back) was only $50. Ha. I got some chic $80 sandals, though, and I wear those constantly. I borrowed a necklace from my sister-in-law.


Total: $100
I put on eyeliner and ran out the door. But hair-wise, I went all-out and got a braided updo at my friend's salon in Brooklyn for $100. Because when else will I have an excuse to wear a braided updo to the park? As for my brothers, I'm pretty sure they went BYOP (Bring Your Own Pomade).

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