A do-it-yourself (DIY) wedding in New York City sounds like an oxymoron, but it can be done. There are various ways of complying with that statement above and all for under $10,000. Well, under $10,000. You can still have quite an extravagant wedding, even an over the top wedding for under $10,000 AND in New York. Let me show you how it can be done, including your honeymoon. Now I know you’re thinking that is an impossibility. My husband and I did it and so can you.

It mostly depends on just what it is you want your fantasy day to say and whether or not one thing is the most important item or if you would prefer to have featured several things. For me I wanted the colors of our wedding to be featured, my dress and the water feature for my husband at the reception. At another time I will tell you about my excursions to and from the various locations to secure, just what I wanted for my wedding. Right now, I will give you the nitty-gritty about what I reaped from my excursions.

What if you only wanted one thing to be the major featured item? Of course, it does not have to be just one thing, it can be several, but just so you don’t go crazy, I suggest you choose one to two items rather than a whole slew, but if you want more than that, don’t do any more than five. Most brides start off believing they can do it all and realize within eight to six months of the wedding that they can not. A friend’s help comes in quite handily, after all your really close friends will have asked you all along what they can do to help. At about ten to eight months out from the wedding is the best time to take them up on their offers. I did. More about me later, though. I have a friend who did a wedding with a potluck reception at a very famous church here in Manhattan and even though it was phenomenally delicious, to my idea that was not even the featured item in her wedding. I am getting ahead of myself though.

Her wedding had a committee of three women -the project managers- to help her stay within her budget which was WAY under $10,000. I believe she and her new husband paid no more than $6000 for their entire wedding, which included the reception space in that very same famous church. They did not pay for catering which can be quite pricey when it comes to weddings. In fact, the wedding couple paid nothing for the food at the reception, so plus the cost of the space, If they’d paid for catering it would have run close to the $6000 for their 150 guests. By having a potluck, she paid nothing other than the cost of the hall. The Riverside Church Chapel for me cost $800 (In a previous article, I said $1200, but in reality it was $800 for mine.) in 2005, but for another friend of mine last year, she paid $1500. I got the members’ cost, but last year, there was no differential between members and nonmembers, so even though she is a member, she had to pay big bucks.

My friend’s wedding costs are an approximation, because I didn’t pry that much,.. yet. She is out of the country now, so I can not ask her at all, but I am judging from her comments to me at the time. Forgetting about the cost of hers and her husband wearing apparel which I can tell you he had his own tux in his closet and her wedding dress was bought from a non-wedding wedding store on sale.

  • Since my friend is a singer too, she had friends who sang during her wedding, that were of course gratis or gifts. Basically that is a win-win situation all around. Since you tap your friends, you tap the voices you want singing your songs of choice. That’s what I did and both she and her ex-husband sang at my and my husband’s wedding.
  • Here’s a big tip if you don’t want to spend big time money on your dress, if it’s to be one of the featured items, go to a non-wedding store in search of your gown. Personally I went to Filene’s Basement bridal store, a year before my wedding and bought a dress for $536 with tax, so it is possible to pay for a dress under $3000. But my friend did not go the bridal store route. She went to Paramus Mall to Lord & Taylor. I don’t remember exactly how much she paid, but I do know it was almost half as much as my dress.
  • She also did not go with a traditional veil, but went with a tiara alone. For mine, I had both, but did not pay a premium for either. I made up my own veil for less than $10 and found a tiara that didn’t look cheap at Claire’s Accessories for less than $20. She wore a tiara as well. A gold tiara, which costs no more than a $100.
  • For her reception, she had no music, we’d had plenty during her wedding ceremony. In another article I’ve already told you about using your own Mp3 player and saving big bucks in that respect. If you do want to hire a DJ or reception host, I suggest you go with a friend of a friend who is just starting to spin, but that the friend can vouch for their abilities, if you have not experienced them for yourself. Remember, whatever you do, GET a contract. One that spells out exactly what you want and expect them to do at the party. That means the songs you expect and when. That way, the surprises won’t have anything to do with dancing. That way both you and your guests can be happy without much annoyance on anyone’s part. New DJ’s can start as low as $75 an hour and go up from there. If you want an established DJ, it could be as much as $125 – $350 an hour. This again is if you want to stay within your budget of $10000. Just remember you will need your DJ for at least four hours, so do your multiplication from there.
  • Transportation: Ah, you can go the traditional route with the white limos, or you can go with black limos, too. Did you know that the color of the limo can determine the price. White limos are more expensive and if you mention wedding additional money is added for that special day. Just be glad that you are not going to prom, because that is the limousine’s big day(s) for money making. Limousines can be anywhere from $500 for a two and half hour rental to, of course thousands. To really save money, if you are friends with a special car association you could rent or borrow the owners’ cars. Or now with the Internet companies, Zip Car, Drive Mint or even Connect By Hertz you could rent a car of your dreams for a great rates. Each of these dot com hourly car rentals can save you a bundle. Think about it.
  • Did you guess already that the featured item for my friend’s wedding was the dress? Well, if you did you would have been correct. The bride wore, what appeared to be gold. In actuality, the dress was a copper lace with a light pink undergarment that peeked through, which made the dress upon entrance and even as she continued to walk down the aisle appear to be molten liquid gold. She was drummed in. Of course, the bride is usually the center piece of most weddings, but as they say in the theater, people were humming the dress the rest of the evening, especially since she was able to match the dress with a cape, that was already in her closet.
  • Transportation – Getting to and sometimes from the wedding ceremony can be challenging when it comes to keeping costs down, but with these suggestions you can be home free.