As I mentioned here before, I got married in October and we recently got back from our honeymoon! The experience of planning a wedding (however modest) can be overwhelming, so I thought I’d share some tips and observations here for readers who may be planning their own wedding.
I am not a professional wedding or event planner, and we did not hire a wedding planner. We did some of it DIY, which I recommend if you are low on budget or don’t want to splurge on the wedding. Just keep in mind, you will end up compensating for that money with the extra time you’ll spend on the DIY projects. Early on, we decided we’d actually do two parties. A family party (for family only in a restaurant -Brooklyn’s Broken English) and a friend party, a party at our house. This definitely helped our budget, but it was also a big undertaking throwing two parties. Even so, it was definitely the right decision for us. We weren’t into having a big ceremony or traditional bridal court, so it worked out fine for our plan. But, keep in mind, if you have a family party, you’re going to need some family members to help out with the setup (no bridesmaids to help!). Make sure to confirm these people’s duties and availability early on!
Since this is a dessert blog, let’s talk cake! We got cupcakes from Robicelli’s which we arranged in a tower. We also ordered a small slicing cake from them for the top tier of the tower, so we were able to do the traditional style of cake-slicing. Needless to say, it was all fantastic. Robicelli’s makes some of New York’s top cupcakes (moist cake and fabulous buttercream), we got so many compliments from all of the party guests! Our wedding was Autumn-themed so their seasonal flavor choices worked out great (we went with Apple Maple Crisp and Chocolate Graham). We got a cupcake tree stand and sugar Autumn leaves to top it at at New York Cake & Baking Supplies on 22nd st. Love this place! I’m not even much of a baker, but I find it so much fun to explore the shop. They have Disco Dust in loads of colors! Cake and cookie decorations in any theme you can come up with. Very cool!
We found it challenging to choose a cake topper we liked. It seems like with most of the cake-toppers the wedding couple have depressed expressions or they are too jokey (ie; wearing a ball and chain). Eventually we opted for a LEGO wedding set. It was great because you can customize the bride’s hair color and we even got some hair for the groom (the set came with a tophat for him, but we wanted hair) at the LEGO Store’s custom figure station. Also, everything there is very affordable. Did I mention the LEGO store (620 5th Avenue, NYC) is awesome? It is awesome. You should go there!
What about flowers? Well, I recommend doing these DIY, if you are having a smallish party or ceremony (each of our parties were about 50 people). We got vases as part of our decor shopping spree at Rite Aid. Since we were doing a seasonal themed look, I noticed in their seasonal section they had a lot of Autumn decor, vases, wreaths, garlands, candles, plates, etc. We happened upon Rite Aid when they had a 50% markdown on their Autumn aisle and cleaned them out! We used vases from there and some other vases I got from a neighbor who was moving and left behind a lot of nice vases for free. Leading up to the wedding we were keeping an eye out for these types of bargains and it paid off.
For the flowers themselves, we went to Trader Joe’s. Yes, Trader Joe’s has a big selection of flowers and they’re cheap! All told, I think we spent $150 on the flowers. A huge contrast from the sometimes thousands of dollars people spend on wedding flowers. Of course, we had to arrange them ourselves. We gave ourselves time to do this two nights before the wedding and the flowers held up fine.
When it came down to the bridal bouquets (I made two) I used this tutorial and I needed to get some supplies for this project. I needed floral tape, ribbon, and corsage pins. I got all of these at Jamali (149 W. 28 St NYC). Jamali is an amazing floral supply shop in Chelsea, and also a lot of fun to shop around in for decorations.
So we had the flowers and cake arranged, but it was also very important to have helpers! Luckily my cousins and uncle stepped in, they got the cake and flowers and other decorations set up in the restaurant before we arrived while we were busy doing wedding photos. Also, my Dads drove the flowers over to the site the day before. That was important too. Call in favors from your family with cars if you can. I can’t stress enough the importance of having helpers and scheduling them to be in the right place at the right time. We gave them very specific directions on how we wanted the cake set up and it worked out beautifully!
Next post, I’ll write about picking a dress and photo shoots!