Four Weddings on a Budget
What a reception can cost in Brooklyn, the Hamptons, Westchester, and Manhattan.
If brides and grooms existed in a wedding-planning vacuum, they'd simply pick a location that perfectly reflected their personalities and be done with it. Black-tie types with a fondness for sweeping staircases would book a private club off Fifth Avenue. Nature lovers who envision walking down a grassy aisle in bare feet would reserve a historic mansion with acres of private gardens just outside the city. But practicalities make things complicated. The cost of a location, obviously, has to fit your budget, but determining that cost isn't always so easy to do. It can be a lot like shopping for an airline ticket: The price is in constant flux depending on the time of year and whether you want first-class all the way, coach, or some mix of the two. For example, a small, midweek wedding at an expensive place during the off-season can cost the same or less than a much larger Saturday wedding at a moderately priced raw space where every last chair, tablecloth, and wine glass comes à la carte. Matching your temperament with a location you can afford is also key. Certain spaces don't allow for any choice of vendors, which is bad if, say, you want to bring in your own florist and caterer. Or, it can be a relief not to have to make one more choice yourself. Other spots have no such restrictions but require you to do all the legwork, from researching lighting designers to ordering the sound system. This may sound like a nightmare to those who want the planning to be as straightforward and simple as possible, but for some type A's, it may be just the way to go. To give you an idea of how four locations could theoretically work, here are the details for parties of 100 guests on four different budgets.