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The Wedding-Spending Diaries


Illustrations by Omnivore  

HIGH BUDGET: SATURDAY-NIGHT HOTEL WEDDING FOR 150
The couple, both 29, wanted a high-end hotel wedding—but the bride’s parents wouldn’t allow for indulgences. “They wouldn’t pay for a chocolate fountain,” says the bride. “We saved money on transportation since everything was held in one spot.” Still, in the end, they underestimated how much their wedding would cost by a whopping $50,000.

Venue: $61,667
The Mandarin Oriental. Included eight passed hors d’oeuvre, two buffet stations during cocktail hour, and a three-course meal; top-shelf open bar, and a day-of wedding coordinator. “The Mandarin has a preferred list of vendors, but we didn’t use them.”

Wedding correspondence: $3,416.42
Full suite from Blue Tulip, including save-the-dates, invitations, thank-you cards; calligraphy by Esta Cohen ($348); and postage ($329.75).

Hair: $1,070
Devon Ross, a freelance stylist formerly of Avon, styled ten women. “Hiring a freelancer who doesn’t work for a salon was cheaper, because she charged per person rather than hourly and she came to our hotel suite.”

Makeup: $730
Damali, for five women. “They do lash extensions and are all Bobbi Brown–trained.”

Officiant: $400
(Name withheld.) “We’re interfaith, and it was hard to find someone who would do a Reform ceremony.”

Yarmulkes: $224.04
“My mom ordered them online from J. Levine. They had our names on them.”

Wedding bands: $4,300
The groom wore his grandfather’s ring, but “we engraved it and dipped it in platinum. I got mine from Gem World.”

Bride’s attire: $5,767.12
By Vera Wang ($4,867.12), with alterations ($300): “I got the veil for free and gave us a 10 percent discount on the bridesmaids dresses.” Shoes by Christian Louboutin ($600).

Groom’s attire: $300
Tie and vest from Saks Fifth Avenue ($300).

Photography and videography: $6,556.82
Brett Matthews. Included two photographers—one photojournalistic and the other for portraits—for ten hours, shooting in color and black-and-white; proofs; an album; and four copies of the DVD.

Flowers: $17,308.02
Atlas Florist. Mini calla lilies for the cocktail hour; twenty centerpieces of dogwood branches, bidium orchids, hydrangeas, and roses for the reception; bouquets; chuppa; and boutonnieres.

Music: $13,000
New York City Swing. Twelve-piece band for four and a half hours, including ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception music.

Wedding cake: $2,167.50
From Gail Watson.

Gift bags: $500

Wedding-party gifts: $4,000

*The itemized statements above do not necessarily add up to the total amount spent, and displayed, since these diaries largely reflect the cost of big-ticket expenses (venue, caterer, band, etc.) and do not always include smaller miscellaneous details.

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