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Running the Numbers

Couples open up post-wedding about how they kept expenses in check—or didn’t.


THE ORIGINAL BUDGET: $3,000


The Couple: Sharon Boone (freelance writer) and Darren Wright (life coach and career adviser)
Wedding Date: October 16, 2009
Location: The W Hotel, Hoboken; and Amanda’s Restaurant, Hoboken

The Goal:
A tiny cocktail party with a Rat Pack–y feel.

The Dress
S: I bought my dress from Dolly Couture, a site that specializes in fifties-inspired styles. I customized the design online—short with a drop waist—and gave my measurements. They sent a sample of the fabric. It was $520. Darren got a very nice charcoal suit at a department store in England for the equivalent of $300.
Some of What They Paid: $820


The Venue
The most important aspect was a view of New York. At the last minute, our guest list doubled, from 12 to 24, because my extended family decided to come. We had the WOW suite at the W. The usual rate is $2,500 per night; I asked for a discount and got it for $1,000. The hotel provided glasses, napkins, and extra chairs; I brought in loads of tea lights.
Some of What They Paid: $1,000

The Food & Liquor
I supplied the wine and Champagne; I’d been collecting bottles all year. My parents bought crackers in bulk at Costco, and I went to Garden of Eden for fruit and cheese. After drinks, everyone went to Amanda’s for dinner. We got a cozy private room and had a great menu for $40 per person, and they let us bring our own cake. Ours cost $75; the bakery (Giorgio’s in Hoboken) delivered it to the restaurant.
Some of What They Paid: $1,115

The Flowers
Flowers were not a big deal to us. I had a bouquet, Darren had a boutonniere, and we got corsages for our moms. We kept it local and got everything at Beethoven’s Veranda in Hoboken for $350.
Some of What They Paid: $350

The Photographer
Our photographer was Kat Bryant. She was just starting out doing weddings, so she gave us a great rate: $500. But we didn’t have her stick around for the reception.
Some of What They Paid: $500

Where Else They Saved
Forgoing the officiant was our biggest saver; they charge at least $400. They all said, “But we get to know you!” I thought, I’m paying you to become my friend? So we had a friend get ordained online. We hosted on a Friday. And we had no paper—programs, etc.—or D.J.; I just filled up my iPod.


THE ACTUAL COST
$5,000

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