How It All Adds Up

Daniel Yucht and Carmelita Naval didn’t want a cookie-cutter hotel wedding—they wanted to get married in a loft. “I thought it would actually be cheaper, but we found out that wasn’t the case,” she says. The couple set out with a budget of $35,000, a relatively low figure. (According to a survey of city planners, the average cost of a loft wedding in Manhattan hovers around $100,000.) “If you’re up-front about your budget, many vendors won’t do a crazy markup. A lot of them offered cash incentives—5 percent off the top—which made a difference,” she says. For the most part, Daniel and Carmelita paid for the event themselves: “Our parents gave us a few thousand dollars. They thought they were being very generous. People who don’t live here don’t realize how expensive things are.” The enterprising couple pulled off their nuptials at Studio 450, in Manhattan, on Saturday, June 14, 2008. Sure, they were a bit over budget, but sometimes you have to rest your eyes from the bottom line.

How to Do Black-tie on a Budget
Bite-size Delights for Two Elegant Parties
New York Couples Share Their Wedding Albums
A List of Venues You Can Party In

The Venue “We looked at Midtown Loft, but it was too small for our 116 guests. Westside Loft wasn’t as nice. Studio 450 was newer, had river views, a terrace, and a well-equipped kitchen. We divided the downstairs space in half: On one side of a divider we had the ceremony overlooking the Hudson; on the other we set up dinner. When everyone went to the roof for cocktails, the divider was removed.” The Ceremony “My father-in-law made our chuppa. When we found out our florist was going to charge $60 for the flower pedestals, Daniel and I went out to Michael’s and bought two for $10 each.”

The Tabletop & Décor “As the caterer was setting up the tables, she noticed that we were one centerpiece short. Daniel had to make an emergency run to the flower district.”

The Cake & Dessert “We had a small cake to cut, and served 100 red-velvet and vanilla cupcakes. I regret not paying attention to the design of the cupcakes. They were delicious, but they looked like boobs.”

The Rentals “We got the cheapest everything from Classic Party Rentals. I should have confirmed all the prices in writing, though. I picked one fabric and confirmed the cost verbally, only to find out that what I had ordered was astronomically priced.”

The Gown “My dress was a sample. When I found the veil I wanted, I called six bridal salons to see who’d give it to me the cheapest. I’m glad I paid a professional to do my makeup, because I slept about two hours the night before, but you couldn’t see my dark circles.” The Music “We couldn’t afford a band. Our D.J. spun the ceremony, cocktail, and reception music. He did a great job.”

The Dinner “After an hour-and-a-half of cocktails, we had a three-course dinner for $108 per person. We did a chilled spring-pea soup, sea bass with a scallion- maple glaze, and beef and asparagus.”

How It All Adds Up