shopping 02.22.05

Wedding Advice

Nina Willdorf got married in August, 2003. The Senior Editor at Budget Travel magazine says, "I realized that there was nothing out there to answer my questions (namely, what should things cost — it's shockingly difficult to get answers to that in the wedding planning world). So I figured that others might have the same questions I had."

Her new book, Wedding Chic: The Savvy Bride's Guide to Getting More While Spending Less (Perigee, $14.95), is "the book I wish I'd had when I was planning."

We asked Ms. Willdorf to give MUG readers some of the benefit of her research. She's given us 10 Things the Wedding Industry Doesn't Want Brides to Know — and That Can Save Them Serious Money. For more of her great advice, you can buy Wedding Chic here.

1) The average American wedding costs over $22,000. In the New York metropolitan area, that number jumps to $33,000. Need to maximize your budget to a big degree? Get thee out of town!

2) You should never have to pay extra for a proof of your wedding invitation. Some stores, such as Crane, will charge $20 to let you double check for typos. Don't pay it. A proof should be free — Soho Letterpress, 212.334.4356, sends out PDFs gratis, as does Papivore, 212.334.4330.

3) Most people rip open their wedding invitations and toss the envelope without giving it more than a second's glance. Still want to spend up to $4 a line having New York's elite Bernard Maisner hand calligraph those 150 envelopes? (At 4 lines per envelope, that touch will cost $2400)

4) Don't automatically assume that you'll have to pay for dress alterations. At Morgane Le Fay, 746 Mad [64th/65th] 212.879.9700 and 67 Wooster [Grand/Spring] 212.219.7672, they are included in the price. (And, as a wedding seamstress' average alteration price is $550, that's no small matter.)

5) Join a club — any club. Have any tenuous connection to a school in town? Find your school spirit. At Columbia University's beautiful St. Paul's Chapel, anyone with an affiliation to the school (alumni, employee, etc) pays only $950 to rent it out for two hours on the weekend.

6) Sure, Saturdays are nice and all, but there are six other days of the week. Just bumping your wedding back to a weekday night could cut your bill by as much as 20% at the Waldorf=Astoria.

7) There's really no such thing as a "season" for wedding dresses. However, wedding dress shops will discount stock to make room for the new collections. For example, Kleinfeld discounts anything that hasn't sold for two to three months by as much as 50%. No one will know you're wearing "last season's" white. Ask to be pointed to the stuff that's been in the store for a couple months.

8) Hair may be hair, but if you're a bride, those locks carry special weight. At Avon Salon & Spa, 725 5th [56th/57th] 212.755.2866, the cost of an updo for a bride starts at $150; if you're a bridesmaid, the cost is $25 less.

9) When it comes to your cake, forget fondant frosting. The hard silky frosting — which allows for intricate designs — costs an extra $2 a slice, but has very little taste. Even NYC baker-to-the-rich-and-fabulous Sylvia Weinstock thinks it's a waste of money: "I only use buttercream."

10) Finally — and ultimately — don't buy the guilt the bridal industry thrives on (but it's your special day!). What you spend on your wedding doesn't have any bearing on the success of your relationship.
Same-Sex Marriages
The Human Rights Campaign organization has a good overview of the recent developments concerning marriage and relationship recognitions for same-sex couples in NY. And here's a short bio of NY Supreme Court judge Doris Ling-Cohan, who courageously ruled, "Similar to opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples are entitled to the same fundamental right to follow their hearts and publicly commit to a lifetime partnership with the person of their choosing. The recognition that this fundamental right applies equally to same-sex couples cannot legitimately be said to harm anyone."

Laurie Anderson at BAM
A shout-out to MUG sponsor BAM and a reminder of their offer for MUG readers: see Ms. Anderson perform "The End of the Moon" and save 30% on tickets by calling BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100 and mentioning code 5026. Tickets are for the 2/23, 2/24/, and 2/25 performances only, subject to availability.

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