Go see this post on our other blog - or just go see this MASSIVE multicultural wedding for 1000 people where the bride had to change clothes 4 times. Yes, we'll do that type of wedding for you (well, we do the Western part, it usually happens about 4 pm at the 2nd change of clothes). But really, it's often for the parents, not for the couple. Or that's what I've been told by the long-suffering brides who get up at 4 am for the first dressing and hair do. If it means an exotic honeymoon where you can get away from being on display for two sets of extended family for several days, it might be a tradeoff. But every bride I have met who has to do this lived on ibuprofen for weeks. Elope already. Then have some welcome home parties.
A little rain on a wedding day is very good luck. In Sweden, a thunderstorm is even better luck, because the sound scares away the trolls. Swedish couples stamp on the ground if the weather is sunny, to create a little wedding luck by imitating thunder.
But if the weather is cloudy and misty and it looks like sprinkles for your outdoor elopement, go to Chinatown. I like Pearl River Trading, in Soho, just on the edge of Canal Street. Go to the basement and get some $10 waterproofed paper Chinese umbrellas. You can get different colors for bridesmaids, moms, etc. They look lovely, and can be kept as keepsakes, and are much more festive than big black umbrellas or sport umbrellas. They're also good for sunny weddings.
Wedding Photography is a highly competitive (and professional) business in New York. Wedding photographers are very booked, and generally do not have free nights or weekends. It's also a rather difficult job. We have listed some of the photographers we have met at weddings on our website, weddingsofnewyork.com, under Resources (scroll down the page).If they are booked (or perhaps too expensive for a small elopement), try craigslist.com. Many student photographers advertise on craigslist to build portfolios. Some journalism or art majors also do weekend freelance. Be careful, of course, and correspond fully with photographers, and ask to see some portfolios.
Negotiate whether you will get a disk or online portfolio, or whether you will have to buy each individual picture from a selection. Sometimes photographer will quote a set rate for a number of pictures, sometimes for a set rate for time (2 hours, some pictures at your hotel, some at the wedding). Many photographers will meet you at your hotel, follow you walking along the street, etc., then photograph the wedding in Central Park, or wherever you hold the ceremony, and finish up with some just married photos. That sequence will probably take about an hour, but tack on additional time if you're doing 'before' shots in your hotel or home, and some 'wandering around New York" shots afterwards. Some will give you the results on a disk or on their website.
File this under 'silly'. You have to venture out to BAYRIDGE in BROOKLYN (waaayyyy out in Brooklyn) but you can have a wedding spa party at a Green Spa (they advertise as the first 'green' spa in New York). For about $400 you can have tea, as well, (perhaps in their "spirituality loft") with a program that includes:
"Chai Root Body Wrap, Dry Brush Exfoliation, Tea Soy Soak, One Hour Honey Butter Massage, Exfoliating Steam & Swiss Shower, With Green Tea Eye Treatment. Tea Time includes: Sandwiches, Scones, Muffins, Desert, & Unlimited Tea." Personally, I'd prefer a YAK BUTTER massage, but somehow I think there would be surcharge I couldn't afford. If you want to spend that much money, you might enjoy the Cornelia Day Resort, which is NOT on Cornelia Street, but on 5th avenue at 52nd, with a rooftop patio between St. Pat's and the MOMA. You can get very relaxed before your wedding in Central Park.
Check with your various memberships, alumni organizations, and other work or career affiliates. You may have access to private facilities in New York which can host a small wedding. NYU affiliates may use the Torch Club in Soho, which is a lovely place for a wedding. Some quirky associations which may not seem obvious as first make great wedding spots. The Salmagundi Art Club on 5th Avenue was used for a wedding last year, and the drinks reception was in the gallery. A perfect spot, and very 'old new york'. Enquire delicately.
It's not a club, but Scandinavia House has meeting rooms and a small library on Park Avenue which overlooks the street. Very modern, of course. It appeals to my Danish roots. And catering can be arranged - lovely meatballs and aquavit!
The Gay and Lesbian Center in Greenwich village is housed in a lovely brownstone. Their meeting booking rates are VERY reasonable.
The Bowery Poetry Club rents their event space in the back.
The Minetta Tavern, (left) my favorite Italian restaurant/bar in Greenwich village, with the funky street scene paintings on the walls. Certain to set up a small wedding space and a nice dinner for you.
[Update 2009 - it's been sold, and is turning into a Pizza Place. I hope they keep the murals]
I've heard good reports about the Bacchus Bistro, in Brooklyn hosting small wedding. We can recommend Stan's Place, nearby . They have a tiny balcony (seats 10 if they move the plants) where you can have a ceremony, and then move downstairs for a super French/New Orleans dinner. Suitable for a dozen people.