Friday, March 25, 2011

A New Direction – New York, NY

For the past 5 months, we’ve been looking exclusively at New Jersey venues- at least that’s what I’ve been telling you. When we got engaged, we figured we’d get married in Jersey since that’s where the bulk of our family is. Some of our friends are there too, and a lot of the people who would be travelling from other states have roots in NJ. Our instincts were to make it easier for everyone else, and also, we hoped, to save some money.

But over the last few months, we’ve realized several things- first, NJ aint exactly cheap itself. It’s not like we’re leaving New York City to hold the wedding in rural Arkansas. Also, the frequent trips back really drove home the fact that Brooklyn is our home now. After meeting with some fellow brides in January, I felt a little jealous that they were planning weddings in their own neighborhoods, getting to show distant friends and family their new homes. Some people have destination weddings, asking guests to travel thousands of miles to show them a place they love. We were doing the opposite and going to our guests. Is that a little backwards… ?

Anyway, the strongest emotion was a desire to get married in the place that means something to us- like the place we really consider our home. New York is where we first lived together as a couple. It’s where we got engaged. It’s where we first said ‘I love you’. Michael swears it wasn’t until he mentioned that he lived in Brooklyn that I became interested in him. And Brooklyn is where we plan to stay for the long haul. It makes sense to get married here.

Now, nothing’s official yet- and it has to become official soon, as most places start getting booked up at least a year in advance. Prime dates in May and June go the fastest, so we really need to pick a place and secure a date within the next month or so, tops. Luckily, I’ve been investigating NYC venues for awhile now. I’ve already been able to eliminate quite a few, based mainly on pricing- yeah, I said NJ isn’t cheap, but as everyone and their brother knows, NYC is really expensive. So here are a couple places I would’ve LOVED to have the wedding, if our budget was a little larger.

First: Stage 6 at Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yards. Steiner Studios is one of the largest movie studios outside of California, and the Stage 6 building has amazing views of Manhattan. The venue is enclosed in glass and can be lit and decorated in so many ways. Abigail Kirsch is the exclusive caterer. Abigail Kirsch is a fantastic and pricey caterer who works in tons of the best NYC venues. I learned early on that if I see that name attached exclusively to something, I might as well cross it off the list immediately.

I liked the idea of this because the Navy Yards are so close to us- there’s a great Italian spot called Il Porto we like about a block away. Also, Michael works in the industry, to a degree, so there’s that connection. However, he didn’t warm up to the idea like I did, saying, “Why would I want to get married somewhere I might work one day?” Luckily, the expense made this a non-issue.

Smack Mellon in DUMBO, Brooklyn is a converted boiler building that now houses a fantastic non-profit arts organization that houses and curates exhibitions as well as offers studio space and educational programs. Nestled between the two bridges in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), it’s another ‘raw’ space to which you pay a site fee and bring in your own caterer, rentals, etc.

My initial instincts were for art galleries or museums. And Smack Mellon does great things for the community. Their fee is certainly fair but, when combined with catering, still out of our range.

The Foundry in Long Island City, Queens, was in fact a steel foundry built in the 19th Century. It was restored about a decade ago and is absolutely beautiful. Fred Armisen and Elizabeth Moss got married there last year. You can have the wedding inside or out on the grounds, or do a combination. Some services are available from the owners but you do need to bring in your own caterer and rentals. The main space has a vaulted ceiling, exposed beams, two levels and lots of little alcoves.

All along, in any state, I’ve looked for a ‘connection’. Really, this place doesn’t have a big one for us, other than being the exact ambience we’re looking for as well as having a strong New York history. But it’s in Queens, and it’s not exactly cheap. Connections aside, it’s the cost that eliminated this for us. So unless an extra $15,000 drops into our laps, we’ll have to move on. But GOD it is gorgeous!

In the next couple of weeks I’ll be reporting back on several venues that are actual contenders (and probably a few more that we were priced out of but just want to share!) before we make our final decision. Again, I’m not saying that we’re definitely getting married in Brooklyn or that we’re even leaning towards it, just that it officially On The Table!

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