Image by Hales Studio from Aliza and Nate’s Jewish Wedding
Back in May, I wrote a piece on some of NYC’s most jaw-dropping Jewish wedding venues. They were cool, they were unique, they were fabulous. But one thing they were not, for the most part, is affordable for the average couple getting married.
According to CNN, the average cost of Manhattan wedding is nearly $80,000 (!!!!!!!!!), and even outside Manhattan averages hover around $60,000. Obviously that’s driven up by the small-ish number of ultra- mega- super-luxe weddings the city sees each year, but still. That’s more than a lot of us make in a year. Yikes.
The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank if you want (or need) to get married within the confines of the Big Apple. Especially if you’re willing to have a smaller wedding and/or to compromise on time of year or day of week, there are a surprising number of appealing options for brides and grooms on a budget. From industrial chic to urban glam to how-are-we-not-out-in-the-country, you can still have the wedding style you want.
As with all things in the city, affordability is relative, and many of these venues might still leave those of you from less expensive parts of the country (or world!) with some serious sticker shock. A wedding – anywhere, but especially in a city like New York – is a big investment; there’s no way around that (well, short of eloping!). A few of these are truly mindblowingly cheap by city standards, while others are more, shall we say, mid-tier in price. Let’s get started.
The Green Building | Image by Weddings by Two from Danya and Andrew’s Jew-ish Wedding
1. The Green Building
This industrial warehouse venue in Brooklyn’s trendy Gowanus neighborhood embodies urban chic. Built in 1889 as a brass foundry, the space has exposed brick walls and fantastic natural light. It’s a space that’s super customizable, whether you want to fill it with handmade DIY touches like Sarit and Ari or go a little glitzier like Danya and Andrew. There’s a great outdoor area, too, if you’re hoping for an open-air chuppah. With a capacity of 160 for a sit-down event, it’s also pretty spacious – by NYC standards, anyway!
Ramscale | Image by Hales Studio from Aliza and Nate’s Jewish Wedding
Located in Manhattan’s swoon-worthy West Village, Ramscale stands out for its rooftop terrace with incredible views of Manhattan and the Hudson River. Inside, it’s a bright, clean, contemporary studio space, with the perfect big-city wedding vibes. Check out Aliza and Nate’s stunning outdoor chuppah – views don’t get much better than that!
Dumbo Loft | Image by Britty D. Photography from Maggie and Jeff’s Jew-ish Wedding
3. Dumbo Loft
Dumbo Loft is a terrific raw space for the couple who wants to put their own aesthetic stamp on their day, like Maggie and Jeff did. It can hold 140 seated guests, which is a welcome departure from the norm for affordable NYC venues, which tend to be on the smaller side. And its location in a great Brooklyn neighborhood, just steps from the Brooklyn Bridge, is hard to beat – just think of those photo ops against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline!
Marcy North | Image by Marcy North
4. Marcy North
If you’re looking for an unconventional spot for a vintage chic celebration that feels more like a super cool Brooklyn house party than a conventional wedding, check out this Williamsburg spot. It’s all exposed white brick and rustic wooden floors, with vintage furniture and even a grand piano thrown in as a bonus! There’s also a rooftop you could use for an outdoor ceremony.
The Boathouse at Prospect Park | Image by Claudia McDade
5. The Boathouse at Prospect Park
I know this list has been heavy on the warehouses and lofts so far. But what if you’re looking for more old-fashioned charm and less big city grit? The Boathouse at Prospect Park to the rescue! This stunning venue in the middle of Brooklyn’s sprawling Prospect Park is a city venue that doesn’t feel like one. Dating to 1905, the boathouse itself is a super glam Beaux Arts-style building, plus it’s surprisingly serene, nestled into one of the city’s most beautiful parks as it is.
Columbia University Faculty House | Image by Laibel Schwartz
6. Columbia University Faculty House
One of the most affordable venues on my list, this dignified brick building dating back to the ’20s sits in the middle of Columbia University’s distinguished Morningside Heights campus. It’s also one of the larger venues, accommodating up to 250 seated guests–a rarity in Manhattan. The fourth floor space has fantastic views over Manhattan, and the staff gets consistently stellar reviews for their attentiveness and willingness to work with each couple’s preferences and budget restrictions, too.
Queens County Farm Museum | Image by Kathleen and Korey
7. Queens County Farm Museum
This sweet DIY venue just exudes rural charm. Even though it’s in the city, this spot is all country at hear. How country, exactly? The farm offers hayrides and animal feeding as activities for your guests. Um, yes please! The downside: it’s pretty far out in Queens, and though it is reachable by public transportation this venue is not nearly as easy to get to as most of the others on this list. Still, if you’re going for that barn wedding aesthetic on a budget but need or want to stay in the city, this is as good as it gets.
The Aurora Gallery | Image by Daria Wheaton
8. The Aurora Gallery
This blank slate gallery space in Long Island City, Queens, is the rare venue that allows you to book ready-made packages or bring in your own vendors, depending on your preferences. With exposed brick and high ceilings, the warehouse-esque venue is perfect for an artsy urban wedding, as well as being one of the more affordable options on this list.
The Albra Room | Image by the Foundry
9. The Albra Room
The Foundry, one of NYC’s most in-demand industrial chic venues, doesn’t quite meet the threshold to be counted as an affordable option–not in my book, anyway! The good news is that for those of you planning an intimate wedding, it’s now possible to book the Albra Room, a newly available space on the Long Island City premises; since the Albra only holds 70 guests, it won’t set you back nearly as far as the full Foundry.
Greenbelt Conservancy | Image by Natural Areas Conservancy
10. Greenbelt Conservancy
The only venue in the oft-neglected fifth borough of Staten Island to make this list, Greenbelt Conservancy is yet another great option if you want to feel like you’re out in nature without leaving the city. A not-for-profit that sustains NYC’s largest forest preserve, There are a couple of indoor spaces to choose from, in addition to a lovely stone patio area, and you can even compost your food waste afterward!
Are you planning an NYC wedding on a budget, or have you in the past? If so, we’d love to hear where you held it in the comments – as well as any other tips and tricks on saving money while throwing a wedding in one of the world’s most expensive cities!