April 15, 2010

How the Hell...

I've been gone -- I do apologize -- but I've disappeared with good reason: 2E's and I have been venue hunting. Yes, we took off our shoes, rolled up our pant legs and walked right into the shit of it.

And it stinks.

Sure, we've been somewhat successful locating some new spaces (thanks to recommendations from vendors and friends who "feel our pain") ... but at the same time, it's a big fat reminder that venues are too damn expensive. No wonder we were so relieved when we booked our Loft space. That place is hella cheap.

Now look -- I've worked in the New York event industry on and off for four years now. I realize (a) that New York (Manhattan in particular) has the most expensive venues across the board and (b) that oftentimes those prices are fair. Venues require a great deal of furnishing, upkeep, staff -- not to mention the need to make a profit and remain in business.

But there are some places in BKLYN (and I won't get personal and name names) that are seemingly overpriced. How they stay in business is beyond me. For instance, how can a warehouse bordering the trendy Gowanus Canal (see bubbling sewage right) that is sizable but by no means glamorous charge over $12,000 for an evening's rental? Really guys? How does a place like that survive during a recession? You can't just shrug and say, Oh well, New York prices! No ... this, as my mother would say, is highway robbery.

Nothing new, I know. We've all been there, yes. What's upsetting is that there's no means to change this trend. For one, there are countless couples living in NYC who are able and willing to pay absurd amounts of money for the venue of their choice (and god bless them and their parents' deep pockets). Moreover, wedding planning is a 2-person operation. We don't seek out venues in hordes. We don't venue hunt in packs, demanding discounts and scoffing at $15K rental fees.

No, wedding planning is personal. And all of us couples have our own joyous and (at times) tumultuous journey, and we all meet each other on the other side and swap tales of mirth and woe and "Oh, can you believe how pricey...?" It's the personal, I think, that can make it wonderful and unbearable. Wonderful that it's just you two (and yes, your invested parents) and your vision and your passion; unbearable that it's just you two vs. the wedding world.

Yeah, hold your bets. 

Look, if 2E's and I did have $10K + to drop on a location rental fee, we would have plenty more options. Hell, if we had $20K, we could have our pick of some of the best sites in the city (Tobacco Warehouse here we come). But that's not our reality. It's not our journey. And we're learning to be okay with that. After all, ours is the story that will be so much more exciting to tell at parties years down the road, cause ours will start with,

"So seven months out we lost our venue..."


  1. Brian - what a beautiful, funny, and honest post. I loved it. I know how you feel - it's so tough to plan a NY/BK wedding - Steve and I tried, but we just decided it was too much hassle. So, props to you two for sticking it out! You will find a venue that ultimately works, I promise. Just keep searching.

    Have you looked into the Picnic House and Boat House in Prospect Park? There's also the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture on 2nd and Prospect Park West - really cute outdoor area (and possibly indoor) for an intimate wedding celebration. You may have already exhausted these options, so my apologies if they only make you more frustrated!

    Good luck, and know that wherever you decide to get married - the most important part of the whole day is getting married and celebrating that. :)

  2. while it still totally sucks, i'm so glad you are blogging through it! we bumped up against the same thing in dc ($10 grand for a ROOM?! not a chair, not a table, just a room?!) but got lucky with an unexpected space -- a dirt cheap community center with a beautiful old ballroom. you will find it! keep truckin'

  3. I don't know about Brooklyn's society for ethical culture, but I was actually able to afford the NY Society for Ethical Culture and had a lovely wedding there on a 10k or so entire wedding budget. We did a lot of work ourselves, but there was space for all in a location that us NYers without cars could easily get to. I'd wholeheartedly recommend it and also looking into their Brooklyn counterpart.

  4. Venue hunting can be torturous. We finally gave up and had the wedding in my in-law's backyard. It worked beautifully.