Browsing online I came across this article from the March 31st 2009 Daily News
Having had the opportunity of working at some of these locations and having been the only professional hired at several weddings I like seeing the return to the simplicity of weddings. No, they need not be over the top. They can be though. Everyone has their own sense of how their day should be and how it should run. This is just one of many ways to celebrate the beginning of marriage and I thought it would be appropriate to share. We may live in one of the more expensive locations in the nation for weddings. But we need not fall into the illusion that our wedding need be expensive. I think Colorblind Productions is in a unique place to offer services that can accommodate most any budget. And we have had some creative suggestions made to maneuver our way through this. At the end of the day, be it a million dollars or a few hundred, a wedding is bliss.
Be frugal & alter your wedding tab: Brooklyn brides find ways to save By Denise Romano Tuesday
Debbi Schwartzberg, 30, of Cobble Hill, bought a dress off the rack to save money, and offered cupcakes instead of a wedding cake to save about $400.
The Boathouse in Prospect Park is an inexpensive place for a wedding.
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something . . frugal
Savvy Brooklyn brides are finding ways to cut wedding costs without sacrificing style.
"We did everything except for the catering and location for under $1,000," said Kimi Weart, 36, a graphic designer and fine artist from Clinton Hill, who got married at the Prospect Park Boathouse last September.
"My dress was a $68 dress from Target [Mizrahi] that I customized," she said. Her friends DJ-ed and took the photos, and the most expensive part was for her husband, Paul - a Burberry suit, bought on sale at Syms for $500.
"I made hundreds of paper flowers for decoration, did my own stationery, made matchbox favors, got over 100 candles for about $70," she said.
Weart wasn't the only bride to put her creativity to work.
Sarissa Singletary-Phillips, 32, a Clinton Hill fashion stylist, forgot the florist and took care of centerpieces and flowers herself when she got married last September at the Prospect Park Picnic House.
"I used curly willow branches that I bought from the flower district by the bunch, used pillar candles that I found online at a wholesale price and beaded garland from Michael's," she said, adding that her favors were homemade candy apples, purchased in bulk by a caterer and prepared with a recipe found online.
Phillips also saved money by having a wine bar instead of top shelf liquor, had a friend DJ and, instead of renting several limos, she rented one party bus.
"We used the party bus as a place to lounge and chill out before the reception," she said, pointing out that there is no bridal suite at the venue.
Also married at the Picnic House last September, Eric-Renner Smith and Maya Frank-Levine, both 27 and from Parkville, were happy with their choice.
"This was much cheaper than some of the other places we'd been considering, even the all-inclusive types," said Smith, a teacher. The couple used Naturally Delicious as a caterer. "We were happy to splurge on good food," Smith said, "because we'd saved money on the location and I wasn't too keen on fattening the pockets of some catering hall owner."
They also liked the familiarity of the location.
"Prospect Park is something I use nearly every week," Smith said, "and I felt that, as long as the money had to be spent, I was glad it was going to something I believe in."
Experts insist there are plenty of ways to save on weddings.
"If you have the time, you have ways to save," said Linda LaViolette, a former owner/chef of an off-premise catering business, who has overseen thousands of weddings.
"Any wedding benefits from having flowers on a buffet table and also on individual tables," she said. Roses, tulips and orchids are the best picks, she said, because they are not as delicate.
"You can buy a clay pot anywhere, sponge paint it to whatever color your theme is and plant an orchid in the pot," LaViolette said. "You pay $25 instead of $75, and it's simple and beautiful."
She also said, if you have a fall wedding, you can use gourds and pumpkins in a basket instead of flowers.
"Other brides have grown wheat grass in little square wooden pots," she said. "Then, they put pieces of the turf on the table and decorate it with votive candles as a centerpiece."
Debbi Schwartzberg, 30, of Cobble Hill, did just that.
"My friend bought all seasonal flowers and branches and supplemented the decor with other things like bird houses," said Schwartzberg, adding the Boat House is, "so beautiful that it doesn't need to be dripping with flowers, anyway."
Schwartzberg also cut down the cost of her wedding last October by getting a dress "off the rack" at Bloomingdale's for $500, doing her own makeup, eliminating favors and a bridal party and sending out an e-mail Save the Date.
But she didn't stop there.
"We bought thank-you cards at Target and rented a set of speakers and used an iPod instead of a DJ," she said.
"We booked a photographer late, which made him more flexible with his rates and had gorgeous filled cupcakes instead of a wedding cake, which saves about $400."
To make the ceremony more personal, one of her friends got ordained online and performed the ceremony.
Schwartzberg isn't the only one with great ideas.
Kate Fermiole, 40, who works for the Brooklyn Historical Society, got married this past June at the Picnic House.
"Even before the economic crisis, we had a small-budget wedding due to our small nonprofit salaries," said Fermiole, whose husband works at the Tenement Museum in Manhattan.
"We asked our very talented friends and family - in lieu of gifts - that they contribute in some small way to our day."
Friends made the wedding cake, played the viola during the ceremony, took photographs and guided guests to the Picnic House.
One friend also had their band play during the cocktail hour and Fermiole had help planting herbs in clay pots that had triple use - decorations, centerpieces and favors.
In the end, the efforts were all worthwhile.
"Our wedding was beautiful, personal and the gifts of time and talent made it even more so," Fermiole said.
Here is a list of venues where you can get hitched without spending a bundle:
Parks You can get married in any park in the borough and have your reception there with a Parks Department permit. If you have less than 20 people, a permit is not needed. If you have between 20 and 100, a permit is only $25. Taking photographs and shooting video in parks is also free. Remember, alcoholic beverages and amplified sound are never allowed in the park at any time. Call 311 for details.
Fulton Ferry Landing The Fulton Ferry Landing and the Brooklyn Promenade cost nothing to get married on, and no permit is required.
Prospect Park Picnic House The Prospect Park Picnic House can hold up to 175 guests for dinner and dancing and 220 for cocktail parties. It is available for rental in eight-hour blocks, including tables and chairs. The fee is $4,250 plus $500 refundable security. If you plan your wedding in the winter months of January through March 2010, you get a $500 seasonal discount. Call (718) 287-6215 for more info.
Palm House If you have a daytime reception at the Palm House at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, you'll save about $1,600 on weekdays and $2,000 on weekends for the rental and about $20 on catering fees per person. Weekday receptions between November and February are $1,250. On weekends, the price is $1,500. Weekdays through March and April are $1,875; weekends are $2,500. Weekdays from May to October are $2,500; weekends $3,125. The venue holds up to 400 for a cocktail reception and 300 for dinner and dancing. The price includes a five-hour affair, open bar, food, linens and more. Call (718) 398-2400 for more info. The ceremony-only fee is $350 for up to 50 people. Only one wedding is done each Saturday and Sunday, between 9 and 10 a.m. Call (718) 623-7220 for more info.Sahara 2337 Coney Island Ave., (718) 376-8594"The difference between us and a catering hall is that we do not charge for the room, just for the food served." Pay by the plate, $33 plus tax and plus service, maximum $50 a plate. They serve a full menu, salad, appetizers, main course and dessert, with 10 different menus. Rooms hold up to 120 people. Ask for Mercil.
Il Fornetto 2902 Emmons Ave., (718) 332-8494 You can have your reception right on the water in Sheepshead Bay. You'll pay up to $60 a plate, and they have options to add top-shelf liquor to the party for $18 per person, passed hors d'oeuvres and other extra options.
Astoria Caterers 1870 Bath Ave., (718) 996-8126 This hall gives you a reception with all the trimmings. Food, music and an emcee is $60 per person. If you want decorations and centerpieces, it is $100 per person. The hall holds up to 270 people.
Old Stone House Old Stone House accommodates 80 people standing, and 60 seated. When rented with the first floor gallery of the house, it can hold up to 120 for buffet and cocktails. You can also rent a tent to expand capacity. The fee to rent is $200 for four hours on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. plus $75 for each additional hour. There is also a $400 surcharge for weekend/evening rentals. Call (718) 768-3195 for more info.
Prospect Park Boathouse The Prospect Park Boathouse can hold up to 110 guests for dinner and dancing indoors, 200 for cocktail parties and 300 with optional tenting outside. The rental fee is $4,000 and you must use outside catering by Moveable Feast Catering. They can be reached at (718) 965-2900. The Boathouse also offers a ceremony-only option for weekend mornings for a maximum of 40 guests for $750. If it rains, you can be moved up to the balcony under an awning. Call (718) 287-5252, ext. 102, for more info.