Seeking logistical advice for a NYC courthouse wedding
April 15, 2016 8:36 AM   Subscribe

I live in central Jersey, but for #reasons am planning on getting married next month at the courthouse in NYC. I have a few questions about how to make this a special day.

The essence of this question is that my desire to make the wedding a ‘special’ day is clashing with my lazy/cheap, ‘keep it simple’ aesthetic. I’m asking for help with two things: 1. finding lodgings in the city and 2. with finding something to wear for me, a 5’2”, ~120 lbs, mid-30s Asian-American woman with a solid/athletic build that looks chubby in photos.

First, we will probably stay in the city for the 24-hour waiting period. I have been looking at hotels, and prices are higher than I thought they would be — I kind of forgot about tourist season. Since we’re pretty flexible about where we want to stay (and also we have friends we could crash with if it came to that), I was thinking about using an app like Hotel Tonight to book a room a few days in advance or the day of, since prices seem to be better at the very last minute. I’m not necessarily against spending $200-300 a night on a room, but, if I do, I don’t want it to be at a dirty/loud/janky chain motel. My question is, whether there are factors I should consider or better alternatives (though we’re not interested in Airbnb), and my primary concern is whether going this route will make the day unnecessarily stressful without saving much money.

Second, I’m not quite sure what I want to wear. I’m most comfortable wearing my daily uniform - jeans and t-shirt/hoodie or collared shirt/cardigan (I do wear dresses in the summer, but I still stick to a pretty basic look) - and I feel really uncomfortable when compelled (for, e.g., work or family reasons) to branch out into more femmey and/or complicated looks. I hate drawing attention to myself and feel really exposed when it’s obvious that I am, like, trying to perform femininity correctly. It makes me feel like Janeane Garofalo in the final scene of Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion when she is wearing that f-ed up white and yellow dress or like Ally Sheedy, post-makeover, in The Breakfast Club.

In the interest of obtaining a dress with minimal fuss (after some disappointing online and in-person shopping experiences), I was thinking about setting up an appointment with a stylist at the Rent the Runway store in NYC. The dresses I have seen on the website seem pretty run of the mill and like something I can deal with for a day (like, say, the Diane von Furstenberg Zarita dress — or are their dresses too basic and run of the mill to be worth it?), and I hope that the stylist will know how to deal with my body issues (namely, short-waistedness and a thick middle). I feel like if things don’t work out there I can always wear my normal day-to-day clothes. My partner has stated that he just wants me to be comfortable and would be perfectly fine if we didn’t dress up, but he always looks sharp and I think he would like it if we did. What do you wise people think? Is there something I’m not thinking of? Have you had good/bad experiences with rent the runway? The most common complaint I saw on the website was unexpected unavailability of the chosen dress - I hope that going to the physical location will ameliorate this issue.

Again, I’m trying to balance ‘making it special’ with ‘not making it unnecessarily stressful.’ I have looked through old courthouse wedding, nyc hotel, and nyc wedding questions and I am aware of A Practical Wedding -- they were very helpful, but I was still left with these two questions. Your advice is greatly appreciated!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (5 answers total)
To be honest, I would throw money at a nice hotel. You can get a pretty dress on RueLaLa or another flash sale site at an extreme discount, but you don't want to end up staying somewhere that's dirty or loud.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:42 AM on April 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

We stayed at the Waldorf-Astoria our wedding night- we found it the week prior via one of those bargain websites. It was a good deal and worth the cash! Can I offer you a word of advice? Unplug the alarm clock in the hotel room. Ours went off around 6 am the day after our wedding and I am still pissed about it 6 years and 5 days later.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:50 AM on April 15, 2016 [4 favorites]

I can only comment on using Rent the Runway. I have loved using RTR for everything that would require a nice/fancy dress that I wouldn't want to be photographed in more than once (charity events, weddings, cocktail parties, etc). As far as I'm concerned it's fantastic. You have to be VERY CLEAR on what fits you though, because if you want to pretend you wear a 2 and it gets to you and it doesn't fit, well, there you are. The fit comments and so on are very helpful. I visited the physical location when I picked up a dress for a wedding in Chicago and loved it. FORGOT TO SAY it's also super good to not own a dress that you aren't ever going to wear again, and you can spend more or less what you want.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:51 AM on April 15, 2016

I just wanted to say, don't get a dress if you don't want a dress! A friend JUST said to me "part of me wants to do my wedding over again so I can wear a jumpsuit" -- and she's not even uncomfortable in dresses, she just wishes she'd had a chic jumpsuit wedding. Rent the Runway has some beautiful, unfussy special-occasion jumpsuits and separates.
posted by babelfish at 10:09 AM on April 15, 2016

If you have a summer dress you like, consider pairing it with a cardigan or blazer. At the courthouse there is basically the full gamut from frilly full length dress to jeans/t-shirt. I bought an off white knee length sweater dress that I'm planning to wear again. You didn't ask about flowers, but as an accessory a small bouquet with spring flowers would do a lot to make it feel 'wedding' if you don't do a fancy dress.

We stayed at the Nomad hotel for ~$500, but it was our only splurge (we didn't even get wedding rings hah), and we used the beautiful top floor for some pre-wedding pics. I was very happy about it and felt it was romantic money well spent.
posted by permiechickie at 10:49 AM on April 15, 2016

« Older Looking for a resume writer   |   Are these red flags or just quirks, or, Should I... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.