When it comes to planning the most important day of your life, the decisions are endless. Of the various choices you will need to make, one of the most important is the “where.” Five years ago, a New York City wedding meant a Manhattan wedding. But with the dramatic changes over the last few years, Brooklyn has grown tremendously as a viable—and some might argue, highly desirable—wedding locale.
Manhattan and Brooklyn both have a lot to offer when it comes to wedding locations but there are several key criteria to take into account. Here we evaluate based on four highly relevant criteria and list our winners in each.
Cost: Every venue is different—some offer a blank canvas, while others include everything from food and beverage to rentals and event management. Let’s assume that whichever borough you select, you’ll want all of your wedding vendors to be from that borough (for example, if you are hosting a Brooklyn wedding, you might hire a Brooklyn-based photographer, etc.). According to some recent articles, the total average cost of a Manhattan wedding is more than 60% higher than a Brooklyn wedding: $65,000 in Manhattan vs. $40,000 in Brooklyn. That’s a BIG difference! The higher cost of Manhattan can be attributed to higher costs of doing business and a pre-established reputation. Some people may highly value Manhattan’s pre-established reputation, while others may not be on board with paying an additional 60% for it. Winner: Brooklyn
Uniqueness: Remember when you were younger and it was cool to dress just like your friends and do everything they did? Well, those days are long past and we have moved into the more mature phase of valuing individuality and uniqueness. Among modern brides and grooms, we keep hearing “I don’t want a typical wedding” or “I want mine to be the wedding that everyone remembers.” Because Brooklyn’s wedding scene is newer, the venues can often offer a breath of fresh air for your guests. That being said, are Brooklyn venues better than Manhattan venues? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on what you are looking for. Many Brooklyn venues are rustic, contain reclaimed wood and salvaged materials, or have large outdoor spaces with beautiful gardens. In Manhattan you will find more ballrooms, lofts, and restaurants. Winner: Up to You
Transportation/Parking: Your guests are going to have to get your wedding somehow. Unfortunately, New York City venues—whether in Brooklyn or Manhattan—do not have large parking lots. Your New Yawkas will most likely take public transportation to the wedding venue—cab, subway, bus or even ferry, for the adventurous! New York City has one of the best mass transit systems in the country and most parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn are accessible by subway. If a large percentage of your guests live in Manhattan, they will probably have an easier time commuting to Manhattan venues and the same goes for Brooklynites to Brooklyn venues. However, for those who don’t want to wear their fancy clothes on New York’s not-always-immaculate subways, Manhattan will be better for taxi availability. For out-of-towners that will drive to the wedding and need parking, you should take a couple of things into account. Does your venue offer valet parking? If not, is there ample street parking or an accessible parking lot nearby? It is virtually impossible to park on the street in Manhattan, though there are pay lots on nearly every block. On the other hand, Brooklyn has significantly more free street parking, but fewer pay lots. Furthermore, the average cost of a Brooklyn pay lot is less expensive than those found in Manhattan. Winner: Local Guests – Manhattan; Out of Towners – Brooklyn
Hotel Options: For most weddings, out of town guests and some locals will need hotel accommodations. Manhattan easily wins the battle on sheer number of hotels, with more than 250 options, while Brooklyn offers less than half that number. In addition, Manhattan sports a wide array of boutique hotels while Brooklyn falls shy in this capacity. With regard to price, Brooklyn hotels typically have a lower cost per night than Manhattan. For example, looking at a weekend stay in August 2013, the Marriott in downtown Brooklyn charges $299 per night, whereas the comparable New York Marriott Marquee charges $359 per night for the same exact weekend. If you have your heart set on a Brooklyn wedding but want to take advantage of the Manhattan hotels, don’t fear! One way to offer your guests the “full New York experience” is to have them stay in a Manhattan hotel and experience the incredibly easy ride between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Winner: Manhattan