Listen Now: The Dough

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Sam wants to introduce you to a show from Lemonada Media that she thinks you’ll like: The Dough. The Dough is an eye-opening new 10-episode podcast series about the financial trapdoors any of us could fall into. From messy divorces to wellness products that are too good to be true, join host X Mayo (The Blackening, The Daily Show, Swarm) as she explores the financial flops and money myths that stand in the way of financial freedom. On this show, cash is queen. We hardly know her, but we’re determined to be her friend!

In this episode, you’ll hear about weddings! Aka, one of the happiest days of your life…until you realize you’ll be paying off the bills for years to come. Host X Mayo brings us back to her New York roots, when she had a coveted job at reBar, a wedding venue in Brooklyn that was actually affordable. But turns out, the small price tag came with a big risk. We hear from one woman who lost thousands and then talk to a thrifty bride to hear how she managed to throw a wedding in NYC for less than $5K.

This series was created in partnership with Flourish Ventures, an early-stage global investment firm backing mission-driven entrepreneurs and industry influencers working toward a fair finance system for all. Learn more at

Please note, The Dough contains mature themes and may not be appropriate for all listeners. To hear more of The Dough, head to:

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To follow along with a transcript, go to shortly after the air date.



Speaker 3, Kristen Meinzer, Ashling Jumper, Edgard, Speaker 2, Speaker 6, Danielle, Speaker 8, Speaker 5, Speaker 7, Ashlyn Jumper, X Mayo

X Mayo  00:11

The Dough is a production of Lemonada Media created in partnership with Flourish Ventures. It’s gonna be 10 years and I still want my money.


Speaker 2  01:38

I googled him the other day to see like where he was, but it didn’t tell him


Speaker 3  01:41

I was trying to see if I could empower him but I couldn’t knock.


X Mayo  01:49

That motherfucker we’re talking about Jason Stevens. He was our boss and now he’s a convicted criminal. If you lived in New York City 10 years ago, you might remember this crazy story. Jason owned rebar. It was an all in one wedding venue a rare gym in Brooklyn baby the view my guy for 15 to 20k. You could get two proteins, two sides cupcakes and an open bar. Out Busta Rhymes lived across the street. We had DJ flour security, the list goes on and on all at a bar mess venue under the Brooklyn Bridge. I mean, $15,000 you guys that is affordable as far as weddings go in New York City even 10 years ago, I worked as a hostess every bar back then it was a good time. And it paid well. But just like a lawns relationship with Grimes it all came to a sudden end. And I didn’t get any money. Neither did she. One day the venue closed down and Jason disappeared. A lot of people lost money and hundreds of couples, y’all they were scrambling to organize a new wedding with money they didn’t have and my co workers and I child we wasn’t no better. We was left high and dry.


Danielle  03:07

I’m Danielle Scalli Garcia, and why we’re talking is because Jason Stevens stole our money.


Edgard  03:14

I’m Edgard. And I’m also here about the Jason’s I’m still holding this grudge. I know it’s been a while and I can’t let it go.


X Mayo  03:23

And I’m X Mayo. You’re listening to The Dough, where cash is queen. And I hardly know that bit. But we don’t figure her out together. We’re diving deep into the story surrounding the moolah, the good, the bad and the unexpected. We’re talking about it all, including the sometimes messy relationship we have with money. Because if we don’t, we’re never gonna get out of our own way. No more sweeping that shit under the rug. And I’m right here with cha cha. I’m still trying to figure out how to get what’s coming to me. You hear that Jason statements. The good news is y’all. I’ve come a long way since my early days as a hostess in New York. I actually have a bad day. Now. I know. I know. 1% That’s me. My ass is so fresh. And so clean, clean chat. I swear when I get up and squeaks. I said what is that me had? It’s all me. And you’re probably wondering who the fuck is this? Who am I listening to? Well, I’m gonna tell you okay, I’m an actor, writer, producer, and you minus email a show called storm starring Dominic fish back. But your life hasn’t always been like, you know, just like Preston tour in the blackening and American auto, you know, NBC network comedy shows them no, no, no, no. When I showed up to The Daily Show for my interview, I had 67 cents in my account made nothing. Okay. And that’s because when I moved to New York City as a 26 year old, I only had $80 and a suitcase. Yes, I was hustling Celine, I had to move 24 times in eight years just to afford rent. And what I learned through that process was how to downsize, how to strip my belongings to the bare necessities. If you don’t hear nothing else, I say, community is currency. I’m telling you, the reason I was able to even eat so many times was because of the relationships I created with bodegas. I was like, Yo, hold me down. Okay, let me eat Monday through Thursday, I’ll pay you on Friday. But it ain’t easy, because there’s so many cultural expectations about what we as women are supposed to be spending our money on. And we’re gonna be talking about a lot of them this season, like weddings. Talk about the pressure to spin. That’s why in this episode, we’re recapping what happened at my former workplace, the wedding venue, rebar, let’s have a moment of silence. Because y’all that should show really offered a glimpse into the wedding industry as a whole. And also the expectations around that big expensive ass day, what we choose to spend our money on and why. And we’ll even offer you some tips on how to throw a different kind of wedding. unaffordable one that kind of won’t leave you in debt like me back in 2014 Cha. So let’s realize go back to when that rebar business was Metro Boomin.


Edgard  06:27

Well, when I first started, I think it took about six months before I started doing weddings. And the pay was like ridiculous. We were making anywhere from 400 to 600 a wedding. And if you weren’t three weddings that week, and you know, you make him bank. Rebar wasn’t your typical, you know, like fine dining experience kind of wedding. It wasn’t all like, super classy. You know, we all you know. Yeah, we had our uniform, but for the most part, it was a very, very laid back environment. It made me you know, appreciate what is that? You know, I’ve never been to a wedding. So I’ve never experienced that before. But working them you will see the different relationships in different dynamics and then, you know, different setups, whether they were straight relationships, gay relationships, you know, we’re relationships because I think we had like a little gap one one time, you know, we did you know, so it’s like these different experiences.


Danielle  07:26

I had been to weddings. But you know, white weddings are not the most fun weddings on the planet. Like they listen to like journey and like these like ridiculous songs.


X Mayo  07:35

They love them a little hip hop copulation when they go to in the club to get low. Lose it now to now Lizzo.


Danielle  07:56

Yeah, there’s a bunch of songs that were like this one again. This one again?


X Mayo  08:01

Oh my god. We heard that every weekend, bro. Every fucking weekend.


Danielle  08:06

Yes, yeah. But um, I think it was cool. Because we were like, I feel like one of the first places that probably did same sex, weddings. I don’t remember it being like a real thing other than out rebar.


Edgard  08:19

And I think for the most part, they would work with people’s budget, ya know, to try to make it you know, the most enjoyable for them.


X Mayo  08:27

Yeah, the most enjoyable for them. Until it all imploded. Of course, we have our offer couples who paid up front of 5% discount. It also offered a discount for people who paid by cash or cheque. And so a lot of them did. They wrote big checks in exchange for cheaper weapons. And at least at first, you know, when I was taking cash money, you know, none of us had any indication that this shit was about to hit the fan. I was busy being a dope ass hostess, you know, mingling with the guests during the month. And they were doing the most to I remember a wedding guests, a woman who got so drunk that I had to hold her hair and her dress while she threw up as the host you see a lot of shit. Because they kept talking me coming back to Oh, yeah, they will come back there. Yeah, and I will get all the drama like the mom and be like, are really don’t wanna marry. I’m gonna you know, we’re here on the show. Like, you know, like, you used to get all the tea back there. And so while I was busy going above and beyond for my guests, my boss was busy going above and beyond with my money. Five months before the venue close in May 2014. weird shit started to pop up. Edgar actually got tipped off from a customer.


Edgard  09:45

We had a customer point out something on the receipt. And that was the first time that I was like, okay, something’s just not right here. Because he was saying your receipts doesn’t reflect what taxes should be. Because there was the purchase. Is that he had I think it was like 20 something and they only show $1 in tax. And then he let me know, he’s like, oh, you know, I worked for the IRS. And this doesn’t this is not supposed to be set up this way like this, the taxes aren’t taken out properly. And I think that was the first time that I was like, Oh, something, it’s it’s going down now. And then that’s when this whole everything just started free falling from there, you know, and I felt like, I felt like it was gonna be a matter of time. You know, when you have that instinct like, oh, shit, she’s about to hit the fan. I just didn’t think it was going to come that fast. You know, like, it really took us by surprise.


X Mayo  10:39

So our salaries started to dwindle, we went from getting paid in cash to getting paid by cheque. And then the amount in those checks got smaller and smaller. I mean, y’all for real? It went from $600 A wedding to $50 a wedding, no joke. Sometimes the paycheck wouldn’t come at all. I’m just like, what are we getting paid in air? What the hell is this, and we’d be left in the dark waiting. And then of course, there was no more waiting because it all crystallized my former co workers and I remember just like it was yesterday.


Edgard  11:16

I went into work that morning, I was opening. And you know, it’s one of those days when you just feel like you don’t you’re not about it. Like I don’t want to fucking do this today. I want this day off. And then it turned out it was indefinite the rest of your life. So when I went in, it was closed, right? They had the fence and everything. And the news got out. We started having couples coming in asking about their money. Yeah, I think the hardest. The hardest part is working in an industry like this and something like this happens and you not feel somewhat guilty about it even though it’s not your fault. You know what I’m saying? Because they’re coming to you. And you feel like you know, one way or another you’re accountable for the fact that they lost all this money, you know, and I think it was such a coward move that he just decided to run rather than just face it and face everybody you know.


X Mayo  12:17

That coward disappeared and left a note outside rebar on a piece of computer paper with simple black font. It was really disrespectful. It’s was giving Aereo you know, you couldn’t give us a script empty about nothing. And it read rebar is closed and bankrupt. Do not enter. But the people who knew they had just lost 10s of 1000s of dollars in their covenant wedding day. Oh, maybe they entered let me tell y’all this shit was while people was grabbing liquor bottles, bar stools cash registers. They said I’m leaving a child. The lesbians came in adolescence wants to get married. They didn’t took the registers child you do not want to piss off the lesbians are supposed to get married. They just was able to get married. And now they money. Y’all It was crazy. Everything was strict, like people was like, I’m gonna get my money one way or another for sure. And then I remember Dena on the news like her talking about it and that phone ringing nonstop for like 48 hours.


X Mayo  14:04

And then literally, I had $30 to my name to go to Europe because he owed me a little over five grand I think, but thankfully, I had an amazing roommate at the time that held me down for rent that month and then the next month because I was going to be in Europe and then I wasn’t coming back to a job but I came back and in a week I got two jobs and I was just hustling. But it was really difficult because my best friend Olivia met Dori member she had just moved there because matter a few times. Yeah. And so we were sleeping head to foot in this room in Brooklyn. Like we would alternate who would get the air mattress every other night. And we didn’t even have AC we had a little fan on our feet like we was hustling. And and so for that to happen I just felt like I let her down to I’m like, fuck, I thought I was gonna be able to help my best friend transition in New York and now she’s doing amazing thank God but yeah, it was a very very fucking scary time. Like when that happened. Yeah. In the end, the New York Times reported that 35 rebar employees lost wages. Like I said, I was out five grand and was also on my way to France with $30 to my name, I was headed to the Cannes Film Festival for an internship. And yeah, my ticket was already paid for and housing but a girl’s got to eat. And so I asked for help. Shout out to the women, all the women that were in my internship, they held me down, they knew everything that was going on, I kept sending them articles. And they all decided collectively that they would hold me down. So I made it work. But, of course, it wasn’t just as gig workers who were scrambling to get our money back. About 200 rebar, couples lost their wedding payments, losses were as high as 34,000 per couple that started 4000 Americans.


X Mayo  15:54

Remember, a lot of these people paid upfront in cash and exchange for discounts. So they were out a lot of money, and they were just, but not only were they pissed, many of them were now trying to planning new wedding, y’all this was pre pandemic when a wedding date was sacred. And the shocking thing is y’all the wedding industry actually stepped up to the plate, clap it up, please go outside right now, remember how we used to do all that for the nurses. You take your pots and your pen, you hit it right now. And you’re back. And you do that for the wedding community. Because baby, they stepped all the way up. Lots of New York wedding venues offer their services at discounted prices. And some people like my lovely coworker, Edgar, who was out over a grand actually volunteer to work at some of them for free.


Edgard  16:41

We were happy to help out, you know, because you know, it was horrible if you were talking about 2030 $40,000 You know, that’s a lot of money that you’ve invested into this.


X Mayo  16:54

Like the fact that yeah, that they were paid up all up until you know, 2017 and the fact that there was this place and people like weddings and funerals I’m telling you like they are so like, those are like monumental moments in people’s lives who don’t fucking play with that there were people that were coming from other states and other countries, you guys to get married every bar like just that. And here’s the thing. I’m not saying this just because y’all are on this call right now and on the show, but we really made rebar what it was if you take all the workers out of it. It’s not the fucking same that that was really the draw. Like of course there’s a venue there and, and all that but it’s fucking New York City, you can find plenty of fucking poppin as venues but it was like us. And meanwhile, my boss Jason Stevens was on the run. He disappeared for a whole week before turning himself in. He was eventually charged with tax fraud and grand larceny. He took a plea deal, went to prison and was sentenced for three and a half to 10 years. But guess what, guys? Surprise, surprise. He served less than the minimum. A little over two years. Jason got out on parole in 2017. The good news is he was banned for life from working in the restaurant industry in New York City. But Jada made me nervous because he can go to Utah, y’all. What if he comes to LA, Jesus played. The bad news is none of us gig workers ever saw a dime of what he owed us. And to our knowledge, Jason Stevens didn’t pay back any of those rebar couples either, including one bride who we’ll hear from after this break.


X Mayo  21:04

We’re back with Ashling Jumper a bride who lives to tell the rebar tale and my God. Wow. The shit we’re about to discuss. First, I have to know Are you a wedding person? Are you one of those people who always like envision your wedding you’re like at eight years old you like took all of your Barbies and you like held them like a bouquet and you like.


Ashlyn Jumper  22:09

That’s why I chose rebar.


X Mayo  22:11

You’re right. We were the shit.


Ashling Jumper  22:13

We were living in Brooklyn at the time. And we wanted somewhere that was like fairly inexpensive. Not a wedding person. Also, we were paying for it ourselves. Myself and my husband, like our families are not from New York. So like my family mostly is from Europe. My husband’s family’s from California. So like rebar was like the perfect Brooklyn location. You know what I mean? That like people can use accessible, it was fun. It was fairly cheap. It did everything. I know what like in our defense, like we knew people who’d had their fucking weddings there. It wasn’t like some fly by the night.


X Mayo  22:51

Wedding tip number one. If it sounds too good to be true pay, it probably is. When you’re dropping 1000s of dollars for one day, ask a lot of questions. Be on high alert and read the fine print and contracts. I don’t care how small it is. Maybe tell them jumbo size. Bring it to me on a big uno card and then I read it. I don’t give a damn he’s paying your money. But in Ashling defense, that all inclusive open bar was a hard sale.


Ashlyn Jumper  23:23

And I knew that I had family and friends coming from Ireland and I was like, I am not paying for them to get drunk honey. The Irish don’t do open bar weddings, for obvious reasons. Okay, yeah, not a thing. You have to pay for your booze after dinner. So like all my Irish friends were also like super excited to come to wedding in the United States when they did not have to pay for their alcohol.


X Mayo  23:45

The Irish need their liquor, baby their Jameson, they need it all and so it was set. The wedding was slated for August 2014. Ashley and her husband booked at 18 months in advance.


Ashlyn Jumper  23:58

And what we do is we send a check every month so that we would essentially have paid for the wedding by the time the wedding rolled round.


X Mayo  24:04

Wedding Tip numero dos. Now repeat after me. Do not hey, you listen, wait till I’m done. Okay, jumping the gun. Do not pay in cash or cheque. Use a credit card people because that’s easier to dispute if shit goes left. Those cash and cheque discounts that rebar was offering child it was all smoke and mirrors. Okay, so So tell me Ashley and how did you find out that it had closed?


Ashlyn Jumper  24:37

Oh my god Gothamist same so I both read it still read it, right?


X Mayo  24:42

So literally Top of the morning seven would you like to make a statement? I said for who? Now for what? Yeah.


Ashlyn Jumper  24:50

So my husband like I emailed me at work and he was like, did you see this? And I was like Fuck no, I did not. So we went we when we finished work that day we went over to rebar And actually there’s an interview with us with some local TV news station. Please don’t look it up. I felt like a complete Nutter fucking moron. I think we’re also in the Daily News is a picture of us I look like destroyed to tell you the truth, which is quite funny.


X Mayo  25:14

And so close to golf and miss and then what was your first reaction when you found out? Well, obviously you were at work to.


Ashlyn Jumper  25:21

Kind of honestly like disbelief like that can’t actually be the case. And then like when we went there like then that night after work like it really sank in because I think everybody was like, no, no, he’s like, really gone. He’s like fucked off like he’s gone.


X Mayo  25:40

So that was your first reaction. And then how you said how much money did you lose? Like 16 grand?


Ashlyn Jumper  25:45

16 grand somewhere in there. Gone. We never got any of it back. Yeah, yeah. And we’d almost finished paying for it. Like we did a lot of legwork to see if there’s anything we could do. And because we just sent in a check every frickin month, we were showing a lock.


X Mayo  25:58

If we ever see him, it’s gonna be a misunderstanding. So Ashling had three months to plan a new wedding with money she didn’t have to make matters worse, her husband lost his job not too long after rebar went bankrupt. And he already splurged on a sixth and another outfit for the big day.


Ashlyn Jumper  26:20

We had splashed out for like a custom made suit. And I remember as soon as the wedding shit went down, he kept fucking losing weight. And every time he went in for a fitting, they were pulling in that waist like inches. Like he lost so much weight that like the guy who was like, our helper guy was like, Yeah, can you like not lose any more weight because you’re gonna lose the entire shape of the suit at some point. It was just so stressful that every time he would go in like, they were literally like taking it in inches. It was just like this very, like, visceral and visual, like effect of everything that had gone down over that three months. Like it was just awful. It was like an awful three months.


X Mayo  27:00

So at that time, what was your biggest concern?


Ashlyn Jumper  27:04

We had to find another venue for the wedding because like honestly, everybody was coming from abroad or like across the United States so we couldn’t reschedule like it has to go forward on the date like stuff was already in motion. So like the was essentially like mass like, you know, movement of everybody that could just get it on the phones googling just to see what other venues in New York we’re available that could actually accommodate a wedding on the same day and wouldn’t break the bank.


X Mayo  27:34

Wedding Tip number three. Always have homies on hand, who you can rely on when things don’t go as planned? Because chances are something will happen. Hopefully not as extreme as this. But as I said before your community is everything. Ashlyn and her friends called around and they actually found a venue to accommodate them on the same day. It was called India house located in downtown Manhattan.


Ashlyn Jumper  28:01

They had just changed caterers they had a new catering company that was in and they were trying to drum up business and interest and so they said they would do it for us for like a real deal. They essentially for 10 grand gave us unlimited booze and a really nice buffet dinner which is unheard of I know and I the place of must do like it must be three or four times the cost to do a wedding there oh my god yeah gorgeous. We really lucked out.


X Mayo  28:26

But it was still an extra 10 grand so they cut corners where they could they canceled their rehearsal dinner they said child listen, you know how to fucking walk everybody walking in line, go to your side and you go to your side we don’t need to do all that. We can sing the rehearsal dinner. They bought flowers from Costco and their parents ended up chipping in some cash to make it happen. Who y’all got damn I love Costco this Saturday sample sales okay, if you see me in the street holla at me all in all they spent around $35,000 including the 16,000 they lost from rebar payments, which brings us to Wedding Tip numero quatro.


Ashlyn Jumper  29:04

I will say one thing that I wish I’d done is I bought fucking event insurance.


X Mayo  29:12

Never heard of that, what is that?


Ashlyn Jumper  29:13

you so you can buy event insurance it’s like it’s called wedding insurance and they market it now as such but like it’s can be for any major event that you decide to throw and essentially it will cover you for exactly this type of situation where like your venue goes bankrupt and they take all of your fucking money and you need to like suddenly host another wedding. You will get money back under your insurance policy love that and I would just carefully look at what the options are and make sure that you purchase enough insurance to cover all of your outlays because it cover like the DJ canceling or the band canceling or photographer or your fucking venue going. It’s for peace of mind. Like if I had done that we wouldn’t have lost all that money we probably would have approved a significant amount of it for sure.


X Mayo  29:53

That’s great advice. That’s great to know go get the inventions and even though they say wedding. What if I did it for like a birthday party actually can I do that?


Ashlyn Jumper  30:00

You can do the same thing you can buy yourself some insurance go do.


X Mayo  30:03

Okay, love that. Now how did the I want to know cut to the actual wedding day because we talked about a lot of like doom and gloom, but I want to get to the light at the end of the tunnel, because you did marry your person and marry your husband and will marry one step, honey. Oh Ashlynn don’t let them go is bad out here. Okay, don’t be no fool.


Ashlyn Jumper  30:28

I’m not gonna lie. Like when I think of my wedding, I do not think of hocking Rebar. Or that asshole. I only think of the amazing day we had, despite everything and I, like people still say to us, like eight, whatever, nine years later, or whatever it is, like one of the best weddings I’ve ever been to. And that’s the important thing. And I would just say don’t spend that much money. It’s all about the people and making sure they’re drunk. Really, let’s be honest.


X Mayo  30:50

No, truly, I said that if I mean, it depends on where I haven’t. I don’t not with anyone or Phil. I found my person yet. But if that day does come, I’m just kind of like, the wedding is really for everybody else like all that. Yeah, salmon and chicken or beef. That’s for all y’all and I’m paying all this money for that chat. I want to house I want to garden I want to be able to travel and live in other countries for my honeymoon. Wedding. Tip number five. Don’t spend that much money. Belva Is My Business Manager happened in writing in his script again, because this is what she keeps telling me. But it’s easier said than done. Am I right? Okay. After the break, we’ll take a look at how you can throw a fun wedding without breaking the bank for real.


X Mayo  31:56

You know what? I know what, the Dalai Lama knows it. Wedding spending has gotten out of control. Do we really need a decadent donut wall and coordinating colors? Like why the hell is it sage and eggplant colored doughnuts. Now I’m gonna eat it. But well, why is it okay? But I can’t hate on a sheet cake from Costco either. Listen, am I right? Costco. You know what? They’re gonna have to send us some money. I’m gonna tell my producers because they didn’t got to plug in his whole episode. But it’s unlikely you’ll find a Costco cake at a wedding these days because he are too bougie and 2022 the average cost of a wedding cake was $510. And the average cost of a wedding reception venue that was over $11,000 According to the […], our team here at the dough was curious what New Yorkers thought about weddings these days. And so we sent our lovely producer Becca out to wander around New York City and asked folks what they thought a wedding costume.


Speaker 5  34:51

How much would you guess is the average cost of a wedding in New York State?


Speaker 6  34:56

New York State? Yeah, I want to say like 50, so 56?


Speaker 7  35:02

It’s definitely like $100,000 to $200,000, my guess. I’m gonna say $150,000. Weddings have become like a full weekend event it’s not just like a one day thing it’s like the rehearse like the rehearsal dinner the the actual wedding ceremony itself and then the next day you’re having like brunch and like a goodbye dinner and so it’s like a three to four day event. Now, so like I would count all those things has to be like, the wedding. Yeah, I would say $200,000.


X Mayo  35:31

Wow. $200,000 I guess when you surrounded by wedding extravaganza becomes the new normal. Damn, okay environment to your weddings people Yama, great guest. So actually, the average cost of a wedding in the state of New York, just one day, not the whole weekend is 46,000. According to the knot, way less than what those New Yorkers you just heard from predictive, but that’s still a nice chunk of change. That’s like the price of your student loans or the sound of that sweet green. You know, you asked for crazy and spitting on it. But it doesn’t have to be like that. That’s why I talked to one self proclaimed thrifty bride who got married for the Lola. I’m talking about a tiny fraction of 46,000 and she has some tips for you on how to get hitched without being Richie Rich.


Kristen Meinzer  36:24

My name is Kristen Meinzer. I live in Brooklyn, New York. I’ve lived here for over 20 years. I’m originally from Minnesota. And I am a podcast host and author.


X Mayo  36:35

Okay, so you describe yourself as thrifty same girl. Oh my God, listen, grew up going to yard sales. All of that.


Kristen Meinzer  36:44

Oh, I still do the yard sales.


X Mayo  36:46

Saturday mornings. Let’s go rack it up. So since you are self defined, thrift connoisseur, when you decided to get married, what did you envision for your wedding?


Kristen Meinzer  36:57

Well, my husband and I did not have very much money at the time. But that’s okay. Because neither of us dreamed of having that $50,000 wedding, I was reading a quote somewhere that in New York City, the average cost of a wedding is like $40,000 or $50,000, which my husband and I were like, Are you freaking kidding me?


X Mayo  37:17

And that’s if you want to go in an alleyway, or you just want to pop up at a park with some lawn chairs. That’s not even like with all the thrills and frills. That’s just base level. We have a pastor and you gonna get you some punch and salmon. That was it.


Kristen Meinzer  37:32

We were like, no, no, no, no, no, if we had that much money, it would not be going toward a party for four hours. So I began making phone calls. And I found out very quickly that just to get a venue can cost many, many, many 1000s of dollars to get a venue to get married. And but then a friend told us, you know, you can just get married at this bar where I am the DJ, sometimes this bar is not really a venue, but they do have the front room, which is the bar and the back room, which is a stage for either stand up comedians or where bands play, and they would probably be thrilled to host you. And because it’s a wedding, they would probably make more money off of you coming in and getting married between four and 9pm. And having that event, how many drinks are they going to sell to your guests versus 4pm to 9pm in New York?


X Mayo  38:29

Oh, great. So you’ll they make all this money between for tonight? And then you guys are out?.


Kristen Meinzer  38:33

Yes. And we were out by nine. And so we went to this venue which by the way, I just want to give a shout out to them. I love them so much. They’re called Friends and Lovers. And they said great, we get maybe three customers per hour between 4pm and 9pm, on a typical Saturday so we were like this is meant to be let’s get married here.


X Mayo  38:54

I love it. Now we’re talking genius. Venue check. Like people always think you got to book a ballroom or whatever for a wedding. But if there’s a spot down the street you want to show some love to they might show you some love back. And when it was time to send out invites Kristen and her fiance weren’t gonna waste their money on them fancy monogram goldleaf perfume lace cardstock bullshit.


Kristen Meinzer  39:23

And so we sent out a mass email to friends we found decorations on eBay secondhand wedding, you know, candle votives a friend who was a florist offered to do all of the additional decor and flowers at cost. And the music was all just a playlist that we had from I think Spotify or iTunes or something. And then a lot of friends I was before I got married in dozens of weddings I kid you not I was like that 27 dresses movie I had been a bridesmaid and on setup crew and giving speed I was at so many weddings, I had spent 1000s of dollars at bachelorette parties over the years. And so I decided, I’m going to ask some of the people who I helped out at their weddings, would you be willing to put in an hour before the wedding to help the setup of the space?


X Mayo  40:17

Next step was finding a wedding photographer. And if you know, you know, a decent wedding photographer costs busy Inc, upwards of $2,000. But once again, Kristen knew a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy.


Kristen Meinzer  40:34

So a friend said, Hey, I know somebody who does conference photography, and he’s trying to break into wedding photography and special events, photography. Would you be willing to take this guy who’s never done a wedding before? And have him do it for like, you know, just pay him like, $100? And we’re like, okay, yeah, we’ll pay him $100. He’s just trying to build up his portfolio. Sure. So our wedding photographer, I believe, cost $100.


X Mayo  41:00

You can even get a bidet for $100. Especially not mine, because mine got the heated settings. Okay. And then to do a little jangle was that assets clean? Okay. But they were helping a friend of a friend of a friend break into the wedding game, which is amazing, right? And those photos turned out great. Overall, the math on their wedding budget was looking really good. I have to know how much they ended up spending on the whole shebang. So you pull it off the wedding? And then you what budget did you guys arrive at? And then how did you guys get to that number.


Kristen Meinzer  41:32

We got married for a total of $5,000.


X Mayo  41:36

Love that for you.


Kristen Meinzer  41:37

And this includes my secondhand silk gown from the 1960s, a beautiful blue column style kind of Jackie O dress, included pizza, we ordered 50 pizzas to feed everybody. It included the fact that we had more guests show up than were invited, we invited 150 guests. And according to wedding lore, roughly 20% of people will decline or not be able to show up. But for some reason at our wedding, more people showed up than we invited. I think word of mouth spread.


X Mayo  42:08

Well, maybe it’s friends and lovers. I mean, come on.


Kristen Meinzer  42:15

Everybody was saying like, Oh, are you going to Kristen’s wedding, like friends of friends from college told each other and they’re like, Oh, I didn’t know about it. I’ll be there. So we had people show up, that we didn’t even expect to be there. And we did not have an open bar at the beginning. Because there are certain members of my family and our friend group who we knew, maybe would be throwing up before the ceremony started. So we’re like, you know what, for the first 45 minutes, you have to pay for your own drinks. After that. It’s open bar. So we did have an open bar after this.


X Mayo  42:45

Because you don’t want you don’t want it to lit Kristen. And then they say who feels these who should not be married? And then she throw up and then they’re like, Oh, that’s a sign that we shouldn’t she is she anti? And Chris is like no, she’s just drunk. That’s we don’t we didn’t need that smart girl. Yes, you use your brand, Kristen. Thank you.


Kristen Meinzer  43:03

And it was open bar after the ceremony though. Just want to make clear was totally open bar after that. Just not before.


X Mayo  43:08

Yeah, no, that’s so it’s just 45 minutes, get the fuck out of here. That’s perfect.


Kristen Meinzer  43:12

And we tried to just make it kind of a community event for our friends for their lovers for everybody. And then when it was time for the wedding to end everybody chipped in and you know, pulled down the decorations and then we walked out the door and went to an after party. That was it.


X Mayo  43:29

So there you have it, folks. It is possible to throw an affordable wedding in New York City, especially if you rely on your community, friends, local bars, your grandmama friend, brother who can offer you a discount on some anything. It really isn’t about the cash you spend. It’s about the people who are there celebrating with you. But that’s hard to remember when you’re planning Am I right? When you’re overloaded with ads and photos of what a wedding should look like? My advice, prioritize. What are your wedding non negotiables splurge on those and save money on the rest? Okay, I’m here to tell you a big expensive wedding day will not buy you happiness. But repeat after me. Beyonce tickets will. This season we’ll be tapping into the wisdom of experts who will help us get over our money hangups. And you can expect more stories from everyday people who have turned their money mishaps around speaking of we add another episode for you. So you got married. Okay, now what? How do you talk to your partner about money and what happens when you realize you’re being financially manipulated? It’s a story about a woman named Desiree, how she cut ties with her husband who had been abusing his power and her money and their relationship.


Speaker 8  44:57

There’s no legal solution for the fact that you married an asshole you have to go in and recognize that you have to approach it like a business deal. And that’s just tough to do when you’re in the thick of healing.


X Mayo  45:15

that’s in your podcast feed go listen, but in the meantime, remember if you see Jason Stevens tell him I’m waiting on my motherfucking money.


X Mayo  45:32

There is more of THE DOUGH with Lemonada Premium. Subscribers get exclusive access, yes girl, to bonus content like how to own being a broke bridesmaid I mean need to punch that. Subscribe now in Apple podcast. The Dough is a Lemonada Original. I’m your host X Mayo. This series was created in partnership with Flourish Ventures. This episode was produced by Kristen Lepore and Becca De Gregorio. Tony Williams is our associate producer. Mix and sound designed by Ivan Kuraev. With additional mixing and engineering from Andí Kristinsdóttir. Original Music by Pat Mesiti-Miller. Kelsey Henderson is our production intern. Additional production help from Jerusalem Truth, Claire Jones, and Hoja Lopez. Jackie Danziger is our Vice President of narrative content. Executive Producers include me X Mayo, Stephanie Littels Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. Help others find our show by leaving us a rating five stars, and writing a review. You can follow me on IG at @$80inasuitcase and Lemonada at @LemonadaMedia across all social platforms, not including MySpace. Follow the dough wherever you get your podcasts or listen ad free on Amazon music with your Prime membership. Thanks so much for listening. See you next week. Bye.

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