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Jun 1, 2007 07:54 AM

Wedding Reception Venue- Help!

I am my sister's maid of honour and I have been given the responsibility of finding a venue in Manhattan, planning the menu and keeping within the budget. The following are list of requirements, I would REALLY appreciate any help that you may have to offer.

1. 100 people
2. Passed hors d’ouevres reception (no sit down)
3. A large and varied hors d’ouevres menu- with plenty of bite sized passed apps.
4. Open bar for 3+ hours
5. Beautiful room, would prefer to stay away from impersonal venues like hotels, although if it’s great, nothing is out of the question : )
6. BUDGET: $100 per person max (this must include tax, grat, room and any other incidentals apart from the band, flowers and the photography)
7. Also, if possible, I prefer to have the ceremony at the same location.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH! All suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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  1. Try Mansions Catering. They have two venues: Alger House (Downing Street) and Manhattan Penthous (14th Street and Fifth Avenue).

    6 Replies
    1. re: Alex Halsey

      i was going to suggest Alger House as well

      1. re: harrison

        Wow- Alger House looks fabulous!! I just hope it's not too costly. Great recommendation, Thank you!

        1. re: 007foodieusa

          Alger House is very affordable for Manhattan. I think our cost was around $100 pp plus the ~$2000 room rental feel. It's smallish and cozy - perfect for 100 people (we had 98 adults and 6 kids attend). Our party included some hot food stations in addition to the passed hors d'oeuvres and open bar. Just tell them what you're looking for and what your budget is. Their standard party is 5 hours, so they should be willing to offer a 3 hour party in your budget.

          they also did a great job setting up for the ceremony. They re-set the ceremony with cocktail tables during cocktail hour. We hardly noticed because we were busy saying hello to everyone and getting drinks.

          The staff was all great and very helpful. The food was very good, much better than average / hotel wedding food. However, I should note that the food at our tasting was better than what we had at our actual wedding. The hors d'oeurves were excellent, the hot stations that we had later were not as impressive.

          The web pics don't do the room justice, you must go see the place. Or I would be happy to email you the link to our pictures. I can also recommend very reasonable vendors that I found on craigslist that did great jobs (florist, a freelance cake baker and a photographer).

          good luck, and have fun!!

          1. re: erin07nyc

            I am so glad that to hear that- I have decided that I must choose a venue sometime this week and have been looking at a lot of places, however this seems best.

            I just e-mailed back and forth with the owner Sam and have been very pleased with his feedback. Did they make you get the stations? I prefer to not have any stations, but rather focus on passed apps. I would LOVE a better look at the room if you can. you can e-mail me at Thank you again for your help!

            1. re: erin07nyc

              hi erin07nyc! I just came upong this thread and am looking into having our wedding at Alger House. I would really appreciate any advice you can offer re: vendors. Also, if you wouldn't mind I would love to see your photos :)

              1. re: trinyc

                hello! send me an email at erin.costanzo at and I'll dig up some info for you. I think I have a more detailed post on the Alger House food on this board somewhere, too.

      2. you can look into loft 11...i was quoted a higher price but it was for sit-down dinner and drinks for 5 hours.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ceeceee

          there's also the new leaf cafe in fort tryon park. so cute and may work.
          the cafe at saint bart's church on park and 51st. so nice!

        2. I had my wedding at Astra, Charlie Palmer's event space in Midtown. I did pay more than $100, but it was for hors d'oevres and a three-course dinner. Hopefully a passed hors d'ouevres reception should be in your budget. There's a HUGE selection of food to choose from. There is an area to hold the ceremony as well.

          Here's a link to the hors d'ouevres menu:

          1 Reply
          1. re: Miss Needle

            Thank you for the responses! I am looking at all of their sites now...

          2. When we were looking for a wedding venue, one of the places we stumbled upon and fell in love with was the Explorer's Club on the upper east side. it turned out to be too small for us, but the space is very cool: it's a townhouse with lots of detail. It was recommended by a co-worker who was married there and spoke very highly of the food. I'm pretty sure it's in your price range. Definitely worth a call.

            1 Reply
            1. Sorry to be the voice of doom, but I don't know if you're going to be able to find a place in Manhattan who will do a wedding for 100 dollars per person including tax and gratuities. I got married 8 years ago, and the cheapest we found (which excluded tax and tip) was 110. But that was for a full dinner.

              You might want to try calling some of the University Clubs (Harvard, Yale, Penn, Princeton, Cornell etc). They sometimes run a bit cheaper. You need a member to sponsor you but they might help you out with that.

              Best of Luck.

              PS- You are one amazing sister/maid of honor. You've been given an awful lot of responsibility!

              3 Replies
              1. re: BW212

                Actually, you don't need a member to sponsor you for the Yale club, but it can be expensive depending on time of year. Sept-Oct is the most popular time for weddings in the city right now (for a party that would be four hours of cocktails and cocktail food and no ceremony, the Yale Club quoted me $150-$170 per person for a fall Saturday), followed by April and May, I think, so these months are MUCH more expensive. One place to consider that may be in your price range is the Faculty Club at Columbia. I've never been, but you don't need a university sponsor and it's apparently affordable. Other than that, I think Alger House is the cheapest, and you're on top of that. I'll be surprised if they come in under $100 including tax and tip, but depending on time of year/day of the week, it could be possible.

                Also, most places get markedly more expensive for events that are longer than three hours, since any longer than that and they are going to insist on serving more food (usually at stations) so that people aren't starving. Even if you tell them that your guest know it's not a full dinner party, they still don't want people spreading the word that their venue doesn't feed people enough.

                1. re: ABT

                  That is actually true about the venue's insisting they serve enough food to impress the guests/potential future clients.

                  For our wedding, one of the private clubs kept insisting we do stations during cocktails. I don't like stations and prefer just the passed canapes. They insisted that we at least do one (an Asian station) and that there would be no extra charge, because they didn't want our guests to feel like they weren't being served enough. Who was I to turn down free sushi and dumplings?

                  The funny part of this is that most of our guests flew in from the UK where a couple of lame passed canapes during cocktails is A LOT of food. (heck any food during cocktail hour is a lot over there).

                  Anyway, good luck again with your venue search!

                2. re: BW212

                  Thank you for the help and compliment : ) Most of my research has proven you right, although it never hurts to try! The university clubs is a GREAT idea, I love the yale club. Thank you again, and happy 9th anniversary, whenever it may be!