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Looking for a restaurant to do a small wedding plus dinner (50 people); ideas?

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Maybe this is a little unorthodox, but my fiance and I are set on getting married in Manhattan - W/E Village, Chelsea or Soho are the areas that would suit us best.

We're forgoing a church ceremony and a traditional reception - what we'd really love to do is have a small ceremony after guests arrive and are seated with cocktails at a restaurant, perform our own vows, and then sit down to a nice dinner and a few hours of drinks and music.

Many restaurants in and around the areas I specified have reasonable party packages, but my question is, does anyone have a handle on a spot that might be interested in doing a much longer event -- and a space that would accommodate a little movement and perhaps even dancing for the younger guests once dinner's served? Price is an issue, in that I'd like to not spend more than 100/head if it's possible. Prix-fixe dinner is fine, obviously. It's really the space and the atmosphere that matter, if we're going to do the whole shebang in one spot.

As for food, well, we love all kinds. I'm particularly fond of Italian and would like to stay away from Japanese, since it tends to alienate some folks (and my family are not exactly foodies). Ideas? Suggestions?

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  1. 50 may be tight, but my wife and I did ours at The Inn at Irving Place - we had about 40. Lady Mendl's tea salon handled the ceremony and sit down dinner. They did private cocktail hour downstairs at Cibar and reserved some tables there for us for afterwards. We didn't do much dancing since we kept the vibe kind of mellow with a jazz trio. Food was very good. Only thing we brought in was cake.

    Check it out..

    www.innatirving.com

    1. Congrats on your engagement, linzertart! What you're planning is not all that unorthodox.

      You might want to consider I Coppi, in the E. Village. Very good Italian food. Attractive space + lovely, all-weather back garden. Acc. to their website, they do wedding receptions.

      http://www.icoppinyc.com

      1. My boss just had his at I Trulli and it was great!

        1. You may want to check into Valbella in the Meatpacking district. It is a wonderful restaurant with traditional service and very solid food. While it shares a zipcode with all the new hip nonsense nightlife that seem to never quit rising and collapsing on itself, the restaurant's philosophy is of another "school" yet in a modern setting. You and your guests can enjoy the excitement of the neighborhood (and of course the wedding!) minus inexperience and excessive trendiness. I have also been at Valbella for several small scale F&B events; Vodkafest, Rumfest ... so I know it is about right for 50 or so people upstairs or downstairs. Upstairs has its own bar and a charming open wine cellar, the space is quite versatile with attractive lighting and was totally designed for private events in mind. You will want to get in touch with David, there are two Davids, the younger of the two is the manager to speak with about private events. Good luck and wish you very best, happy and healthy!

          1 Reply
          1. re: ilny

            Thanks all! All of the spaces you mentioned sound wonderful and were not even on my preliminary list. I knew I could count on Chowhounds...

          2. I got married at Il Buco on Bond Street and I was thrilled with the food, atmosphere, and service. They have a website that gives some information on private parties.