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Jan 3, 2008 02:31 PM

Small october wedding in Central Park, late night jazz @ the vanguard...need a good restaurant in-between, 30 people...

My fiance and I are dreaming of getting married in NYC - well worth the trek from Phoenix, especially for the small number of people who will attend (many of whom have never been to New York before).

Our plan is a wedding in the Fall or early winter of 2008, but since we are trying to keep the ceremony costs to a minimum, we are probably going to go with a short ceremony in Central Park, and therefore an early October date so it's not too cold to be outdoors. If there is an inexpensive indoor location someone could recommend, we would really rather have a December wedding. All those holiday lights would make a great backdrop for our guests' first visit to to the city.

After the ceremony, we'd like to pack our 30 guests into limousines, drive by a few classic NYC sights, and then end up at some fabulously cozy restaurant for the post-wedding dinner. It would be nice to give our Arizona relatives a peek at really great NYC cuisine and vibe. There will be a few kids in the dinner group (two babies, a toddler, a 5 yr old, and two 10 yr olds) but they are all exremely well behaved - in fact the 10 yr olds are budding foodies here in phoenix! Which reminds me - there are a few foodies among the adults, so a little bit of adventure on the menu would be fine. We definitely want a decent wine/champagne list, but not necessarily a full bar at this point in the evening. We don't necessarily need a private room; a more public environment would be fine as long as a few toasts can be heard above the din. We would like to keep the price under $100pp.

After dinner we will have the kids whisked off and plan to take some of the adults to a good jazz club, probably the vanguard, to finish off the night. (We'll get reservations in advance for sure, as it will be a Saturday night, most likely.) If we can walk to the vanguard from the restaurant, that would be excellent, but not necessary. We can always keep the limos on hand if we need them after dinner..

We would love ANY advice on locations/ideas/criticism for this tentative plan, and we fully trust our Chowhound brethren to point us in the right direction, whatever that may be! Happy new year!

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  1. Just a brief note here. Please keep responses focussed on the "chowing" portion of the celebration. Thanks very much.

    1. You have a large number of constraints (e.g. wedding, walking dist.from Vanguare, food, etc.), but here are two places to start. The ambiance and food of both would be somewhere between highly adequate and extraordinary. Mas ( and One if by land ( You can find alot of comments from other houndies here on both. Whether they want 30 people from a wedding is something you'll have to take up with them.

      6 Replies
        1. re: furrybluecyclops

          The Vanguard is in the West Village. I would suggest one of the newer spots in the very near Meatpacking District...The beautiful (and reasonable) Fig and Olive is perfect--and the prices are very reasonable. The place looks like a dazzling movie set. There's also Craftsteak. You could try the romantic Cafe Cluny in the West Village, or a delightful spot--Extra Virgin.

          1. re: Will4Food

            i will definitely check those out. it's more important to us to find the right restaurant than to be in walking distance from the vanguard..what do you think of La Laterna? i've read some mixed reviews on the food, but the ambience looks wonderful.

            1. re: furrybluecyclops

              La Lanterna is wonderful (and has great jazz, at reasonable prices) but is not what you are looking for. It is more of a coffee house/wine bar, with pizza's, salads, sandwiches, etc. Also, it is small and cramped, and would not be good for a large group. The food that they serve is very good, but not super memorable. As a jazz room, it is one of NY's true hidden gems.

              1. re: bigmetfan

                That's what I was afraid of. Well maybe we'll have to head over there after dinner for some jazz and dessert then. I hear the desserts there are pretty great. Thanks so much for clarifying this for me.

            2. re: Will4Food

              I'll second the Fig and Olive. I took a friend there for lunch and we shared both sampler appetizers. Although it was pretty dead in there when (mid-week, early lunch) it felt very NYC if that makes any sense. We came home with some fine olive oil I'm still enjoying. Maybe a bottle with a bow on it would make a cute wedding favor at the table?

        2. I admit I didn't read all of your requirements, but did you consider the Boathouse in Central Park? It's a beautiful location. Romantic though a little old-fashioned. Very good seafood on their menu (plus a fantastic lavender pannacotta) and a kind attentive staff. I went there with my fiance to announce our engagement to our families last October and it was perfect. I believe you can reserve a separate room there for a private party. Good luck!

          5 Replies
          1. re: Candida

            thanks so much, we're really looking hard at fig and olive, and i really like the olive oil idea too. i'll check into the boathouse this week too.

            1. re: furrybluecyclops

              Just returned to Fig and Olive yesterday. A wonderful, creative lunch---beautiful, airy environment with a unique (only in NYC) vibe. GO..

              1. re: Will4Food

                Singe Vert on 7th avenue.
                It is a great french bistro, great staff and most important great authentic
                bistro food, The room would be perfect for the amount of people you have.
                Good luck!!!

                1. re: chameleonz

                  Give the folks over at Eleven Madison Park a call. They have a private room on the second floor that is perfect for the size group you are having. The food is wonderful and so is the atmosphere. Great for a post wedding celebration. My friend has her daughter's post baptism lunch there and everything was fantastic - the food, service, location. Give them a call. I am not sure of their pricing but it might be in your range.


                  1. re: skepner169

                    Alright, the planning is starting to take shape a little more...After considering our guest list more closely, we've decided to move the date up to Labor Day and take our 25 guests to a somewhat more casual italian restaurant (meaning something cozy and romantic with that brick-walls-and-wood-burning-oven thing going on) that has really authentic homemade pastas (my favorite thing!!), good steak, and excellent service. A true New York experience, hopefully, but without any thing too frou-frou for our out of town guests. (In other words, a pappardelle with lamb ragout would be great, but the more unique dishes at Babbo would be too intense for this crowd.) A private room is not necessary, if the place can accomodate the group's size. It would be nice to find a place somewhere not too far from the village, but location is less important than vibe..

                    I've been pointed toward:
                    Scalini Fedeli

                    What do you guys think?