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Mar 21, 2008 10:22 AM

Affordable, delicious caterers for Manhattan wedding?

I know, I know. Once you say "wedding" prices go through the roof. But this is New York City. There MUST be someone who can provide great food, tables & chairs, linens, open bar, service, tax etc. (you know, the whole shebang) for 170 people for $20,000. That's roughly $115/head all-in. We're even willing to do something low-key for our wedding cake. Cupcakes plus a one-layer cake or something. We're pretty flexible, but we want the food to be really good -- considering how much damn money we're talking about we don't want it to seem like we're sacrificing.

Has anyone managed to do this? If so, please let us know -- if it was good or, perhaps more importantly, if it was bad, so we'll know who to avoid!

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  1. We got married in Manhattan in 2006 so my prices might be a little off but, I do think it will be very difficult to get a sit down dinner with open bar for $115 including tax and service charges. However, I do think you can get there if you're willing to do heavy hors d'oeuvres, an untraditional food choice like BBQ, or brunch or lunch.

    We got married at the Westside Loft and used their in house caterer, James Catering. They don't have as luxurious of displays as some of the higher end caterers, but people raved about the food, especially the passed hors d'oeuvres. Two years ago they were close to $150 per person for a plated dinner on a Saturday night excluding alcohol but including chair, table, silverware, etc. rental and service and tax. You can get a less expensive package from them such as doing stations instead of a plated meal.

    Instead of a wedding cake, we had a cake buffet from Billy's Bakery. People absolutely loved it, although it was a challenge working with a bakery that does not specifically do weddings. My father and father in law ended up picking up the cakes and delivering them to the wedding space the day of, which was fine with us. Amazingly though, we only paid about $600 for more than enough dessert for our 150 guests.

    1 Reply
    1. re: katebauer

      thanks for the detailed info. I should have mentioned that we are fine with a buffet dinner, but would rather not do anything that isn't: passed hors d'oeuvres, main course, dessert. and much as i love bbq, i think both our families might scoff a bit. we're hoping to find someone who can do a fairly traditional, but delicious meal... we don't expect caviar and lobster and foie gras, of course!

    2. Hi etowernyc --

      I'm in the process of doing the exact same thing, same amount of people, same budget! We're probably going to go the h'ors d'oeuvres and have just started talking to caterers. I agree that this is NYC and it has to be possible. Let's be sure to keep posting about any lucky finds!

      1. I wanted to revive this thread since I am in the same boat. We are looking to do the entire affair to accomodate about 80 guests, with great food and alcohol, for $20,000. Please give reccommendations if you have them!!! Thanks.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ChowDiva

          I did mine at Astra, Charlie Palmer's event space in Midtown. You should be able to do that within your budget.

        2. You should check out The Works Catering, which is associated with the Housing Works Used Book Cafe in Soho. (They do other venues, of course.) Their menus are pretty Mediterranean and Pan-Asian. I don't know the exact prices, but they seem to be as affordable as you can get for Manhattan for the quality.

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