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Kosher Wedding in NJ

m
missyk Sep 2, 2008 02:47 PM

I am trying to plan a Kosher wedding (does not need to be Glatt but must be Kosher) for hopefully some time in August/September of 2009. I am having a hard time finding a list of Kosher places and the few places I have found either have no dates left or are too expensive. I am looking to have it in central or northern NJ and would love to keep it under $200 a person. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  1. rebeccafriedman Sep 10, 2008 11:09 AM

    I went through the whole process myself in early 2007 planning my own wedding... it's a real financial nightmare to plan a Kosher wedding in the NY area, no doubt about it. There is no reason for you to spend anywhere near $200 a person! It can be done, and done beautifully, for far less. If you have that kind of money to throw at a wedding, why not spend $100 a person and give the rest as a wedding present to help the couple set up a new home? They'll thank you for many more years to come after the wedding is a dim memory... as far as locations go, why not think outside the box and use a nonprofit historic venue instead of a typical wedding hall, hotel, or synagogue? You'll have to hire more vendors to supply some of the services that would be "included" in a one-stop-shop, of course, but you'll get a far more appealing end result. Using a capable wedding planner is always a good idea. I ended up using a Woman's Club for my own wedding after doing a very extensive location search, and was thrilled with the end results. I'd be happy to discuss more ideas with you offline, feel free to contact me directly - rebeccafriedman@yahoo.com. You can also see some pix from my own wedding at the Woman's Club of Ridgewood, NJ on my website @ www.rebeccafriedman.com. Incidentally, I ended up spending about $100 a person for an entire wedding weekend (we had a Shabbaton in advance) and that included the dress, my husband's vintage tuxedo and top hat, handmade invitations, etc.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rebeccafriedman
      m
      missyk Sep 10, 2008 03:23 PM

      I thank you all for your suggestions. We are going to looking at The Rockleigh and the Atrium this weekend and will definitely through some of these ideas into the mix.

      1. re: missyk
        m
        MartyB Sep 10, 2008 04:53 PM

        It would be instructive to people who have or will be having simchas in the future (I have two daughters still to marry off) to see how much the cost/pp this day and age is. We have prices running from $46/pp(I know it is 2002 price) - $200/pp. Multiply this by a couple of hundred and you see where I am comming from.

    2. j
      joaniesl Sep 7, 2008 04:23 PM

      Try a hotel. The Sheradan in Langhorne Pa has Kosher catering ...or used to.... It is also a nice place for out of town guests to stay.

      1. m
        MartyB Sep 6, 2008 06:41 PM

        Wow, either things have gone up allot since 2002 when I made a wedding for my daughter, or things are so much more expensive in New Jersey. My daughter's wedding was in Brooklyn in 2002 at a place called Eden Palace. We had a magnificent smorgasbord with a few carving stations. Cost me $92/COUPLE i.e. $46/pp. Just what are they offering for $200/pp?

        10 Replies
        1. re: MartyB
          queenscook Sep 6, 2008 07:33 PM

          Eden Palace is one of a number of places that deal in very large weddings, where, from what I've heard, you must guarantee a minimum of 400 guests. Not everyone wants that large a wedding, even if it means a lower cost per person than at another place, and even if the total dinner cost might be lower. They obviously cut costs by dealing in huge volumes, but they're not to everyone's taste. I personally feel that places like that are "cookie-cutter" in feel. Another negative for many is the lack of alcohol. I have been to any number of weddings there, and never once saw any sort of bar set-up. I don't even recall bottles of wine on the tables, though I might be misremembering about that. While Jews are not known for drinking, some ba'alei simcha like to provide drinks for their guests. Maybe the Eden Palace-type places can provide it, but it certainly will add to the cost. And, by the way, I'm sure prices have gone up since 2002, though perhaps Eden Palace would still be on the lower end.
          On a related note, I think the size of weddings is getting out of hand, and I think these places are one reason. They make it so reasonable to have a large crowd, that you "have" to. But I can't think of a wedding I've been to in the last six or seven years that had fewer than 400-500 people, and a number have had close to or over 1000. Ten or fifteen years ago, a Jewish wedding of over 1000 would make the local news, and would invariably be the weddings of the sons and daughters of Chassidic rebbes; now it's the standard. Aside from raising the bar for those who can't afford it, it just seems far too impersonal. I have been invited to weddings that I really had no business being invited to, but it just seems everyone invites everyone now. And think about the costs. Even at your quoted 2002 rate of $46 per person, that is still over $18,000 for the minimum 400 guests, just for the food. What about flowers, invitations, the dress, etc. It's insane to think about what is spent by families to make weddings for multiple children, and how "keeping up with the Schwartzes" is really putting unnecessary financial pressure on many, many people.

          1. re: queenscook
            m
            MartyB Sep 6, 2008 08:43 PM

            We definitely had alcohol at our simcha. Most of the weddings that I have been attending as of late were at Ateres Shlomo, another Brooklyn "cookie cutter" with exceptional food, and almost all served alcohol.

            Yes I did have 400 people and you are right things are getting out of hand. However my $20,000 served 400 people while the quoted $200/pp would only cover a mere 100 people or 50 couples! Unfortunately I have not gone to a single wedding that did not have 400+ people. I still have two more daughters to marry off and have little hope that it will become fashionable to have small weddings. If I had my way what I would like to see are weddings where only the immediate family remains for the sit-down meal. Have the huge smorg, the ceremony followed by dancing. Then everyone but the family remains and has the sit down waiter serviced meal. Alas, I am but dreaming.

            1. re: MartyB
              queenscook Sep 6, 2008 09:02 PM

              Are you saying that your $46/pp included an open bar or just bottles of wine on the tables? I certainly have never seen an open bar at any of these places. I'm not a drinker, but I do notice when there is a bar vs. when there isn't one.
              As to the smaller sit-down after the dancing, this is becoming the norm in other communities; we have attended a wedding in LA like that, and have been invited to a number like this in Lakewood, but I have not heard of it here in the NY area.

              1. re: queenscook
                m
                MartyB Sep 6, 2008 11:26 PM

                The open bar cost my "mechutin", I believe, $1000.

                Base price that I paid was $85/couple I paid an extra $7 for the carving stations making that $92/couple or $46/pp.

                1. re: MartyB
                  queenscook Sep 7, 2008 08:24 AM

                  Wow, $2.50 per person for an open bar!! Can you say "watered down alcohol?"

                  1. re: queenscook
                    m
                    midasgold Sep 10, 2008 12:33 PM

                    We've married off two kids so far (B"H). With one, there definately was an open bar including various types of martinis (appletinis, etc.) and all forms of mixed drinks, both during the smorg (pre-dinner) and during the dinner itself. The "other side" paid for the hall/caterer, and it included the open bar. I have no idea what they paid (they didn't tell me, and I was afraid to ask, though they stated that they got an outstanding deal due to the season when the wedding was held). With the second child, we gave a credit card charge of $1,000 to the caterer, who provided whole bottles of booze of varying grades (besides the requisite scotches, vodka, and bourbon, there was lots of Arak, as Sephardim were involved). It was set out on at unattended bar. Believe it or not, several bottles (both opened and unopened) remained after the wedding, and I was told to take them home. [What remainded was delicious.] There was wine on the tables, but I believe that it was included in the price of the dinner.

                    1. re: midasgold
                      queenscook Sep 10, 2008 12:51 PM

                      I can totally believe $1000 for an unattended bar, because it's the cost of the bottles, primarily, but I cannot believe that an open bar for 400 people would only cost $2.50 pp; as for your friend's childrens' weddings, if you are trying to say that these bars were included in the cost of the place, I would find that hard to believe, if only because the weddings I have attended there have not had liquor available. If it is a part of the package, there is no reason my friends wouldn't have had it; they are not against liquor on principle. I assume there was none because there was an extra charge for it that they decided against. I'd love to hear from someone who made a wedding there, AND was the one to pay for the liquor. So far, in this discussion, we've only heard from attendees of weddings or the side that didn't pay.

                      1. re: queenscook
                        m
                        midasgold Sep 10, 2008 01:21 PM

                        Queens Cook,

                        I was not in any way, shape, or form saying that these bars were included in the cost of the place. I have absolutely no idea what he (or the "other side") paid for any part of the wedding! You are confusing my post with someone else who mentioned prices; I did not mention any prices at all (other than the $1,000 I paid for full bottles of liquor). My point was that I was at three separate weddings at Eden Palace that did, in fact, have bars. Somebody else thought that Eden Palace never had bars with bartenders, and I corrected that assumption, that's all. :-)

              2. re: MartyB
                m
                MartyB Sep 6, 2008 11:14 PM

                Correction, Atares Avraham not Atares Shlomo.

              3. re: queenscook
                m
                midasgold Sep 10, 2008 12:23 PM

                A friend married off three children at the Eden Palace in Brooklyn; I was at all three weddings. My friend is really into good scotch, and at all 3 weddings, at least 2 or 3 bars were set up with bartenders, complete with all sorts of interesting and expensive liquor. During the dinner, the bars were moved into the dining room, and the drinks continued to flow. There was also wine on the tables.

                I also found the smorg (pre-dinner) to be outstanding at the Eden Palace.

                There's a Holiday Inn in New Jersey, somewhere not too far from Monsey. Also, there's the Woodlake Country Club in Lakewood, NJ that has beautiful grounds (especially for an outdoor chuppah) and one can use his own caterer and bring his own liquor and wine.

                Mazel Tov!

            2. r
              Remysmom Sep 6, 2008 02:45 PM

              I highly recommend Richfield Regency in Verona, NJ. They have a separate kosher kitchen and are pretty reasonable with price. They also have a beautiful chapel room you can rent for the ceremony with a white tulle chuppah and lots of lights. You can use their silk flowers t decorate the chuppah or bring your own florist. Thay have hasgacha but are not glatt but can provide glatt meals if necessary for certain guests.
              Another place to check out is Birchwood manor in Whippany, but I prefer the more modern look of the Richfield. We were married there seven years ago and it was great. I've been there many times for occasions and they are a top caterer.

              1. m
                marissaj Sep 2, 2008 05:34 PM

                Have you considered a hall called the Grande Orchard- part of the shul in Linden, NJ called Anshe Chesed?
                They only charge $2500 for use of all their facilities (sanctuary, ballroom etc), their place is pretty nice and you can bring in any kosher caterer of your choice.
                They specialize in weddings for under 300 people- I know cause we attended a gorgeous wedding for about 180 people.
                www.anshechesed.org/events

                1 Reply
                1. re: marissaj
                  m
                  missyk Sep 3, 2008 09:01 AM

                  I have not check out this place but definitely will. Thank you so much. We have been looking at the typical catering halls, Crystal Plaza, Atrium etc and I am concerned that we are getting locked out of dates and the cost is outside of our budget.

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