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Sep 16, 2008 09:02 AM

Chow NYE Wedding near Malvern

I am a recently engaged Boston chow to a woman whose family is from Malvern, PA. We need your help finding a good spot to get married on New Year's Eve (2009-2010) that is not too expensive. Here is our situation:
1. We are planning to invite 180-250 people.
2. We would love to have the wedding on New Year's Eve.
3. We are looking to spend around $100 per person for the reception.
4. We care a lot about food.
5. The location can be anywhere in the greater Philadelphia area that is within a 40 minute drive of Malvern.
6. Given the New Year's timing, we don't mind a hotel because our out-of-town guests can easily walk home to their rooms.
7. Proximity to public transportation a plus but not a requirement.

We recently received a suggestion for the Desmond Hotel in Malvern. A couple of old chowhound reviews panned the hotel's restaurant. Have you been there recently?

Thanks for your help!

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  1. Went to a wedding at the Desmond last year.......decent wedding food (at best). Good venue, professional staff, but no memorable food.

    1. Hmm that's a tough price point for quality food. Although it may be too small for your party size (180 max), I'll recommend where I got married - the Courtyard Marriott in Philly. They are amazingly friendly, helpful and accommodating. Their chef formerly worked in the WTC. Ballroom is lovely, and food was excellent.

      3 Replies
      1. re: lawgirl3278

        Let me just add a word about that particular Courtyard. Unlike most Marriott Courtyards, this one is full-service, meaning that it offers features and services more like a Marriott Hotel. It has its own on-site banquet and catering staff, and, from what I hear, they do a pretty nice job for special events. My daughter used to work for Marriott in Sales & Marketing for the Philly region, and often commented that that Courtyard was every bit as good as the bigger Marriott across the street.

        1. re: CindyJ

          We will be sure to check out that Courtyard. Thank you.

          1. re: g for food

            Check soon - the Mummers Parade is on NYDay and the Marriotts get packed because the judging is city hall and the fancies are in the convention center. Despite jaded Philadelphians, lots of out of towners come in for the parade

        1. re: FriedClamFanatic

          One family member and one friend of the family had bad experiences at separate wedding receptions at the Mendenhall Inn. Both involved theft of personal items. Coincidence...? Maybe, but in one case the theft occurred as staff were clearing tables after virtually all guests had left the reception. That, and the fact that the food at Mendenhall is mediocre at best would have me vote "thumbs down" for that venue.

        2. I realize this may make things infinitely more complicated, but would you be open to choosing a beautiful venue and _separately_ engaging a caterer? Something to consider and would give you more options.

          If you need the location to do the food, consider
          - Pond, Radnor (R5 accessible)
          - the Wayne Hotel/Tacquet, Wayne (R5 accessible)
          - the Hotel du Pont Wilmington (no sales tax!)
          - St. Davids Inn (several restaurants co-located, R5 accessible)

          I'll try to think of more suggestions. Agree with Cindy about the Mendenhall.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Mawrter

            I'll vouch for the quality of food, service and ambience provided by the very grand Hotel DuPont. Although it was quite a few years ago, we hosted two wonderful receptions there, and I can tell you that it just doesn't get any better. In fact, one of our events was on the day of the blizzard back in March, 1993, and the hotel could not have been more accommodating. I'd like to believe that the Hotel has upheld their fine standards over the years. At any rate, if Wilmington is within your traveling area, DO check it out.

            1. re: CindyJ

              Cindy, I remember that blizzard!

              I was in a wedding (not my own!) a bit more recently - March '99, to be exact - at the Hotel Du P. Very nicely done, and I particularly remember when we were venue-shopping, the mother of the bride was very taken with the fact that they have a _real_ parquet_dance_floor_. Apparently having that kind of floor is a terribly big deal to people who are of a certain age, or really into more formal social dancing, or other wise... not me. But it's one of those things that you can upgrade someplace else, either they have it or they don't. So if that makes a diff, it's good to consider.

              G for Food, I also suggest taking a look at Philadelphia Magazine, Philadelphia Style, Main Line Today, and any of the other advertorial type periodicals you can get your hands on. Most of them have pages and pages of advertising that will be at least as useful to you as the editorial content, and some have annual wedding issues. Anything that looks interesting you can bounce off us and your in-laws-to-be, fiancée's local friends, etc.

              1. re: Mawrter

                Mawrter, one thing I remember well was that through the whole event planning process, we felt very well "taken care of." There was no doubt that the catering staff excelled at what they did. The event manager back then was a man named Dave McCracken. He's now the catering manager for Dilworthtown Inn and the Innkeeper's Kitchen in West Chester.

              2. re: CindyJ

                I would second the Hotel duPont.but it is a bit farther away

            2. I am from Malvern, have family in MA and got married in Malvern. I can help. I got married at the People's Light and Theatre Company but that might be a bit small from your size wedding. The Desmond is a nice place and we had our rehersal dinner there. That was very nice if you are looking for that. The General Warren Inn is also nice for rehersals. Now the first on my list of reception halls is Greystone Hall. Not only is the place incredible but they have an excellent caterer in Jeffrey Miller Catering. This caterer has done other events for me and they are so wonderful. I am never going to use anyone else. The Merion Tribute House is nice as well and they use Jeffrey Miller. I am more than happy to help with other suggestions. Feel free to email me. scargosun at

              8 Replies
              1. re: scargosun

                As lovely as it is, the Merion Tribute House is too small for the size of your wedding. I would imagine they can do 150 max. I also am not sure whether Jeffrey Miller can meet your price point of $100 a person. The Desmond is an option but agree their food is not wonderful. Something else you might want to consider is the Radnor Hotel but I suspect they may be above the $100 a person as well. I agree with the suggestion on checking out the Philadelphia Mag issue on wedings.

                1. re: FayeD

                  More ideas - all beautiful, historic or both.

                  Merion Cricket Club
                  Wyndham House at BMC -
                  Horticulture Center
                  Union League
                  Saturday Club (cheaper, and right in town in Wayne
                  )The Willows


                2. re: scargosun

                  Actually, my future sister-in-law had her (smaller) wedding at the Greystone. I think there is not enough space for everyone there.

                  Thank you all of your great thoughts! Once I mentioned the Mummer's Parade, the enthusiasm for a downtown wedding unfortunately fizzled.

                  My future in-laws saw two somewhat more expensive locations: River Crest and Crowne Plaza Valley Forge. Have you had good chow experiences there?

                  I am really excited about the Hotel duPont. It is psychologically far away but looks like a great option.

                  1. re: g for food

                    I know the reply is late but I wanted to let you know that we chose to have our wedding at the Crystal Tea Room (not on NYE). The Crystal Tea Room charges around $100 per person on Sundays (vs. $160+ on Saturdays). It seems like a great deal for that space. Thanks for all of your suggestions.

                    1. re: g for food

                      That's a great space! How was the food?

                        1. re: g for food

                          Sorry - I missed the year in your post : 0
                          Best Wishes!