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need help to find affordable wedding hall

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i recently got engaged and we are fortunate to have many friends and large families (about 400-500 people) but that makes planning a wedding we can afford very difficult. We have a lot of family out of town so we need to have the wedding on Sunday night which is usually even more costly. We can afford about $60-$70 per person. We are trying to stay away from the Williamsburg area at this time, but are OK with anywhere in the 5 boroughs of NYC. I've made lots of calls but everyone seems to be charging $80-100 and up per person. Can anyone offer some guidance?? Where should i be looking??? Thanking you in advance.

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  1. Astoria manor in Queens - Meisners caterers

    1. Monday nights in most places are much less expensive than Sunday nights. If you out of town guests can do Monday night, you're looking at a much lower cost per person at any place you choose.

      Did you look at any halls that do not have a set kosher caterer? That way you can price out many caterers, and bring whoever you choose.

      1. The Rabbi of my shul (very wealthy since his primary source of income is in real estate) had a wedding for his daughter at Ateres Avroham which had an interesting twist. The dinner part had no waiter service! no predetermined seating (and the problems and headachs that go with it) - it was pure buffet style. Lots of good choices. I don't know if this resulted in a cheaper or more expensive wedding. I never enjoyed a wedding more since I always prefer buffet style since I can eat as much as I want when I want with lots more choices than the usual sit down dinner offerings.

        I try (if possible) to only go for the smorg + cerimony of a wedding since (1) I am usually stuffed after eating at the food orgy that goes with a good smorg (2) I get home at a reasonable hour (3) being that the wedding cost is a functon of only how many guests are at the meal I don't feel compelled to give a large wedding check.

        6 Replies
        1. re: MartyB

          My wedding was buffet style, as are most of the wedding I go to (last year it was about 15). Basically, you get what you pay for. If you have multiple pasta, rice, and saucy dishes, you'll pay less than if you have carving stations, stuffed chicken, and salmon fillets.

          The budget weddings I've been to usually have salmon (it holds up well), carving station (roast beef, corned beef, turkey), chicken (marsala or stuffed), potatoes, pasta (ravioli), green salad, grilled vegetables, cooked vegetable dish.

          It's more food choices than a regular sit down dinner, but you're not paying for all the waiters, and you need smaller quantites of a lot of items. You can lesson the bill even more but cutting out the carving station and serving a beef dish.

          Also, if you can forgo the usual smorg, a lot is saved there. I had passings at my wedding. Cicken skewers, grilled vegetable puffs, stuffed mushrooms.. things like that are not as expensive as putting out a whole spread. Plus, you'll be having a lot at the dinner part. You can also put out a sushi table if you want more of a smorg. It's less expensive to have the sushi premade than to have a spread and a sushi chef preparing fresh rolls.

          If you have any other questions, let me know.

          1. re: MartyB

            Re: (3) being that the wedding cost is a functon of only how many guests are at the meal I don't feel compelled to give a large wedding check.

            So I presume that on the response card, you say you are only coming for the shmorg? Dinner costs are calculated by how many guests are coming. If you say you are coming, they count you and pay for you. Of course, the idea that one decides on a gift based on how hospitable the ba'alei simcha are to you is pretty low, in my eyes. If I am invited and attend--even just the shmorg, I give what I consider to be an appropriate gift for the couple; I don't base it on how much I ate, or even how much was provided. The idea of basing a gift based on the cost of the wedding has always been odd to me; if the ba'alei simcha are well off and have chosen an expensive hall, that's their choice and I don't feel I have to compensate them for that choice. On the other hand, if they are not well off, I don't feel I can "get away" with giving the couple less; indeed, they are probably in greater need of a nice check to help them start off better, since the family may not have as much to give them. As with all other gifts I give (birthday, Chanukah, etc.), they are a function of my relationship with the recipient(s) and what I can afford.

            1. re: queenscook

              I have never based a wedding gift on how much the couple would be charged per person. Since I got married first out of my friends, I usually give a gift or check depending on what they sent me. If a friend sent a $45 platter, I'll send a $45 gift. The only exception is if I can't afford to give the same amount. A close friend of mine gave me a $200 serving dish as a gift (she was single) but when she got married I couldn't afford to spend that much on a gift. I gave what I could afford ($100) and that was it.

              If I am invited to a wedding where the person did not attend mine, I usually spend about $35 on a gift. It may seem like a small amount, but last year alone I went to about 15-20 weddings!

            2. re: MartyB

              As I was going to Cosco today one of my daughter happen to make a comment to another daughter of mine about a wedding that her friend was having. It was exactly the style that I mentioned however she said something that I forgot to mention about the wedding that the Rav of my shul had, namely that after the buffet that followed the chupa, there was a sit down dinner for "FAMILY ONLY". This way costs are kept down, you can have all the friends that you want and nobody gets insulted - unless, of course, you fail to invite a FAMILY member to the dinner. Brilliant! the only way to go!

              1. re: MartyB

                This is becoming the standard in many communities outside of NY; it's called the "Seudas Chasan v'Kallah." The meal is not limited to family, but to those truly close to the couple or family.

                1. re: queenscook

                  G-d forbid, it defeats the whole purpose. Once you start to get into the parsha of "truly close friends" you are in big trouble! First of all, if you invite couple “A”, they will be compelled to invite you back when they have a simcha, if not then they will say, we invited you for the dinner because we thought that we were close and this is the way we are repaid? Then of course there is the fuzzy line that has to be determined as to who falls into the category of "truly close".

                  I believe in the principle of KISS – keep it family only. The only exception that makes sense, and is less problematic is to invite also the friends of the Chasan and Kallah (mixed seating please!). I would also STRONGLY suggest that in this setting, family, and the friends of the Chasan and Kallah, that you ditch the mechitza. If you must have one then put it between the Chasan’s family and the Kallah’s.

                  If you still fell strongly compelled to invite a few select friends because they are so special to you, then invite them to one of the Shevah Brachus as well, or have them join you and the newlyweds for dinner at your house.

            3. I just came back from a wedding in Brooklyn at a hall called Ateres Chaya, it is located in Boro Park, 14ave & 54th St. Very nice in the style of Ateres Avraham. I was thinking of making my daughter's wedding there in 2002 but they were booked solid at that time (we only wanted a Sunday wedding). At that point in time they wanted in the neighborhood of $85/COUPLE. I am sure that they have gone up in price since then, but considering my experience, they should be in the same ballpark as the other Williamsburg venues - unless you are grouping Boro Park in the same catagory as Williamsburg. At that time they had a 400 person minimum, but I see that is not an isse in your case.

              1. There was an ad in the Nov 13th issue of the 5 Towns Jewish Times that really caught my eye. It was for the Sands of Atlantic Beach (catering by Marvin Schick). This is one of my favorite places to go to since it is not far from the 5 Towns, is very large, lots of parking and everytime I was there the food was excellent.

                They are advertising a simcha for $49pp this includes a "Full Hot & Cold Smorgasbord and Three Course Dinner". The ad also states that "A portion of the proceeds fund the Be'er Miriam Hachnosas Kallah Fund" which "provides stipends to help needy families with wedding expenses"

                So here we have a reasonable price with a tzadakah opportunity as well.

                See p38 for the ad and p41 for a dinner ad at the Sands http://www.5tjt.com/pdfs/20091113_ISS...

                6 Replies
                1. re: MartyB

                  Marty
                  Michael Schick is the caterer...If you know Marvin.... he ain't even close
                  Had a good laugh though. Sands is a great place & he does an amazing job
                  This is too good to be true...there must be a catch.. Even though we are going
                  through tough times...eveyone is still getting married (or serving their prison term)

                  1. re: sima

                    Well, what I put down is what I saw in the ad. If you check out the link to the paper and go to p38 they have both a phone number an an email address so one can ask any relevent questions. I do believe the ad says that it excludes liquor, mashgiach and sales tax.

                    The ad implies that this is a special offer on behalf of the Be'er Miriam Hachnosas Kallah Fund.

                    1. re: sima

                      Maybe for $49 pp you get Marvin :)

                      1. re: elmoz

                        The prices being quoted does not include the rental fee you pay per person when you go to a non exclusive catering facility. We are also planning a wedding for
                        approx. 400 people. When we called any facility not covered by an exclusive caterer the minimum charged was 30 dollars per person on top of the catering fee.

                        1. re: Maven123

                          So I am to understand that you called the number in the ad and they said that on top of the $49pp there is a $30pp charge as well? Makes no sense since the focus of the ad was that it was to be, and I quote, "an Affordable Simcha". The ad clearly implied that this was a package including the simcha at the Sands and catering by Schick.

                          I think I will give them a call. As one that still has two girls to marry off, and considering that I paid $46pp in 2002 for my last simcha, a jump to $80pp is not something that I am looking forward to.

                        2. re: elmoz

                          $49 pp + Marvin = PRICELESS :)

                    2. Just picked up a publication, "Jewish Connection". The entire front page was the ad for The Sands of Atlantic Beach and catering by Michael Schick $49/pp including full hot and cold smorgasbord and three course dinner. Did anyone inquire about this offer? This is one powerfull combo. As one that has two daughter's in the parsha, it would be an excellent option to keep in my back pocket.

                      The ad, at the end, also mentions that affordable flowers, music and photography are also available.

                      I did call them up today and they said they will email me the particulars so we will see.

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: MartyB

                        Ok, they got back to me. Yes the $49/pp is for the hall AND catering. I will include some of the particulars from the email. I will put a seperate post of what are some of the offerings and options.

                        --------------------------------------

                        Minimum Guarantee of 400 Guests

                        $49.00 Per Person (Hall, Service & Menu)

                        $400.00 Rabbinical Supervision

                        Gratuities at Discretion of Host ($500.00 Suggested)

                        10% of Total bill will be Donated to Hachnosas Kallah Tzedakah Fund (Host to write check directly to the Be’er Miriam Hachnosas Kallah Fund)

                        Sales Tax Additional

                        1. re: MartyB

                          I added up the numbers in your post above... minimum amount for 400 guests is $20,500.

                          1. re: MartyB

                            Here we go (looks alot better on the PDF that they sent - you know fancy script menu). Not a bad starting point ->

                            Smorgasbord
                            -------------------

                            Fruit Station
                            ----------------
                            Seasonal Mixed Fruits to Include
                            Seedless Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Golden Pineapple
                            New Zealand Kiwi & Blueberries

                            Vegetable Antipasto and Bistro Station
                            ----------------------------------------------------
                            Quinoa
                            Roasted Corn and Red Pepper Salad
                            Chilean Black Olive Eggplant Salad
                            Marinated Mushroom, Roasted Pepper and Tarragon Salad
                            Mardi Gras Jicima Salad
                            Orzo Salad
                            Pasta Pesto Salad
                            Red Cabbage & Mango Slaw

                            Served From Chafing Dishes
                            ---------------------------------------
                            Pepper Steak with Fried Rice
                            Portabella Ravioli
                            Stuffed Cabbage
                            Potato & Spinach Bourekah
                            Chow Mien With Fried Rice
                            Chicken Alos

                            CHOSON'S TISCH
                            --------------
                            Assorted Soft Drinks
                            Platters of Assorted Cake
                            Fruit Station
                            Salad Bar

                            Hot Chafing Dishes
                            ------------------
                            Pepper Steak with Fried Rice
                            Stuffed Cabbage
                            Potato Spinach Bourekah

                            Yichud Room
                            -----------
                            Fruit, Cake, Assorted Smorg Foods
                            Assorted Beverage

                            Set To Table
                            ------------
                            French Baguette
                            &
                            Breadsticks

                            Appetizer
                            ---------
                            (Host to choose 1)
                            Teriyaki Salmon Tossed with Sesame Seeds
                            Angel Hair Pasta

                            OR

                            Appetizer & Soup Combination
                            Wild Mushroom Soup
                            Fresh Greens tossed with Roasted Red Pepper
                            Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

                            OR

                            Refreshing Strawberry Soup
                            &
                            Fresh Fruit Cup

                            OR

                            Fresh Field Greens
                            Spring Roll
                            Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing

                            Entree
                            ------
                            (Host to choose 1)
                            Dark Meat Capon (Bread Filling)

                            OR

                            Fillet of Dark Meat Hoisen Chicken

                            OR

                            Grilled Chicken

                            OR

                            Chicken Wellington

                            OR

                            Stuffed Breast of Capon

                            Served Alongside
                            ----------------
                            Host to choose 1 Starch & 1 Vegetable

                            Herbed Mashed Potatoes
                            Roasted Potatoes
                            Wild Rice
                            Basmati Rice
                            Cranberry Crisp
                            Snap Peas with Yellow Squash and Pepper Strips
                            Green Bean Amandine
                            Edmame~Mushroom Blend

                            Dessert
                            -------
                            (Host to Choose 1)

                            Hot Chocolate Soufflé
                            Swirl of Whipped Cream & Raspberry Sauce with Fresh Blueberries

                            OR

                            Hot Apple Cobbler
                            Scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream & Chocolate Syrup with Fresh Blueberries

                            OR

                            Ice Cream Cake Slice
                            Chocolate Drizzle
                            Caramelized Nuts

                            OR

                            Assorted Pastries
                            Napoleon, Eclair, Open French Pastry

                            Coffee & Tea
                            -----------------

                            1. re: MartyB

                              Here are some options:

                              Additional Options
                              -------------------------
                              $5.00 Per Person Liquor Bar
                              $1,200.00 Sushi Bar
                              $5.00 per person carving station (Action Station including a variety of Carved Hot Meats)
                              $8.00 Per Person Duet Entree (Plated)
                              $110.00 Per Hostess/Card Attendant
                              $110.00 Per valet Parker (must have 1 per 50 guests) (from memorial day-labor day it is Mandatory!!!) (So not needed, HUGE parking right in front of facility)

                              1. re: MartyB

                                400 in the Sands is not comfortable at all. You will feel packed in and have a very small Dance floor.I had a relatives affair there over the summer and at 325 it was fairly tight.

                                1. re: HungryJew

                                  I've been to a few weddings there and I don't recall any difficulty. In my circle "dancing" usually means shuffling around a large circle (in my age, as slowly as possible) with the "dancing" usually confined to a handful of people in the center. I guess in a more modern setting where couples do real dancing and need a large dance floor then that becomes an issue. How would one compare a complex like The Sands to one of the one room venues like Ateres Chinka or Ateres Avrohom as to “dancing” floor space?

                                  1. re: MartyB

                                    Couples? What kind of Orthodox weddings have you been to? Even the most modern weddings have separate male & female circles. And the dancing is not really meant for your age crowd, but the hundreds of friends of the chassan and kallah. It can be tight indeed at these places.

                                    1. re: queenscook

                                      the big dance floor must be the attraction at the Eden Palace, I know it can't be those turkey franks they serve at the Choson's tish ;-)

                                      1. re: berel

                                        True, Eden Palace was HUGE. Even though it is one room they were able to partion it into three sections - smorg, cerimony and dinner. Other places have to shuffle chairs and tables around between the three wedding stages.

                                      2. re: queenscook

                                        I've made a chasana at the Sands that had 500 people. Better a "tight" dance floor than a big dance floor with few people on it.

                                        1. re: berel

                                          I disagree. I find 'mosh pits' very unpleasant, what with being stomped on (by people in spike heels!), barely being able to move, and constantly tripping over the photographer's ladder and chairs at the periphery of the dance floor. Honestly, a big dance floor was slightly more important to me than the food at my wedding, and I cared about the food more than your average gal!

                                        2. re: queenscook

                                          I have never been to a wedding that had mixed dancing, but I could imagine that if a wedding had couple dancing then they would have a much greater need for a spacious dance floor. Most of the weddings that I go to has the bulk of the "dancing" being a slow circular walk around a rather small area where the more active dancing takes place.

                                          Obviously if your mix is different with hundreds of young dancers then a venue like Eden Palace with their huge dance floor would be in order.

                                          1. re: MartyB

                                            I think things move faster on the women's side, for one thing. I think mixed dancing requires smaller dance floors, since there's no open space in the middle of a big circle.

                            2. I just saw the following ad in the 5 Towns Jewish Times.

                              Crown Royale Caterers
                              Special limited time

                              $35/pp

                              Includes: Hall & Shul - Hot and cold Buffet - 4 course Dinner - Staff & Gratutities.

                              Rockwood Park - Howard Beach

                              See page 67 in http://www.5tjt.com/pdfs/20091225_ISS...

                              I know nothing else but thought that is a significant offer that I felt should be posted. Sounds like a nice starting point, I am sure for more money you will be able to get more.

                              I am assuming that this for the Rockwood Park Jewish Center

                              http://www.chossonandkallah.com/broch...

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: MartyB

                                I saw the ad too. I don't think this place is big enough for 400 people.

                                1. re: websterhall1994

                                  They do claim 450, however there is another post here at chowhound where they are looking for a place for 200 people. so this may work for them.

                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/675969

                              2. If anyone does check into either The Sands with their $50/pp offer or the Rockwood Park Jewish Center with their $35/pp offer please post their experiences i.e. any catches etc. I have two daughters "in the parshe" and with Hashem's help will be in the market for wedding venues so any heads up will be appreciated.

                                1. There's a new wedding hall opening up on Coney Island Avenue between H and I - seeing as how they're brand new to the Kosher community there's not much to say about it, but the fact that it's new means they're probably more amenable to work with you and your specific requests.