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Kosher Wedding Cost for 200 in New York City

Is it just me, or is hosting a kosher wedding ridiculously expensive? My budget for my reception is $60,000, which I thought would be enough to have a decently nice wedding on the upper east or west side of Manhattan for 200 people. However, the estimates I have gotten are approaching $300 pp and 300X200 = my whole budget! What's expensive isn't the food itself (the kosher caterers I have talked to will do the food for ~$100), but the service. Everywhere I have looked has a non-kosher in-house caterer who either charges a ridiculous buy-out fee, or does the service for a ridiculous cost (like $175). Is this normal? Where can I look that will be more reasonable? I am looking mostly at museums, and other like cultural institutions, but I've also contacted some "wedding venues" like the Tribeca Rooftop and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

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  1. It probably normal for a place like a Museum where a Kosher Caterer has to bring everything in. We priced various synagogues with very nice catering halls, and even very fancy ones like the Park Avenue Synagogue were closer to $150.

    1. Try the Jewish Heritage museum in battery park. They have a kosher caterer so you won't be paying the non-kosher caterer to do nothing.

      3 Replies
      1. re: avitrek

        I looked in to the Jewish Heritage Museum, but I don't know if I like the idea of having my wedding reception in a Holocaust Museum...

        1. re: lizfeld

          I was at a reception there for a play. The room is gorgeous. And big if I remember. I think you should at least check it out.

          1. re: lizfeld

            The Jewish Heritage Museum is not really a Holocaust museum... my grandparents went to a seated anniversary party there.. and said the room was beautiful at sunset

        2. I literally just did this -- wedding for 250 people on the upper east side for a similar budget. It's definitely doable at that price range without having to go to a synagogue like the Park Avenue Synagogue. That said, the marquee places -- Gotham Hall, Brooklyn Museum, The Pierre, etc -- will definitely not be in your price range.

          Some places to consider looking at:
          * Angel Orensanz Center: Charges a flat fee of $15k for facility rental but no subsequent service charge. Phenomenal space.
          * Harmonie Club: Offers pretty good deals. This is what we went with -- beautiful space -- and worked well with our kosher caterer. Other options like this include the Harvard Club, Yale Club, etc.
          * Prince George Ballroom: another nice space, affiliated with a non-profit so it's not too expensive. On the cheaper end though.

          If you're doing it in the summer you could look at the cooper-hewitt museum (beauitful gardens) or some of the other outdoor venues too.

          4 Replies
          1. re: webrew

            Is the cooper-hewitt musem in my price range ($60,000)? I had assumed it wasn't since the fee to get in the door is $25,000.

            1. re: webrew

              Did you need a sponsor at the Harmonie Club to get in?

              1. re: lizfeld

                You don't need a sponsor at the Harmonie Club; I thought cooper-hewitt was $10k but I could be wrong.

                A couple of other interesting less-expensive spaces that I now recall looking at include the Brooklyn Academy of Music (in their cafe space) and Wave Hill in the bronx.

                1. re: webrew

                  I know this is very old but the thread was VERY helpful to me as I'm planning a Bat Mitzvah and looking for space AND a kosher caterer.

                  Just wanted to say that the Harmonie Club got back to me and they DO in fact require sponsorship to use the space.

            2. One should be able to do ALOT better than 60grand for 200 people.

              If you don't need to have the wedding in Manhattan proper than the following posts may help.

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/568520
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/656148

              4 Replies
              1. re: MartyB

                I can't speak for the OP, but it doesn't look like she's looking for the typical "frum" wedding catering hall set-up; it looks like she's looking for impressive "venues." It wasn't my priority for my wedding, but for some people, this is what they want, and they're willing to pay for that above the fees for the food itself. Maybe I'm totally misreading her, though.

                1. re: queenscook

                  True, but it could also be the the OP just hasn't been looking at the right places. The origional question was ->

                  Is it just me, or is hosting a kosher wedding ridiculously expensive?

                  The answer is that it is expensive, but does not have to be "ridiculously expensive".

                  If it were me, I would go more modest and with the money saved, buy a car or two.

                  1. re: MartyB

                    or save it for a down payment for house

                  2. re: queenscook

                    Queenscook is right, I am definitely not going for frum. I actually wouldn't be doing kosher at all (I was raised reform), but the orthodox rabbi who is marrying my fiancee and I insists that our reception be kosher.

                    I am concerned with value. I am willing to shell-out some cash (or at least my parents are) to host a nice wedding, but I don't think my wedding should cost more than my law school tuition. Especially since I got some quotes for non-kosher caterers prior to my meeting with the rabbi, I am just blown away by how much kosher costs when you add-up all the associated fees. A few more popular venues I checked-out including the Central Park Boathouse wanted me to pay for my evening reception, and then also pay their lost revenue from not being able to host an afternoon reception since the kitchen would have to be closed. One wedding is expensive enough, I don't need to pay for a second!

                2. I just remembered that the Columbia Faculty House will do weddings and claims to have space for up to 260. I don't know how they work with a kosher caterer, but I know a friend who looked into them for her wedding when they were doing renovations. She didn't have the wedding there, but the issue was the renovations not kashrut.