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wedding reception venue, about 50 people?

Hi everyone, I know there are suggestions all over the board, have looked into a few but thought I'd ask the experts with my situation in detail:

We are looking for a place to host a wedding reception, Saturday night, August in the city, after our city park ceremony - ( or city hall if it's pouring rain...)

Trying to stick to a guest list of 50 people.
Don't need a full bar, wine/beer + maybe one sig cocktail is plenty.
For me a wedding with no dancing is a drag! So we'd like a place that we can plug an ipod into, as we are on an extreme budget....would like to stay under 4k including everything, if that's possible!

It doesn't have to be fancy AT ALL, just want a fun, unstuffy atmosphere that is nice in the summertime, outdoor space would be grand but not necessary.

And the final kicker to make this difficult, for reasons I can't go into on the internet - we can't book the place until June. I know that sounds strange and insane, and maybe impossible - but we are not making any "official wedding plans" until then. It will all have to come together very quickly in about 6 weeks. The situation is complex. I'm hoping that the usual Manhattan August business slowdown will free something up - I'm now at your mercy, chowhounders!

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  1. Firstoff, congrats! I'm getting married later this month, its very exciting (and a ****load of work, haha).

    Quick input - dont kill the messenger:

    Saturday night + summer + Manhattan + wedding = $$$$$$

    Perhaps if you move it to Sunday afternoon, at a restaurant/place that is closed during the afternoon hours, you can see the cost go down a good bit. Offhand, $4,000 for 50 people, including everything (food, drink, venue fees), you are looking at a tough mission. Nothing is impossible of course, but tough. The fact that you would like dancing, which would require a place with space for both tables to eat and a dance floor. That is typically costly.

    Good luck!

    2 Replies
    1. re: metfan630

      thanks metfan, I know it is a tall order - not expecting too many replies! But all I need is one place, so why not try, I figured.

      It could be any kind of place, Mexican, tapas, regular american kinda food...and one place we are considering is Madiba in Brooklyn - but thought we'd try here too. I know an afternoon reception is a cheaper alternative and we might try that, but I can't help feeling that is a bit anti-climactic - like what do you do AFTER your afternoon reception?

      Thanks for the input!

      1. re: flowerpot

        I would take my wedding party and go karaoke in Ktown in a private room but that's me. Or I would take the opportunity to pass out after all the planning and being on my feet all day.

        I'd ditto the Chinatown banquet recommendations as being good food on a budget. But even then, August is a v busy month for weddings and Saturdays are prime times so they might already be booked by then.

    2. I agree with metfan. You must love a challenge because this is definitely a doozy. But give City Bakery a call. I looked into them for my Aug wedding. They are only open after 6pm (after normal hours) so they weren't an option for me as Im doing an afternoon thing (to answer your question: what you do after the reception is go home and take a NAP!!, change clothes and then meet people out again that night for drinks with a view or something fun when everyone is more casual). But I digress... :-)

      City Bakery won't give you the outdoor space you crave, but I found their menus whimsical and fun. I think the total was coming to around $300-$3500 which included wine and service charge. And they have plenty of room - not a traditional dance space, but Im sure you could make it work.

      I just can't remember if that was their minimum or if that what what I calculated for MY guest list (25 people). But, definitely an option. All the info is on their website.

      3 Replies
        1. re: CMG920

          A great looking place in a sweet location....thanks for the suggestion!

        2. re: piegirl74

          Thanks piegirl, that is a really good and positive take on the afternoon reception and maybe we will do that! Plus we are doing a city park ceremony, so the earlier the better for that....ideas happening. :) City Bakery has a lovely menu and for $100/guest we could have 50 for 5k...will look into them, thanks again!

        3. I recently got married so I did a TON of research and you're definitely up for a HUGE challenge. Saturday night is of course most expensive, August is not really a slow season for weddings (January or February is) etc, etc. Personally I don't have an answer or suggestion, but you might be interested in reading how this bride pulled off a super-cheap wedding:
          (her budget is still more than yours though -- but then she had more people too.)

          http://www.citywendy.com/wendy/2009/0...

          Honestly I don't know if you could stay in Manhattan and pull this off -- I'd definitely look into outer boroughs. Also look into Chinese banquets, those can be super-cheap if you're open to Chinese food.

          1 Reply
          1. re: uwsister

            That blog is totally inspiring and so helpful, totally biting her paper fan from Pearl River idea. It's great to see other people's budget breakdowns, places I'd like to spend less or more....thanks for that!

          2. Also for anyone who has outer borough suggestions - we are totally open to that! Especially Brooklyn, where we live. :)