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Please help! Need to plan NYC wedding in 5 months! With amazing food! Venue suggestions?

Hi! I really appreciate any and all feedback. So I'm planning my wedding for this November or December, and I'm having trouble finding a venue that I love. I'm only having about 80 people, and I want the food to be great and the space to feel festive and fun. I'm not into traditional weddings--I just want a fun cocktail party with passed food and a few stations, but no sit-down dinner. A restaurant with a private room is fine as long as I can bring in a band and they allow dancing. I'm considering City Hall Restaurant in Tribeca (has anyone been to a wedding there? was it good?), but would love any other venue suggestions. My budget is $20k. THANK YOU in advance for your help!!

City Hall
131 Duane St., New York, NY 10013

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  1. Friends of mine were married last year at Westbeth. Small wedding, dj, and a buffet - you bring in your own caterers. I can't speak for the budget, sorry to say.

    1. Have you considered renting a space that is not a restaurant and arranging food of your liking? My partner and I had our wedding at nesteventloft.com (cannot recommend Barb, who runs the loft as well as Hatch Creative Studios - she will design your flowers too if you would like!, highly enough). Beautiful loft, perfect space for 80 (we had just shy of 100 and plenty of room - could have had more people - but no band, add a band and it is ideal for 80-100), amazing views and Barb is really low key about allowing you to do food how and with whom you would like. (She is also amazingly helpful with pretty much anything else you would need). We actually made our own food (and did it cocktail party style as well, it worked perfectly), along with a lot of help from friends and family cooking, because our budget was under half of yours, but I think she would be more than open to you having whatever restaurant or caterer provide the food that you wished. And I would think with your size and budget you would have a lot of options.

      4 Replies
      1. re: kjean823

        have you seen the Alger house , it is perfect size and you can bring in your own caterer. My wife is a photog and shot many weddings there.

        1. re: griller in the mist

          Hi Griller in the Mist. Yes--I was just looking at the Alger House! Seems like a great choice. They also own Manhattan Penthouse, which looks nice, too. Thanks for your advice!

          1. re: griller in the mist

            Had my wedding at Alger House in 2007. I'm pretty sure you couldn't bring your own caterer, but their food is very good. The passed hors d'oeuvres were the excellent, so if you focuses on those for a cocktail party, it should be perfect. MP would be too big for you. 80 in Alger House sounds perfect... i had 95 for a cocktail party w/ only 75% seating. Our total spend was around $14,000 at Alger, $20k for the whole wedding. All of the staff is great, and it's in a really cute spot on Downing St in the west village.

          2. IMO if you want "amazing food" you're better off finding a space that allows you to bring your own caterer. City Hall as well as Alger House would fit your budget and guest number, but food isn't "amazing" by any means.

            1. I recently went to a wedding of that size at the Lotos Club on the Upper East Side and was shocked at how good the food was. The bride and groom used the house kitchen.

              1. i got married at union square ballroom last fall, and everyone raved about the food! my husband and i wanted food to be in the forefront of our wedding, since everyone hates a dried chicken breast, and everything was delicious. from the passed hors d'oeuvres to the main courses (made to order), everyone loved each item. they have the ballroom and a separate lounge area which is great. very romantic, and intimate - we had 100 people total. good luck!

                1. We had our wedding reception with 100 guests at the Harold Pratt House (Council on Foreign Relations). You bring in your own caterer. We used Creative Edge. Have nothing but great things to say about everything.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: ManhattanLawyer

                    New York Athletic Club at Central Park South but you need to know a member. GREAT park views and cool location. Out of towners can stay there too.

                    1. re: ManhattanLawyer

                      We also got married at Harold Pratt House. Beautiful, classy venue :)
                      May be out of topic since they don't do their own catering. They have a list of approved caterers though and many of them are excellent. i.e. Feasts & Fetes, Creative Edge, Cleaver Co.

                      Somebody mentioned the Lotos Club above - I've heard good things about their food as well, but I believe you have to be a member or be recommended by a member to have a wedding there.

                      1. re: uwsister

                        I got married at Il Buco a few years ago and it was fantastic! We took over the restaurant - I think it holds about 70-80 people. The staff was great, ambiance great, and the food was as good as it is normally.

                        But I just realized you wanted a band. Not sure they would have the space for this.

                        Il Buco
                        47 Bond St., New York, NY 10012

                        1. re: uwsister

                          I got married at Lotos Club 7 years ago yesterday :) Food rocked. One does not need to be a member or sponsored by a member to get married there. A 20K food budget would probably work, but a total budget of 20K likely would not, unless you were willing to do a an afternoon/brunch type dining affair.

                          1. re: Brooklyn11210

                            >One does not need to be a member or sponsored by a member to get married there.

                            Hmm. I looked into it about a year ago and they told me you had to be recommended by a member. We ended up at a very special venue so all for the better - perhaps they are flexible with the policy.

                            Blue Hill at Stone Barns would be an amazing venue for a spring or fall wedding!

                            1. re: uwsister

                              You do need to be sponsored by a member in order to hold a function at the Lotos Club, but they'll arrange it for you (i.e., they'll match you with a member to be your sponsor). My girlfriend and I checked it out today, and it was clear from speaking with them that this requirement is not a big deal.

                              1. re: Blumie

                                Ah well - guess they didn't like my voice on the phone or something ;)

                      2. If you're looking for a restaurant, what about Blue Hill at Stone Barns?


                        1. as a person who is also planning a wedding in november, I think that it will be somewhat difficult to find a fine dining establishment that will have the space or will accomodate a band. and if that is a priority, I might consider looking at a nice venue and having it catered. the costs for the venue + the catering often rival the markup and/or the minimum that restaurants seem to demand too.

                          I loved this WV loft space that was too small for our wedding, but seems good for 80:
                          looks like there is even a stage for the band?

                          some foodie caterers that I would consider:
                          cleaver and co
                          olivier cheng
                          creative edge

                          good luck!