Kosher Catering under $60/pp
Good afternoon all,
I know this gets discussed all the time on this board. My fiance and I are getting married, summer 2011 and we need a kosher wedding. We are having about 175 people and would like to spend no more than $60/pp (including venue and catering costs).
So far we have looked at 2 places. Rockwood Park Jewish Center at $40/pp and Crest Hollow Country Club at $60/pp. $60/pp is the top of our budget.
We are looking to get married in the greater New York area and would like to not have our Brooklyn people driving more than an hour-ish. Which means Crest Hollow is about as far out on Long Island as we would want to go. We would be willing to look at Westchester/Jersey if it's around an hour's drive.
We also need a place that allows three things, mixed seating, mixed dancing and for us to use our own rabbi.
You may also want to look into the Vanderbilt in Staten Island. If you are interested you can have your chuppah on the beach and I believe the prices are comparable to Crest Hollow.
My son looked into the Vanderbilt as well as Crest Hollow and Rockwood Park for his wedding last May and ended up at Crest Hollow. Crest Hollow does a great job -- beautiful location and rooms, very good service (especially from the maitre d and the bridal attendant) and good food (especially at the smorg.) The only downside is that it has several affairs running at the same time and that is obvious.
One thing we learned, is that a quote of $60 pp is actually closer to $90 pp once tax, gratuities and all fixed costs are added in. (We also had 175 people.) We found this roughly 50% increase to be basically across the board no matter what the price. Rockwood Park might be more willing to negotiate some of the additional costs but most other were not. (I am not sure how flexible the Vanderbilt is -- my son and daughter-in-law decide on Crest Hollow before negotiating more with the Vanderbilt.)
Just went recently to a party at Rockwood. Perfectly fine for $40 a person - but not comparable to Crest Hollow (food or facilities). The one thing that was particularly an issue at Rockwood Park is that there were no parking facilities. Was able to find a spot 2 blocks away but not sure how easy that always is and for a wedding, I think if you can go up slightly, it will be well worth it. Also the dance floor at Crest Hollow is bigger than Rockwood.
I recently went to a wedding at Crest Hollow . . . first time I had ever been there. Have to say I was unimpressed, particularly about the food.
I have also never--and I really do mean NEVER-- been to a hall where more than one event was taking place at the same time. I just found it odd.
Also, it was a very, very hot day, and having the shmorg and the chuppah outside was brutal. It meant being outside in the heat for close to 2 1/2 hours, far from restroom facilities, no place to splash some cool water on my face without walking so far that by the time I would have gotten back to the shmorg or chuppah, I'd be all sweated up again. Obviously not a consideration for certain times of the year, but late spring, all of summer, and a lot of the fall are all potential times for very hot days. I don't know how late one can switch from outdoors to indoors, if at all.
Others have to make their own decision, but I would never consider Crest Hollow for a simcha myself.
You can use a variety of caterers at Crest Hollow. Their in-house kosher caterer is the least expensive and may not be as impressive as others that can cater there (Mauzone etc.). As far as having the shmorg outside - I have never seen that before. Sounds like poor judgement to have food outside. I have been to a few outdoor weddings there. Some were unbearably hot and some were lovely. That is definitely the option of the bride and groom. I know you have an option to switch at one point duting the day - don't know till what point you have until you can change your mind. Personally - I am not an outdoorsy person and I don't care for outdoor weddings whatever the venue (went to an unbearably hot one at Rye Town and went to a chilly one at Marina Del Rey - both beautiful places, but would have preferred an indoor ceremony).
Having more than one simcha at a time at Crest Hollow is a disadvantage and one reason why I didn't get married there many moons ago.
I do think that for an affordable hall it is nice.
Another suggestion for Sara could be The Sands. I think I have seen ads there for a similar price. Perhaps from Schick? That place is nice and there is usually one affair at a time. Nice sized rooms for shmorg/chuppah etc. I find the dance floor to be small but should be fine for your sized wedding.
Since this thread has resurfaced, I just wanted to say that I was at another wedding at Crest Hollow about a month ago, and it was far nicer than my experience the previous year. The shmorg was better (not amazing, but far, far better than the previous time) and the chuppa was indoors on another very hot day.
One thing I find incredibly odd, and a big negative, is that the restrooms are on the main floor, while the dinner is upstairs. And they're a pretty far walk from the elevator. It's a schlep for anyone, and a real problem for handicapped people (and there were a few at this past wedding I attended).
I still wouldn't choose it for myself, but I now see that there are different levels of catering.
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