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Oct 17, 2010 05:59 PM

Alternative less expensive kosher wedding ideas

A friend is trying to make a wedding on a VERY tight budget and I am finding nothing online to help her. She can make the wedding in any NYC borough and NJ close to NY. She is super frum but absolutely kosher so the hashgocha has to be good.
People have been telling me to talk to caterers but which caterers? Who is not expensive? She needs 350 people (no, can't cut it down, big, big family) at maximum $10,000 for the whole shebang.
Possible? She's open to alternative ideas.
Thanks for your help.

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  1. 1. Buffet
    2. Midweek (which will cut down on attendees)

    There are 2 halls in Williamburg that I recall from other discussions on this board that are pretty cheap.

    1 Reply
    1. re: vallevin

      I had always been told buffets are cheaper too but caterers I've spoken too explained that it's harder to gauge how much people will eat and they still need staff to create and refresh the buffets.

    2. Here we go...from 2008:

      Found this on one of the blogs ->

      Williamsburg's halls go like this:

      1. Brucha Sima - very cheap. Very ugly. The rebbishe, very frum, and very poor go there.
      2. Bais Rochel - affordable. But it's small so only smallish families go there.
      3. VaYoel Moshe - the most sought after hall. It's gorgeous, but price wise it's just about at the edge of affordability. The people who take it either can afford it or are usually the ones who are embarrassed to go to a cheaper hall... (I got married there for the record.)
      4. Concorde Plaza - I think it's about the VaYoel Moshe range but for some reason people shy away from booking it - I don't know why. But people do go there. Maybe cuz it's about out of the central area.
      5. Continental - very gorgeous, but only for negidim. Expensive.
      6. Rose Castle - only for super negidim and rich non chasidim
      7. Ateres Avraham - for the filthy rich and all non chasidim!
      8. Eden Palace - no one uses.


      For the record, I used Eden Palace for my daughter's wedding.

      To this list I would add the Viznitz Hall in Boro Park as well as Ateres Chayil and Ateres Chinka. I know there are more in Brooklyn, If you are interested I can do more research. I went to some modest weddings of friends of mine, I just can't rember their names - the halls, not the friends. I think one was on McDonald Ave in Brooklyn and another one on New Utrich Ave, and now that I think about it another one was off Ft Hamilton Parkway. Maybe some ChowHounders can fill in the blanks.

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      By MartyB on May 16, 2007 10:47AM

      2 Replies
      1. re: vallevin

        I made my son's wedding at Ateres Chynka and it was very low key (no flowers, small band) but still the minimum requirement was 550 people-we had 450 and took home leftovers. It was nice but still cost us $20,000, a cost that we were able to split between the two families. My friend does not have that option.
        Are the Brooklyn ones all separate seating? We don't need that. I'm thinking stay away from Williamsburg?

        1. re: vallevin

          Too frum, I think. They'll require separate seating and my friend will just feel weird dealing with them. Is Brooklyn then out of the question?

        2. There's an alternative wedding hall in Boro park - Tiferes Rivka - with special pricing - it's on 38th between 12 and 13

          1. There is a new place on Coney Island Ave. in Brooklyn, Midwood area, that goes by the name of "Sisu Vsimcha". They should be in your range.

            1 Reply
            1. re: aaronsja

              Thank you! I will give these to my friend.
              How about on Long Island? My mother heard that there was a hall in Huntington that does subsidized weddings but I can't find anything. Is Long Island out of the question? Maybe Westchester?
              Oh and anybody have any caterer friends who are willing to go outside the box and make an alternative type wedding somewhere new? When I made my son's Bar Mitzva, we got very lucky and found a guy who was just starting out-ours was his second affair-so we took a chance and he gave us a great party for very little because he wanted to get his name out there.

            2. I have absolutely no suggestions for you/your friend, but I'm just surprised, from all these suggestions, that no one thinks it's an impossible task you are asking. I wouldn't have thought there was a place where one could have a wedding for a total of less than $30 pp, which has to include the flowers, music, invitations, pictures, video, etc., as well as the food. I suppose you could do without flowers and do email invitations, but it's hard to imagine no photography or music at a frum wedding. So to have those costs, and then keep the food costs to $15-$20 per person just seems impossible to me. These days, one can hardly get out of a fast food place for less than $15!

              I feel my wedding was beautiful, and we had all that stuff, and only spent about $17,000, but it was over 10 years ago and we only had about 150 people. And I thought we had economized pretty well. To have more than double that guest list, for about half the cost, ten years later, just seems undoable to me. I guess I am truly not thinking out of the box.

              3 Replies
              1. re: queenscook

                The question is what you're willing to cut out. Do you need a sit-down dinner, or is bread & spreads, vegetable platters, cake, fruit, and soda sufficient? Do you need a band, or are you willing to use recorded music, or perhaps a one-man band? Is it OK if you ask all your friends to bring cameras and take lots of pictures, or do you need a professional photographer? If so, is a photography student good enough? Are formal invitations necessary? What about flowers and centerpieces?

                Even economizing like crazy, I can't see having 350 people that cheaply if you're insisting on serving them a full meal. That probably has to go. You'll need to figure out an alternative wedding venue, rather than a catering hall that's mostly designed to sell food. I don't know of a shul big enough to have 350 people at a sit-down meal, but if people will be standing around, eating from a small buffet, perhaps a shul kiddush room might be good enough? My own shul (Mt. Sinai, in Washington Heights) just renovated its kiddush room, and while 350 people is fairly tight even while standing, it's probably technically doable; there's even a dance floor :) Anshei Chesed in Linden, NJ, also has a fairly big kiddush room that you can rent out for simchas, so you might want to look into that.

                1. re: GilaB

                  Weren't there guidlines posted in the Jewish press a few years ago about this? I think one of the proposals was that a buffet or passed hors deuvers be done, then a big dance set and then only immediate family is invited for the seudah.

                  1. re: GilaB

                    I've been to weddings that were dessert only. There were small deli sandwiches and some appetizers passed around, but the invitations specified that the food served would be dessert.

                    It's an interesting way to cut costs if it's possible.