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Jun 29, 2011 06:42 AM

Is an inexpensive NY wedding possible?

My partner and I got engaged this past weekend and we're sort of fast tracking our wedding, hoping to tie the knot in October. Now we're wondering, is it possible to have an affordable wedding at a New York restaurant? So, can anyone recommend a good restaurant with decent food and space for about 100 guests? We're thinking tapas or heavy passed hors d'oeuvres rather than a sit down dinner, in order to save some money. All thoughts are welcome. Feel like we need to nail this down soon. Thanks!

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  1. You need to say what "affordable" means to you. It means different things to different people.

    3 Replies
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      You're right. For us, affordable is under $100 a head. Even better if that included wine and beer, but we're finding that's a tough one. I have already found a tapas place that does $24 per person per hour and an alcohol package of $20 a person an hour. If we just had the place for three hours, that could be affordable.

      1. re: paitsonkel

        Don't forget about tax and tip, which can drive up your bill even more.

    2. We just had our wedding at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, which was very affordable by NYC wedding standards. We did not have a formal sit-down dinner, but rather passed hors d'oeuvres and food stations (think buffet, but with different stations rather than everything lined up in a row). It was fabulous!

      Housing Works Used Book Cafe
      126 Crosby St, New York, NY 10012

      5 Replies
      1. re: Blumie

        That sounds like a really interesting suggestion. Thanks so much, I'll look into it.

        1. re: Blumie

          Blumie, that's a fun space and a great idea. Would love to see photos.

          1. re: loratliff

            I'll check with my girlfriend, er wife, to see if she's ok with my posting them for public view! But it was truly extraordinary, far exceeding my expectations. It helped that we had a fabulous, fabulous band: The Vermont Joy Parade, from Burlington, VT. We hired them after having seen them perform for five minutes at a House of Yes show in Brooklyn. Our guests still are talking about them, and the wedding.

            1. re: Blumie

              No worries if not. I'll be in the market myself for venues before too long and Housing Works is an interesting space that I never would have thought of.

              Did they cater it as well? (Their food looks surprisingly good.)

              And, congratulations!

              1. re: loratliff

                Yes, they have an in house caterer. We really did not expect the food to be noteworthy, but our guests assured us that it was excellent. (Neither of us had a chance to each much ourselves!) As you may be able to tell by the enthusiasm of my posts, I highly recommend this venue. People loved that it was somewhat offbeat, but it still allows for as much, or as little, tradition as you'd like.

        2. For any restaurant to close down for a party, they have to get paid a certain number, otherwise, it does not make any sense to do so.

          Many people in your situation have this idea of how they would like to have their party and to serve the food......and passed hors d'oeuvres is often the ideal theme.. The problem is it is more expensive to prepare small items than larger ones. You save money by having a buffet in most cases.

          I would suggest you consider Chinatown. Dim Sum Brunch or Dinner Party. For the latter, you would select a menu of (X) number of courses served family style, ranging from $200 plus per table of 10 guests for food. Some places may allow you to bring your own alcohol for each table.

          2 Replies
          1. re: fourunder

            That's a really interesting idea too. Thanks so much.

            1. re: paitsonkel

              Please take note ....if you decide on the Dim Sum Brunch, you could probably preset your menu or request certain items for the table to be served (Dim Sum). You could also order non Dim Sum Items for the table as well......whole fish, Lobster and traditional items like noodles and fried rice. The noodles would have an underlying tradition and significance for well wishes for longevity, if not mistaken.

          2. Yes, we got married in a NYC restaurant and one way we found to save money was to have a Sunday luncheon instead of a nighttime party (it ended up going well into the night, but that's a different story). We paid way less than $100 pp for a sit-down meal (including booze and a cake), the food was great and it was a blast.

            The restaurant we were married in sadly no longer exists (it was Village, now the Lion). But I would suggest asking any restaurant you like or like the look of, and see what they can work out for you. We found lots of places that were willing to work with us. Here's one place that was on our list:

            Chez Jacqueline

            Also Hundred Acres in Soho (formerly Provence) has a pretty space in back for parties.

            Chez Jacqueline
            72 Macdougal Street, New York, NY 10012

            Hundred Acres
            38 MacDougal St., New York, NY 10012

            1. The trick I think is to look for restaurants that have private spaces. I recently did a bachelorette at Otto in west village - tons and tons of food. It was less than $100 pp including an all-you-can drink option. I believe they have a private dining space.

              1 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003

              2 Replies
              1. re: Mnyc44

                Otto looks amazing. About how many people were at the bachelorette party? How big does the restaurant seem?

                1. re: nprzybo

                  The restaurant is a good size. There is a front and a back area. But its quite loud and gets very crowded. We were 8 people.