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Small wedding--looking for private room or restaurant to rent

Hi all,
I'm trying to plan a small wedding (up to 50 people but more likely 25-40...I know this is a large range so the location might somewhat dictate the size) in the Philadelphia area in September/October. I realize this is just around the corner, though this will not be a traditional wedding so it might be easier to think of it as a dinner party or event than a wedding. Anyway, I'm trying to find either a restaurant with a private space that ideally has some character (and ideally feels very separate from the rest of the restaurant) or a small restaurant, likely BYOB, that would allow us to have the entire restaurant. I'm guessing the only way we could take a full restaurant would be if we had the event on a Sunday at a restaurant not typically open on Sundays, so while a Friday night or Saturday would be our preference, Sundays are also open to consideration. I've googled around and am not finding many restaurants with private spaces that sound good. And, I'm a bit stumped regarding which BYOBs might be willing to let us have the whole place and are capable of catering to this type of event without getting totally overwhelmed. I've emailed back and forth with Osteria but am just not sure that what you get would be worth the price (though the food/drink minimum is significantly less expensive on a Sunday than a Saturday), nor that it is the type of food I'd want for this. Any thoughts on other options? While I want to emphasize that this won't "look" like a traditional wedding, I'm posting here because quality of food is super important if we are forgoing other aspects of a traditional wedding like music/dancing, flowers, etc. My preference would be to keep this under $5000 (price per head would vary depending on the size of the guest list) and ideally would love to be closer to $3000-$4000 before tax/tip. I think this is more likely with a BYOB. For a frame of reference, Osteria was quoting prices at $75, $90, or $100 per person, pre-alcohol, depending on whether you got the 3, 4, or 5 course family style meal. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

p.s. When I say Philadelphia area I'm pretty open to spots within 30-60 minutes of the city. Local guests will be coming from the Main Line and South Jersey, but I'm not opposed to having them drive a little bit of a distance if we can find a spot we really like.

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  1. You might try Davios in Center City, they have a number of private rooms near the top of their building as well as an outdoor terrace. Amount of space / cost can be customized to the number of attendees.

    3 Replies
    1. re: tmarzolf

      Thanks! I've always heard good things about Davios and am very, very interested in the idea of an outdoor space. I will most certainly look into this!

      1. re: Laura D.

        We have an appointment to see Davio's tomorrow and I'm excited, as it seems (at least on paper) like a great option. Hopefully the space will seem as nice in person as it does online. Thanks again!

        1. re: Laura D.

          Unfortunately Davio's didn't seem to be what we were looking for. We were excited by the outdoor space, but it wasn't quite as special as we had pictured, and we felt like the indoor space wasn't as what we had hoped (for reasons that are difficult to articulate). Thank you again for the suggestion, though!

    2. You might look at the Mask and Wig club which is associated with Penn. Gorgeous facility and you can work with your own caterer or one they recommend.

      http://maskandwigrentals.wordpress.com/

      8 Replies
      1. re: cwdonald

        Thanks for the recommendation! I assumed that the combination of the site fee and the catering would put us over budget, but I honestly don't know what the site fee is so perhaps this was an unfair assumption. I've just emailed the event planner there to get a sense of pricing.

        Thanks again!

        1. re: Laura D.

          On the second page on facilities they quote the starting cost as 950 for the site fee. I assume you would just be using the grille room if you are in the 40 person range. So that would leave you 4k if your budget is 5k. Lunch obviously should be cheaper than dinner, and depending on what you do with alcohol you might be in the range. Anyway congratulations, and we look forward to hearing where you choose, and how the event goes.

          1. re: cwdonald

            Thanks! I wasn't sure what the $950 applied to but hopefully they'll get back to me soon with some additional pricing information.

            1. re: Laura D.

              I spoke with Kate at the Mask and Wig Club yesterday and we're hoping to go see the site towards the end of the week, as they are getting their floors refinished this week. On paper it sounds great. For anyone interested in pricing information it sounds like the downstairs has a site fee of $995 and the upstairs (which includes the downstairs) is $1995. They only hold one event at a time so there won't be an event upstairs if the downstairs is rented. They provide the booze which is charged on consumption. You are required to pay for a doorman ($100) for all events, and bartender are $195 each (with both prices seeming totally reasonable for me). Anyway, we're really excited to see the place and hope that it has the indescribable "interesting" factor that we've been looking for so we can go ahead and book it. Thanks again for this suggestion!

        2. re: cwdonald

          Excellent thought: the Mask and Wig Club is certainly a memorable venue. The food was good enough to make it a very enjoyable event.

          1. re: Edwardrae

            Thanks! Still haven't heard back from the so I'll circle back again on Monday if they haven't responded to my inquiry. Any idea who catered the event you attended there?

            1. re: Laura D.

              Laura it is summer and a lot of Penn may be on break. I would call and leave a message.

              1. re: cwdonald

                Good idea and one that I'll likely pursue if I don't get follow-up by Monday. I actually work at Penn, though, and there are still plenty of us here! :)

        3. Paradiso on Passyunk Avenue has a private upstairs room that will easily fit 50+ people. They offer sit-down and buffet options. If you contact them, they will email the menus.

          http://www.paradisophilly.com/

          1 Reply
          1. re: Philly Ray

            Thank you! I do not know much about this restaurant and excited to look into it!

          2. We did an office event this past winter upstairs at Anthony's Italian in Haddon Heights. They have two rooms upstairs and are byob. Both the food and service were very good. Might work for you even on a Friday or Saturday.

            I've also used the upstairs space at Casona in Collingswood. Renting the second floor gives you the third floor room as well. Also byob. Was 4 years ago so can't vouch for current quality.
            Just 2 south jersey suggestions.

            1. What about the Joseph Ambler Inn in North Wales? We got married there 6 years ago and I highly recommend it. They have a private dining room separate from the main restaurant area, as well as guest rooms for anyone who wants to stay over and celebrate. There are several different menu options. We did not book the wedding dinner menu package, just a regular dinner (which included apps/cocktail hour) + added bar service. http://www.josephamblerinn.com/wedmen... (eg Lafayette Dinner at around $65 pp not including alcohol). The event coordinator there was great to work with, and the food was delicious. I don't think we paid extra for the private room, it was just included as part of the dinner fees.

              One side note, you didn't specify whether you would be getting married at the same place, but we had our ceremony there too, outdoors on the lawn, and it was beautiful. :)

              1 Reply
              1. re: truman

                Hi,
                I attended a wedding a few years ago at Joseph Ambler Inn and was a bit underwhelmed by the food. Perhaps that was simply due to the menu selection, though. I will definitely look into it!

                Thanks!
                -Laura