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Four Weddings on a Budget

Budget: High
Blue Hill at Stone Barns
630 Bedford Rd., Pocantico Hills, N.Y.; 914-366-9600


Location
This restaurant and farm (bluehillstonebarns.com) is perfect for foodies willing to pay $35,000 to $40,000, plus tax and tip, for celebrity chef Dan Barber to orchestrate their feast. (There’s also a 64-person private dining room that can be reserved for $150 a person, with a $6,000 minimum.) Couples can have their ceremony next to the herb garden, cocktails on the terrace, and dinner in the main dining room. For $8,000 extra, the hay barn can be reserved for dancing.

Catering
Based on the couple’s preferences, Barber and executive chef Michael Anthony will create a seasonal menu, strictly using ingredients from the farm itself or surrounding greenmarkets. Here’s what $400 per person gets: five to seven passed hors d’oeuvre and a full bar at cocktail hour. For dinner: an amuse-bouche, a savory appetizer, a fish course, and a meat course (farm-roasted Berkshire pig is a favorite), plus a dessert. But wedding cake is an extra $15 per slice.

Music
Stone Barns recommends John Ragusa Music (212-706-7227; johnragusamusic.com), which can assemble any kind of live ensemble from Afro-Cuban to disco. Ragusa has a lengthy roster of performers who can be grouped in different combinations, which means he can offer more than one booking on any given date. The average price is $1,000 a piece for six hours of music. If the couple wants several quartets in multiple locations, the cost can skyrocket to $20,000 or more.

Flowers & Décor
The décor is rustic. The dining room setup isn’t traditional. There’s a mix of round and rectangular tables. The linens are simple—an oatmeal cloth with a white overlay. Couples can get more elaborate materials from TriServe Party Rentals for an extra cost (212-752-7661). Stone Barns provides modest flower centerpieces from its gardens, but Sandra Clothier in Tarrytown or Magnolia Flowers & Events in New York and Connecticut can augment arrangements—for a cost.

Alternates: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts with more than 90 acres of formal gardens in Katonah, New York, is available for events from mid-May to the first week of June and then again from mid-August to early October. Le Potager is the exclusive caterer (starts at $5,500 for space; 914-232-5035; caramoor.org). • At Wave Hill House in the Bronx, couples can dine on the tented terrace or in Armor Hall. Great Performances is the exclusive caterer. To reserve the location, you must pay a tax-deductible $5,000 fee plus a $1,000 rental fee from May through October, or a $500 fee from November through April (212-337-6089; wavehill.org).

From the Fall 2005 New York Wedding Guide