Take It Outside
Leafy urban rooftops, pastoral estates, and sandy sweeping beachfronts are closer than you might think. Two hours or less away from the city, to be exact.
In the City
Bryant Park Grill
This Midtown spot is favored for both its prime midtown location and the relative ease of planning an event there. “Everything from food to linens is done through the restaurant, which means much less stress from a logistical perspective,” says planner Loulie Walker of LWE. The south garden, with its tall trees and dripping ivy, has a romantic, Parisian feel, as does a larger rooftop terrace lined with lattice and blossoms. Both outdoor spaces can be tented year-round, and the restaurant’s bright Hugh Hardy-designed dining room's tall windows overlook the park. Accommodates between 60 and 250 people.
Cost: About $175 a head for a Saturday night in season, plus tax and gratuity. Includes a wedding-night suite at the Bryant Park Hotel. 25 W. 40th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-768-4242; bryantpark.org
Hotel Chic, Reimagined:
The Bowery Hotel looks like a castle inside but has a fabulous terrace that can be used year-round,” Walker says. The hotel’s 10,000 square feet of event space has mounted deer heads, twinkling chandeliers, and a fireplace inside, while the plein air terrace features terra-cotta banquettes and sumptuous hanging plants. In colder weather, the terrace can be tented and heated; in warmer months, the patio doors are removed to create a fluid indoor-outdoor space. Accommodates 60 to 300 guests for a seated dinner.
Cost: Catering exclusively by in-house restaurant Gemma ranges from $250 to $300 per person, and there is a $5,000 venue-rental fee. Tent and heaters are additional. 335 Bowery, nr. E. 3rd St.; 212-505-9100; theboweryhotel.com
Hidden Rooftop Gem:
As its name suggests, Elevated Acre is an acre-size expanse of green on a lower-Manhattan rooftop. The space’s combination of river views, a landscaped garden, and modern-design touches - like a 50-foot light sculpture- is reminiscent of the High Line, but this is yours alone. It also has the element of surprise: Who’d expect to find a meadow in the Financial District? “You go up all these escalators and then through these buildings to get there, so when you arrive, it's that much more dramatic,” says Jung Lee of Fête. She likes the garden for cocktails and the large lawn for dinner.
Cost: Venue fee is $5,000; catering by Aramark starts at $150 per person. Additional $8,000 for use of tent. 55 Water St., nr. Coenties Slip; 212-963-7029; elevatedacre.com
High-Drama Art Space:
El Museo del Barrio
Thanks to a recent renovation, this institution doubles as a sleek location with 3,200 square feet of outdoor space. The courtyard, with its warm tropical-hardwood paneling and metal canopy, contrasts dramatically with the museum’s restored Beaux-Arts exterior, and offers a view of the Central Park Conservatory Gardens. The outdoor space can be combined with the museum café and glass-encased lobby to accommodate a whopping 400 people for a seated dinner. For an additional fee, the museum can also open up its exhibition area so guests will have the opportunity to roam.
Cost: $6,000 venue fee for courtyard, café, and lobby, plus catering by Great Performances, which starts at about $150 per head. 1230 Fifth Ave., nr. 104th St.; 212-660-7195; elmuseo.org
From the Summer 2010 New York Wedding Guide