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That Party Was Awesome

Reception ideas your guests will be talking about long after the last glass of Champagne.


1. Have a food truck instead of a caterer.
All Kate Artibee, owner of Sanctuary Pilates, wanted on the menu at her Brooklyn wedding reception was her favorite food: chorizo tacos and grilled corn from the Margarita Taco truck of Red Hook soccer field fame. So she asked them—and they agreed. Their kitchen, after all, is already mobile. The recent explosion of haute food trucks in the city means there are plenty of other roving, tasty options. The Rickshaw Dumpling Truck can bring three types of dumplings your way—including its famous Peking duck version—along with salads and soups (minimum $1,200, includes location fee and food for 100; 212-924-9225; rickshawdumplings.com). Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream is a terrific supplement for dessert (from $600; 718-701-1630; vanleeuwenicecream.com). Check out the Vendy Awards website (streetvendor.org/vendys), which highlights some of the city’s best.

2. Have awesome karaoke, on purpose.
The truth is, if the party gets wild enough, there will be spontaneous (read: drunken) singing with the band. Better to control that inevitability from the get-go. The three-piece Human Karaoke Experience (humankaraoke.com) plays a regular karaoke night at O’Flanagan’s on the Upper East Side and has an impressive 562-song repertoire. Want something with a bit more attitude? Try Arlene’s World Famous Live Rock ’n’ Roll Karaoke Band, the group that’s headed up the renowned Rock ’n’ Roll Karaoke night at Arlene’s Grocery for five years ($500 an hour; 212-358-1633; julia@arlenesgrocery.net), or Rock Star Karaoke NYC, the in-house band at Hank’s Saloon in Boerum Hill, which has played both Saturday Night Live after-parties and Bonnaroo (from $3,000; rockstarkaraokenyc.com). Or go to Karaoke Champ on Lafayette and rent one of its machines (each loaded with more than 17,000 songs), plus an amp, a speaker, a monitor, and three microphones, for the after-party ($395 for the weekend; karaokechamp.com).

3. Ride a bike to the reception.
If guests are athletically inclined and it doesn’t conflict with the dress code, Central Park Bike Tours has a fleet of 140 bicycles at your disposal ($10 per bike for transport to location; 212-541-8759; centralparkbiketour.com). Or start the party early with the Queen Maria, a 44-seat bus that has a wet bar, disco lights, a smoke machine, and a hostess (you provide music and liquor; from $1,100 for three hours; 866-275-5466; thepartyride.com). Designer Limousines has an 80-passenger double-decker (although you’re recommended to keep the crowd to 65; from $3,240 for three hours; 800-540-3374; designerlimo.com). Don’t want to stay land-based? New York Water Taxi can take your wedding party on a cruise around Manhattan (212-742-1969; nywatertaxi.com).

4. Dress as the Bride of Frankenstein.
Really. Manhattan schoolteacher Molly Lippman recently attended a costume wedding and came away from the experience a big fan. “It was really fun! And there was something special about how everyone, from the youngest kids to the 80-year-old grandparents, were dressed up,” she says. Lippman found her own costume (a fairy) at a vintage shop on 23rd Street. The couple went as Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein. The Creative Costume Company (242 W. 36th St., 8th fl., nr. Eighth Ave.; 212-564-5552) has a wide selection of elaborate getups (Lady Godiva! Carmen Miranda!) available for rental; alterations are included in the price.

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