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Who Knew?!

Six unlikely reception locations.


FAO Schwarz  

Brooklyn Bowl
61 Wythe Ave., nr. N. 11th St., Williamsburg; 718-963-3369; brooklynbowl.com
Housed in a 23,000-square-foot former iron factory, Williamsburg’s much-loved bowling behemoth offers a spacious playland where up to 246 guests can dine on Blue Ribbon cuisine, rock out with the venue’s massive sound system, and bowl on sixteen lanes. The in-house event staff can help recruit top-notch musical acts to perform, and throughout the night the wedding party can seek refuge in the green room—occasionally inhabited by stars like Kanye West. Price upon request.

Webster Hall
125 E. 11th St., nr. Third Ave.; 212-353-1600; websterhall.com
Judging by the raucous Prohibition-era balls that once took place at this 125-year-old venue, you can be sure your $20,000 to $40,000 will buy one serious party. After a ceremony on the main stage, cocktails in the Studio or Marlin Room, and a seated dinner in the ballroom and upper balcony (which accommodate 450 people combined), guests can get down with help from the hall’s multimillion-dollar sound-and-light system.

City Reliquary
370 Metropolitan Ave., nr. Havemeyer St., Williamsburg; 718-782-4842; cityreliquary.org
A microscopic museum for the New York–history nerd in you, City Reliquary comes with its own officiant: president and registered minister Bill Scanga. Guests can browse the quirky memorabilia in the gallery, then head to the low-key backyard, where 50 to 75 people can dine at folding tables provided by the venue. The space is modest—there’s just a single bathroom—but it’s also a bargain, at $1,000 for six hours. Catering isn’t included but can easily be called in from neighborhood favorites like Fette Sau, Saltie, and Pies-N-Thighs.

FAO Schwarz
767 Fifth Ave., at 58th St.; 212-644-9400; fao.com
If your childhood fantasy involved taking over a famous toy store with 1,000 of your closest friends, you could get your wish. There will be ample opportunity to jump on the big piano after your guests enjoy cocktails, dinner, and dancing throughout the store’s first and second floors. Prices begin at $5,000 for a two-hour affair capped at 70 people and increase based on time, number of guests, and how much customized whimsy you choose to invoke. (Human toy soldiers, for example, can be hired to add to the atmosphere.)

Proteus Gowanus
543 Union St., at Nevins St., Gowanus; 718-243-1572; proteusgowanus.com
For $1,400, art lovers can host a 100-person affair at this gallery and reading room, located in a turn-of-the-century box factory just off Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal. Summer is the gallery’s off-season, so you’ll have free rein of the space’s outdoor postindustrial alleyway (ideal for cocktail-hour overflow), main gallery, and adjoining libraries and exhibition spaces, the latter of which hold historical artifacts found in the neighborhood.

Rockaway Taco
95-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd., at Beach 96th St., Rockaway Beach; 347-213-7466; rockawaytaco.com
Surfer types with small social circles can throw an intimate party at this beachy snack stand, where 15 to 20 friends can dine on the outdoor patio before the space is cleared for open-air dancing. After a few margaritas, guests can stumble to the beach one block away (skinny-dipping optional). All-day rental starts at $15,000 to $20,000 and includes the space, staff, and customized catering from the in-house taco team.

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