Blog ~ elopement reception
Wondering where to eat after saying “I do”? As an NYC elopement photographer, I’ve joined hundreds of couples for their intimate receptions around the city. I’m constantly on the lookout to expand my list of the best elopement restaurants NYC has to offer!
How to select a great post-elopement restaurant in NYC
New York City has no shortage of amazing places to eat, and the limitless options are both a blessing and a curse. I think there are three key questions you need to ask before digging into your choices:
- What’s the guest count?
- What neighborhood do you need to be in?
- What kind of food do you want served?
Once you have it narrowed down to that level, you’ll want to start asking more specific questions that will guide you on where to reach out to:
- What’s the budget?
- Do you want a private or a semi-private space?
- How much do you want to style the space?
Best Elopement Restaurants NYC
While I can’t list every fantastic restaurant option out there, I can name some of the best elopement restaurants NYC has to offer. Here are three really solid choices that might be just what you’re looking for.
Frankies 457 Spuntino
This Carroll Gardens Italian restaurant serves family-style meals in a private carriage house out back that seats around 60 people. The addition of a seasonal tented opening extends the capacity to around 100. The rest of the space behind the restaurant is a patio garden that some couples will use for their ceremony, for cocktail hour mingling, or for an extended setup for dessert and dancing. While the space comes with a lot of charm built in, most couples opt to style it out with floral arrangements, place settings, and other personal touches.
Website: Frankies 457 Spuntino
Best nearby hotel: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Best nearby ceremony location: Brooklyn Bridge Park
I must love old carriage houses, because Haven’s Kitchen is another great restaurant located in one. Near Union Square in Manhattan, this spot is mostly known for its first floor sustainable farm-to-table cooking school and its third floor loft event space. The private dining room on the second floor for up to 40 people is the true hidden gem for anyone eloping, though! A huge bonus to this space is the bar/fireplace area that takes up the rest of the second floor, which makes for a fantastic spot for an intimate ceremony or a laid back mingling over some farm-fresh cocktails.
Website: Haven’s Kitchen
Best nearby hotel: The High Line Hotel
Best nearby ceremony location: The High Line
I recently stumbled into this West Village Italian restaurant on a recent elopement and the private dining room in the back really blew me away. This hip space is definitely for a smaller crowd, maybe up to 14 total, but it has some really great styling and could stand pretty well on its own.
Website: Charlie Bird
Best nearby hotel: The Dominick
Best nearby ceremony location: Manhattan Marriage Bureau (City Hall)
But what about all the other amazing restaurants in NYC? Can they host elopement receptions?
While there are a number of NYC restaurants that are well-known for having an amazing dedicated space for private dining, you don’t need to limit your search to these exclusive setups. Almost any restaurant will entertain the idea of booking out the entire space, even if they’ve never hosted a private event before. So let your taste buds guide you, and don’t be afraid to approach your favorite neighborhood spot!
The City Hall wedding of Callie & Dan was so simple and elegant. The fanciest thing about it might have been Callie’s floral crown! I love that New York can host such simple yet fulfilling wedding days for couples from around the world. In fact, if I had known about having an NYC City Hall wedding when I got married, that’s probably what we would have done.
This City Hall wedding kept it simple and elegant
This elopement couple’s intimate wedding day followed the tried-and-true recipe for success — keep it simple and include those that matter most to you. The best way to keep your NYC elopement ceremony simple? Go to City Hall. (If you haven’t yet, check out our recently updated 2018 guide to getting married at City Hall.)
Other paperwork might be boring to fill out, but the small moments that happen while you and your witness fill out the marriage license paperwork are always worth documenting. I love the laughs and smiles that overtook Callie, Dan, and her sister as they completed everything!
While it is a brief ceremony, the emotions fly during those two minutes. With a group of guests along for the ride, there are always hugs that immediately follow the ceremony and I love it when I can capture all of these happening around me. It’s always such a mad dash to get these because they’re trying to (nicely) get you to leave the room so that they can do the next ceremony, haha!
Hopping just across the street from City Hall provides the perfect spot for some group photos. I loved these last few with Callie, her mom, grandmother, and sisters. Don’t they all look so amazing?! Then it was time to hop in a cab and get some portraits by the waterfront with views overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge. With just a quick detour as the guests made their way to the reception, we were able to capture all of the amazing portraits Callie & Dan wanted. Then we got them back to the restaurant to join up with their guests for lunch!
Charlie Bird Elopement Reception
This bi-level West Village restaurant has a hidden gem — a private room in which to host an elopement reception! Callie & Dan’s intimate party of twelve fit perfectly, and with a few simple floral details and customized menus the room popped to life. If you’re looking for a great space to host a small elopement reception, I definitely recommend checking them out!
Callie & Dan, thank you so much for including me in your City Hall wedding day. It was a pleasure to document your story!
The Best NYC Elopement Vendors
Wedding venue – City Hall
Elopement reception restaurant – Charlie Bird
NYC elopement photographer – JC Lemon Photography