Wedding Venue Cost: Per Se
Thomas Keller is one of the world’s most famous chefs, and some of his restaurants include the legendary French Laundry in California and Per Se in New York City. It’s extremely difficult to get a prime dining time reservation at these restaurants. As a result, it’s not a surprise that some couples are interested in making private bookings to create an unforgettable wedding reception. In fact, two of my good friends held their reception at Per Se, and every aspect of the evening was impeccable. I never asked them what the cost was, but I was able to obtain an estimate for a possible Friday evening reception in winter 2014.
Wedding Venue: Per Se
Date Price Quoted: Summer 2013
Wedding Date Quoted For: Winter 2014 (Friday evening)
Price Assumptions: Includes dinner reception for 60 guests
Room Name: West Room
Venue Fee: $750
Catering Per Person (Low Range): $185
Catering Per Person (High Range): $270
Total Wedding Venue Cost: $19,327
The Main Point
I’ve made the assumption of 150 guests in analyzing the cost of other wedding venues so far, but Per Se’s West Room only has a capacity of 60 people (72 if you request slimmer chairs but let’s assume 60). As a result, the total wedding venue cost analysis for Per Se should not be used for direct price comparison with the other wedding venues.
Per Se charges a $750 venue fee, and the catering cost per person starts at $185 for a four course menu or $215 for a five course menu. They also offer a chef’s tasting menu, which is $235 per guest for seven courses or $270 per guest for nine courses. Like the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, alcohol and canapés are not included in the base price, but they are available as add-on options. Full open premium bar starts at $38 per person per hour while canapés start at $30 per person per hour. Another point to note is that the service fee or gratuity is 25% while most wedding venues set that at 20%. Last but not least, the West Room at Per Se has a minimum food and beverage spending requirement of $8,000. Assuming you have close to 60 guests, I do not see the minimum spending requirement being an issue.
Unsurprisingly, a wedding reception at Per Se will be quite expensive. For a world-renowned, three Michelin star restaurant, however, the price is actually reasonable (but probably not affordable!) when you think about it. In fact, I believe the standard nine course chef’s tasting menu at Per Se is $295, which means you actually get a discount by booking a private event.
Of course, the price will increase even more if you choose to host a cocktail hour and add on alcohol and canapés. To put it in perspective, it will cost you less to have 150 guests at other highly regarded wedding venues, such as The Palm House, NYIT de Seversky Mansion, and Westbury Manor. Nevertheless, I had a few readers inquire about Per Se and other famous restaurants in New York City so I thought I’d share the information. You can also book Per Se’s Main Dining Room, but the venue cost skyrockets; I’ll talk about that in a future post.
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