We've already taken a look at New York wedding venues that won't bust your budget, so naturally, it's time to review the poshest, swankiest and most go-for-broke wedding venues in the city. These are the places that float about in the New York Times Vows section, rom-com movies, and your champagne dreams. From the upper-crusty Upper East Side down to the trend-tastic Bowery, these are venues perfect for gawking—and if the stars align, for saying "I do."
1) The Plaza, Fifth Avenue
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Eddie Murphy and, well, Kelsey Grammer (fourth time's a charm, Frasier!) have all hosted their nuptials at the legendary Plaza. A Central Park-view wedding reception here is luxe all the way—running $375, plus tax and 23% service, per person for the peak time of Saturday evening in June or September. (Let's just assume we're talking peak Saturdays throughout this piece to make things easy). They do require a minimum of 200 guests and if you'd like to hold your ceremony on the Terrace Room, extend your credit line for an additional $12,000. Since the hotel is making such a big payday, they'll comp the couple a bridal suite for the night of the wedding, plus day-of preparation suites for the bride and groom. Added perk: The per-person reception fee also includes a specially designed cake from famous cake-makers Sylvia Weinstock or Ron Ben-Israel. Fifth Ave at Central Park South, Contact: 866-770-8229. Click here for further details.
2) Mandarin Oriental, Columbus Circle
Heading up to the luxury Mandarin Oriental hotel atop the Time Warner Center always feels like the ultimate staycation in the city. The 36th floor views of Central Park are pretty mindblowing, so imagine getting married up there. It'll cost you $350, plus tax and 22% service, per person, but there is no additional rental fee to hold your ceremony there. Score! The fee does not include a cake, but they do offer champagne with your three-course dinner. Also, along with the usual comped day-of and night-of bridal suite, they'll also offer you one gratis honeymoon night—if you book your entire post-nuptial vacay with the Mandarin Oriental. 80 Columbus Circle at 60th St. Contact: 212-805-8815. Click here for further details.
3) The Pierre, Upper East Side
The recently-renovated and very tony Pierre hotel is well known for its rich history (it was once owned by John Paul Getty) and those tricky trompe l'oeil murals in the event rooms. A wedding for a minimum of 200 guests will run the betrothed couple (or a parental "investor") $300, plus tax and 22% service, per person. Then add in about $4010 for staff and additional extras for a wedding this size. Like its Fifth Avenue nemesis the Plaza, the Pierre also offers a Sylvia Weinstock cake built into the reception fee. Unlike the Plaza, a ceremony in the Cotillion Room will not accrue an additional fee. Score again! One-upping the Plaz, the hotel offers two nights in the bridal suite gratis, plus one evening for the groom. 2 E. 61st St near Fifth Ave. Contact: 212-838-8000. Click here for further details.
4) Cipriani, 42nd Street
Not even that pesky mob scandal put the slightest taint on the dazzling Cipriani events empire, which traces its roots back to the legendary Harry's Bar in Venice. While Cipriani now has two locations, it's the Italian-Renaissance–inspired and seriously-impressive 42nd Street venue that we have our eye on. A Saturday night, peak season wedding ceremony and reception costs $300, plus tax and 23% service, per guest. The space just calls for (and requires) theatrical lighting, so a basic package starts at around $10,000. They do not include a cake in the price, but you can bring one in without being charge one of those ridiculous cake cutting fees. The only downside to a non-hotel wedding is there's none of that comped-bridal suite business. 110 E. 42nd St between Lexington and Park Aves. Contact: 646-723-0826. Click here for further details.
5) The American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side
Dinosaur buffs and posh bridezillas will definitely agree on one thing: The American Museum of Natural History is an uh-mazing place to hold a wedding. With the ridonkulous backdrop of the Rose Planetarium and (weather permitting) the Arthur Ross Terrace for cocktails, a wedding day there would live on for eternity—as would paying off the bill. For starters, anyone who wants to get married there must pay a flat $3500 Patron Membership donation fee. Also required is the museum admission (which is basically the room rental fee) of $11,000, plus an additional $1000 if you're using the Terrace. Don't forget that your guests need to eat and drink, so factor in $235, plus tax, per person for the food and $52, plus tax, per person for the booze. Just to keep things in perspective, though: It's still a bargain compared to the Plaza. Central Park West at 79th St. Contact: 212-769-5350. Click here for further details.
6) The Four Seasons, Park Ave If you're in the market for a more intimate but still super fancypants wedding, than look no further than the Four Seasons. Real Housewives of NYC/Bethenny Ever After fans may remember the posh hotel as where Bethenny Frankel and hot understanding hubby Jason Hoppy tied the knot—because nothing says intimate like reality show cameras. But anyway! While Bravo may have footed the bill for some (or all) of Bethenny's big day, us regular non-TV folk would have to shell out $275, plus tax and 22% service per person (for the Black Tie ceremony and reception package for 80 to 120 guests). The rate also includes a fab cake from Sylvia Weinstock or Ron Ben-Israel (do these guys have a monopoly on all the fancy wedding places in NY? We're not complaining) and the complimentary bridal suite. There is also the smaller Classic Elegance package at $235, plus tax and service, per person for a smaller affair. Since Bethenny hosted only 80 guests at her wedding (not sure if that counts the camera and production crew), that's probably the package she went with. 57 E. 57th St near Park Ave. Contact: 212-350-6501. Click here for further details.
· Seven Lovely Wedding Venues That Won't Break the Bank [Racked NY]
· All Weddings Week 2011 Coverage [Racked NY]