Big thanks for all the wedding/catering advice. The winning venue is the Brooklyn Museum, which we're ecstatic about. (FYI for anyone getting married: despite the stated policy, you do not have to use the official caterer).
Now we're breaking our heads over what to do for the rehearsal dinner, which is supposed to include all the the out-of-towners. When we add family and close friends, that comes to 150, maybe even 200 people that we have to feed on a Friday night. (Ron has taken to calling this event "the wedding before the wedding.")
Any ideas on how/where to do this without decimating our budget? We've talked to City Bakery, but their estimate came in a little high-- we'd like to keep it around $50 a person. Other requirements: We need the atmosphere to be comfortable and organized-- after all, the whole point of the dinner is the toasting, and we can't have noise/interuption from outsiders. The wedding is in October, so it needs to be inside. We don't need anything fancy: great pizza, for example, would be fine, and would contrast nicely with the formality of the next day's wedding (no Chinese though: it's the one exception to our otherwise omnivorous taste). Manhattan or Brooklyn would be best. And we're flexible on the kind of event we throw-- for example, we've considered doing a dessert party/oneg shabbat instead of a full dinner.
Huge thanks for your ideas. If you come up with a winner, we'll find a delicious way to thank you.