Forget the traditional wedding dinner. These days, some couples could be saying their vows accompanied by a spread of pastrami and corned beef, with plenty of mustard on the side.
Katz’s Delicatessen, the legendary, 133-year-old New York restaurant of “I’ll have what she’s having” fame, is going into the business of hosting small weddings — at least for a day. The dining spot, known for its Jewish-style, meaty offerings, is partnering with Sweet Hearts, a wedding business in the city, to offer a $2,500 package, available for a select number of couples planning to tie the knot and willing to commit to Aug. 28 as their big day.
Included in the deal: an officiant to conduct the ceremony, a photographer to capture the event and, of course, lots of pastrami and corned beef. The couple can invite up to six guests.
Officials with Katz’s and Sweet Hearts said they may offer similar modestly scaled packages in the future. Katz’s already hosts larger weddings, either at its location in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood or at other venues via its catering division. Katz’s owner Jake Dell said it can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $70,000 to have a full-scale wedding at the deli.
Dell added that Katz’s has become increasingly in demand for all sorts of nuptials.
“There’s something about Katz’s that lends itself towards love,” he said.
Wedding professionals said it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Katz’s and Sweet Hearts are offering a small — or “micro” — wedding package. They noted that this has become the summer of such intimate affairs because of Covid-19, echoing a trend that started last year. The wedding planning and registry service The Knot reports that the average wedding guest count was 66 in 2020, down by about half from the figure of 131 in 2019.
Some professionals said the “micro” trend was already in motion before the pandemic, pointing to how Generation Z couples have been looking to avoid the large affairs of previous generations, because they consider it wasteful spending.
“They seem to be a little budget conscious, even frugal,” said Corina Beczner, an event planner based in Northern California.
Another factor that could explain why a pastrami-themed wedding might have appeal: Couples aren’t locked into traditional choices — say, a prime-rib dinner — for their wedding meal anymore, said industry professionals. Instead, they are all about embracing the kind of fun, eclectic foods they eat every day.
José Rolón, a New York-based wedding planner, said he has been involved in weddings where couples have offered guests everything from barbecue to food from popular burger chains.
Of course, the problem with a deli wedding where meats and cheeses may figure prominently is that it may not leave options for couples or guests who adhere to a vegan diet. Katz’s is most famous for its $24.95 pastrami sandwich. Other items in the “favorites” section of its menu include a $25.95 reuben sandwich, a $23.95 brisket sandwich, matzoh ball soup and New York cheesecake.
Julie Guinta, founder of Sweet Hearts, the wedding company that has partnered with Katz’s, said that she and the restaurant might be able to work something out for the non-carnivorous crowd. But she added that if you’re a vegan, the famed delicatessen “is probably not your jam.”