Bees who had Weddings at Historical Buildings – Advice!

posted 3 years ago in Venue
Post # 3
15019 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I did mine in a historic building and it didn’t require anything out of the ordinary except linens, which I found online cheaper than most places around here charge for renting anyway. I had to have my caterer check out the place to see what they needed but that’s about it. We did our own alcohol and I wish I had remembered ice, oops, but we could have brought in a bar company who would have done that. I don’t think it would take any further decorative touches, the wedding featured on the site didn’t seem to add any additional decor outside of the ordinary. If you plan to get ready there then you might plan on the things for that like a big mirror, rolling cloths rack,  etc. 

Beautiful location! I can definitely see why you like it. 


Post # 4
309 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2014


My wedding is at a historical museum and you are smart for thinking of these things in advance!

Our venue is very old and has purposely been largely left unchanged from its original incarnation as a Model T car assembly plant.  Ours has no kitchen facilities and not the best restroom facilities and no climate control whatsoever.

Most venues, especially a historical mansion will have a list of preferred vendors that you are encouraged or even required to use.  This is good because it narrows down your choices, and these vendors have experience at the venue so they know the particulars of it and how to best service it.

Find out if the venue has a dedicated event coordinator.  Our venue is very minimally staffed and the “event coordinator” is not a dedicated one, she wears many hats and is not extremely helpful or communicative.  She does what she can but she falls short of what I would consider a true event coordinator through no fault of her own.  If your venue has one it will be helpful to your planning.

Ask to see floor plans & photos of other events, and google image “Burr homestead wedding” for examples of what other weddings did as a starting point.

Surely you will have some built-in indicators of how to furnish and decorate – budget being a primary one, then add in complimenting the existing structure & decor and it will probably happen pretty organically.  In a way it will be easier than deciding how to decorate more of a blank slate venue.

Check to see if they allow flame, many historical buildings do not and you’ll have to use LED candles.

Check on their power capabilities, you may need a generator.

Check on their rules for hanging/rigging to their existing structure – for example, do they allow you to hang string lights from their columns?  You might have gorgeous chandeliers in a historical mansion but you get the drift.

It is slightly more work having an event in this type of venue because  it’s not all inclusive.  But you generally have to make the same decisions even at a standard full service banquet hall, you just have fewer contacts and communication lines to maintain.

A day of coordinator and possibly adding a few a la cart options to that might be in good interest.  I absolutely have to have one.  Ours is $400 for DOC before a la cart options.   

Our venue is on the more challenging side but the pluses outweigh the minuses.  On the plus side of this venue is that it is awesome, so interesting, and historically important, and they give me 2-3 volunteers onsite the night of to give my guests mini-tours of the space and it’s history.  That was a major selling point for me.

I couldn’t imagine having our wedding anyplace else!  I encourage you to keep it up for consideration 🙂  


Post # 5
735 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

We went for a historical victorian house with beautiful well kept gardens, but it was a B&B, so everything was furnished and beautiful. They provide the house and grounds, tables, chairs and they also assisted us day  of to set up. But we had to bring everything else, food, drinks, glasses, linnens, plates, decor everything. And there were a ton of hidden fees. Like we couldnt serve alchohol without a liscenced bartender, plus additional insurance and a permit. When I only wanted to serve bottles of wine. It wasnt worth it for us so we ended up going no alchohol wich in the end turned out to be the better choice. Do what your heart tells you, if you want that historical mansion, go for it. Just plan  a little more in advanced and hire in some help if you can afford it. You could also try to ind a different historical vanue thats a little more set up? Good luck dear!

Post # 7
309 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I took a quick peek at the Burr Mansion and it’s lovely!  And no you do not need to add much of anything as far as decor goes, it’s a natural stunner.  I did get the impression that the coordinator’s primary purpose is to protect the venue and enforce policy rather than receive and direct vendors & set up.  

If you’re not experienced at party planning at all it’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed or afraid of biting off more than you can chew.  Just focus on one task at a time, and stay organized (google docs is the best imo), easy breezy. 

Since they have in-house tables & chairs for the reception, I wonder if they set them up?  If not, I would look to the caterer to do this.  They will charge you for the labor, but as they will already be on-site and are familiar with the space/standard set up it should be a reasonable price.  It is also standard for a caterer to dress the tables with linens, napkins, and table settings.  You can often do the linen rental through them as well.    

Some caterers own plenty of their own stock of dishware, flatware, glassware and other food service items.  Some caterers will have to rent it.  Some will handle the rental themselves and some will have you source the rental, or allow you to if you’d prefer to do it yourself.  Typically the caterer will get a discount from the rental company as a repeat customer that you would not get.  So the caterer will not need to upcharge you for rentals, or not very much (just enough to cover the coordinating and handling of the goods) So set up of tables/chairs/linens and service-ware provisions are items to consider when getting quotes – be sure you are comparing apples to apples between one caterer and another.    

The florist should be provided with a floor plan and be able to work independently, setting the centerpieces and other décor items.  Florists also often assist with selection of items like linens, candles, etc.  I’d look for one experienced at my venue.

You might need to rent a stage if you are having a band.  If you’re having your ceremony there I assume you’ll need to rent chairs.  Someone will have to set up/breakdown and transport each way.  I’d pay the rental company to do this.      

If I were having a wedding there I would keep it very simple, letting the venue shine and splurge instead on help with set up, break down, day-of timeline development, and coordinating – be it the caterer or a DOC.  Unlike my venue the Burr Mansion has all the bones needed for an event.  It shouldn’t be that much different than hosting an event at a full service venue – but definitely more charming than many such venues 🙂    


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