I actually live in Albany (born and raised!) but I am getting married in VT. When I first read your post I was totally going to suggest GSM, because my future BIL had his wedding there and it was an amazing venue, great staff, awesome food and service. But I see you aren’t considering that one – so many high school proms were held there! Haha.
Mallozzi’s – eh. I have heard mixed reviews about the place. A friend’s brother got married there and it felt very…well, generic wedding-hallish, if you will.
What about the Stockade Inn right in Schenectady?
How far outside of Schenectady are you willing to go? There is the Appel Inn, in Guilderland on Route 146, a friend from high school got married there and another friend is getting married there at the end of October. It’s got a bit more of a “rustic” feel to it, so that kind of depends on the vibe you’re going for. There is also the Van Patten Golf Course in Clifton Park. It’s totally a hidden gem. I never knew it was there, but a friend got married there this past October and it is GORGEOUS. Literally breathtaking. The room the cocktail hour was held in had amazing views, and the ballroom was stunning. She said their prices were extremely reasonable. You could also check out Birch Hill in Schodack, the Century House in Latham (one of FI’s friends had his wedding there but it was very pricey), and another hidden gem, The Arts Center on the Hudson in Mechanicville. If I was getting married in this area I definitely would have gone with the Arts Center on the Hudson: http://www.albany.com/business/arts-center-on-the-hudson-6104/website/ It can hold up to 400 in the gallery so a wedding your size would be no problem!
We’re going with Matt Ramos for our photographer, he lives in Schenectady. He’s awesome, but he’s expensive, and he might be booked already for June. You might check out Tracey Buyce: http://www.traceybuyce.com/. I’ve heard good things about her. Now, I do know a photographer who has shot several weddings, and she’s awesome, but she’s just starting up her own wedding photography business, so she’s considered an amateur. HOWEVER, she only charges something like $875 for 8 hours. If you’re interested, PM me and I’ll pass on her info. It might be worth it to just check out her portfolio because $875 for 8 hours is a steal. Plus she lives right in Schenectady, in the Stockade. If she wasn’t going to be a guest at my wedding, I’d have her for my photographer.
The Piano Man is providing our DJ. They’ve been awesome so far. Right after we signed our contract, they provided us with a password and our own customizable web page. You fill out information about what you want your DJ’s vibe to be (cheesy [um no…wonder if anyone says they want their DJ to be cheesy], high energy, not vocal much, etc). You can choose your DJ’s attire (tux, suit, casual). On the page you can also create a “Must Play” and a “Do Not Play” list and describe your general vision for the reception. They have super reasonable prices too. If we’d gone with live music, it would have been The New York Players. They did my future BIL’s wedding and they were AMAZING (not in our budget…)
For catering, even if you don’t have your wedding at GSM, you can hire The Mansion catering if you’re interested in that. They’re probably the most well-known local caterer, with the best reputation.
And for cake/desserts – Cocca Dott’s on Central Avenue. I’m partial to them because I live dangerously close and am addicted to their cupcakes/order their cakes for any event.
I don’t have much info on florists because that’s something we’re not doing locally.
Phew didn’t mean this to be so long…but I hope it helps!