I’m getting married in the Hudson Valley on June 5, 2010. I wish I had found this local board earlier in my search for a venue, because it was greuling. Or maybe I am just picky. Ironically, we ended up in a place I would have never considered, but here’s what happened first.
Our first choice was to rent a house near New Paltz for a week or a weekend and have the wedding on the property. But the cost of tents, caterers, and all the rest was astronomical and home owners always tack on a site fee of atleast $1500 for weddings. They say it’s because of the "foot traffic" on the land.
So, we decided to go the usual route, but try to find a place with beautiful scenic views, an outdoor ceremony option, good food, and nearby hotel accomofations. We went to A LOT of places and wound up loving The Garrison and The Highlands Country Club in Garrison, NY near coldspring. They are both owned by the same people. We went with the Highlands Country Club because we are having a smaller wedding and I LOVED the high ceilings, dark wood floors, exposed brick fireplaces, and double verandas. The place has a simple, rustic, classy feel to it, and you can get married on the golf course. It was $125 per person for a Saturday night with a 100 person minimum (which we were going to have a hard time meeting, since vendors and children can not be included in the 100) and I got them down to $1000 to have the ceremony on site. There is a small restaurant attached to the venue that you can rent out for the evening for an additonal $2000 I think. If you don’t, the door to it remains closed and outside people can still have dinner there. This sounded fine to me.
Here comes all the glitches: When we visited the sites, it was February, no one was around. We went back for the tasting in June and the place was crawling with Country Cluibbers. I asked if it would be that busy during our wedding, and our coordinator simply said "You won’t notice." Um…yeah, I will. People are swimming, playing tennis, golfing and eating next door. This, in part, was our fault for not asking or thinking to ask this question when we visited initially.
Then We found out that our original date, May 22, was smack dab i the middle of graduation weekend for the many universities in the area, which meant that we could not get hotel room blocks to save our lives and we were going to have to bus people 40 minutes up and down from Tarrytown so that they wouldn’t have to spend $250 on a hotel room.
FINALLY, our coordinator (who was actually really very nice) emails me and tells me that a "private party" wants to rent out the restauran on the same night as my wedding and that she wanted to give me first choice. I put two and two together and realized that it would probably a graduation party and I really could not deal with that.
We wound up cancelling our wedding there. I asked if we could move it to the Garrison, but the cost is $150 per person with a 150 person minimum on Saturday nights, which, like I said, we would never come close to, and we didn’t want a Friday or Sunday wedding.
Here’s the AWESOME part: somehow, in my initial search, I never considered Bear Mountain State Park. Turns out, they are in the process of completing a million dollar renovation to the Inn. Now, the Inn would be too big for me anyway, but they have another venue, called The Overlook Lodge, which they have finished rennovating. it has a blue slate patio for cocktail hour which you can also use for your ceremony, an indoor ceremony option that looks like a Church (and they don’t charge you extra to use it), 4 stone cottages, which are being rennovated, have 6 rooms each, sleep 12 people each, and have a living room with frig, fireplace, and wet bar. ON TOP OF THAT, the Overlook Lodge has MORE hotel rooms which are being rennovated too. I saw ine that they had finished already and it was really beautifully done – rustic, granite bathroom, comfy.
ALSO – after the wedding, because we are in a state park, there is no sound ordinance and we can bring in our own food and alcohol for an after party, Seriously, how much better can this get?
Best Part – Pricing:
Saturday night at the Overlook Lodge: $99 per person, 75 person minimum. This includes the ceremony, cocktail hour, 4 hour reception. (we are adding some stuff on to the cocktail hour for additional fees.)
We’re also having a private farewell brunch there the next day – which is $29.99 per person but has a sick amount of food and bloody mary’s/mimosa’s.
Apparently, some people have had some issues with booking the Inn, but as I said, I won’t be in there. I think it is slow going and won’t be opened until after next fall or something.
The only thing I am not that happy with is the size of the dance floor. I feel like it’s small and might ask about renting a new one to put over it.
It’s really lovely there too – woodsy, with a big lake, trails, a carousel, and lots of stuff for your guests to do if they want to make it a weekend. I am so excited!
And my hand hurts from feverishly typing! PM me if you have more queestions.
P.S. You can also have you ceremony and reception in the Carousel House if that’s your thing.