Post # 1
I just got engaged last week. We are thinking of a ceremony possibly next spring or fall, and I’d love an outdoor location…the two tricky things are a) what you do if it rains, and b) our next-to-nothing budget.
We love Robert Treman State Park in Ithaca and thought it would be a nice location for a small and very casual wedding – they have a pavilion and lots of grills for BBQing, and the waterfall is amazing. It might be a little far for some of our family and friends in NJ to travel, though, so I’m trying to find another state park in the NJ, Eastern PA, or central NY area where we might have a similar set up: beautiful surroundings, grills, and a roof over our heads in the event of bad weather.
Any ideas or suggestions? Thanks!
Post # 3
- Wedding: September 2010 - Heron Hill Winery
OOOH Treman is beautiful…I have been looking into possibilities there as well….I really want a vineyard wedding, but am worried it could get to be too expensive. My thoughts were to do a vineyard ceremony then maybe state park reception (there are so many in Ithaca)…Check out http://www.visitithaca.com/Meetings-Groups/Weddings-Social-Gatherings.html
There is a lot of useful info on the site and it includes a list of the state parks in the area.
Post # 4
We are using a state park, we are in Maryland though. I have noticed that this particular park is a little rigid with their rules, so just beware when you visit the park, ask a ton of questions. We are using a pavilion for our reception, if bad weather, then we will do the ceremony underneath the pavilion as well as the reception. The rental of the place is extremely cheap, so thats always nice. Good luck in your planning!
Post # 5
We’re getting married in Saratoga Springs, and the state park there definitely has pavllions you can rent, and it’s beautiful there! Very quiet and serene. There are some beautiful places to take pictures (Hall of Springs), and there’s golfing and even a hotel on the grounds (Gideon Putnam – where we’re getting married, actually). Highly recommended, and it’s just outside Albany! There are also much cheaper hotels about a mile away (best western, hilton, etc.) for your Out of Town guests. The pavillion would be your rain solution.
Post # 6
Thanks, everyone! Bluebutterfly – do you happen to know if you can get an alcohol permit at Robert Treman park? I am searching online and can’t find any info…suppose I could just call, them, couldn’t I? 😉
A lot of state parks have a strict no-alcohol policy, but there are a few where you can buy a permit for special events.
I had hoped to find a similar place around Delaware Water Gap, which would be closer for everyone to get to, but no booze anywhere in the park, ever. We want to be able to offer wine/beer/champagne.
Good luck with your planning! Tell us what you end up deciding.
Post # 7
- Wedding: June 2010 - Tannery Pond at the Darrow School
Another idea would be to look in the Berkshires in Western Mass. There’s a state park outside of Pittsfield called Kennedy State Park that is beautiful and only about 2.5 hour drive up from the city! I’m getting married right near there in an outdoor ceremony at a beautiful old Shaker site…Good luck!
Post # 8
My sister had her reception in a State Park in the Finger Lakes. Some things that I would say to be aware of: She had to book her pavillion 11 months in advance, they are very popular. I would suggest booking for the day of as well as the night before the wedding, so you can decorate. Decorating the morning of an 11am ceremony was CHAOS. Alcohol permit was pretty easy to get at this NY State park, but I can’t speak for the others in NY, although I would assume it would be a pretty consistant process as they’re all administered by the state. I think her permit allowed for self service, but no charging and I think no bartending (not sure if this is true).
She had beautiful weather, but in the case of rain the pavillion would have worked well for the ceremony and reception. But since it was such nice weather we opened all the sides of the pavillion and were able to take pictures in the beautiful surroundings. Also, remember about entrance fees. The park she used had a $7 per car fee to enter. My parents paid for this, telling the ranger at the booth that anyone showing their invitation to the wedding were to be billed to their card.
Good luck, it was really fun for us!
Post # 9
I looked into this briefly and what I found (although not confirmed by the Park System) is that with larger parks it’s hard to secure a “spot” for your wedding. Meaning you get a permit to have your ceremony there but there’s no guarantee that you get the “spot” you want. I think having a reception there can get trickier. Have you checked out the State Park Website yet? http://nysparks.state.ny.us/parks/
There is usually a contact # for each park, maybe try contacting them directly for liquor licensing issues?
On that note, have you looked on the NYC Parks & Recreation Site yet? They have a good listing of Parks that allow weddings and which ones will allow a special permit for liquor. That will be on top of the typical $25 Special Event Permit. http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_permits_and_applications/planning_an_event.html
Another option is instead of just a open park space, you can rent out a historic site for the day. At least this way you know for sure which “spot” is yours!
Post # 10
Oh, this is all so helpful! Thanks, ladies! I’m going to check out all of your suggestions.
Mskalinin – thanks for the tip about the parking fees and how your sister handled taking care of that – great idea. Nice to hear the pavilion worked out for her (and that you had good weather). Can’t believe state parks book up so far ahead in advance! Wow!
Gerbera – that link to the NY parks and rec is a super idea – don’t know why it didn’t even occur to me to go that route – I got stuck in state parks, somehow!
A friend of mine got married a few years ago and found a great big house to rent through either Craigslist or some vacation rental site (VRBO.com)? They spent a long time looking through ads, but eventually found a place that slept about 14 of us, which was so fun, having a kitchen and being able to stay the weekend…it also had a large and lovely flower garden and huge lawn. It’s beyond our budget (they hired caterers and had a tent, etc.), but I’m starting to do some browsing into the vacation home rental to see if I can find a large place / barn/farmhouse – something along those lines.
Too many of the sites I’ve looked into require you to use one of “their” caterers, and we just don’t have the money for it. Our friends and family would be fine with a great big BBQ, and so would we, so we’re hoping to find a place where we can do that.
Gerbera, where are you going to have your ceremony?
Post # 11
You should check out Croton Point Park, Hudson valley area. There is a huge pavillion with a ring of barbeque grills. The park is huge, and the pavillion is very close to the river. I went there at sunset and it was gorgeous. The tables are picnic tables that are exposed to the weather so you would need table clothes. From my understanding you can get an alcohol permit from the westchester county offices.
I couldn’t find a good website for the park, but doing a google image, or flickr search for the park should give you an idea of what it looks like.
Post # 12
I’m getting married at Taughannock Falls State Park. Our big issue was rain, but we were able to find a fully enclosed building instead of just a pavillion, so our backup is inside in front of the fire place. It’ll be a bit crowded with rain, but we’ll manage.
I love the NY State Parks because they have no catering restrictions and liquor/alcohol restrictions. You just sign a waiver. They are a lot more flexible than the town parks we looked at. The downside is paying for parking for all the guests to get in (but the rental fee is miniscule, so that was okay with us). We can have our ceremony where we want with minimal restrictions, and they don’t want sound amplified through the park, so they want everything directed toward the water and indoors/under tent if possible. But they’ve worked with us.
Post # 13
Have you looked at buttermilk falls in ithaca? I love that park.
Post # 14
Robert H Treman State Park in Ithaca also has a great building for a reception. I’ve just recently heard of a wedding there.
Post # 15
What about Letchworth State Park? Its not that far from Treman and has alot more areas to have wedding. We thought about it because we attend a family reunion there every few years but decided on someplace more central for everyone attending. What about a county park? Their rules aren’t as rigid as state parks – NYS is so uptight.
Post # 16
All great choices. Robert Treman has a nice lower pavillion that some friends of mine used. I’ve also seen a tent set up at the upper entrance next to the old mill. A vineyard wedding is also extremely possible and affordable. We looked a both Wagner and Knapp Vineyard as well so that we would have to do less of the set up. Wagner charged a $1000 venue fee while Knapp is not charging us a venue fee but a $250 ceremony fee to have our ceremony in their onsite gardens.