Thought I’d go ahead and post here, since this is my venue for next October. I think I had seen this information somewhere online before I was really in the planning stages, and when I tried to find it again I wasn’t able to. So here are some nuggets of wisdom I’ve picked up.
When @ct1196: said it booked up fast, that is no joke. They start taking reservations on the first weekday of the month, the year before the event. So if you want January 2014, reservations open up January 2013. SATURDAYS GO FIRST and the parks dept takes WALK IN CUSTOMERS FIRST. I called at 8:15 (as soon as they open) on Oct 1, hoping to book a Saturday, waited on hold for 40 minutes, and the lady that answered told me that my first pick for a date had been booked, as well as all other Saturdays that month, because some people had been camping out since midnight the night prior. So if you want a Saturday night, you may need to invest in a sleeping bag. November/January might not be as highly coveted, but that is what I thought about October and I was wrong!
The deposit information that is posted on the parks dept website I found to be a bit misleading. The wording, I interpreted to mean that there was a $200 deposit required to book the date, and if you wanted alcohol, an additional $400 deposit was required, but the lady corrected me, the deposit is actually $400 total if alcohol will be served. Every little bit helps, right? Deposit is due 10 days after you make the reservation, and your balance must be paid in full 30 days prior to the event.
If you are planning on an outdoor ceremony, or really, any use of the outdoor space, I’d bring along some insect repellant, and/or use one of the outdoor foggers beforehand. We went to tour the facility just after the city had done the aerial mosquito spraying, and there were still a ton of gnats flying around, it was kind of gross.
You will be responsible for set up and tear down and need to include time for these in the hours of your reservation – but I was told that if needed you can make changes as far as the actual times after you make your initial reservation. We are planning on a 5:30 or 6pm-ish ceremony, and I made the reservation for 1pm til midnight, figuring on the reception wrapping up around 10 or 10:30, and that gives our sweet friends and fam about an hour and a half to clean up. There will be a broom and dustpan for you to use, but you’ll need to bring your own trashbags! 🙂 And there will be someone from the parks dept on site to show you where things are.
If I think of anything else I’ll post again.