Should The Venue Provide The Menu…?
One of the first choices you will make as a bride is the location of your reception. Venues can be large or small, modern or classic, indoor or outdoor, grand or simple. No matter your vision, keep in mind the difference between renting a full-service venue and simply renting the space.
The price of a full-service venue may put you off at first, but one must consider the enormous amount of time and stress that this choice can save you. Not only are you offered on-site cuisine and service staff, but many other details such as linens, chairs, and utensils. Many venues also provide overnight accommodations on-site for you and your guests. Have some late RSVPs? No problem – another table can be set in an instant, draped with your choice of color-coordinated linens. That same table will be cleaned and put away the same night. Your centerpieces and seating cards will all be set for the transition from ceremony to reception. Just multiply the pre-set venue price by the number of guests you are inviting, and subtract hours of planning and site preparation from your schedule.
Some of the Hudson Valley’s finest full-service venues include: The Onteora Mountain House, Anthony’s Pier 9, and The Mohonk Mountain House. The Onteora Mountain Houseis located in the heart of the Catskill State Park. Weddings can be booked through the spring, summer, and fall months. Guests can gaze into the Esopus Valley as you exchange vows, then head inside to the 75-year-old Adirondack-style house for dinner and dancing.
Capacity is 200 guests, and extra options such as overnight rooms and next-day brunch are available. The menu boasts classic appetizer, salad, and entrée items. Guests rave on their site, “From the minute we stepped foot onto Onteora to the second we drove away you have been beyond accommodating. We had a wedding beyond our dreams and a simple ‘thank you’ is not enough.” Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation and is home to two exclusive ballrooms. Managed by CIA graduates, the staff at Anthony’s is committed to providing exceptional service on one of the most important days of your life. A premier wedding package with extra options is available for prospective couples. New Paltz’s Mohonk Mountain House is one of America’s oldest family-owned resorts. A variety of guestroom options, a 100-year old Scottish golf course, 85 miles of hiking trails, award-winning gardens, and a full spa are just a few highlights of this famous resort. Offering indoor and outdoor ceremonies and a variety of catered cuisines, Mohonk has hosted many unique and unforgettable days.
On the other hand, there are some of you out there that want to combine your dream wedding scene and your favorite caterer (Say, Mom’s backyard and your best friend who also happens to own a restaurant?) Don’t shy away from this option, just plan to get planning. Every guest must have a table to sit at, a chair to sit on, and a full table setting. You want your tables covered in matching cloths and napkins, beautiful centerpieces, and crafty seating cards. With an outdoor setting, be prepared for the element – a tent for rain, nighttime lighting for a later celebration, even citronella candles to keep the bugs away! Depending on your budget and ambition, a do-it-yourself venue can make a wedding or break it.
Some of Hudson Valley’s hidden gems include: Locust Grove, Shadow Lawn, and Tralee Farm. Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie offers 19th century charm with its beautiful gardens and romantic landscape. The West Gallery reception room features cathedral ceilings, French doors, and prism skylights. A caterer’s kitchen, bride’s lounge, air conditioning, and easy parking add to the temptation of renting this venue. Shadow Lawn in High Falls is another natural-setting venue. In a few words, “Situated at the crest of a waterfall, Shadow Lawn is romantic and picturesque. Its 18-century stone house contributes to a formal note. The 19-century barn is elegant yet unpretentious, and the brook and manicured grounds provide a serene backdrop for perfect occasions of all kinds.” (WellWed Magazine) Stone Ridge’s Tralee Farmis a truly unique location for any event, as it is a historical Equestrian Estate. Built in 1860, the farm offers spectacular views of the Catskill Mountains and the Lower Esopus Valley. The grounds include a barn that can accommodate up to 175 guests and the historic Oliver House with a gourmet kitchen, in-ground pool, and cocktail patio.
Book a venue and then choose from some of our personal favorite caterers in the area: GiGis Hudson Valley, Parties by Tomas, or the River Station. We also recommend Durant’s Party Rentals for seating and serving equipment.
Pricing, planning, site and service limitations are just a few things to consider when deciding where to spend your special day. Proper research is key – read online reviews and ask for testimonials! Make sure that everything is what YOU want, and don’t settle for mediocrity. The day represents the values and love between you and your future spouse, so spend it somewhere reflective of your personal style.