Venue drama: All Aboard!

JD and I spent last weekend driving up and down the coast of CT in search of a suitable wedding venue.  We quickly discovered that some crazy venue-hoarding bridezillas have scooped up all the summer Saturdays from here through the apocalypse, and  as a newly engaged gal I can’t help but feel a little left out. I didn’t even know JD two years ago, nevermind reserve a wedding date!

The Requirements:

  • One site
  • primarily outdoors, with backup rain plan
  • B&B or inns  nearby for our out of towners
  • reasonably priced (although I’m not even sure what to consider reasonable anymore)

The first park we looked at had plenty of flowers, open space, a pond with a fountain, iron gates, and best of all, a modest fee. Plus, it’s in an area of New Haven that’s very special to both of us. Things were going well, until we toured the advertised “carriage house.”  We figured since the rental included use of this space that it would be the obvious choice for the ever-dreaded wedding day rain. No sir. This was a (baby food colored) carpeted garage with a few electrical outlets. It would maybe fit 40 people, and you had to wade through a storage room to get to the bathrooms. Fail.


45 minutes later, we fell in LOVE. The hills lined with stone walls were perfect, the quintessential New England antique shops, hole in the wall cafes, and charming inns were oh so perfect, and just when we though it couldn’t get any better – Gillette Castle took our breath away. We both giggled the entire walk around the grounds. THIS. WAS. IT. We didn’t even want to look anywhere else.  Then we read the fine print: ceremonies permitted, 50 guest max, NO RECEPTIONS. We were ready to offer bribes like no other. But, we soon crawled down from our fairytale castle cloud and kept driving. Fail.


Rocky Neck Pavillion

I considered Rocky Neck State Park because of price and (supposed) scenic similarity to Gillette Castle.  The website boasts, “sited atop a rocky bluff with views to Long Island Sound, the Rocky Neck Pavilion is an impressive cobblestone structure with working fireplaces and native wood pillars” with the capacity for 300 people. No where did they mention a railway running through venue… What I mean by this is – there is a working train track directly between the parking lot and the pavilion, complete with 10ft chain-link fencing and danger high voltage signs! Also, the front (although I guess technically the back of the building) is chipping painted wood and large boarded windows. The side facing Long Island sound was impressive and beautiful in an institutional sort of way, but the first view the guests would have from the looked more like a jail than a wedding reception. JD was less than amused. I tried to convince him that it had the potential to be fun and quirky, but I had to admit that no amount of fairy-godmother charm would make this place pretty. Ultimate Fail.

Wedding Woes?

  • What were your venue requirements?
  • How long did it take to find your venue?
  • How far in advance did you book?
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