Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Few Words About Weddings at Clermont

'Tis the season--for wedding planning, that is! If jewelry commercials are to be believed, the winter hoidays are a popular time to pop the question, and that makes the cold gray of winter, the logical time to begin planning a wedding.

The task can be daunting and fanciful at the same time. Lots of us ladies (though not all) have fuzzy images dancing in our heads of something pretty with music and a white dress and memories that last a life time. But most of us don't have big party planning experience so when it comes down to brass tacks, we're left spending dreamy hours paging through pretty pictures on the internet and trying to imagine ourselves in that situation.

Everyone has a different opinion of where to begin you planning (and I'm not going to argue with Martha Stewart or "A Wedding Story"), but at some point, you're going to have to select a location. Many historic sites--including us!--offer some portion of their grounds for weddings, and here are a few things you're going to want to consider to make sure you find the spot that is right for you:

*Indoors versus outdoors: Probably the first thing you'll want to know about Clermont weddings is that our locations are all outdoors. And what an outdoors it is! Stunning views of the Hudson River have drawn people to this area for centuries. Why do you think all of these glamorous historic mansions are located along the river? The Vanderbuilts, the Astors, the Livingstons, and the Roosevelts all enjoyed heart-throbbing sunsets here from their private porches, and in spaces that have since become public, like Clermont, you can enjoy them too. Clermont is one of the closest of all the mansions to the river, giving pleasant afternoon breezes and a sense of granduer to you wedding.

You will want to take a moment to think about the practicalities of an outdoor wedding and/or reception. Most couples choose to rent a tent (we can help you find a reputable company nearby if you need it), which provides protection from the weather and grounds the party in a particular space. Outdoor weddings also have the added benefit of the natural beauty adding to your decorations, and Clermont has many nooks and crannies that make good photographs.

*Catering: Clermont does not use an in-house caterer, nor do we require use of a sole-source caterer. We do provide a list of caterers who have successfully produced events at Clermont during the past five years, but you are welcome to pick from on or off this list.

*Selecting the right lawn: Once you've decided on an outdoor wedding at Clermont, you'll need to look for the right location with the right ambience. Clermont has about six different reception sites and ceremony sites. Some sites are small enough to feel cozy with intimate guest lists of 30-50 people; others have accomodated up to 300 people! All of our reception sites have access to electricity and running water--a must if you are going to party into the night.

At right and in the preceeding three pictures, you can see images of the Southwest Mansion Lawn, one of the most popular locations at Clermont for a wedding. Its spacious lawn can accomodate up to larger receptions, and located immediately adjacent to the mansion, it is the closest you can get to feeling like a high-society Livingston at your wedding. Direct your guests to use the winding stone staircase if you really want to make a special entrance (handicapped access is available too) or use the attractive stone patio for your cocktail hour (after 5:00pm).

The spacious North Mansion Lawn is close by and has views of both the mansion and the Italian-inspired walled garden. Spring flowers bloom along the perimeter, including magnolias, lilacs, wysteria, and mock orange. It can accomodate up to 200 people and includes use of the stone patio at the Mansion's front door (after 5:00pm). This was the location of Clermont's 18th century pleasure gardens. It is also where Honoria Livingston chose to have her wedding reception in 1931.

The secluded Cutting Garden is well-suited to more intimate receptions or ceremonies, up to 80 people. Its beds are filled with flowers that bloom all season long. Your guests will cross the little wooden bridge to find heirloom rose bushes, peonies, and thousands of annuals blooming all around them, depending on the season.

The ruins of Arryl House provide a whimsical backdrop for the lawns at Arryl North and Arryl South. Both of these locations can accomodate large tents and make beautiful lawns for a party. Adjacent to the parking lot, Arryl North gives easy access for groups with mobility-impaired guests. Its open views of the river are breathtaking at sunset. Arryl South, pictured at left, is surrounded by woodlands, lending a sense privacy that always reminds me of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

*Ceremonies: All of the reception locations can be used for ceremonies as well, but there are a few special additional ones I will mention here. The Wilderness Garden (pictured at right) is ideal for groups up to 100 people. My favorite time there is spring, when the irises are blooming.

The last spot I'll mention is probably the grandest: the Spring Garden, and unfortunately my weak photography skills just can't do it justice. Lined by fragrant lilacs, plums, and forsythia in the spring, it opens onto a dramatic view of the Hudson River or alternatively (if you turn around 180 degrees) onto the white, castle-like mansion towering above you. It is connected to the Southwest Mansion lawn by that winding stone staircase I mentioned earlier, and it was Alice Livingston's favorite spot in the sparkling Gilded Age.

*Security: For weddings continuing past sunset, a security guard will be provided for your wedding. This person will ensure that any emergencies associated with your party are efficiently and safely managed. An additional fee is associated with this service. Please note that until sunset, Clermont will remain open to the public.

*History: If you like a "sense of place," Clermont might well be just the place for you. The mansion has been here since the 1740s and has been home to quite a few society weddings over the years.

It was also burned by the British army during the American Revolution, the home of the first practical steamboat, and was known as early as the mid 1800s for its beautifully-scuplted lanscape. Some wedding couples have even elected to allow their guests to tour the historic mansion during their reception (please ask about fees and availability).

So if you are one of the many people browsing through pictures of laughing couples, bubbling champagne, and delicate flowers, you might take a moment to inquire about our comprehensive wedding packet. The best way to pick your location is to visit it if you have a chance, and we are happy to take you on a tour of the site to see if Clermont is right for you!

Please contact the Special Events Coordinator (Susan.Boudreau@parks.ny.gov or call at 518-537-4240) for more information.

No comments:

Post a Comment