Choosing a Historic Estate for Your Reception

Choosing a historic estate or mansion can offer a truly magnificent setting for your reception! Each one comes with its own unique architecture, atmosphere and beauty.

These majestic mansions are wonderfully decorated with antique or Victorian interiors, glittering chandeliers, dramatic staircases, marble columns, huge fireplaces, and breathtaking gardens and landscape.

They can make a wonderful reception location, but there are few things that you should consider:

Food and Beverages Not Included: The price you pay is simply for the use of the facility. For many brides and grooms this offers a great advantage, because it gives them more control and more choices over the food and beverages to be served.

Supply Your Own Alcohol: Most historic mansions will require you to supply your own alcohol. Many brides like the idea of being able to supply their own alcohol because it gives them more choices and can save them lots of money! When you do supply your own alcohol, some facilities will charge a “corking fee” per bottle of wine that is opened at the reception. Even with a corking fee, usually ($3-$5) per bottle, a bride will still save some significant dollars, especially compared to what a hotel would charge.

Approved Caterer List: Most facilities will require you to select your caterer from an approve list and will provide you with a list of 4-8 approved caterers to choose from. Some facilities require the bride to choose only from the approved list, while others, supply the list simply as a recommendation.

Another thing to keep in mind is that many of the kitchen facilities in these locations are small, with little work space and sometimes outdated equipment. The working conditions can be “less than ideal”. Therefore, there are advantages to choosing a caterer on an approved or recommended list because they are familiar with the location and can make any necessary arrangements ahead of time to compensate for shortcomings.

Smaller Interlocking Rooms: Most historical mansions are designed with smaller interlocking rooms. This type of arrangement works very well for a cocktail reception where guests can roam easily from one room to another and enjoy the charm and beauty of the various rooms in the mansion.

One draw back for a seated dinner, is that the guests will likely be seated in several different rooms, with dancing in yet another room. Sometimes guests can feel apart from the celebration when the bride and groom are seated in a different room. If you are serving dinner, the interlocking rooms are well suited for food stations

No Air Conditioning: Most historic mansions do not have air conditioning. On a perfect day in June, this is certainly not an issue! Just keep this in mind as you make your plans regarding the time of year, time of day and the type of wedding reception.

Restrictions: Because of the antique nature of these facilities, certain restrictions may be applied in order to preserve the building, its contents and the spirit of its historic atmosphere. For instance, some may restrict the use of lit candles, flash photography, and smoking.

Some estates may restrict the use of hard liquor and may only allow “spirits” such as beer and wine. Others may have restrictions on the type of music played, how loud it can be played, and for an evening reception, it may restrict the how late the band or DJ can perform.

Most brides and grooms don’t mind adhering to these restrictions because they know that the rules are in place in order to preserve the grandeur and rich history of these estates. With the appropriate planning, these majestic mansions can make for a truly magnificent and memorable wedding reception!