Monday, February 1, 2010

NYC: Unique Wedding Venues

Realizing that many people get engaged over the holidays, we knew we should pick a venue quickly, lest Bridezillas all over the area begin snatching up spaces. Knowing we wanted to continue the Haunted Mansion theme and marry in October 2010, time was of the essence. Plus, my favorite day of the year since childhood, October 23, falls on a Saturday this year. It's kismet, so the pressure was on!

To be clear, I have never been one of those women who dreamed of her wedding day. As a little girl, I did not marry Barbie and Ken in the backyard and I certainly never pranced around the house in a veil. (Once, though, when I was 13, my sisters dressed me in my mother's wedding gown; however, we couldn't button it over my sizable breasts. How sad is that? 13 years old and already too buxom, a plight that will no doubt plague me once it is time to seek out my own dress.)

Anyway, as we live in New York City (go Sunnyside, Queens!) we have opted to stay local. And, as I have a deep, abiding love for Masterpiece Classic and historic homes, we spent the past few weeks checking out the following:

Washington Irving's Sunnyside in Tarrytown, NY — is the historic home/museum of the famed author of
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The contact, Elaine, is very nice, despite bearing the bad news that we cannot book the space during the Halloween season (it conflicts with The Legends Festival). Note also, that events are not held in the actual home, but in a nearby tented area, which makes it far more suitable for a summer event. Thus, it's off the list. Shame, though, given our theme and the fact that the home itself shares its name with the neighborhood in which we reside.

The Old Stone House in Brooklyn, NY — is a lovely reconstruction of a 1699 Dutch farmhouse, central to the Battle of Brooklyn during the Revolutionary War. The house is charming and in a lovely neighborhood, adjacent to a park. Further, the fees are extremely reasonable. And, finally, the Director, Kim, is as lovely as the house and the docent, Cheryl, is friendly and knowledgeable. We really liked this option and it absolutely made the short list.

The Merchant's House Museum in NY, NY — as "Manhattan's most haunted house," we naturally gravitated to this site, especially when the Director, Margaret, informed us that they have a mourning exhibition up in October, which means a coffin is housed in the parlor, as was the custom in the 19th century. Sadly, though, the space is rather small and can accommodate about 80 people maximum. We had to take it off the list.

Having so-so luck with the historic homes, we decided on a whim to call The Bronx Zoo — a location we visit every year on my birthday. I fully anticipated a site rental fee through the roof, but after a quick phone chat with their event coordinator, Tim, I learned the fee is very reasonable and the date of 10/23/10 is available.

Hmm...whichever did we choose? Photos with a coffin in Manhattan? Getting in touch with our Revolutionary sides in Brooklyn? Or swinging from the trees with the monkeys in the Bronx?

Stay tuned to find out. Or just re-read the name of this blog...


  1. Hi There

    I just got engaged last weekend, and have for years thought of having my wedding at the Bronx Zoo. After perusing the internet for details (and basically coming up with little aside from the NY Mag feature), I happened upon your blog. I have been exchanging e-mails with the Zoo's events department, but am awaiting a call from the wedding coordinator to discuss further. I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on everything, and any photos and details you could provide in the meantime on price, capacity, etc. would be much appreciated!! Thank you in advance!

  2. Congratulations! You know what is so sad? I JUST READ THIS! This blog is my first foray into the medium and I am staggering my way through it. As for my experience, the zoo has been mainly positive, but I am very frustrated in the last few days as we lead up to the wedding. We started with one coordinator and then met another and then were finally moved to a third, who is now their wedding coordinator. Between all the passes, it seems that crucial information was missed and we are scrambling to get things done days before the event. Because they now have a dedicated wedding coordinator I imagine future couples will be just fine. Overall, they are very accommodating and the zoo is such a wonderful space - I'm sure they've given you stuff by now, so answering your questions in moot at this juncture. Clearly, I have to master my social media technology! Good luck to you - and go lemurs!