Q. Can I use an outside
A. You can, provided they are fully licensed to serve food
and alcohol, and provided they meet with us beforehand to
become familiar with our facilities. We
have plenty of electrical outlets, space to set up, and some
indoor space they can use. We do not have kitchen
facilities. Caterers who do this regularly have portable
Q. What is your policy
concerning liquor, wine and beer?
A. Alcohol is permitted. The New York State Liquor
Authority has strict guidelines though. There are two ways
to do it:
1) Wine and beer can be served without
hiring a bartender or caterer. Someone from your group must
take responsibility and apply online, at least 15 days
before, to the
NYS Liquor Authority for a one-day, Temporary Beer, Wine
and Cider Permit. During this process you must also upload
applicant affirmation form, a
diagram of the site where you will be serving, and a
Landlord's Authorization Form, which we will give you
after you provide proof of liability insurance co-naming us.
We also require a security deposit. Obviously, things can
happen when people drink too much. Be sure to read the SLA's
terms and conditions so everything is clear.
2) Liquor can ONLY be served by a caterer
who has an active State Liquor Caterer's Permit. They will
also obtain an offsite one-day permit for your event. We
also require liability insurance for this and a security
Q. How late can we party?
A. As a courtesy to our neighbors all music and
events must conclude by 10
pm. After that you have one hour to clear out your guests
and cleanup after your event. The only things
left behind will be any rentals you made, such as tents, furniture, and portable
Q. What is the advantage to renting
a special venue like yours vs. a standard banquet house?
A. The more unusual and unique the venue is, the more
special and memorable your event will be for you and your
guests. We take special pride in the large number of
romantic and fairytale backdrops for ceremonies and
photos, and the art-rich environment of the castle. The
openness of a tent reception allows your guests to escape
the music, get away for smoke, or for couples to stroll
the grounds. We encourage you to use your creativity here at
the castle, and make your event absolutely unique.
Banquet houses tend to look alike and are very
forgettable. They often have few windows, they make it
difficult to go outdoors, they tend to be located in
high-traffic areas, and if they allow ceremonies, they likely have the
arbor for your backdrop.
Q. Are tent
receptions more expensive than those at a banquet house?
A. Not necessarily. Banquet houses can be surprisingly
expensive. A banquet house owner has high overhead on their
building; taxes, maintenance, utilities, mortgages, security
and staff. An independent caterer can charge less for the
meals, which goes a long way towards balancing the extra
cost of renting a tent and furniture, etc. Also, banquet
houses often have minimum guest requirements or charge
even higher rates for small guest lists. You can download a
quote for a tent reception here at the castle for 150
guests (including food, liquor and rentals) from one of our
recommended caterers. FYI, CostOfWedding.com says the
average cost of a wedding in Albany County is $31,263. The
average cost for venue, catering and rentals is $14,290.
Check our list of suggestions
for ways to save money at your wedding.
Q. Are tent
receptions more work for me?
A. They shouldn't be. Full-service caterers take care of all
the rentals and setup for you without extra charge for their
labor. A wedding planner will do the same. We meet with the
rental companies, caterer, etc. in the days before and after
your event, while they set up and tear down.
Q. What sites
do you have for ceremonies and photos?
A. Our romantic sites include
a stone heart in the woods, a woodland pond with fountain, a
giant stonewall arch and round window in the garden, a labyrinth, the castle
as a backdrop, scenic woodland areas, and more. Additional
unique sites will be added in the future. We encourage you
to find a special site that suites you. You can wait until
close to the time of your ceremony to make a selection. We
also have numerous trails and a blacksmith shop museum.
Q. What happens if rain is expected
during our ceremony?
A. Rain is always a risk. Statistically, most of
the time it is dry. If you are having a tent reception, rain
is not an issue. The ceremony can be held in the tent with
the beautiful stone wedding arch in the background. You are
welcome to return here on a dry day to take additional
photos at the romantic sites. The artist will even take them
for you. If you are only having a ceremony here (and no
reception), there are several options: 1) The ceremony can
be held indoors in the studio under the blue dome with gold
stars, 2) A small tent can be rented at the last minute, 3)
We can put up a canopy for you and the wedding party, and
everyone else will use umbrellas, or 4) You can move the
ceremony to your banquet house. The artist notes, "I have
been to a couple of outdoor ceremonies in light rain. They
were romantic actually and the air had a nice smell". In the
end, it's a matter of whether or not you think the venue you
rent is special enough to take a chance on. Odds are you
will have a beautiful day!
Q. Is the
rental fee cheaper if we don’t book a Saturday night?
A. No, however the tent site by the gatehouse is $500
cheaper than the main tent site at the garden.
Q. What else does the rental fee
A. You will be given a digital image or our "Two Hearts
Entering a Fairytale" painting with your names inserted, for
use on invitations, etc. We deal with your contractors
(caterer, florist, tent rental company, etc.) as they set up
and tear down. We put out an event sign and balloons at the
highway, plus flags and banners at the castle, and any
benches or other equipment of ours that you are using. We
prepare the rooms you are using, move or place furniture,
and of course we keep the grounds, lawns, and gardens
looking gorgeous for your event! You may also come here for
engagement photos, in fact the artist will be glad to
shoot them for you.
Q. Are there
adequate restroom facilities?
A. An indoor restroom is available for indoor events and for
the bride and bridesmaids using the changing room. All
outdoor events require rental of portable restrooms as our
rural septic system cannot handle excessive use. The
full-service caterer or wedding planner will arrange for
them. Nice flushing ones can be had for reasonable prices
(see our vendors) and very fancy
ones on trailers can also be rented. Some suggest placing
the women’s restroom inside a small tent for additional
privacy, and we had a wedding planner decorate the tent with
a rug, chandelier, bureau with mirror, and a basket of
toiletries. It was quite splendid!
there other policies we should know about?
A. We don't allow open flames or fireworks, or smoking
inside the castle. We expect the property to be left in the
condition you found it. Music must be kept at a reasonable
level. Also, because of additional liability, insurance is
required naming us as co-insured. Many venues require this
insurance. It is inexpensive and is easily obtained through
your homeowner’s policy or online
in just 10 minutes.
Q. What is your
payment and cancellation policy?
A. We require a non-refundable deposit. Final payment is due
30 days before your event.
Q. Do you allow pets?
A. Normally no. But if you
want a pet to be a part of your wedding or event let us know
and we may be able to make an exception. If so, your pet
must be on a short leash and be under supervision. You must
also clean up their waste and try to keep them from peeing
on grass areas, as this damages the grass. Under no
circumstances will pets be allowed indoors.
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