Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTIONS:

  Can we drive up anytime to have a look at the castle?
  May I bring a camera and take pictures on the tour?
  Will other events be going on simultaneously?
  How many guests can we invite?
  Can you accommodate guests with mobility issues?
  Do you have any restaurant service or catering at your castle?
  Can I use an outside caterer?
  What is your policy concerning liquor, wine and beer?
  How late can we party?
  What is the advantage to renting a special venue like yours
     vs. a banquet house?
  Are tent receptions more expensive than those at a banquet house?
  Are tent receptions more work for me?
  What sites do you have for ceremonies and photos?
  What happens if rain is expected during our ceremony?
  Is the rental fee cheaper it we don't book a Saturday night?
  What else does the rental fee include?
  Are there adequate restroom facilities?
  Are there other policies we should know about?
  What is your payment and cancellation policy?
  Do you allow pets?

Q. Can we drive up anytime to have a look at the castle?
A. This is a private residence and working artist's studio. Please make an appointment if you wish to have a tour. Once you have signed with us you are welcome to visit as many times as you like in order to plan your event. We are occasionally booked on public tours such as the Hilltown's Artisans Tour or the Altamont Victorian Holidays House Tours.

Q. May I bring a camera and take pictures on the tour?
A. Absolutely.

Q. Will other events be going on at the same time as ours?
A. No. Only one event will occur at any one time at our venue.

Q. How many guests can we invite?
A. 150 guests is our maximum. This is a limitation placed on us by the Town and also by the number of cars we can park (about 100). For advice on sensibly trimming your guest list click here.

Q. Can you accommodate guests with mobility issues?
A. The grounds around the castle are reasonably flat and should not present too many difficulties for the handicapped. Please make an assessment yourself to be sure our venue is appropriate for all your guests. The castle itself cannot accommodate handicapped persons because of the entrance stairs. The handicapped may park or be dropped off closer to the event areas. Let us know your needs.

Q. Do you have any restaurant service or catering at your castle?
A. No, we offer no services here. You are simply renting our facilities for your use and the rest is up to you. You must hire a caterer, or make other arrangements, depending on the type and size of event.

Q. Can I use an outside caterer?
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 equipment.

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 an 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 deposit.

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 restrooms.

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 common white 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 sample price 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 donít 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 include?
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 womenís 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!

Q. Are 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 homeownerís 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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