Yesterday I told you about the more common Connecticut venues we considered for our reception (to recap: Harkness, the Branford House, Jonathan Edwards, Saltwater Farm, the Inn at Mystic, Florence Griswold, and Mystic Seaport).
Again, we were looking for three things in a venue:
1) Scenic, by the water, and able to be tented.
3) Not terribly expensive.
Oh yes, and an available date in September. Unfortunately, we weren't able to satisfy all of those requirements with any of the more traditional options. So, we quickly forged ahead into less-charted territories.
Island Farm at Elihu Island, off Stonington
Our first stop was Elihu Island, which I had extremely high hopes for. From photos and descriptions I had read, it looked fabulous -- a blank, extremely scenic slate, and less-well-known (and therefore more likely to have September dates available). Unfortunately, our hopes were dashed pretty quickly when I heard the cost to get in the door. I can't put my hands on the brochure they sent over, but I believe it was about $14,000. That buys you a full planning package with their wedding planner, the use of the site (which still needs to be tented, not included in the cost), and the use of the house for three days (the house sleeps 22). They are also very strict about required vendors. Sadly, we had to let this one go.
The Inn at Lower Farm in Ledyard
The Inn at Lower Farm is a lovely venue which doesn't actually advertise that they host weddings, since the owners only want to host couples who "love the property as much as they do." I love that sentiment! Unfortunately, the price was a bit too much for us ($3,500, which includes two nights in the four rooms of the Inn), and we probably wouldn't have been able to squeeze under the guest limit of 100 people.
Ayer Mountain Farm in Franklin
Ayer Mountain Farm is actually my family's farm, which means it would have been free for us to use! Besides that obvious plus, it also has sentimental value. The drawbacks? It would have taken some serious sweat equity to get the wedding spot in guest-ready shape, and it's pretty much in the middle of nowhere, which means it would have been a hike between it and our church.
Private residence in Mystic
This option was more of a fantasy than anything else, but indulge me. For years, I told anyone who would listen that I was going to get married on the lawn of a particular waterfront house in Mystic. It's been my favorite house in all the world for many years, and I always figured I would just write the owners a letter explaining the situation, and that miraculously they would immediately sense my earnestness and good intentions, and would agree to let me borrow their house for the weekend. I even had a plan worked out for parking!
As brilliant of a plan as that was (ha!), in the end, we decided to go with something a little more traditional. But before we landed on our ultimate location, we began to get very worried we would never find a spot to celebrate...
To be continued on Monday!
Photo of Elihu by Corinna Raznikov, other three personal photos