When last we left off with our reception saga, we were getting pretty desperate. Nowhere we looked at fit all of our criteria, and we were beginning to think we would never find a spot to celebrate. Yes, friends, we finally got so desperate that John literally sat down and began scrolling along the Connecticut coastline in Google Maps, calling out "Here's a piece of lawn! Here's a piece of lawn!" And you know what? It actually worked! One of the pieces of lawn he stumbled upon was the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, and that, my dears, is where we will be holding our reception. In their Sunken Garden, to be specific. I had never once considered this venue before John found it (I didn't really even remember it existed, actually!), but now I can't imagine celebrating anywhere else!
As we soon found out, the O'Neill hosts performances, conferences, and the National Theater Institute most of the year. But on days when they're not welcoming playwrights and actors, they host events. Happily, we were able to squeeze into their schedule!
A tour? Of course!
Here's the view from behind the Sunken Garden's stone wall, near the first steps onto the property from the back parking lot.
There are lovely stone walls all around the property. Stone walls are one of my favorite features of New England :)
We're considering holding cocktail hour here, on the Sea Porch of the Hammond Mansion. (We'd move those picnic tables, obviously, and there's a lovely green and white striped awning we'd ask to be put out.)
For dinner and dancing, we'll invite guests into the garden. They'll walk down the steps you can see at the bottom of the frame below into the walled space (just imagine a lovely tent in the middle!).
Here's the view from one corner.
Here's the view from roughly the middle of the garden.
If you walk out towards the water, you can turn back for a lovely wide view of the property.
We are so happy to have found the O'Neill and to invite our guests to celebrate there with us next year! One final word of caution to other couples who might like to book it for their big day: the staff at the O'Neill is extremely difficult to get ahold of and get prompt responses from. I typically wait at least two weeks for my calls and emails to be returned (yes, really!). My guess is it's because events are not their main business, and so they choose to prioritize theater activities. Not ideal for sure, but it's a tradeoff we're willing to make for a lovely spot, available date, and reasonable price.
What do you think? Those who are familiar with Connecticut weddings, are you surprised by our choice?