As I mentioned briefly in a post earlier this week, I recently got engaged. My fiance (who I will call the future Mr. EmGee, to give him some semblance of privacy) lives in Plainville, not Hartford. He’s more of a country mouse than a city mouse, and would probably be happiest living on 10 acres of land with no neighbors in sight. Despite this, the future Mr. EmGee humors my obsession with all things Hartfordy, and after a few years of being dragged out to experience various restaurants, museums, concerts, etc., he has even developed
a grudging an enthusiastic appreciation of the great things Hartford has to offer.
Somehow, I’ve convinced him that we should have both our ceremony and our reception in Hartford. The wedding won’t happen for more than a year, because we’re paying for it ourselves and need some time to save the money and because we both like the idea of a fall wedding — and this fall is coming up way too fast to plan and pay for anything.
Since that gives us a lot of time to plan and the future Mr. EmGee a lot of time to change his mind about the whole getting-married-in-Hartford thing, I’m doing a lot of research on potential venues now, because once we have a place picked and a deposit paid
he’s stuck he can’t change his mind. We’ve looked at a few potential venues already, and I realized that this could make for an interesting series for the blog. So look for some future posts about reception and ceremony venues in our fair city, including some locations that people generally don’t think of for weddings.
Some guidelines for this series:
- I will not be posting about venues for religious wedding ceremonies. Although the future Mr. EmGee and I were both raised Catholic, I was never confirmed and am not, shall we say, a believer. Nevertheless, I do respect the Church and those who are believers. As such, I would feel very uncomfortable getting married in a church. My fiance understands this. If you’re looking for information about Hartford churches, I recommend checking out Real Hartford’s “Pew Review” series. I can say from personal experience that weddings at the Asylum Hill Congregational Church are lovely, personalized and not too lengthy.
- Not all posts will be about locations that the future Mr. EmGee and I are at that time seriously considering using. For example, some of the venues I will write about may have maximum seating capacity for 50 people; we expect between 100 and 125 people. I will also write about locations even if we have already ruled them out after visiting them.
- We plan to have our reception location picked out by the end of September, a year in advance of the event. I will probably continue posting about locations even after we’ve made our selection, to spread out the series and prevent wedding overload for you, dear readers.
- Our reception will not be in a hotel, so I won’t be reviewing any of them. Ditto for restaurants.
- Although I will check them out, we’re leaning away from the more traditional wedding reception locations in town, such as the Bond Ballroom and the Society Room. These venues are lovely, no doubt, but they’re also expensive and they host a LOT of lawyer events. I would rather not associate my wedding venue with lawyer dances and fundraisers and auctions that I have attended because of work.
- We’re leaning towards a venue that offers our guests something to do during the reception besides stare at us, drink, eat and dance, so places like museums and the Science Center may get more attention in my posts than more traditional venues.
Here’s a preliminary list of venues that I hope to write about:
- Society Room
- Bond Ballroom
- Gershon Fox Room
- Mark Twain House
- Old State House
- City Hall
- Connecticut Science Center
- Pump House/Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch
- Elizabeth Park Pond House
- Polish National Home
- The Wadsworth
- The Bushnell Center for Performing Arts
- Lady Katharine Cruises
- Butler-McCook House
- Riverside Boathouse
- Wickham Park (yes, this is in Manchester, but I’m making an exception because it has a fabulous view of the Hartford skyline)
- Travelers Tower
Yes, I will take suggestions about locations to visit. No promises that I will be able to visit all locations, however. I also want to be fair to the staff at venues and make sure I’m not wasting a lot of their time if I already know the location won’t work for me.
My reviews will include the basics about each venue, such as location, contacts, available hours, general price range, capacity and whether outside vendors are permitted, as well as pictures (when permitted) and assessments of the staff/contact person for each venue. I’ll also post links to photos of other couple’s weddings where available.
If this series goes well, I’ll try to do some additional posts on Hartford caterers, photographers and perhaps other vendors. I’m going to try to keep as much of our wedding-related business as possible inside the city, to support local businesses. If you know Hartford caterers, photographers, videographers, calligraphers, DJs, etc., send me their information. Again, no promises that sending me info results in a post, but I’ll do my best. Hartford has a lot to offer brides and grooms, especially those looking for a more unique venue, such as a museum or historic property, and I hope this series will be a good starting point for other couples.