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Top 10 Wadsworth Mansion Questions Answered

While weekends at the Mansion are filled with celebrations, events, and parties — especially during wedding season — the weekdays are equally as busy, if a little quieter.  During any given span of seven days you can find us fielding phone calls, corresponding via email, giving private wedding tours, meeting with future brides & grooms, and hosting public historic tours.  As you might imagine, all those interactions inevitably beget questions (not that we mind — it very obviously comes with the spectacular territory).

So, as a duty to the internet masses, we’re sharing!  Without further ado and in no particular order, here are the top 10 most frequently asked Wadsworth Mansion questions:

 

  1.  When was it built?
    Starting in 1900, the grounds were planted and landscaped to transform them from pastures into the woodlands that are seen today, but the foundation stone for the Mansion wasn’t laid until 1908.  Building LHD13p-front_view_dirt_1913 1 continued until 1911.
  2. Who lived here?
    Col. Clarence Wadsworth and his family built this house to use as a residence in the spring and fall seasons (they divided their time among 5 other houses scattered across North America).  The Colonel died in 1941, and after 6 years of maintaining it, the family sold the Estate to the Roman Catholic nuns of Our Lady of the Cenacle.  After 40 years of using it as a retreat center (and adding to the house and subdividing the land), a developer purchased the house and remaining grounds from the nuns in 1986.  It changed hands among developers a time or two before bankruptcy left it under the ownership of a bank.  The bank failed to adequately secure the premises, so by the late 1980s vagrants, vandals, and homeless people took advantage and “moved in.”  Around 1994, the then-dwellers of the Mansion scattered away as the City of Middletown began the process of refurbishing the house and land.
    Currently, although sometimes we Mansion Ladies are here so often and keep such hours that we feel like we live here, we do not; the Mansion has been a business property for 16 years now.
  3. Can I come in?
    In a word, maybe.
    The Mansion is open for regular business hours from 9:30am to 5:30pm Monday through Thursday during wedding season (Fridays, too, if there is no event).  We especially welcome the public to visit us on Wednesdays from 2pm-4pm when we have free, historic docent tours.
    The grounds are parklands and open to the public from sun up to sun down on weekdays, and any weekend days that have no event.
    Private events — like weddings — mean that the Mansion and grounds are closed to the public.  The trails (hidden in the woods) remain open during these events.  We put out signs to denote when we’re having a private event, so you don’t have to dust off the old mind-reading skills!
    If you’re ever in doubt, feel free to call or email to ask.
  4. Do you have accommodations?
    Sadly, no.  (I’d be first in line for one of the rooms if we did…)  What were once the family rooms upstairs are now offices and look nothing like they would’ve back in the family or nun (or vandal) years.  Nearby hotels can provide comfy beds and amenities for anyone traveling here from far away.
  5. What’s your availability for weddings?
    Although this is a specific inquiry that changes almost every day, here’s the general answer.
    Saturdays during wedding season — May through November — are the first dates that book in a given year.  We only host one event per day, so the more flexible you can be with your date (Fridays, Sundays, other months, off-season), the better your options will be.  That being said, our availability changes daily or even hourly, so it’s best to just call or email.
  6. Who owns the Mansion?
    Although we Mansion Ladies are the key holders, none of us are the owners of the Mansion.  The City of Middletown purchased the Estate in 1994, however an organization called the Long Hill Estate Authority was created to be the governing body of the house and grounds.
  7. How much land is here?
    Today the grounds cover a healthy 103 acres; by contrast, the original reach of the Estate was 600 acres.
  8. Do you allow tents?
    We do, and there are several tent companies with tents of various shapes, sizes, bells, & whistles.  Most of the time hosts choose to tent the terrace, which is a quick enough set up and break down to be done for a single event.  Tents on the vista (our large expanse of grass behind the Mansion) are a larger undertaking, many of which take a full day to put up and a full day to take down which would require a 3 day rental of the Mansion.  There is one company with a large tent that can be erected and dismantled in the time frame of several hours, the hiring of which would enable the host to only rent the Mansion for one day.  As always, we are very happy to discuss how all of this works in fuller detail if you’re interested.
  9. Can my dog be in my wedding?
    Yes!  We love dogs, and as long as your furry friend is house broken and well-behaved then we are happy to welcome him or her to the Mansion to be a part of your big day.
  10. Do you only do weddings?
    Although weddings take up the majority of our schedule for most of the year, we are thrilled to host a variety of different events — from corporate daytime functions to evening gala soirees, epic sweet 16 parties to cocktail style holiday gatherings.  If you think the Wadsworth Mansion might be a good fit for your event, please don’t hesitate to inquire.

 

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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Featured Wedding: Maddie and Will, May 30, 2015

If a couple was ever genuinely relaxed and effortlessly happy, it was Will and Maddie on their wedding day.  These two let their personalities seep through every detail and moment, making for a one-of-a-kind celebration to remember.  The bright blues and hot pinks matched the vibrancy in the air itself.  Guests enjoyed photo booth shenanigans, celebratory cigars, and party music provided by band GQ and The Lady.  The energy from this night just leaps from the photographs.  We wouldn’t be surprised one bit if Maddie and Will’s guests are still thrilling from the sheer fun of this wedding…

 

Photography:  Zac Wolf Photography
Catering:  Riverhouse Catering
Flowers:  Azalea Floral Design
Band:  GQ and The Lady
Photo Booth:  The Danger Booth
Rentals:  Party Rental Ltd.
Accommodations:  The Farmington Inn

 

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Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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For Your Consideration

You’re so excited.  The question was popped, the answer was yes, and now you’re on the whirlwind ride that we call engagement.

You’re overwhelmed.  Opinions from all angles are swirling around as you start to climb the mountain of decision-making known as wedding planning.

You’re resolute.  You know exactly what you want your big day to be like, and all you need is for everything to be perfectly as you designed.

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However you’re approaching your matrimonial celebration, allow me to let you in on a little trade secret.  Your vendors — those you hire for the goods and services associated with your event (florist, photographer, cake baker, etc.) — are human beings.  I know, I know — it sounds obvious, right?  But you’d be flabbergasted at the countless, true stories that would provide substantial evidence to support how often that fact is forgotten.

That’s not to say that all brides, grooms, or their families behave in ways that seem dismissive of the lives of their trusted vendors (far from it), but it happens often enough that I have to wonder how many people outside of the event business are aware of the way their words or actions come across.

For example, I recently heard about a wedding vendor who had an extremely ill child, which set this vendor back on the designated timeline, although not to any real detriment of the services provided; the couple demanded a full refund, and when the vendor gave the very good reason for the slight scheduling setback, the couple’s reaction was not one of compassion but, “that’s not our problem.”

True story.

Not all such tales are quite as horrifyingly unfeeling.  Most could be characterized as simply inconsiderate.

Another story I’ve heard goes like this:  one of the vendors of an upcoming wedding had a parent pass away, to which the mother of the bride responded, “well you’re still going to be doing this wedding, right?!”  The implications being, of course, that vendors aren’t allowed to deal with their own lives like the rest of the world, and that they’re somehow in danger of forgetting their work obligations.

Regardless of what life throws their way, all that anyone hired to shoot your video or plan your day or arrange your flowers wants to do is put forth their best work.  Their name is on it.  It will represent them in the future.  They will do everything in their power to give you everything designated in their agreement with you, and then some.  I also don’t know of any vendors worth their salt who would enter into a contract if they weren’t able to fulfill it to the best of their abilities, no matter what’s going on.

The most classic case of ignorant behavior towards hard-working vendors is — you guessed it — pregnancy.  A female vendor “with child” can expect (no pun intended) to be on the receiving end of countless comments relating her gestation once the bump is no longer hide-able.  And, yes, I know vendors who will go to great lengths to hide their pregnancy for as long as possible for this very reason.  Some comments are intended to be jokey, while others are just downright impertinent and rude.  In any case, it’s clear that the old common sense rule of “think before you speak” is woefully absent from the minds of many.

Not too long ago there was a vendor that I know who told me that instead of being congratulated on her soon-to-be motherhood, a family member of a wedding in May said, with actual concern, “It won’t affect the wedding will it?”  Her due date was in January.

The all-too-real stories happen all-too-often.

So please consider, through your excitement, stress, and determination leading up to (and on) your big day, giving some consideration to the people you hire to help you have the event of your dreams.  A little thoughtfulness can go a long way.

As the saying goes: remember that your pants go on one leg at a time just like everybody else’s.

Or, less colloquially, abide by the Golden Rule and all will be well.

Happy Planning!
Natalie

 

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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Featured Wedding: Tom and Natalie, July 3, 2015

One year ago today, Tom and Natalie exchanged their vows in front of loved ones from near and far on a picture-perfect late afternoon on the vista.  Their infectious euphoria at becoming husband & wife rippled through each guest’s face, resonating in the notes played by the string quartet and wafting in the gentle breeze.  Invitees marveled at the elegantly blithe flourishes, accented by delicate yellows, brilliant blues, and stately golds.  The classic yet distinctive dressing highlighted the Mansion’s beauty, while also creating a tailor-made backdrop to the couple’s design.   From lawn games and photo booth fun to an exquisitely delicious cake, it seemed these two thought of everything to surprise and delight their friends and family.  With their first dance saved until after dinner, they momentarily broke away only to pull everyone out onto the terrace to join them, where the DJ held the dance floor in hypnotic jurisdiction for the rest of the evening.  If we didn’t know better, we’d swear they’re out there dancing still…  Happy First Anniversary to Natalie and Tom!

 

Photography:  Alicia Ann Photography
Catering:  David Alan Catering
Flowers:  Ruth L Flowers
Videography:  StopGoLove
DJ:  Scratch Weddings / Thomas Burns
Cake:  The Great American Cake by Julie Deffense
Photo Booth:  Marx Entertainment
Transportation:  Jolly Red Trolley
Accommodations:  Sheraton Hartford South

 

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Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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