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CT Reception Venue

How much does it cost to get married at the Mansion – Part 2 & 3

(click here to read Part 1)

Part 2:  The Rest of the Reception—DJs-Décor-Music

 

There is more to a wedding reception than just the venue and the food and beverage.  Regardless of where you get married you will spend money on wedding flowers, djs/bands, photography, and your wedding cake if it isn’t included in the catering package.

This week I read a blog, called “How to have a wedding for $5,000.”  I won’t include that link as I thought it was pretty foolish.  It is easy to brag about how inexpensive your wedding was when half of the services were donated by friends and you fed your guests from a food truck. [Don’t get me wrong I like food trucks, but it isn’t my idea of a wedding.] I will adhere to the philosophy that you get what you pay for—unless all your friends donating services are wedding professionals.

 

MUSIC/ENTERTAINMENT: 

I reached out to a DJ this week and asked him to send me some bullet points on what separates the great DJs from the neophytes that are happy to do your wedding for $600.  The best DJs:

  • Know what to play and when. An experienced DJ has the ability to read the crowd and know when things need to be changed. Crucial decisions are made every 2 to 3 minutes – “Will this song work?” – He/she needs to be able to mix out of it quickly if it doesn’t.

 

  • An experienced DJ is not thrown by last minute changes and recognizes that although a timeline is helpful, a wedding timeline is fluid and an experienced DJ is ready at a moment’s notice to switch things up.

 

  • Confidence on the mic. A good DJ is comfortable addressing a crowd and has the ability to pronounce difficult names.  Imagine paying someone who can’t pronounce your name.

 

  • An experienced, professional DJ knows how to work as a team with the coordinator, catering staff, photographer, videographer and any other professionals. For example, a DJ should never announce a spotlight moment (cake cutting, parent dance, etc.) without first making sure the entire vendor team is ready to capture and/or participate.

 

  • A professional will have a backup plan in place (paid on-call DJ, backup song library, backup gear) and should never shy away from answering that question immediately without hesitation.

 

  • A professional will know where the spotlight belongs – on the wedding couple, NOT the DJ themselves. Guests, family and friends come to celebrate the married couple, NOT to come see the DJ.

 

  • Experience with the venue – especially important with a unique space such as the Wadsworth Mansion. Does the DJ know what’s needed and does he/she own the appropriate equipment to properly provide sound/services in multiple indoor and outdoor spaces?

 

When selecting a DJ, the price is going to be based on how many hours their services are needed. Packages begin at 5 hours as that is the standard reception length.  Adding music  or microphones for the ceremony extends the time.

DJs also provide other services, such as interior and exterior lighting of the venue, specialty lighting for dancing, and fog machines.

For budgeting purposes, if you are planning on hiring a truly professional DJ, plan to spend between $2,000 -$2,700 for 6 hours of DJ services.  If you add lighting expect to spend another $1,000.

 

 

FLOWERS

I think one of the hardest part about flowers at a wedding is that not all flowers are created equal.  Flowers aren’t sold by the pound, they are sold by the stem and some stems are more expensive than others.  [Peonies, Ranunculus, Protea, Orchids, and Garden Roses are some of the more expensive flowers.] Using local seasonal flowers don’t necessarily make arrangements less expensive unless the florist has access to flowers in someone’s yard, and then they most likely would not be able to provide the amount of flowers needed.

The second hardest part about budgeting for flowers is  knowing what you need.  The more attendants at your wedding the more bouquets and boutonnières you will need.  The more guests that you have, the more centerpieces that are required.   Don’t forget parents, grandparents, the flower girl or ring bearer.  That is just for starters, how about:  arches, chair arrangements/bows, mantles, garlands, cake florals, bathrooms, bars, console tables/altar.  It is enough to make you put your head in a spin.

Do tell the florist your color palette for the wedding.  Do tell the florist what flowers you like.  It is great to hand your florist a picture you found on Pinterest as an example of your style or color palette, but if you ask the florist to duplicate it you may be shocked at the price. The arrangement could have been created for a photo shoot where the budget is limitless—and isn’t expected to be duplicated 15 times!  Do give the florist some latitude when purchasing flowers.  The blush roses may not look that fresh when the florist is at the market and on the other hand, there may be something stunning that will make your bouquets a knockout.  In most cases, your experienced floral decorator will be able to guide you to the best look to fit your budget.

 

I have included a table of pricing from two florists on our list.

 

Floral Piece Florist 1 Florist 2
Bouquets $175-$300 $150-$300
Bridesmaids Bouquets $100+ $75-$125
Boutonnieres $18+ $15
Corsage-pin on $25+ $25.00
Corsage-wrist $35+ $25.00
Pew/Chair bows $30/pair
Low Centerpieces $65+ $75+
High Centerpieces $150+ $200
Garland $40/ft.
Cake Topper $35+
 Cake Florals $45+
Arch $200+ $500+
Rose petals $150+
Mantles $100-$300

 

For additional information about the price of arrangements, visit:  Here

 

Yes, you can go to Stop and Shop (a local  supermarket) for wedding flowers, however they are not generally full service, which means you have to pick up & set up and who has time for that on the most important day of your life!?  I tried to get pricing, but couldn’t get through to them.  [That may say it all.]  You’ll get what you pay for as a talented florist has a great sense of color and design and will make your wedding truly elegant.

 

If you have 5 bridesmaids, 5 groomsmen, 15 tables, 1 bride who loves flowers, 4 parents and two grandmothers, an arch, and two decorated mantles you can expect to spend around $4,000.

 

For additional information about the price of arrangements, visit:  Here

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHERS

 

Like DJs, photographers are selling time and talent. The price for wedding photography depends on multiple elements:

  1. The number of photographers covering your event—one or two.
  2. How many hours the photographer(s) will be covering your event: Is it from the time you start getting dressed in the morning until the party is swinging on the dance floor or some shorter timeframe?
  3. How the photos are being edited. Is the photographer editing the photos or are they being sent out?
  4. What the photographer provides after the event: Is it a flash drive, one album, or ala carte services?
  5. The creativity and technical expertise of the photographer.

Items one and two are easily quantifiable, not so much with items three, four, and five.

Talent is the most important differentiator between photographers. In the last fifteen years with the rise of digital cameras and software to edit pictures, the number of wedding photographers grew tremendously. Almost anyone could become a part time wedding photographer. The industry went into a tizzy.  Talented photographers were being undercut by the novices and there wasn’t much they could do without sounding resentful.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of really talented newcomers entering the field that offer lower pricing to build a business.  We have all done that.  What I saw, was a lot of not so talented or experienced people who don’t understand lighting and composition taking some bad pictures. By the way, there are no do overs over your wedding photos.

The good news, is that it is so easy to view a photographer’s work.  They all have websites with lots of pictures.  Check out their social media platforms.  Ask to see an album.

To understand the value of the proposal consider:

  • Is an engagement session included? An engagement session is not just about capturing your engagement.  It offers the photographer the opportunity to develop a relationship with you.  The more comfortable you are with the photographer on the day of your wedding the more natural you will look in your photos.

 

  • There is a big difference in quality between the companies producing your albums.

 

  • Ask about the experience and training of the photographer. Ask about the experience of the second shooter.   How many years have they been in the industry?  What is their training and prior work experience?

 

  • Ask yourself, is this photographer going to enhance your day, or just take pictures? A great photographer, because their ‘eye’ is omniscient, can assist in making the day run smoothly.  They can see things before they happen.  They calm nerves.  They assist the other vendors.

 

  • Lastly, is the photographer easy to be around? After all, it is easier to smile at the camera if you like the person behind the lens.

 

This link will take you to an article about selecting photographers.  https://www.theknot.com/content/wedding-photography-getting-started

 

For budgeting purposes you can obtain two photographers for six hours for about $4,300.  The range for a more experienced photographer with tremendous talent and breadth in their portfolio is $5,000-$7,000.

 

 

Part 3:  The Rest of Your Day

 

If you think your budgeting is complete, don’t forget that before you walk down the aisle you will have sent out invitations, obtained your marriage license [$50.] You will have purchased wedding rings, gifts for your attendants and a gift for your beloved.  You will have had your hair done and make up professionally applied.   [$350].  Of course let’s not forget your favorite purchases: your wedding, dress, wedding shoes, jewelry, and veil/tiara.  [I am not even going there!] Don’t forget the groom if you are sharing this budget!

Embellishing your wedding will be a guest book, place cards, toasting flutes, cake cutting service.  You may have opted for:

  • Horse Drawn Carriage Entrance $1,000
  • Live ceremony/cocktail musicians $550 for two  [May have a deduct from the DJ]
  • Photobooth $800-$1,000
  • Videographer
  • Fireworks $3,500-$5,000
  • Tent                                                                 $4,000 [Includes liner and sides]

 

The Knot recently provided an informative graphic as a visual for the cost of weddings across North America.  You can check out the full article here.

 

 

I hope this post has helped. It is only met to be a guideline for creating a budget. I am sure that there are vendor professionals who may cost less than I indicated.   I always tell brides and grooms to focus on the things that are the most important to them.  The most important aspect about hosting a wedding is not about how much money is spent, but how the love that is shared between two people is conveyed to their families and friends.  Have fun planning and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

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NEWLYWED QUICK 10: Susan & Christopher

Spouses   Susan & Christopher

Wedding Date   June 24, 2016

 

  1.  Length of engagement:  11 months, 20 days
  2.  3 adjectives to describe wedding vision:  classy, elegant, unique
  3.  Most challenging vendor to find/hire:  cocktail hour music
     How close to wedding were they hired? 2 months before
  4. Ceremony location:  our church, St. Mary Star of the Sea in Unionville, CT
  5. Most surprising thing:  How quickly the day went…what a blur!
  6. Standout memory:  our first dance
  7. Would you change anything?  Chris: I would have invited more people.  Sue: I would have organized our picture taking time better and had people show up for the reception a little later.
  8. Wedding hashtag?  not really, kind of #chrisandsuesayido
  9. Guests couldn’t stop talking about:  how beautiful and breathtaking the venue was
  10. Advice for future couples in 125 characters or fewer:  Make sure you take time to consciously enjoy the day and take it all in. It goes SO quickly and you will remember very little. Enjoy yourself, relax, and don’t sweat the small stuff!

|| Catering:  David Alan Hospitality Group || Photography:  Val McCormick Photography || Flowers:  It’s So Ranunculus || Ceremony Music:  Bronwyn Burns Violin Studio || Music:  Alpha Waves DJs || Hotel:  Radisson Hotel Cromwell || Transportation:  Liberty Limousine ||

 

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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PureWow Names Wadsworth Mansion Most Gorgeous Venue in CT!

National digital publication PureWow has made it officially official:  The Wadsworth Mansion is the Most Gorgeous Wedding Venue in Connecticut.  And, really, who are we to argue?  Editors whittled down their list to highlight just one venue from each of the 50 states and Washington D.C.

“Featuring 100 acres of beautiful Beaux Arts style, this estate is the former summer home of Colonel Clarence S. Wadsworth.  It’s also the best spot for a quintessential — and totally private — New England wedding.  (Yep, you can splurge on a horse-drawn carriage.)”

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While we can’t disagree with the accolade, this write up and photo are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg of just how lovely weddings are here.  If you’d like to see all the historic beauty in person, a private tour is but a click or call away.

See what kind of company we keep in the full article: The Most Gorgeous Wedding Venue in Every State.

 

Dedicated to “Elevate the Everyday,” PureWow reports daily on ideas for “making your life more interesting, beautiful, and manageable.”  Get their well-known, discerning guidance on all things lifestyle by signing up for curated emails or by visiting them directly at purewow.com.

 

 

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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joy and brian

Featured Wedding: Joy and Brian, May 23, 2015

Joy was one of those brides who knew what she wanted. She came to tour the Mansion, loved it, and booked us (and her caterer) practically on the spot!  On the day of her wedding she was exactly as her name, so joyful and excited to marry Brian. This lovely couple had a beautiful ceremony on our vista on a bright and sunny May day.

Her color scheme was pinks of all shades, corals, oranges,and white. The colors were represented in the rose petals on the aisle, in the bouquets her girls carried, and in the place setting on the tables. She also had some really fun personal touches like a special draft beer as a favor for every guest, and a pizza bar for a late night snack.  Yum!  Congratulations to the happy couple!

Photographer: Jewel Photo

Caterer: CT Wedding Group

Florist: Earth Blossoms

DJ: Jock in the Box
 

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Frommer’s Lists Wadsworth Mansion in top 50!

Frommer’s Lists Wadsworth Mansion in top 50

Middletown, CT.   The Wadsworth Mansion was listed as a “Best Place to Get Married in all 50 States” by Frommers.com this July.   Frommer’s selected one venue from each state for this distinguished list.  Some venues were selected for their stunning locations, others were selected for their beautiful architecture.  Executive Director, Deborah Moore, was delighted when she received an email from Frommer’s saying that the Wadsworth Mansion had been selected.  ‘We are honored, as the Biltmore in Asheville, NC is included as well as the Grand Canyon and the beaches of Maui.  We don’t have beautiful beaches or mountains, but the Olmsted designed 100 acre estate is very private and the Beaux-arts style mansion is beautiful. Couples can exchange their vows on a 700’ lawn and can dance on the terrace under the stars.  I don’t think there is a more beautiful place in Connecticut to get married.” http://www.frommers.com/slideshows/848035-where-to-get-married-the-best-weddings-in-all-50-states#slide849489

The Mansion hosts 70 weddings a year as well as other celebrations.  It is owned by the City of Middletown and was restored in 1999.

Frommer’s is a travel guidebook series founded by Arthur Frommer in 1957. Frommer’s has expanded to include more than 350 guidebooks across 14 series, as well as other media including the website Frommers.com. Since May 2007, Arthur Frommer has been actively blogging about travel on the Frommers.com website.  In 2007, Frommer’s celebrated its 50th anniversary of guidebook publishing.[1]

 

Information will be available at the Wadsworth Mansion by calling (860) 347-1064 or visiting www. WadsworthMansion.com.

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Featured Wedding: Vivian and Jonathan, June 27th

This is one of those weddings that proves regardless of the weather, a Wadsworth Mansion event always comes together beautifully. Viviane and Jonathan had an international love story which took them on adventures all over the world so naturally, they incorporated this theme into their day. From the luggage tags as escort cards and favors to the cupcake/ dessert table that was set up with vintage suitcases, there were perfect touches all around that celebrated where they’ve travelled to the place they said “I Do”!

The ceremony took place in the East Ballroom but the rain held off long enough for the couple to take some amazing photos in our tree line at the back of the mansion. Congratulations to Viviane and Jonathan!  May your life take you on many amazing adventures together!

 

Caterer: Gourmet Galley

Photographer : Robert Norman Photography

Planner/ Coordinator: Always and Forever

Cupcakes: A Little Imagination Cakes

Flowers: Sharon Elizabeth

Band: Charisma

Tent: CT Rental

Hair/Makeup: Simply Gorgeous by Erin

 

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Bliss Celebrations Magazine Feature

Gorgeous BLISS Feature!

We were recently featured in the newest issue of Bliss Celebrations magazine! We are so happy to have such wonderful representation. To see the full article you can go toBliss our feature is on pg 181. We hope it inspires you!

To see the rest of the images from their wedding look at our blog post from 8-5-14 it features Linnea and Joey!

 

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Wadsworth Mansion Bridal Show 2015

Our 2015 Bridal Show was one of the best yet! We want to thank all of our vendors, as well as all of our brides and grooms for making it such a success! The new fallen snow made the Mansion appear even more magical.

Along with the amazing tables showcasing  flowers and wedding photographs, there was great food, drinks, and entertainment  What more could you ask for on a snowy Sunday afternoon?  Thank you to all of our vendors who donated raffle prizes to help  our brides and grooms plan their special day.

Another very big thank you to our 3 lovely Mrs. Wadsworths: Lisa Awugah, Sarah Gadbois, and Lisa Maino. They were on hand to offer advice and helpful hints to our new soon to be brides. They were lovely and so very helpful.

Another big thank you to all of our vendors who participated and really helped to make this show such a success. Thank you for all you do!

To see a full list of this years participating vendors, click here.

 

 

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Featured Wedding: Kara and Kevin 10/19/14

One of the great things about a Wadsworth Mansion wedding is that no two are the same.  Kara and Kevin were such a fun, colorful couple with great ideas and little personal touches that transformed this mansion into the perfect setting for their day.  A lego Coast Guard ship as a nod to their connection of the Coast Guard with a rubber duck bride a groom that what greeted guests as they arrived. Vibrant hues of blue and purple were used all over the mansion to bring Karas flair of color into our neutral interior. A wonderful time was had by all as the happy couple were surrounded by friends and loved ones. We are so happy that they decided to share the day with us!

 

 

Photography – The Pros

Flowers – Perfect Princess Events

Cake – Castle City Cakes

Music/DJ – Lights, Camera, DJ

Catering – Pavilion

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Featured Wedding: Kelsey and Andrew 12/13/14

We are in the spirit of the holidays and thought it would be nice to share something merry and bright with all of you.  Kelsey and Andrews wedding is the perfect way to do that! They picked a very cool date for their wedding… the last sequential date of the 21st century!  With such a memorable date for a wedding, the celebration had to live up to its reputation.  And it sure did!

The mansion was all decked out in holiday decor which Kelsey was happy to incorporate into her wedding.  We don’t see many winter weddings here at the mansion but when we do, we wonder why there aren’t more.  What is more romantic than an intimate gathering with family and friends at a beautiful historic house with roaring fireplaces, twinkling lights, the glow of candlelight, and a newly married couple cozying up on the dance floor?  They had some wonderful winter touches with a hot chocolate bar, personalized Christmas ornaments as guest favors, and a beautiful color palette of whites, golds, gray, and creams to accent the decor that surrounded them.

The couple was married in Clinton, CT and took photos in the surrounding areas before arriving at the mansion for their evening reception of cocktails, dancing, and merriment.  The day was beautifully photographed by Ashley Caroline Photography and catered by David Alan Catering.  Enjoy a glimpse into the lovely details of a winter wedding at the Wadsworth Mansion.  Congratulations to the happy couple!  We were so honored to share in the joy of your day.

 

Photography – Ashley Caroline Photography

Catering – David Alan Caterers

Flowers – Its So Ranunculus

Music – Rent a DJ

Cake – Kims Cottage Confections

Hotel – Inn at Middletown

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