Wadsworth Mansion

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 1continued 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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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

 

FullSizeRender_8  FullSizeRender_7   FullSizeRender_3   FullSizeRender_4   FullSizeRender_2   FullSizeRender_5   FullSizeRender_1   FullSizeRender_6   Natalie and Tom terrace view downsized   FullSizeRender

 

 

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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On Uniqueness

MichelleGirardPhotography189-(ZF-7163-86976-1-001)Here at the Wadsworth Mansion, uniqueness is our delight.  Each event is it’s own celebration, standing solo on our calendar for that day and befitting the design of the host’s individual vision.  Our mansion and grounds are merely a (beautiful) blank slate, leaving any and all details  — food, decor, flowers, floor plan, and more — up to the thrower of said party.

When my husband and I were married here almost one year ago, we loved that we weren’t forced into hiring a specific DJ or caterer or florist; the absolute last thing we wanted was a “wedding factory,” where we would just be shoehorned into a pre-set model like afterthoughts and hurried through our wedding to make way for the next one.  The a la carte manner in which the Mansion goes about it’s events allowed our big day to actually reflected us as a couple.  We had the wedding we intended from top to bottom (which, incidentally, you can get a taste of here, just scroll down a bit).

And since then, now that I am employed by the Mansion, I have seen many more weddings and parties here and none are alike.  Even among weddings with similar teams of vendors, the celebrations are unique representations of the hosts.

And all that freedom of choice isn’t for everyone.  I certainly give tours where our historic mansion and it’s one-of-a-kind, symmetrical footprint throws people off.  It does take some creativity to think outside of the same old, single ballroom box.  And that’s okay — coloring outside the lines is great for some and uncomfortable for others.  Plenty of people like to stick to safe, tried-and-true ways of doing things because the enormity of hosting a big event can be stressful enough.

But I can promise that if you’re willing to be intrepid in your party throwing you will reap so much more than if you copy the majority just to stick to the norm.  I recently overheard a comment by a guest at an event (who was late, and purposefully hanging back): “…if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.”  Yikes.  To be honest, the host didn’t deserve such an assessment at all. However, if that’s the general perspective you’re up against, wouldn’t you want to blow that thought out of the water?

Don’t worry so much about how everyone else did it, or does it, or will do it.  What makes these things so special and noteworthy is how personal they are.

Be uniquely you and your wedding will be extraordinary.

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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The Devil’s In The Details (or, Tips For Planning The Best Event Ever)

Coming from the latin word for flat, the word plan is a much-used root word defined as:  a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making, etc., developed in advance.

Some people have a natural knack for masterminding things while others… well, not so much.  If you fall into the latter category, don’t fret — you’re not doomed to having a less-than stunning party.  The key is creating a detailed plan, which will become the foundation of your event.  So get out your Excel spreadsheet or Eventbrite‘s event planning software or regular old pen and paper because the first thing you should do is…

  1. Write it down.  There is a lot to keep track of — vendors, guests, timelines, budgets, shopping lists, etc. etc.  You won’t be able to keep it all straight in your brain, so don’t even try.  Professional party planners keep detailed notes, and so should you.
  2. Create a total budget. (and put aside an emergency reserve.)  Set these as early in the process as possible.  Beautiful weddings can be thoughtfully designed on any budget, but blindly spending is a good way to add unnecessary stress to the process.  Use the reserve as your safety net or to add extra finishing details in the day or so before the event.  Or save it for the next big thing!
  3. Dream up a vision.  Close your eyes and put yourself at your venue, say, The Wadsworth Mansion.  Imagine the portico’s stately columns rising to the sky, imagine the late afternoon sunlight streaming through the loggia windows, imagine the long expanse of our lush, green vista framed by rows of cedar trees stretching from the terrace… Now pick an adjective or two that describes the atmosphere you’d like to create here for your guests.  Keep your ideal atmosphere in mind as you select vendors and decide on details throughout the planning process.
  4. Photograph & label everything.  If you want your details to look cohesive and reflect your vision, do a test run; when your mock-up looks to your liking, put your smart phone to work and snap some pictures.  Label liberally — what is obvious to you may not be so clear to vendors during set up. This will save precious time on the day-of, earning you extra moments to deal with any last-minute hiccups.
  5. Communicate.  Save the surprises for your guests. Talk to your vendors. Make sure everyone on your team is on the same page. A quick phone call to confirm plans or specific details the day before can be the subtle difference between seamlessly smooth and stressful disaster.
  6. Walk in your guests shoes.  From arrival through any activities to the exit, step your way through from a guest’s perspective, which will help with 2 things: assessing if you’ve overlooked any details and making sure your festivities are fluid. If you throw a party for yourself and invite people, that’s exactly what it will feel like to your guests. If, however, you keep the invitee’s experience at the forefront of your planning, the likelihood of “Best Event Ever” status exponentially rises.

Photo by: Alicia Ann Photographers

Stay tuned for future editions of posts on event planning…  In the meantime share comments, experiences, thoughts, and questions below in our comments section.

 

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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Celebrating Spring

Although the weather has been a little rainy and gloomy as of late here at the Mansion, it was nothing short of perfection for our annual Daffodil Day event on Sunday, April 24, 2016. We had quite the turn out of visitors and volunteers alike, who enjoyed a relaxing afternoon in the sunshine with historical tours, guided hikes, and food truck picnicking. Our 1st Annual Daffodil Dash was excellent fun for the teams and spectators alike, with smiling faces, elevated heart rates, and good sportsmanship abounding. Cash Lane Slim’s smooth vocals and guitar wafted through the mansion while Mr. Bungles’ bubbles drifted across the terrace, delighting attendees of all ages. A grand time was had by all, so much so that we almost can’t wait to host Daffodil Day again next year! (But first…wedding season…)

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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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It’s Wedding Season (…well, almost!)

With April just around the corner, we here at the mansion are eagerly anticipating our hosting duties for what should be one of our busiest wedding seasons yet!  Now is the time when our spring couples are excitedly discussing their event details with us and feeling the final days of their engagements rapidly approaching.  While each couple is different, they all have visions about what their perfect day will be like.

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When planning a wedding (as those of you who have done it can attest), there are always surprises between the popping of the question and retiring to the bridal suite on the wedding night.  It may stem from an unseasoned vendor, an overzealous family member, an unplanned weather event, or accidental wardrobe malfunctions… but every wedding has something happen that you just can’t plan.

Sometimes they are happy accidents — like lucking into the world’s best DJ when your budget didn’t allow for a live band.  And sometimes they’re really not — like a groomsman bowing out mere hours before the ceremony.  Regardless of the outcome, or how much you try to prepare or overthink each possible outcome, something will catch you off guard.  And when it does, just keep moving forward!  It might be the best thing that could’ve happened.

 

Any wedding pros or married readers care to share their experiences with the unexpected?  Please regale us with your stories and how you handled the surprise in the comments section below!

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: 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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Old Hollywood Glam Photo Shoot at The Wadsworth Mansion

Beautiful Old Hollywood Photo shoot, set on the grounds of the Wadsworth Mansion.

Even on a chilly day in April, with rain in the forecast this photo shoot was bound to be amazing. With the colors, the design, and the setting, the shoot was both exciting and inspirational.

Beginning with a color scheme of Gold, Black and Purple the scene was set by Stephanie Carmody of Tres Chic Events.  With a mix of Old Hollywood elegance and classic touches, every element of this shoot was a perfect compliment to the mansion and grounds.   Dining was staged among the trees where the beauty of nature meets sophistication. The tablescape was accentuated with a suspended chandelier of purple flowers and bouquets by Dragonfly Event. Gold chargers and glassware brought dimension to the display.

The bride exuded elegance in a lace gown that blended flawlessly with the Beaux Art style of the mansion and Dana Bartone and Company gave her the classic Hollywood look. We love it when talented vendors come together to create new and stunningly unique ideas in this space.

We were thrilled to  have this photo shoot take place at the mansion.  It was originally featured on Reverie Gallery and now we are happy share it with all of our readers, enjoy!

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To see the Reverie Gallery blog click here

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