Saturday, July 18, 2009

Last Stop

We made our last visit to a possible reception location today: The Barney Carriage House at Forest Park in Springfield.

For the $1,495 rental fee, you get use of The Carriage House for the day as well as the grounds immediately outside. Tables and chairs are also included (although linens and all items needed for eating and drinking are not).

The pro's: 1. The grounds are lovely. They afford a lot of nice photo opportunities.

2. The outside patio is perfect for cocktail hour. It is right off the indoor room with the bar.

The staff at The Carriage House will prop open the doors when the weather is nice and people can mill around between indoors and out. There is a shaded area directly outside the doors to the patio and then the patio beyond.

3. The Carriage House is nice inside, although the horse wallpaper in the main room is a bit much and slightly dark. I know they wanted to keep the horse theme from the location's original use, hence the wall paper. They were setting up the room for a meeting on Monday, hence the tables. I didn't really get a good interior shot because of all the furniture.

This is another picture of the interior from The Barney Carriage House website so that you can get a real idea of what the main room looks like. I didn't take this picture. The image is the property of whoever took it for The Carriage House - the website doesn't say - and of The City of Springfield.

My favorite part of the building's interior was a room upstairs which they reserve for the bridal party to use before they make their entrance at the reception.

The con's: 1. Forest Park, where The Carriage House is located it not a convenient location. It's about thirty minutes south of South Hadley where the ceremony will likely be and about forty-five minutes south of Amherst. Where would we have people stay in hotels? Springfield is not a nice city, not nearly as nice as Amherst where we would like to have the reception. It would be nice for out of town guest to get to stay in Amherst where we live. There are so many lovely things to do in Amherst - it is such a great town. I would like to get to share that with our guest who might not have been to the area before. If we had the reception in Springfield we would lose that. The distance would also mean that we might need to provide transportation between the ceremony and reception, something we hadn't planned on doing. (We were thinking people could drive if they only had to go ten minutes down the road.) 2. This is not as much of a con as the first one but it's still a difficulty. The Carriage Park has an exclusive caterer that does the bar (although you can hire anyone you want to do the food). The bar caterer offers a pretty limited wine and beer selection, a minus because we wanted to just have a wine and beer bar. Also, on Saturday's the bar caterer has a $1,000 minimum for alcohol, which is more than it would cost to have wine and beer for fifty five people. That really won't work for us.

We liked The Carriage House, but we didn't love it. And we would have had to love it to want to go down all the way to Springfield.

I am in Ohio for the next three days at a conference for work. When I get back, Seth and I will pick a reception location, either UMass or The Carle; set a final date and book with whatever location we pick; and book Abbey Chapel at Mt. Holyoke for the ceremony. I will be glad to have this finalized so we can move on to what happens next.

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