Yesterday, during the lunch-hour, Seth and I headed over to Hampshire College to look at The Red Barn, a possible reception location.
The Red Barn is situated in a nice location overlooking mountains and meadows.
It has a nice deck that one can use during a cocktail hour.
Hampshire handles the catering and provides all the tables and chairs and linens. They provide all the staff on hand for the event.
Here are some pictures of the inside space, where one would have one's reception take place. There is plenty of room for tables and dancing - the dance floor would be located in the center of the room, according to the events coordinator.
While unique, the space is more rustic than I would prefer.
The pro's and con's. Pro's: 1. Hampshire handles everything and had a goodly number of highly experienced staff. 2. The space had lovely views of the surrounding town. There is access of the patio, which is a really good bonus. Con's: 1. It is a bit expensive - there is a rental fee and you pay for catering. Most places that have catering included don't have a rental fee. There are a few smaller fees as well and one needs to take out insurance. 2. While The Red Barn certainly does not lack for New England charm, it is less elegant than I had envisioned for a wedding. It is unique, and unique is what I want, but I want a more classic look for unique (hence my interest in historic locations and museums.)
We have more places to check out:
1. The University of Massachusetts Amherst's new banquet facilities. (You can view images here.) We should be going to check it out this afternoon. The facility is located on the eleventh floor of the Campus Center and offers lovely views of the campus. It is very contemporary looking. Catering would be included here and would be very affordable.
2. The Eric Carle Museum, which is also located in Amherst and where we are going tomorrow. The Carle rental offers a lovely reception location with many windows overlooking the orchard there and access to exhibit halls. We would have to hire a caterer here. The con about The Carle is going to be the rental cost which is $3,000 (about double most other places but at least the money is going to a good cause).
3. The Barney Carriage House at Forest Park in Springfield (on the Longmeadow side). The pictures look beautiful. You get to rent the entire property with surrounding gardens for the day. The rental is just under $1,500. You need a caterer and, because it's a City of Springfield location, you need to use an approved caterer. We have a meeting here next Saturday, July 18. The Barney Carriage House is a forty minute drive from Amherst and maybe a twenty-five minute drive from Mount Holyoke's Abbey Chapel, which we hope to reserve for the ceremony. It is a bit far away. We'll have to see if we love it in order to justify the travel time.
4. The University Club at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I have just contacted them. Seth loves the idea of having our wedding at UMass for reasons of nestolgia. I want a unique location. The University Club, which is a set of historic houses located at UMass would be perfect. We just have to see if they have room for a wedding of fifty-five. I am hopeful they will get back to me soon with and answer.
5. The Springfield Museums offer spaces for weddings and events. Check out the cool pictures of events that have happened there by using the link I just provided. I e-mailed the Special Events Coordinator there on Monday and haven't heard back. I am going to follow up with a call. The Springfield Museums (there are four of them) are located in downtown Springfield, which would be about ten minutes closer than the Barney Carriage House, which is a plus.
6. The Garden House at Look Park in Northampton is a neat location. It overlooks the bumper boats. Imagine bumper boats at a wedding (or not)! I like the wood paneling in this room. The rental is $2,200 for Saturdays. Seth is e-mailing the contact person today to set up a meeting. Look Park is a lovely location. I know the website doesn't really have a good picture, actually the website is overall not good. Here is a link to a picture of the inside of The Garden House.
We still have a lot of places to check out and a lot to do. We hope to have something finalized by the end of the month.