Mohonk Mountain House. Photo by Samantha Photographie, courtesy Mohonk Mountain House
One-stop venues with ceremony sites, reception halls, overnight accommodations, and more make for easy planning and a worry-free wedding.
When planning a wedding, there’s a lot to think about: The dress, the food, the ceremony, the guests, the reception, the transportation, the hotels, the … need I go on? Sometimes, the so-called “best day of your life” can seem more like a marathon sprint—in stilettos! But what if you could find a venue that covered all the bases for you? (Well, maybe not the dress.) Here are six “one-stop shops” that have a place for all your wedding weekend events. Your guests just have to show up and start having a good time.
Mohonk Mountain House
New Paltz | 845.256.2053
Before Katherine Roark even had a ring on her finger, she knew two things: that she wanted to marry Jeremy Dievendorf, and that Mohonk Mountain House was the ideal spot. Having celebrated many of her grandparents’ anniversaries there, as well as a few family reunions, it had always had a special place in her heart. And she wasn’t the only one who remarked—while strolling the grounds early on in their courtship—how it would be “the perfect place for a wedding.”
When the ring finally came out and the official planning had begun, the “natural beauty of the grounds,” the “romance and class” of the Mountain House made this venue stand head and shoulders above the rest. In addition to majestic views of the Catskills and Lake Mohonk, it offers 259 hotel rooms, a world-class spa, and access to numerous outdoor activities such as hiking, seasonal ice skating, and boating. Its award-winning formal gardens, with mountain views, flowering vine arbors, and an evergreen maze, can accommodate alfresco wedding ceremonies for up to 175 guests. Indoor ceremonies take place in the Victorian Parlor, which looks out on the cliffs and the lake.
For their early May ceremony, the Dievendorfs decided to take their vows among the flowers before kicking off cocktail hour on a balcony overlooking Lake Mohonk. Dinner and dancing took place in the East Dining Room, which was the perfect size for their 75-guest wedding, though larger parties would be better suited dancing the night away in the West Dining Room, which accommodates up to 175.
At the end of the day, Katherine couldn’t have been happier with the location, the food, or the staff, who even crafted an entirely gluten-free menu at the couple’s request. “Everything at Mohonk was wonderful,” she says, praising the stress-free experience. “They took care of everything and made it very easy to let go and enjoy the weekend. I was able to trust that everything would turn out perfectly in their very capable hands.”
Mohonk offers many wedding packages, which start at $125 a person, as well as several unique add-ons like a campfire by the lake, Sunday brunch, or rehearsal dinners at the Granary. Weddings are held year-round.
Tarrytown House Estate
Tarrytown | 914.591.3105
In order to have the elegant but vintage-style wedding she’d always wanted, Irvington native Emily Mills initially thought she’d have to look miles away in upstate New York. But when her mother suggested she and fiancé Micah Johnson take a peek around her own backyard, she discovered the Tarrytown House Estate—and fell in love.
Located in what Forbes magazine recently named one of America’s top 10 prettiest towns, the estate has been hosting weddings for more than a century. Overlooking the Hudson River Valley, the 26-acre property contains two stone-façades, 19th-century buildings—King House and Biddle Mansion—a retired carriage house, a cottage, lots of conference space, and 212 guestrooms—perfect for partied-out wedding guests looking to hit the hay. With more than 30,000 square feet of private space (including the Winter Palace, Mary Duke Ballroom, West Terrace, and Statue Garden), the venue can accommodate parties of up to 350 guests.
Emily and Micah, however, needed only enough space to accommodate 26—and they found Biddle Mansion’s numerous rooms to be the perfect fit. From the moment she first saw her groom at the base of the grand staircase, to their sunset photo shoot on the patio, to the last kiss of the evening, every moment was picture-perfect—literally. Between the easy flow from room to room, the dark wood décor, the cozy fireplace nooks, and a plethora of windows, Tarrytown House provided a beautiful backdrop for their photographer at every turn.
“When I look at the pictures or go back to visit, I feel the charm and warmth of my wedding all over again,” says Emily, praising the helpful staff, “stunning” atmosphere, and delicious food. “When I tell people about my experience with the Tarrytown House Estate, they can’t believe how quick, helpful, accommodating and simple the planning process was. It’s memorable because I actually enjoyed ‘the hard part.’”
Tarrytown House Estate hosts weddings year-round, with custom packages starting at $100 a person.
Bear Mountain Inn and Overlook Lodge
Highland Falls | 845.786.2731
For nature lovers Tracey Robinson and Jeremy Schneider, what could have been better than tying the knot in the middle of a state park? How about marrying in a building that is over 100 years old and located within that state park? Add to that a spot on the National Register of Historic Places and an abundance of rustic charm, and you have the formula for Hudson Valley wedding success.
“We looked at a lot of different venues to avoid your typical catering hall,” says Tracey, raving about the facility’s exposed wood beams, stone facades, and “enormous fireplaces” that made decorating a cinch. Its easy access from Rockland, Orange, and Westchester Counties was also a plus, and the couple “loved that we could keep all of the festivities in one location.”
Because it was March, the couple declined the option to exchange vows on the outdoor patio overlooking Hessian Lake, and instead did so in the inn’s Appalachian Room. Afterward, they moved on to cocktail hour and then into Perkins Ballroom, which they decorated with secondhand lace doilies, milk-glass vases, DIY birch candleholders, and homemade lantern centerpieces. “The venue allowed us to bring in whatever piece of decor I imagined,” she says, completing their woodland theme by burning table numbers into white birch logs and giving out daffodil plants as favors.
When they were all danced out, guests were able to choose from three different lodging options on the site: the “rustic and luxurious” Bear Mountain Inn, with 15 newly renovated guestrooms; the more affordable Overlook Lodge, which has 24 rooms; or any of the four Stone Cottages, each of which has six guestrooms, a common living room, and a front porch overlooking Hessian Lake. Two of the Stone Cottages doubled as both the after-party location and sleeping quarters for the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Although the distance between each venue is less than a mile, the couple did hire an outside shuttle to transport guests from their rooms to the party space.
Wedding packages start at $119 per person, and include a full bar, wedding cake, cocktail reception, three-course meal, and Champagne toast. The venue can accommodate up to 230 guests at Bear Mountain Inn, 130 guests at Overlook Lodge, up to 100 guests at the Merry-Go-Round Pavilion, or up to 60 guests at Cliff House, an intimate venue located on Hessian Lake.
Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa
Milton | 845.795.1310
When a couple meets at a wedding and then embarks on a courtship that ends in a wedding of their own, does it make their big day just a little bit more special? This is the sort of question one could pose to Katie and Sharmilan Rayer, who caught each other’s eyes during a friend’s nuptials in Karachi, Pakistan, and later jumped the broom across the pond at Milton’s Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa.
Situated on a sprawling river estate, the 75-acre Hudson Buttermilk Falls is all about living with and caring for the environment. In addition to its farm-to-table restaurant, organic gardens, aviary house, and livestock barns (complete with llamas, alpacas, and miniature donkeys), the farm operates a spa that uses organic products and geothermal energy. (Wedding couples are offered a complimentary 60-minute Swedish Massage!) A cooked-to-order breakfast and afternoon tea are included for all overnight guests, who have 18 individually decorated accommodations to choose from: 10 rooms in the 1764 main house, four pet-friendly carriage-house suites, and four pet-friendly guest houses.
Since many of Katie’s relatives were traveling from England and Sharmilan’s parents were coming in from Karachi, it was important to have everyone in the same place for more than just a few hours. The fact that Buttermilk Falls could house up to 54 of them on-site (including their beloved French bulldog and ring bearer) was a huge plus. From their rehearsal dinner on the riverfront patio, to the ceremony on Swan Pond, to the after-party in the renovated Barn, the newlyweds took advantage of as many offerings as they could.
“One of our favorite aspects of the ‘one-stop shop’ quality of Buttermilk Falls was that we knew that so many people we loved were all around us throughout the weekend,” says Katie. “And we loved that staying on-site facilitated our family and friends being able to get to know one another, too! It’s also such a beautiful location that we were thrilled that folks could enjoy it for the entire weekend.”
Site fees for Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa range from $2,500 to $9,000 and include full use of the grounds. Menu pricing starts at $89 per person, with an additional $25 to $45 for open bar. Tenting and rentals are not included. The riverfront patio (open for weddings mid-April through October) overlooks the Hudson River and accommodates events for up to 250 guests. The Barn (available year-round) has a maximum capacity of 90 guests.
Rhinecliff | 845.876.0590
Having met while swing-dancing, fallen in love over cooking, and gotten engaged while camping, Michelle Falcetano and Robert Lauer knew they wanted their wedding day to revolve around jazz, food, and nature. But did they want a rustic barn wedding or a night at The Savoy? It was a mind-boggling conundrum—that is, until they found The Rhinecliff.
Built in 1854 and nestled on the banks of the Hudson River, The Rhinecliff features antique wood floors, historic beams, refinished doors, stone fireplaces hand-stacked by an English craftsman, and the original Victorian oak bar. Each of its nine guestrooms (where Michelle and Robert’s entire bridal party and immediate families stayed after the wedding) offers a private balcony overlooking the water. The hotel garden is ideal for ceremonies and cocktail hours, while dinner, dancing, and desserts can follow inside in the Riverview Banquet Room.
“It was just magical,” says Michelle. “With its views of the Hudson and the Catskills beyond, amazing menu, natural wood tones, eco-friendly architecture, incredible history, and amazing staff, we knew we had found just the right mix of rustic and elegant, of simple and stylish, of natural and industrial.”
Taking advantage of it all, the couple used The Rhinecliff for their rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception, after-party, and even the morning-after brunch. They particularly loved watching the sailboats breeze by along the river and the lighthouses glow from the other side, as well as the food, staff, and décor. “We didn’t have to do too much visually to make it our own because it was just so us as it was,” Michelle says.
“It was incredibly relaxing to have everything in one place,” she adds, noting that the hotel will leave the bar open “for as long as you like,” and late-night partiers can even order s’mores on the patio. “The hotel has enough space to let each event feel unique, but is small enough that the whole weekend felt intimate and cohesive, like it was all one party.”
Wedding packages range from $99 to $149 per person, including food and beverages, cocktail hour, dinner, dancing, equipment, and staff. On-site ceremonies require an additional fee of $500. The Rhinecliff is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Rhinebeck | 845.876.7077
For Maria Counts, getting married in Rhinebeck was all about showing off her roots. Now an urban landscape designer along with her husband, Christopher, she grew up on a 400-acre horse farm on Kinderhook’s Merwin Lake. The area is so “rich with beautiful landscapes, architecture, and history,” she says, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share it with her guests on her big day.
But truly appreciating a place is tough when you’re rushing from ceremony to reception to hotel. “I wanted to make sure that once people arrived, they could enjoy their stay and not have to worry about getting to and from the various events,” she explains. The 250-year-old Beekman Arms, with its lush gardens, multiple dining areas, and 23 guestrooms (plus an additional 57 at the Delamater Inn one block away), checked this box and more.
While many couples choose to tie the knot in the inn’s front gardens, Maria and Christopher wanted to take advantage of the 19th-century Episcopal Church of the Messiah. The church welcomes nonmembers, allows newlyweds to bring their own officiant, and sits directly across the street from the Delamater Inn. That means it’s also a two-minute walk from the Beekman Arms (or, if fairy-tale weddings are your thing, a quick, romantic jaunt in a horse and carriage).
Upon leaving the ceremony, Christopher and Maria walked through a shower of rose petals, hopped into their carriage, and sipped Champagne on the way to the reception. They then enjoyed dinner and dancing in the inn’s Wayfarer and Greenhouse Rooms, which combine to accommodate up to 120 guests with a dance floor. For more intimate gatherings, the Beekman Room accommodates weddings of up to 25, while extra-large parties may rent out the Tavern Restaurant, which can fit up to 170 guests and includes the other dining rooms and bar as well.
When the night began to wind down, those who had danced the night away and were still up for more ventured over to the historic Tavern Bar, where Christopher played the guitar and guests got to make a few more memories before heading up to bed. “Everyone had a great time,” says Maria, who would “absolutely” recommend this venue to other brides. “I will remember the day and night forever for all of the right reasons.”
Ranging from $75 to $145 per person, wedding packages include a one-hour open bar, cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres, Champagne toast, four-course meal created under Executive Chef Eric Mann with ingredients from local farms, wedding cake, and overnight accommodations for the bride and groom. Guests may also choose to have a tented outdoor celebration at the Delamater Inn.