You’ll always remember your wedding day, when memories are made that will last a lifetime. You’ll share this day with stories and photographs for years to come. While the details may fade, one of the most important memories will be of your reception … your first party with family and friends as “Mr. & Mrs.”
Whatever setting you desire, there are many spectacular wedding reception venue options, and there is truly something for everyone within a 60-mile radius of Fairfield County.
If you want a location that combines elegance and a magnificent outdoor setting, consider Dolce Norwalk, which is set on 66 acres of rolling hills, meadows and woods. Dolce is the former St. Mary’s Seminary, known to generations of Norwalk locals as “Ferndale” because of the abundance of ferns growing on the grounds.
“Dolce Norwalk offers incredible cuisine by executive chef John Peper, as well as privacy, as Dolce Norwalk isn’t open to the public for individual hotel or restaurant visits,” explains Mark Speranza, director of sales and marketing. “Our countryside setting includes a private pond, natural marshes, vast green lawns, and wetlands.” The venue, with its appropriately named Ferndale Ballroom, can accommodate up to 240 guests, and offers 120 guest rooms.
For a venue in an historic setting, Lounsbury House in Ridgefield is a National Historic Site and was built in 1896 by former Connecticut Gov. Phineas C. Lounsbury, who was born in Ridgefield. While attending the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Lounsbury was so taken by the Connecticut State Building that he built a replica to serve as his family home.
“Our recently renovated venue can accommodate up to 220 for a seated dinner,” says Melanie S. Mauldin, event director. “We also have a large wrap-around porch for cocktail hour and two gardens for ceremonies and/or cocktails. Our new Governor’s Garden, surrounded by arborvitae, is very private and is fitted with a beautiful gazebo, pergola, and floral archway, as well as four classic urns planted with climbing mandevilla, English ivy, and white impatiens.”
Couples have the option of a nine-hour rental or the entire day to entertain guests. “We only host one event per day, so each of our clients has full use of the house, as if it were their own,” Mauldin explains.
If you want to feel like royalty on your wedding day, why not consider getting married in a castle? Whitby Castle, set on 126 acres in Rye, N.Y., offers manicured lawns, views of Long Island Sound, a ballroom, and two private reception rooms. Jennifer Cantin, director of marketing and development for Lessing’s Hospitality Group, explains, “Whitby Castle boasts a striking similarity to the details of the original Whitby Abbey in England, including some of the original abbey stones. Many girls dream about their fairytale wedding … the perfect prince, a horse-drawn carriage, getting married in a castle. Here, everything they have imagined is possible.”
Ridgefield’s Keeler Tavern Museum, which began as a one-room dwelling with a stone fireplace and was expanded and renovated over the years, marries sophisticated style with history. Mary Ann Connors, Garden House rental manager and associate director of the Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center, describes the facility’s wedding amenities: “The charming amenities of this historical venue include the Garden House with its wood-burning fireplace, crystal chandeliers, hardwood floors, and original French doors that open onto a sheltered bricked terrace. Marble steps lead to a charming and spacious brick-walled garden containing a reflecting pool and fountain, and a stone patio (tented during warmer months) is used as an outdoor extension of the catered area.”
The secret garden is one of Ridgefield’s hidden treasures, Connors notes. “Designed by architect Cass Gilbert, a former owner of the property, the Garden House and garden evoke a feeling of grand entertaining,” she says. “The Garden House and the Carriage Barn, also built by Gilbert, offer indoor and outdoor entertaining spaces, and if the bride and groom would like their guests to learn about the property’s rich history, a tour of the museum, led by costumed docents, can be added to the reception.”
Fairfield County’s coastline, with its stunning views, offers wedding venues that guests will long remember. For example, l’escale restaurant, located inside the Delamar Greenwich Harbor in Greenwich, is the only public event space in Greenwich that offers a waterfront view, according to Michael Merturi, director of catering. “Our location is as good as it gets,” he contends.
A private pre-wedding tasting menu with l’escale’s five-star executive chef Frederic Kieffer allows the wedding couple the opportunity to develop a menu that reflects their personal taste. All orders are taken tableside from the couple’s personal menu, with no need to preselect dinner options. With a waterfront terrace for the ceremony, the atmosphere and natural lighting create a romantic experience to remember.
The WoodWinds in Branford offers a European country manor setting in southern Connecticut. Vanessa Horn, event sales director, believes that the WoodWinds’ location is what makes its weddings memorable. “Conveniently located off I-95, our facility is set back on beautiful grounds, which include a waterfall, gardens and gazebo,” Horn explains. “Whether it’s an evening wedding with beautiful outside lighting or a daytime event with fabulous gardens reflecting the flowers of each season, it’s truly a magical setting.”