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New York-Hudson Valley

Bear Mountain Inn

Hi! I have narrowed my venues down to Bear Mountain Inn and another venue in Brooklyn. I would love to hear about some experiences at the Inn -- the good, the bad, the ugly. I'm looking to have mine in October so it would be during Oktoberfest, which I know means a lot of traffic/people. Anyone who dealt with this I would also love to hear from. Thank you!

Re: Bear Mountain Inn

  • Hey- Bear Mountain was my dream venue, and October- my dream month to get married.  But after sitting in traffic to get to Octoberfest, and watching a limo filled with the entire wedding party sit in traffic just going from the Overlook lodge to the Inn- my dreams had to change.  The lake is absolutely beautiful, but it's so crowded that you might not get picture that didn't contain a drunk person or a bunch of people BBQing.  I would go with an earlier date in September, or push it back to November.  I'm having my photos done there before my wedding (I'm getting married at Cortlandt Colonial Manor) and I couldn't even have a date in October because we would risk being late for our ceremony.  

    Also, I have no idea what was up with the manager there- but she didn't reply to any of my emails.  She only replied to my fiance.  So that was a huge turnoff for me, but I otherwise have heard that many people absolutely love the venue.  I just didn't get the lack of care and timeliness in getting back to prospective clients.  
  • thanks for the reply! If I stay over the night before and warn people to give themselves time do you think it would work or is this a really bad idea?
  • I had mine at Bear Mountain, at the Lodge, but not during Oktoberfest so I am not sure what the traffic or crowds will be like, but depending what time you are having your wedding, this might not even be an issue?   By 6PM the park closes.  We had ours in May and our cocktail hour started at 6pm (my ceremony was held somewhere else) and other than a few random people I didn't see anyone outside or walking around.   The only time I had issues with getting responses was when the original person I was working with left and no one told me.    Once I got ahold of someone and found out my new contact there wasn't any issues.  Food is great there and even on my rainy wedding day our pictures turned out great near the lake.    My wedding was a holiday weekend and months in advance all the rooms in the Inn were already booked.   I reserved a block in the Lodge (which is where our wedding was anyway and where we preferred to stay) and had no issues with the few people that stayed over (I didn't really have any out of town guests and only a couple immediate family members stayed over).  

  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I haven't attended a wedding there since they've redone it. But I've dealt with the traffic Octoberfest brings. It's crazy. It doesn't start until 12pm, and the entrance is backed up by 11am. What time were you thinking of having your wedding? 

    I think you might be OK if your wedding is later in the day and your guests all have advance notice. I would also speak with Bear Mountain about your concerns regarding this. Will there be any special parking provisions made for your guests, or will they be fighting for parking with the Octoberfesters? 

    Side note: I know the ladies that run the spa and they are awesome! 

  • @jenni1221 thank you! When you say the park closes at 6, are people really kicked out at 6pm or can they just no longer enter at that time?

    @climbingbridenNY the manager there did tell my FH and I about the congestion, so I wanted to know how bad it really was. We met him early in the morning so we did not have any issues with traffic. Our wedding would not start until 6. If the park really closes at this time I don't see it really being an issue, I would just tell my guests to give themselves extra time so they don't miss the ceremony. However, if the park doesn't really close at 6 I wouldn't want people playing music and BBQing behind me (I'd be getting married outside of the Inn). Thanks for the info about the spa! Would you say it's safe to use their hair and makeup people or should I look at local vendors?
  • Will your guests be staying at the overlook lodge?  And is that where you will be getting ready with your bridal party?  If you are getting ready at the inn, you might be alright.  Vendors start clearing out around 6pm and it does calm down after that.  I just felt horrible for the bridal party that had to sit in traffic on the way to the ceremony from the overlook lodge (but this was probably around 4pm or so) 

    Also, it really depends when you want to take your photos.  The festival ends around sunset so you might have to scope out the place for place for good spots that aren't crowded.  But if you have a form of transportation, you can get some really great photos at the watch tower at the top on the mountain. Also, the area near the stone cottages might be a good place to take photos.  

    Just be sure no matter what to mention the traffic in your invitations, and maybe even put an earlier start time for your ceremony.  You wouldn't want your guests to get stuck in the traffic and miss your ceremony.  



  • @kk111415 thank you for the advice! My guests would be staying mostly at the Inn where we'd be having the ceremony/reception, but depending on the availability they may be staying at the lodge or cottages or a nearby hotel. I'd definitely be at the Inn getting ready with my bridal party there. 
  • klk111415klk111415 member
    500 Comments 100 Love Its Name Dropper First Answer
    edited October 2014
    @Knottie04789153 Oh good! Then at least you won't have to sit in the dreaded traffic.  It's an absolutely gorgeous venue! I love it up there which is why I chose a venue close to Bear Mountain because if I couldn't get married there, I at least wanted to have some picture at the park! I'm excited for taking photos with my bridal party on the carousel!  

    Have you chosen a photographer or DJ yet?  
  • @kk111415 the carousel is so gorgeous! I originally wanted my wedding there, but I couldn't get my guest list down to those numbers. My FH and I should have a decision by this weekend if we're picking Bear Mtn or the venue in Brooklyn.... I'll keep you posted if we choose Bear Mtn and what vendors we decide on!
  • @Knottie04789153 Sounds good, good luck! I know a bunch of amazing photographers (depending on your budget) that could do Brooklyn or Bear Mountain.  If photographer is at the top of your list for importance (and you have a good budget), definitely check out MPW Mediagroup.  They work out of NJ.  If you have facebook, just look them up.  Absolutely the best photographers I've ever seen.  They also do video and same day edits which make your wedding look like a music video.  Unfortunately, I'm not using them- but they are the absolute best! My sister in-law used them and her photos are stunning!
  • @jenni1221 thank you! When you say the park closes at 6, are people really kicked out at 6pm or can they just no longer enter at that time?

    @climbingbridenNY the manager there did tell my FH and I about the congestion, so I wanted to know how bad it really was. We met him early in the morning so we did not have any issues with traffic. Our wedding would not start until 6. If the park really closes at this time I don't see it really being an issue, I would just tell my guests to give themselves extra time so they don't miss the ceremony. However, if the park doesn't really close at 6 I wouldn't want people playing music and BBQing behind me (I'd be getting married outside of the Inn). Thanks for the info about the spa! Would you say it's safe to use their hair and makeup people or should I look at local vendors?

    I'm not positive.  There was nothing major going on when we had our wedding (end of May) so there was hardly anyone around when we got there around 6PM  

    Good luck on your decision!

  • Knottie04789153 I was looking to have my wedding there too in October. I spoke with a wonderful woman named Amy (super helpful) and she was honest and said the traffic has in the past been an issue for weddings in october. Because they are first a state park so if there are too many cars they do shut down the roads which leaves severe complications for wedding parties. She suggested if I was set on October having it on a friday because octoberfest is only Saturday and Sunday. Let me know if you have anymore questions her and I spoke at length about it. It was a major concern of mine.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer


    I'm
    going to resurrect this thread because Bear Mountain is a top contender of
    mine.   In October but on a Friday so phew! I'm glad I read this.

     

    Does anyone know of the alcohol rule? I'm planning this out of IL (will make a trip to NY this summer to see my options), but here in Illinois, state parks cannot serve alcohol after 11.  Does Bear Mountain have that rule?  Can the reception go past 11? 




  • I'm not 100% sure on the alcohol rule but I got the impression that they could keep the bar open after the reception for an additional cost.  Also, I think they have set times for receptions.  We wanted a day wedding but it wasn't an option.  I had my heart set on bear mountain from before we even got engaged but the pricing and guest max were listed incorrect on their site.  The pricing was much higher than we expected, unfortunately.  Beautiful place, though.  And a Friday would be best because it's crazy packed on weekends with loud music and large crowds of people, even when it isn't Octoberfest.  
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    edited May 2015
    Thanks SO much, klk!  yeah, the pricing on the website did seem to good to be true!  Let's see what they come back with. 

  • vmj23vmj23 member
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 250 Love Its 5 Answers
    Mine ended at 11PM, I didn't ask about it going later but had mine at the Overlook Lodge.  I think their restaurant is open past 11 on weekends, so I'd imagine they would still serve liquor. I've never know any restrictions on hours it can be served in NY .  Regarding prices, I had no issues with the pricing on their site, but gratuity, service charge, tax all add up - I think their wedding package showed $109 pp or so and with all the charges it came out to around $130 pp if I remember correctly.  I loved it there though and def recommend!  
  • This was the pricing we received for a friday night Nov-March at overlook lodge:

    Not sure if you're considering the lodge or Inn.  

    Overlook Lodge

                Minimum – 65 people

                Maximum – 125 people

                Site Fee $550.00

                November – March (Friday or Sunday Events Only): Starts at $89 per person

     

    For Example’s Sake:

    +

    $89.00

    Per Person

    +

    $17.80

    Gratuity (20%)

    +

    $8.94

    Tax

    =

    $115.74

    Total Per Person


  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer

    Thanks, klk, that's what we were quoted too, and it works in our budget.  We had flights booked to view before signing, but had to cancel them.  I'm not sure I can go before we sign though.  It's the only place that works in our budget.  I love the pictures and love the reviews.
    What do you guys think?  I probably wont be able to get to NY before Sept, and our days are being taken up very quickly.  Would you sign before viewing? (my fiance has gone and liked it...but he was very little when he went.  I trust him though!)


  • Are you booking the Overlook lodge, or the Inn?  I looked at the overlook lodge.  I peeked in while they were setting up for a wedding.  I thought the area was beautiful, but I was a bit knit picky about the lodge.  I thought it could use a lot of updating... I used the bathroom where your guests would use during the reception and thought they could use some updating... And the room for the reception seemed small.  I think 125 might be pushing it, but it was cozy.  The grounds are beautiful and booking a Friday will be extremely helpful in avoiding crowds.  The next day will for sure be busy and you can expect a lot of traffic coming in, but that shouldn't be an issue.  Most of my concerns stemed from the event manager ignoring all of my emails, yet responding to my fiance, and I did feel like they nickel and dime you a bit- having to pay a ceremony fee and all.  But if you are looking for a woodsy, rustic location- it's a great location. And if you want a place that offers accomodations on site, it works perfect for that, too.  Just keep in mind the total costs and I would ask about their after party policy.  We would have tried to rent out an entire stone cottage and bring our own alcohol for an after party.

    And to be honest, seeing it during the summer won't due it justice.  The weekends are a mad house and you won't really get a great vision. 

    All of that being said, I still think it's a bit risky to book a venue without seeing anything else, but if you don't have any other places you're interested in, in the surrounding area- then it might be easy to just book it and set your heart on it.  I saw 3 venues total, and the one I didn't think I would like ended up being the one we went with.  
  • Just FYI - getting hotel blocks during October has been a real struggle for me...getting married in Boiceville, NY 10/15 - no one will take a block for me. It's a nightmare.
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