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Connecticut

Concerns about Branford House

Hi....I'm considering having my wedding there (outdoor ceremony, indoor reception), but I'm not sure I like the idea of having to split people up in different rooms.  Have others had their weddings there?  How awkward was it?  
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Re: Concerns about Branford House

  • It depends entirely on what you want to do with it.  It's going to work gloriously for our wedding in two months - we're having pre-ceremony refreshments in the rock garden to the side of the mansion, the ceremony on the lawn, the cocktail hour on the veranda right next to the mansion where we'll do toasts (since that's the awkward part of having 3 rooms, so we're doing it while everyone is at cocktail hour), then our first dance under a tent on the back porch - dancing will continue, and the doors will be opened for guests to take advantage of 5 different live action stations. 

    So it's more like an extended cocktail hour - we're having assigned seating, but there's no real definitive break in the flow of the event - people can eat as they want, dance a bit, and then eat some more, then dance some more!

    If you want the traditional "everyone be seated, dinner is served, now there's a toast" situation for more than 80 people, the Branford House is probably not for you.  But for an elegant "why, yes, we can have an elegant party at my wonderful mansion, Mr. Gatsby!" feel, you cannot beat the Branford House.

    The biggest concern about Branford House in my experience over the past year is the property manager.  Katherine is not very responsive, and has even lied outright.  She told the bride getting married the day after me that she had passed on her contact information to me so we could discuss sharing tent/chair rentals, but in fact she had never given me that information - the bride found me via TK. She similarly told me that she had passed my info onto the bride getting married before me, but I think that's a lie, too.  She also doesn't answer questions. I don't mind, because all I need Katherine to do is unlock the doors that day (my caterer, Emily's Catering, is phenomenal and will run the show).  But if you're someone who needs very responsive vendors, she's definitely not that person.

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  • We are having assigned seats with a sit down dinner...Once cocktail hour is done everyone will be asked to come into the room where the dancefloor will be, wedding party announced, first dance...and then toasts...then everyone will be seated.  After dinner...people typically do their own thing anyways...so I"m not worried about it...the bar will be in the area with the dancefloor as well as the photo booth and the cigar roller.

    www.petanolucci.com
  • Sorry, this is off topic, but AVBarto - who is your cigar roller?  Do guests get to choose which type of cigar they want and they roll it there for them or what is it exactly?  I've never heard of that before but my fiance and his friends are big into cigars so that's something I'd like to check out, thanks!
  • Thanks guys....good ideas.  I'll keep them in mind when we do a formal tour in the next few weeks!  
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  • Another question....are you guys sitting at a sweetheart table, or with others?  If you are doing sweetheart, what room will you put the table in?
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  • I'm sitting at a "sibling table" - a rectangular table (the rest will be round) in front of the main fireplace.  I would put a sweetheart there, but that depends entirely on how you plan to use the rooms.

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  • I have never been to the Branford House, but I have been to a wedding were the guest were split into 2 rooms for dinner. Personally, I didn't like it. It was my cousins wedding and I was put into the room with all his friends and none of my family. It was a little awkaward. The bride and groom put their sweetheart table in the other room, so I didn't even feel like I was at a wedding. We couldn't hear the speeches or see anything. If you really want to use a venue with multiple rooms, please think about your guest and how it will work for them too. 
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  • In Response to Re: Concerns about Branford House:
    [QUOTE]I have never been to the Branford House, but I have been to a wedding were the guest were split into 2 rooms for dinner. Personally, I didn't like it. It was my cousins wedding and I was put into the room with all his friends and none of my family. It was a little awkaward. The bride and groom put their sweetheart table in the other room, so I didn't even feel like I was at a wedding. We couldn't hear the speeches or see anything. If you really want to use a venue with multiple rooms, please think about your guest and how it will work for them too. 
    Posted by stefpet22[/QUOTE]

    Yep.  I've had this happen to me too, and I totally felt like a 2nd rate guest to be seated in a room separate from the bride and groom.  Lame.
  • calindicalindi member
    5000 Comments Second Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited June 2012
    In Response to Re: Concerns about Branford House:
    [QUOTE]I have never been to the Branford House, but I have been to a wedding were the guest were split into 2 rooms for dinner. Personally, I didn't like it. It was my cousins wedding and I was put into the room with all his friends and none of my family. It was a little awkaward. The bride and groom put their sweetheart table in the other room, so I didn't even feel like I was at a wedding. We couldn't hear the speeches or see anything. If you really want to use a venue with multiple rooms, please think about your guest and how it will work for them too. 
    Posted by stefpet22[/QUOTE]

    Like I said, it depends on how you do it.  At Branford House, it feels like someone's home, not a separate smaller ballroom that didn't make the main room cut.  I've been to those - this is a very different feel.  Speeches could definitely get awkward if some people get to sit and some don't.  That's one reason we're doing it during the cocktail hour.

    For a small wedding (under 80 people), some people do the ceremony in one room, dining in the big middle room, and dancing in the third room.

    For weddings with an outdoor ceremony, some people do seating in two of the rooms with a dance floor in the third. I've also seen seating in all 3 rooms with the dance floor in the main room.

    Personally, I find it a bit insulting that people who have never been to the venue are saying that anyone who has a wedding at a place where not all guests can fit in one room isn't considering their guests. 

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  • If youw ant to email me at [email protected] I can send you the info.


    n Response to Re: Concerns about Branford House:
    [QUOTE]Sorry, this is off topic, but AVBarto - who is your cigar roller?  Do guests get to choose which type of cigar they want and they roll it there for them or what is it exactly?  I've never heard of that before but my fiance and his friends are big into cigars so that's something I'd like to check out, thanks!
    Posted by tanyamary627[/QUOTE]
    www.petanolucci.com
  • In Response to Re: Concerns about Branford House:
    [QUOTE]Another question....are you guys sitting at a sweetheart table, or with others?  If you are doing sweetheart, what room will you put the table in?
    Posted by saundeks[/QUOTE]

    We are doing a sweetheart table.  Mainly because we wont be sitting there at all throughout the night.  As Calindi said...it really depends on what kind of wedding you are going for.  People are going to be so busy talking about the architecture...the beautiful ceilings...the history and the view of this beautiful MANSION on the WATER...that I find it hard to believe they will walk away thinking..."Can you believe they had no other option at this crappy location but to put us in seperate rooms"  Your other option is to get a tent on the lawn and have everyone in it, but unless you have an addition $5k-$10k it's not an option.  So all in all, and I'm not just saying this because we chose the BH, I don't think people are going to mind.  It's dinner..they sit for it and then if you've hired the right vendors...they wont be back at their seats, but to grab some lipstick or their suit jacket.
    www.petanolucci.com
  • We're going to have to put 3-4 tables in the side ballroom that has 2 doors leading into it.  We just did a walk through today to finalize things with our coordinator and the saving grace is that our bar will be on the portico/outdoor patio.  So from left to right it'll go: ballroom with all the food, main ballroom with us and most of the seating, other ballroom with 3-4 tables and the DJ and dance floor, and then the bar.  So there will be a constant flow of people going through the dance floor room to go to the bar.  Plus we'll be eating in the main room, but plan to be dancing the rest of the night, so it won't be like it's a forgotten room that no one will go in. 

    As far as our seating, we'll be doing a sweetheart table in front of the fireplace in the main ballroom.  I like Calindi's idea of a sibling table, but FI is an only child so it'd just be my sisters. 
    8/12 March Siggy- reception venue!
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  • The Branford House is GORGEOUS!  I thought about having my wedding there but my FI didn't think his family would drive there.  I did go to a wedding there a number of years ago and was seated in the "other" room, that is the only thing I didn't like about the Branford House.  The guys at the table (all thr grooms childhood friends, I was a guest of one of them)joked saying that the bride had cast them away to the other room because she didn't like them.  It was very awkward being separated from the "main" room, we couldn't hear the toasts or anything. Gathering everyone on the dance floor or doing toasts out side is a great idea.  Open seating might be one way to help your guests feel like they were cast away. Outside of the seating, the day/scenery was beautiful, the wedding was fun.

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