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Happy Days Lodge - Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Has anyone had or will have their reception at Happy Days Lodge? If you have, what has your experience been like?

Re: Happy Days Lodge - Cuyahoga Valley National Park

  • j24633j24633 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    So ironic I just logged in and found this.  I'm about 2 months out from my wedding reception at Happy Days and I'm learning sooooo much I looked over when we first signed the contract.  

    There are a lot of rules, bottom line.  It's a great location, but buyer beware the costs add up...fast.  I wanted a location that was unexpected, casual and rustic.  Happy Days has offered that.  Some other pros: 
    • The CVNP staff are amazing and I'm vying for best friendship with almost all of them.  They are the shining gem in this whole process.  They have been SO great about letting us stop in WHENEVER we needed to.  Just amazing.  
    • It's big enough to fit 200 comfortably (they are conservative with their maximum)
    • At the end of the day, you are supporting the National Park. 

    The cons:
    • It's dark.  Friends who went to the wedding in June called to let me know we need big things and we need color or else the decorations will get lost. 
    • The handicap and/or close parking.  There are 6-7 parking spots that you can use not handicap.  And some of those are for photographer, caterer, bartender, etc.  Leaving family and older guests having quite a walk. 
    • A bit nickle and dimed - If you get pictures off property, you have to get a permit. If you have alcohol, you have to pay for a permit.  If you have a non-perferred caterer, you have to pay for that.  If you want hours extended, you have to pay for that.  If you want extra time to set up, you have to pay for that (but they are almost always booked Friday, Sat. and Sunday in the summer).  Because it really is just a location, it's helpful to pay for a wedding coordinator.  No place for ice so we've had to pay for coolers.  They recommend 1 bartender for every 50 guests and 1 service staff for 20 guests.  $$$$$$$  On top of the location already being close to $2,000.     
    • No alcohol outside.
    • It's a federal park; things need to be approved before you are able to do certain things.  Also, because you are really only renting the lodge, you have little control on what is outside (ie. lanterns on the way to the lodge, etc.).  

    Now...I was share with you I am a bit burnt out from wedding planning so I can only imagine my response is a bit jaded b/c I'm ready to just host the dang thing.  These are things I wish I would have known, but never would have had I not experienced them.  For me, too many rules frustrates me.  I would rather pay a location to worry about coordinating all the rules.  CVNP passes the rules out and says, "You figure it out."  

    If you do go with Happy Days, ask to also see the outside caterer agreement.  We've found several other items that weren't included in OUR contract that are in THAT contract.  

    I'm hopeful to post more after the big day because I'm 99.9% sure I will have forgotten all of this!  Feel free to private message me if you'd like more specific details. 
  • Jenjs4Jenjs4 member
    Fifth Anniversary 10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Thank you so much for all the information, definitely a lot to consider.
  • edited March 2012
    Your message has just helped me to eliminate one of my top 3 venues.  I have a lot of time to plan, but~ am very eager to get some of the major needs checked off.  Thank you for your post.  I have been there for a work party and had forgotten about the parking and tunnel walk.  xoxoxo
  • I know that this is a response to an older post but here it is anyways.  I am planning my November wedding at the Happy Days Lodge.  Yes, everything that j24633 is true.  You do have to pay for the location, yes the parking is for across the street and yes you only have a selection of 7 catering places to choose from.

    No matter what, prices are going to add up.  I'm looking at things a little different.  I've spoke with every catering place on their list and could easily eliminate the ones that were out of my price range.  The number of staff and bartenders is dependant on which catering company you work with, one told me it had to be 1 bartender for every 50 guest but another told me they only needed two for the whole event.  Yes, I had to pay $150 for an alcohol permit but I do not have to pay for an off-duty police officer to be there.  In regards to the coolers and no ice, that's why they suggest to go with one of the caterers on their list.  They know the facility and know what they need to bring.

    Check it out and decide if you like the location before only using these posts, including mine, on making your decision for using Happy Days Lodge.  Its beautiful, you just have to do your research to get things cheap.
    Nicole
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