Feel Transported ...
… without having to venture far at these one-of-a-kind New York–area venues.
If you want an old-England feel, try
fans of The Tudors don’t have to resort to a Renaissance-fair wedding. Synod House is an antiquated gem on the grounds of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. “The main floor has wooden beams, sconces, and chandeliers,” wedding planner Soraya Jollon says. “And the Undercroft, with its vaulted ceiling and stone columns, feels like an enormous wine cave.” An added bonus is that “you don’t need to get married in the cathedral to be able to rent Synod.” Either way, you might just run into one of the church’s three famous peacocks.
Note: Currently under construction, Synod House should reopen in the next year or two.
Cost: Contributions for use of Synod House range from $2,500 to $9,000.
1047 Amsterdam Ave., at W. 112th St.; 212-316-7490; stjohndivine.org
If the Victorian era is your taste, try
“This manor has a wonderful Great Expectations feel,” Jung Lee of Fête says. Thirty minutes from Manhattan, in Yonkers, Alder Manor is a charmingly dilapidated 72-room 1912 estate built by the same architects behind the Frick. With crumbling vine-covered gardens, fresco-decked interior walls, and an unused indoor pool, the effect is romantic and slightly melancholy. And there are quirks: The house has just two working bathrooms, so port-a-potties are a must, and you’re locked in to using their caterer. The mansion was abandoned for years but is now owned by a small nonprofit that rents it out for film shoots (The Royal Tenenbaums) and events for as many as 250 seated guests (up to 400 for cocktails).
Cost: There is no rental fee; catering (you must use Chefs at Work) starts at a relative bargain, $120 a head.
1097 N. Broadway, nr. Executive Blvd., Yonkers; 914-375-7872; taracircle.org
If you are a fan of the Jazz Age, try
INN AT IRVING PLACE
Just south of Gramercy Park, the unassuming Inn at Irving Place is easy to miss. Behind its brownstone façade is a romantic throwback to New York’s Gilded Age ideal for small receptions. The Inn has one large tea salon and two smaller private rooms, all with extensive period details and furnishings. The Inn also provides the option of opening up the downstairs Cibar (accessible via a secret staircase) to accommodate up to 100 guests.
Cost: Three-course dinners start at $100 a head; bar additional. There is no rental fee for groups larger than ten.
56 Irving Pl., nr. E. 17th St.; 212-533-4600; innatirving.com
If you are a devout locavore, try
QUEENS COUNTY FARM MUSEUM
Dating back to 1697, the Queens County Farm Museum is an unlikely rural enclave on the edge of suburbia in Floral Park, Queens. The city’s only working historical farm, its hay rides and variety of heritage livestock—including adorable Cotswold sheep—are more likely to remind visitors of apple-picking trips to New England than cab rides to JFK. The farm has two outdoor spaces, as well as a covered pavilion and a barn.
Cost: Rental starts at just $500, up to $2,000 for the Orchard. The in-house caterer is Bon Soir Caterers, but outside catering is allowed.
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, nr. 74th Ave., Floral Park; 718-347-3276; queensfarm.org
From the Winter 2009 New York Wedding Guide