Get ready to fall in love.
This post is for the off-beat couples. Those who love the idea of a New York wedding but don’t buy into the hype surrounding Manhattan. The couples who understand that a Central Park elopement is not worth putting up with tourists and zero privacy. Folks who don’t want to stand in line with a ticket number for their honey ham.
Upstate New York is beautiful. We’ve got breathtaking scenery with our lakes and mountains and a lot of venues that can complement all of that nature with an intimate surrounding for your precious moment.
Most importantly, you can have all that beauty and whimsy for your intimate wedding without breaking the bank.
I’ve been scouring the internet and I’m happy to share my list of enchanting inns where you could get hitched. They are ranked in order of preference, prioritizing ambience, affordability and convenience.
Best-in-Class (Under $5000)
#1: Barcelona Lakeside Bed & Breakfast, Westfield, NY (by Lake Erie)
This property is a perfect option for either an elopement or intimate wedding for up to 25 guests. Just across the street from the property is Lake Erie giving the inn ample lake and garden views. It’s also only five minutes from the heart of Lake Erie Wine Country, the largest grape-growing region east of the Rockies. Their breakfasts are farm-to-table and they can their own peaches…as opposed to peaches that come in a can that were put there by a man in a factory downtown (sorry, I had to!).
They list their elopement and wedding packages right on the website, always a good sign that they want to be open and honest with you. Elopement packages start at $595 and require a two night-minimum stay. Room rates range from $99-129 per night but it looks like the property only has four rooms so expect the inn to be sold out in advance during peak seasons. Weekdays or off-season dates may be easier to reserve. Packages include: an officiant, witness, bouquet, boutonniere, custom cake and concierge to plan honeymoon activities. All in, you could have a romantic, intimate and tasteful elopement at Barcelona Lakeside for under $1,000.
To host a small wedding, the site rental fee is $800 but doesn’t include food, beverage, linens, flowers, etc. With a max guest list of 25 people, though, a lot of those extras could easily be taken care of with DIY projects or a catering service to stay under $5,000.
#2: Friends Lake Inn, Chestertown, NY
Want to get married in the Adirondacks? Consider Friends Lake Inn, in the heart of the mountain region, closer to Montreal than it is to NYC. The inn has about seventeen well-appointed rooms and is situated north of Friends Lake. The property exudes romance.
The elopement package for just the two of you is $1010 but includes an officiant, cake, dinner for two, breakfast and one night’s stay. A two-night stay may be required and rates during peak season start around $270 per night, including breakfast and possibly a 3-course dinner. If you want to have a handful of guests join you, Friends Lake Inn offers a few more elopement packages between $2000-3500. They also offer wedding packages for a ceremony and reception on-site with catering, reasonable site fees and dining options. If you wanted to have more than a handful of guests attend, it’s possible to make something work here for under $5,000.
Given the location, this would most likely have to be a mini-vacation for your group making this option more convenient for a true elopement for two versus an intimate wedding.
#3: The Fern Lodge, Chestertown, NY
Another Adirondacks location that is also located along Friends Lake. It offers five luxury rooms. Elopement packages are $395 which includes the officiant, witness, cake, bouquet, boutonniere and a bottle of prosecco and up to four people max, including the couple. This option would require a room stay but for how many nights is unclear from the website. I would assume a 2-night stay minimum. Peak season rates are between $350-400 per night. I’m sure you could find weekday or off-peak season rates that could make this package work for under $1000.
They also offer a “petite” wedding requiring the entire lodge to be reserved by the wedding group for two nights. That rate is $5900 and includes:
- all 5 rooms that can accommodate 12 adults
- Full 3-course breakfast for 10 people
- 2 hour wine and cheese welcome
- Boat tour on Friends Lake including wine and beer (or fireside if the weather is poor)
- Unlimited use of the property for the ceremony and reception for up to 20 people (not including catering)
You can see that their petite wedding option is already over $5,000 without catering so I don’t recommend it as an intimate wedding option for the sake of your marriage. However, for those of you who would be open to a budget between $5-8K, I think this could fit nicely.
#4: Landmark Inn Cooperstown, Cooperstown, NY
For the couple who love their baseball and beer, the Landmark Inn could be the perfect venue for your elopement. It’s located in Cooperstown, home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and Ommegang brewery. The inn offers eleven rooms with rates ranging from $179-$427 per night, depending on the season and room. Breakfast is included.
Elopement package starts at $300 for just the two of you but that doesn’t include the room rate with a 2-night minimum stay required. In fact, all the elopement package includes is the use of the grounds for your ceremony, for photography and a mandatory gratuity. You’re on your own to get your wedding officiant, cake, flowers or any other details you would like for your special day. This could work if you have a wedding officiant you want to use or would like to tailor the details for your special day.
If you want, they offer other wedding packages that would allow for a few more guests but, while the packages may be within budget, the additional minimum room requirement increases with these higher level packages and that could easily tip the cost of your wedding over $5000. You would need to take advantage of off-season rates to make this work for a larger party.
Gorgeous…But Mind the Cost
The properties below are spectacular but they fall to the bottom of my list because they don’t list prices on their website and either haven’t responded to pricing inquiries or won’t allow me to share the information because it is confidential.
#5: The Rhinecliff Hotel, Rhinecliff, NY
The Rhinecliff is a majestic estate in Hudson Valley. It is literally on a cliff overlooking the Hudson River. It is a historic railway hotel, built to meet the growing demands of urbanization and the railway system, only ninety minutes away from NY Penn Station on Amtrak, then a two-minute walk from the station. So your guests without cars (or drivers licenses…or learners permits…because they are true New Yorkers!) could easily make the trip if you decide to hold a small wedding here.
Their wedding website does not list any prices but they clarify that they welcome a diverse range of wedding needs, including elopement ideas.
#6: Buttermilk Falls Inn, Milton, NY
The images of this property make my mouth water. It’s a 75-acre estate along the Hudson River, across from Poughkeepsie. It offers a farm-to-kitchen restaurant, orchard, spa and salon on-site. My favorite part is the stone bridge. They also have a farm with alpacas!
There are eighteen rooms, including a wedding suite plus four (dog-friendly!) carriage house suites that can be booked at Buttermilk Falls. Rates range from $250-900 per night depending on the season and which space you’re booking.
If you’re interested in hosting a wedding here, it may be possible to do so with a party of about 20 guests for under $5000. Please contact Buttermilk Falls Inn directly for more information.
Alternatively, you could always just book a couple of nights here when it’s convenient for you, bring an officiant like Judie Guild who charges around $200-300 for her services, and have a stealth ceremony either in your room or somewhere on this magnificent estate.
#7: Mount Merino Manor, Hudson, NY
In the Catskills, this is a 19th century boutique bed and breakfast featuring seven luxurious rooms on a hill top. It’s surrounded by one hundred acres of woodlands and is near the historic Olana House, the beautiful and eclectic home, studio and estate of Frederic Church, an influential artist known for his landscape paintings:
It’s unique, it’s romantic and it’s off the beaten path.
#8: Peach Grove Inn, Warwick, NY
You don’t have to make a trip to Georgia if you want a taste of the south. Peach Grove Inn is a Greek-revival establishment featuring massive rooms with antique furnishings, a baby grand piano and lawn for croquet. It’s located in the lower Hudson Valley, near a wide selection of worthwhile wineries. Only fifty miles north of NYC.
#9: Hasbrouck House (formerly the Inn at Stone Ridge), Stone Ridge, NY
Established in 1757, this beautiful estate formerly known as the Inn at Stone Ridge will be reopening this summer as Hasbrouck House. It is located northwest of New Paltz near Woodstock, Minnewaska State Park and Catskill Mountains.
While previously the Inn at Stone Ridge, it was a popular wedding venue. I imagine they plan to keep the inn as such with the revival. The website looks like it’s still under construction so I don’t think they are up and running yet. That’s good because you could get great deals here for a grand opening and you know they are unlikely to already be sold out. They don’t even have a contact form running at the moment so I’m going to check back in at a later time on prices/packages. But it’s a beautiful property in a great location.
#10: Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, NY
I’ve had a crush on this property for years. It’s a national historic site hugging Lake Mohonk with spectacular views, a spa and a host of outdoor activities to explore. They definitely offer a range of wedding packages and options but nothing specifically for elopements. Given the popularity of this site, I doubt they will formally offer something along the lines of the best-in-class inns listed above. At the least, consider it a great option for a stealth elopement.
If you’re interested in any of the venues above for a small ceremony and want tasteful DIY ideas to create the wedding of your dreams while staying under budget, stay tuned for future posts on A Desi New Yorker.