Wedding Wows on Long Island:

 How to Escape the Catering Hall Cliche

Long Island ranks third in largest and most expensive wedding markets in the country—with only rivals New Jersey and New York City beating us out. But when I think of Long Island, I think of the catering hall capital of the world.  And when I think of catering halls I think of mass-produced weddings, where your wedding is one-of-four weddings happening in the same day where you’re playing “wedding flip” with the other couples booked for that same day Oh, a “wedding flip” is when you have your cocktail hour where the other couples reception is and they are doing the same with your event. Everything is provided to you by the hall themselves, including your wedding planner (who is really a salesperson).  It’s the land of Yes/No. “Yes, we can give you everything you dreamed of”—until it comes down to planning.  Then it becomes, “No, we actually do things this way.” Not to worry,  you can still have an Amplified Wedding on Long Island that is uniquely yours and won’t feel mass produced.  There are even still some raw spaces you can find, that will give you the feel of getting married in one of NYC famed lofts or waterfront warehouses. You can still feel special and original getting married on Long Island.  Check out these 10 amazing wedding venues located right on the Island.

1. The Vanderbilt Museum & Planetarium

We can sit here and talk all day about the character of the Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport, from the old stone work and terra-cotta roof, to the brilliant archways but beyond the beauty of this property—sitting on 43-sprawling acres—is their planetarium. That’s right, after dinner and dancing, you can treat your guests to a night under the stars, the ones that aren’t so visible in the New York sky. Around every corner, there’s details you’d be remiss to ignore: cobble stone pathways, illuminated shrubbery and endless areas for photo opportunities (we know the photos are what it’s all about!) The Vanderbilt can be contacted at (631) 854-5579. www.vanderbiltmuseum.org

2. The Palms Hotel

Who doesn’t love summers at Fire Island? Well, then why not turn your nuptials into a nautical fantasy at the Palms? This quaint boutique style hotel is perfect for those who want to turn those memorable summer nights into an unforgettable intimate wedding. The Palms consists of a 27-room grouping of homes so, it feels like you and your loved ones rented several beach houses lined together, rather than the commercial feel of a mainstream hotel and its continental breakfast. Plus, the ferry landing and beach are super close! The Palms can be reached at (631) 583-8870. www.palmshotelfireisland.com

3. Brecknock Hall
Want to be transported into another century? Look no further than Brecknock Hall in Greenport. Imagine the people closest to you as you walk down the aisle in a beautiful outdoor ceremony with this square-cut ashlar stone mansion as the backdrop: simply breathtaking. The rooms inside are flooded with natural light—making for the most gorgeous photographs. The historic mansion, built in 1857, was recently renovated and ready to be booked for your special day. For inquires call (631) 593-8200 . www.brecknockhall.com

4. Sole East

If you’re looking for a boutique/resort hybrid, look no further than Sole East resort in Montauk. Sure, it’s “the end,” but the trek is worth it. The resort is set up like a fabulous vacation home, including backyard hammocks and a beautiful view of the ocean. Sole East is pet friendly, houses a wonderful restaurant and a plethora of outdoor space for your event. Sure, theres a relaxing ambiance during the day but when you see the trees lit up at night and the beach just a few hundred yards away, you’ll be in the mood to party. You can contact the resort at (631) 668-2105
www.soleeast.com

5. Breeze Hill Farm and Preserve

Ok, as we come to the halfway point of the list, we knew we had to include a fantastic farm or two. So, we picked the real deal. Breeze Hill Farm and Preserve ensures your wedding will be surrounded by over 72-acres of apple orchids, a farm-to-table market & cafe, a hunting preserve (if that’s what you’re into) and (drum roll, please) a private beach! Located in Peconic, New York is flush with gorgeous greenery and scenery, sure to please the most country of brides and grooms. Call Breeze Farm at (631) 876-5159. www.breezehillfarmpreserve.com

6. Driftwood Farms

That sound was our jaws being lifted from the floor after seeing the grounds of Driftwood Farms. Located in Orient, NY, this farm-full-of-whimsy gives couples the option of a tented ceremony overlooking the beach or having their party inside a beautifully lit farm house. The elegance that’s mixed with the bespoke nature of their hall is truly an exciting sight to see, even for wedding planners who assume that they’ve seen it all. Plus, there’s horse stables! Driftwood Farms can be reached at (631) 323-8069. www.driftwoodfarms.com

7. Martha Clara Vineyards
You didn’t think we’d forget a vineyard did you? Sacrilege! This stunning winery went from a horse farmer planting 18 acres of grapes to extending the land to have 100 acres of the finest grapes. According to a feature on Martha Stewart Weddings, the vineyard was named after his mother, so you know the land is full of love. Their Northville Barn can accommodate up to 200 people and will cost you nothing additionally to have the ceremony there when you book your reception. We love a deal! You can contact their management staff at (631) 298-0075 or e-mail at events@MarthaClaraVineyards.com.

8. The Old Field Club

Who doesn’t love exclusivity? You certainly do or else you wouldn’t be walking down that aisle. But we especially love exclusivity in our events. This rustic-yet-elegant barn venue only services one event at a time. While they offer both indoor and covered outdoor space, once you see the magnificent wooden arches of the indoor space, you’ll be torn for sure. Located in East Setauket, this venue can host 200 people and can be reached at (631) 751-0571. www.oldfieldclub.com/

9. NYIT de Seversky Mansion
You’re right. We’ve been ignoring Nassau County. But, fret not—we found a spectacular venue in the eastern county. Glen Head houses the NYIT de Seversky Mansion, which is described as having “the romance and opulence of the Gold Coast in the 1920s.” And upon seeing the grounds, you’ll know that statement is spot on. Upon choosing this hall, you can select from “Traditional Style”, “Gatsby Style” and European Style.” From the marble foyer to the breathtaking staircase to the stunning outdoor space, this venue doesn’t shout extravagance—it whispers it. Contact them at (516) 686-7675 or e-mail at deseversky@nyit.edu. Special incentives for NYIT faculty, staff or students!
www.nyit.edu/deseversky/weddings

10. The Loft by Bridgeview

Finally, we’ve come to the South Shore. While you may have attended a wedding at the Bridgeview Yacht Club on Barnum Island (Island Park), The Loft is a unique space. Intimate in its setting, you get the best of both worlds: Beautiful waterfront views from a gorgeous venue surrounded by exposed brick, reclaimed barn wood and (gasps) crystal chandeliers. This gem of a reception hall is truly a diamond in the rough. You can book your event by contacting Bridgeview at (516) 432-2400.
www.theloftbybridgeview.com