Marriage With A View
Wedding venues: Busy season for those in the business of hosting nuptials
Local destination wedding venues attract couples from across the country who fall in love with the small-town charm and rustic country views the Monadnock region has to offer.
Wilton’s Curtis Farm, Peterborough’s Monadnock Country Club and Hidden Hills in Rindge say they are all coming off a strong summer wedding season.
“This season was excellent, we sold out,” said Matthew Fish, who comes from a long line of Wilton farmers, the Curtises.
The farm was founded by John Dale in 1746, and was taken over by the Curtis family in 1907, the same year they began hosting their own family weddings. The farm opened its doors for public matrimonies in 1996. Though they continue to cut commercial hay and harvest fruit, it’s main crop has become brides and grooms.
The Curtis family has run the farm for four generations, with Fish assuming ownership and management in 1994. The Curtis Farm house is the oldest home in Wilton, having been erected by Dale in 1746.
“Without weddings, there is no Curtis Farm. Farming is dead,” said Fish, who believes couples are more and more choosing to wed in New Hampshire, because of the unique experience it provides.
“People want mountain views, relaxed atmosphere, rustic elegance and country charm,” Fish said.
Curtis Farm specializes in outdoor tented events, hosting just one wedding a week to ensure every couple gets the experience they always dreamed of.
“You cannot set up [a wedding] the day or two before. Couples want to put their own stamp on the event. People come here because every wedding is truly different. Clients want something different, avoiding the wedding everyone else had. We don’t give out conventional wedding wisdom. We do what you want, keep the cost down, and knock it out of the park,” said Fish.
According to Fish, the vast majority of Curtis Farm clients come from within 60 miles of the farm.
“About 10 percent come from way out of town. Those clients use an equidistant location to bring their family together. We offer a unique location and flexibility of doing what they want to do. We recommend services, but the clients make the final decisions. We don’t have restrictive policies,” said Fish.
Curtis Farm is home to a huge collection of antique furniture, and the entire farm is open for wedding photo shoots.
In contrast to Curtis Farms’ one-wedding-a-weekend schedule, Hidden Hills Banquet Facility is designed to host multiple weddings a week.
“We had a really good summer. Our facility can host up to nine weddings a weekend,” said Halie Hagemeyer, a Hidden Hills wedding planner.
At Hidden Hills, the main attraction is the picturesque outdoor courtyard, but the beautiful setting has not been enough to combat the slumping economy over the past few years. So though the number of weddings haven’t fallen, the number of guests has.
“Numbers are down due to the economy. Clients’ guest count is smaller now, used to be 200-plus guests, now it’s 120 to 150. The decline began four years ago, but next year is looking up. We are almost booked for next summer already,” said Hagemeyer.
Hidden Hills has been hosting weddings for 32 years and offers clients a list of recommended vendors, in hopes of helping out the local economy.
“We have a list of local vendors and we like to expand outside of Rindge, but try to keep it in the community if we can,” said Hagemeyer, who noted that no matter where the client is from the courtyard makes them feel like they are on vacation.
“Our courtyard does not feel like it’s in Rindge. We want the couple to get away, and focus on the happiness of the occasion,” she said.
Out on the green
Another unique wedding venue is on the lush, green grass of a golf course. The Monadnock Country Club in Peterborough offers couples the unique experience of tieing the knot at the course’s hole one tee box, with views of Mount Monadnock in the background.
“For the last few years, we have offered ceremonies on the first tee, clients like that. Then they use the function hall for the reception,” said Haley Monkton, a Club House staff member.
According to Monkton, the country club hosts a lot of bachelor parties due to the facility’s competitive rates. “Bachelor parties can come play golf and sit at the bar,” said Monkton.
Similar to Hidden Hills, the country club provides clients a recommended list of local vendors. “We have a big sheet of local DJs, florist, caterers, lighting people, planners, etc. We never force anything on the clients,” said Monkton, who recommends clients that have never visited the region hike Pack Monadnock, after wedding festivities come to a close.
Dylan Fisher can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235, or firstname.lastname@example.org.