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Eolia Mansion at Harkness Memorial State Park

Waterford , CT

LOCATION

Waterford, CT US
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REVIEWS

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4.9/5.0
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Ariana
Wedding:
8/24/2013
4.6/5.0
We got married at Eolia last weekend and it was absolutely beautiful. Eolia is such a gorgeous venue! My guests loved touring the gardens and park grounds and I received nothing but compliments. The pergola was perfect for our ceremony and the pictures are absolutely stunning.

Planning at this venue is a bit tricky. Vendors don't have a lot of time to get in and set up, so having a day-of coordinator is absolutely essential. Drawbacks: the rental fee is expensive (but compared to similar venues, it's mid-range) and you can only use their preferred caterers. Also, the way the mansion is divided means that if you're having a wedding with more than 70 guests, you'll be split up into different rooms.

The Harkness personnel were very responsive and we're very happy we chose Eolia.
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Private User
Wedding:
8/2/2013
3.2/5.0
Harkness park is a beautiful and romantic place to get married. I would recommended it to anyone! I wish that the lady in charge of the mansion events was a bit nicer and more personable. There were a few complaints from a few of the guests. . That is my only issue with the venue. Thank you.
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Anonymous
Wedding:
1+ year ago
4.5/5.0
We LOVED our wedding at Harkness State Park. I had a ton of questions and Sally was super-responsive. The venue is gorgeous and elegant, and our guests RAVED about the atmosphere and venue. The only drawback is that as a state owned facility, they are very rigid with their rules and have a very limited caterer selection (3). That said, this also means that the caterers all are very experienced with the Harkness venue and rules ...which actually gives you peace of mind that all will go smoothly (which it did for us!).
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Anonymous
Wedding:
1+ year ago
4.2/5.0
I recently had my wedding at Harkness State Park and it was unforgettable. Rain or shine, this is a beautiful place for a wedding. All my guests were blown away by the beauty of the mansion and the gardens. Not much extra decoration is needed, the venue is already so beautiful! The grounds provided ample opportunities for our photographer to snap some amazing shots! The only complaint I have is that you have to pay an extra NON-REFUNDABLE $500 to get married in the garden next to the mansion. While it was worth it, I find it silly to charge so much extra for a spot that is already located on the mansion grounds. On the positive side of things, it was supposed to rain on our wedding day so we asked if we could put off paying the additional $500 until we had a better idea of whether we could hold the wedding outside or not. This was great since the money is non-refundable. It ended up being a beautiful day, so we paid our deposit in cash and were able to have a gorgeous outdoor ceremony!

If you want to get married at this venue be sure to sign up at least a year and a half in advance! Also, the bottom of your dress will get dirty! The dance floor is stone and will trash the bottom of your dress...as long as your photos are done, I didn't see the harm in this. That's why you can clean wedding dresses anyway. Also, it is a public park, so we did have some people peeking in on our wedding, but for the most part they were very respectful. I wasn't bothered by this at all. Yes, they are strict about the time, but it's a state park so there are many rules and regulations they need to abide by. All of these are such little issues, it didn't take away from the quality of the venue. Harkness is perfect for a fairytale wedding!!!
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Jennifer
Wedding:
10/27/2012
5.0/5.0
I LOVE this venue. Our wedding day could not have been more beautiful. This gorgeous Italian style mansion sitting on the water in CT was the perfect setting. We got married under the pergola with the beautiful vines and Italian gardens. It was breathtaking. We had so many compliments. I wouldn't have picked anywhere else. So pleased!!
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Kelly
Wedding:
10/7/2012
4.6/5.0
My wedding and reception were held on October 7, 2012 at Eolia Mansion in Harkness State Park. I'm not sure I can accurately convey with words alone the BEAUTY of this place. It's phenomenal!! (Call me biased, it's OK!) After only looking at a few other venues, my husband and I knew we had to have our wedding at Eolia. I'll second what everyone else has said that this venue feels magical, the gardens are meticulously maintained, and the mansion itself is gorgeous. The fact that this venue is right on the LI sound only makes it that much better. When I was a little girl I dreamed of a mansion, a garden, and water. It was literally like walking into the dream of what my wedding should be.
A few things I learned. If you are interested in this venue, get there as soon as possible to look. We ended up booking our date a year and a half out due to it's popularity. There are only a few approved caterers to choose from. We ended up going with Cloud Nine Catering. They were fantastic. Although some may think that this is a con, I actually think it is a HUGE pro that the caterers must be approved by the venue. There are a lot of things that the venue will not waver on, such as times the caterer and other vendors are allowed into the mansion for set up (3PM, our ceremony started at 4:30.) Since Cloud Nine has done weddings there, they had set up scheduled down to the minute. This made things go smoothly. This is a State Park, so they are pretty strict with their rules, that's why I gave flexibility 3 stars. However, Sally is fantastic to work with. She's friendly, responsive and knowledgeable. Based on this alone, I'd highly recommend going with Eolia. A few other things...The mansion provides tables, chairs, and use of the venue. That's it. Your caterer will need to work with you on all the other details. I actually really enjoyed designing everything else myself.
Overall this is an excellent venue. Feel free to contact with questions.
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Anonymous
Wedding:
1+ year ago
5.0/5.0
This mansion is worth every single penny you put into it!!!!! All the money goes back into Harkness memorial park not into the state fund which I thought was really awesome!! I recommend doing stations that way people can walk into every room and not feel confined to their seats. It's beautiful with the night breeze going through it. I love this place!! The only draw back is that the mansion is only open 2 hrs before your event. I would have loved to have gotten ready there in the morning in that beautiful room upstairs, taken pictures, and then had the ceremony on site. I understand why they do it but it would have been awesome to have my getting ready photos in that room. That being said I would have my ceremony and reception here any day of the week and twice on Sundays!!
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Meredith
Wedding:
9/1/2012
4.7/5.0
Eolia Mansion is gorgeous. Where else can you get ocean views, beautiful gardens, tons of space, an amazing mansion and a tented terrace? While it is not cheap, the value in is in all that is included in the rental price, including the tent, chairs and your choice of various sized tables. We used a variety of long and round tables to encourage mingling at our stations style dinner. When we were initially choosing a venue, I was shocked to find how expensive it is to rent a tent for an indoor/outdoor wedding reception, which makes Eolia even more valuable. The mansion also has many neutral spaces that you can decorate and make your own. It can book years in advance, so plan accordingly. It is well worth the wait!
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Maria
Wedding:
8/19/2012
4.6/5.0
What can I say... The view is breathtaking!! The mansion is a one stop deal for your wedding. You can have your ceremony, pictures and reception all in one place. Simply beautiful! We were so happy with our choice of the mansion. It was absolutely beautiful at night with all the candles and sconces lit up, a true fairy tale wedding.. Thank you Sally!!
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Anonymous
Wedding:
1+ year ago
4.4/5.0
This is the most fabulous venue for our recent wedding. The gardens were in full bloom and were just gorgeous. The mansion has so much character and an old world feel. We loved the ocean view and the beautiful grounds. Because it is a state run property, there is little flexibility to change things, like the time to get into the mansion to prep, etc. Also, the bar has to be shut down 30 min before the end of the wedding due to state laws. Aside from that, everything was fantastic!
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Augusta
Wedding:
7/21/2012
5.0/5.0
Fabulous venue - best in the state! Park like setting on the water in a beautiful mansion that has amazing gardens. Staff were cordial and easy to work with in advance of the date particularly in the few short weeks prior to the event and onsite eve of the event.
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Melissa
Wedding:
6/16/2012
5.0/5.0
It’s absolutely beautiful here. Just breathtaking. I had so many people ask us how we had found the place because they had never heard of it. This was the single best decision of our whole wedding. Yes, the mansion has some strict rules, but they aren’t so unreasonable that you can’t have a wonderful wedding. Even if you have to cut back on other parts of your budget to have your wedding here, it’s worth it. Sally, who is the contact for the mansion, is very responsive. If you can deal with the rules (which are definitely worth dealing with) this, in our opinion, is the best place in the state to have a wedding. We are so happy we had ours here.
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Jessica
Wedding:
5/12/2012
4.8/5.0
My husband and I would bring our dog here before we ever got engaged. We always joked that if we got married it had to be at Eolia because there is no prettier place. When we did get engaged, I did the venue search and met with multiple places in the state. In the end, it had to be Eolia because nothing else can compare. We had our ceremony in the pergola which was beautiful. Eating your first dinner together in the mansion makes you feel like a princess. And dancing at night with the sun setting over the ocean will give you chills. Every guest commented on how beautiful the location was and that they would return in the future. They price may not be cheap and they do limit your choice in caterers, but I can promise that you could never put a price on the feeling you will have getting married and enjoying your evening at Eolia.
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Christal
Wedding:
10/21/2011
4.5/5.0
Eolia Mansion at Harkness State park is an amazingly beautiful site to have both a ceremony and reception. We held our ceremony at the on-site Amphitheater located right next to the beach. I can’t describe how beautiful the sunset ocean view was for a backdrop to our ceremony. The mansion itself is larger than expected, even with all the tables for guests. The permanent tent and dance floor are great features and allow a nice flow of guests that want to dance, explore, or just talk. The tent is also a nice focal point so that guests don’t feel exiled since the rooms are separated.

There are just a few cons to this facility. First there are no internal services; no caterer, florist, bakery, nothing. They do have a wide variety of tables and chairs that can be used but that’s it. They do have a list of approved caterers that you can use, anyone outside of that list will not be approved. You can use an outside bakery for the cake though.

They are very strict about when they will open the site for your vendors and guests. They will not open the house to vendors until exactly 2 hrs. prior to your reception, not the ceremony. And they will not open to guests until your exact time for the reception.

Other than those few cons we absolutely loved this venue. The park staff were great, especially Sally, who returned all our emails answering all our questions and/or concerns very promptly. We even had our deposit check waiting for us when we got back from our Honeymoon.

I would definitely recommend this site as a venue.
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Carolyn
Wedding:
8/5/2011
4.8/5.0
I have loved this location ever since I attended college in the area. When I became engaged I knew this was the place I would have my wedding. Eolia is breathtakingly beautiful. The gardens, rooms, views, and lawns create a lovely New England setting that is ideal for a classic and elegant wedding. The staff at Eolia was very accommodating and provided the tent on the lawn for cocktails and dancing. They also have their own chairs and tables so you don't have to rent them. If you know you want to have your wedding here, book early as spots fill up quickly. I booked over a year in advance of my wedding and they only had 4 Friday dates available in the summer to select from.
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nmggdd
Wedding:
6/3/2011
5.0/5.0
I cannot say enough wonderful things about this location for a wedding. From the gorgeous mansion, to the incredible pergola for pictures, to the scenic flower gardens/ grounds, the ocean view (and breeze!), to the huge attached tent for the party- it is the best of all worlds! This was the first and only location we looked at for our June 2011 wedding and there was no way we were going to get married and have our reception anywhere else. Sally at the mansion was so helpful and accomodating. The mansion offers 6 catering places to choose from- plenty of options, so we did not feel limited. Our guests raved about how romantic, beautiful, unique, incredible, breath-taking the place was and more than once we heard couples say if they could do their wedding over again, it would be at Harkness. We looked at the mansion 14 months before our wedding and there were barely any dates left for 2011 at that time, so book in advance. It was love at first sight for us and I promise you will not be disappointed with this place!! WORTH EVERY PENNY!!
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chelsea.ross
Wedding:
9/19/2009
5.0/5.0
We were married in September of 2009 at Harkness Memorial State Park. The venue and staff were phenomenal. I still get chills when I close my eyes and remember the park and mansion. The venue is so beautiful, you can get away with virtually no decor enhancement. Additionally, the mansion and park are steeped in amazing history which made us feel happy to contribute to its conservation and advancement. We will definitely recommend the park to our friends, and we will be back ourselves!
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emilybrooke
Wedding:
9/12/2009
4.8/5.0
It was perfect!!! They have all the tables and chairs on site and a gorgeous ceremony site included. What I didn't know until I booked was you could only choose from 6 caterers which I didn't love but it all worked out.
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Brandi & Jason
Wedding:
5/16/2009
4.4/5.0
We loved having our wedding ceremony and reception at Harkness! The site is gorgeous and there are a few options to choose from to fit your wedding style.
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