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Harkness Memorial State Park

Waterford , CT

LOCATION

275 Great Neck Road
Waterford, CT 06385 US

PHONE

860-443-5725

WEBSITE

View website
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Wedding Venue

REVIEWS

4.6
out of 5.0
4.8/5.0
4.7/5.0
4.7/5.0
4.6/5.0
4.2/5.0
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Sarah
Wedding:
7/24/2015
5.0/5.0
There is simply nowhere else on Earth I could have chosen to get married. I visited this park with my husband years before we were even engaged and knew it would have to be the setting for my bohemian/DIY wedding. The amazing vendors (Ivy's Simply Homemade, Maggie Conley Photography, Robert from Elegant Occasions DJ.. the dream team!!) either all came from the list suggested by the venue or had worked it before, which made planning/arranging everything easier for my husband and I.. everyone we worked with knew exactly what to do and how to advise us!!

The view, the gardens, the ocean, the natural beauty does the rest.. a perfect, truly unforgettable day for us all. And yes, brides, you will get bugs and sand in your wedding dress.. but it's so worth it!! ;)
There is simply nowhere else on Earth I could have chosen to get married. I visited this park with my husband years before Read more...
There is simply nowhere else on Earth I could have chosen to get married. I visited this park with my husband years before we were even engaged and knew it would have to be the setting for my bohemian/DIY wedding. The amazing vendors (Ivy's Simply Homemade, Maggie Conley Photography, Robert from Elegant Occasions DJ.. the dream team!!) either all came from the list suggested by the venue or had worked it before, which made planning/arranging everything easier for my husband and I.. everyone we worked with knew exactly what to do and how to advise us!!

The view, the gardens, the ocean, the natural beauty does the rest.. a perfect, truly unforgettable day for us all. And yes, brides, you will get bugs and sand in your wedding dress.. but it's so worth it!! ;) Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
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Elizabeth
Wedding:
6/20/2015
4.4/5.0
For stunning beauty, you really cannot beat this venue. You get a gorgeous mansion, gardens, and the ocean all in one. We wanted an outdoor wedding but knew that we wanted someplace that would be as beautiful in the rain as in the sun which is how we ultimately picked Harkness. It did end up raining on our wedding day, even though there had never been any rain in the forecast (seriously, don't trust weather reports). The staff were incredibly helpful in that at literally the last minute they set up chairs under the tent and shuttled all of our guests from their cars to the mansion. While it was disappointing to have our ceremony in the tent we still got to take a lot of beautiful pictures in the garden and under the pergola, part of which is covered.
The mansion itself is gorgeous and needs little in the way of decoration. We put up some pictures and paper flowers on the mantels and some of the shelves but that was it. Don't even bother decorating or getting extra lighting for the tent. We were having such a good time dancing and enjoying ourselves I couldn't even tell you what it looks like anymore!
When we originally booked you had three caterers to choose from but they ended up adding three more shortly after. Thank goodness they did because the original three were barely in our price range for a very simple dinner. Cost of catering is something to be aware of because you have to choose one of their caterers.
The room upstairs for getting ready is big and bright and perfect for quick touch ups throughout the evening.
Also, book early because we only got our date due to someone else canceling.
For stunning beauty, you really cannot beat this venue. You get a gorgeous mansion, gardens, and the ocean all in one. We Read more...
For stunning beauty, you really cannot beat this venue. You get a gorgeous mansion, gardens, and the ocean all in one. We wanted an outdoor wedding but knew that we wanted someplace that would be as beautiful in the rain as in the sun which is how we ultimately picked Harkness. It did end up raining on our wedding day, even though there had never been any rain in the forecast (seriously, don't trust weather reports). The staff were incredibly helpful in that at literally the last minute they set up chairs under the tent and shuttled all of our guests from their cars to the mansion. While it was disappointing to have our ceremony in the tent we still got to take a lot of beautiful pictures in the garden and under the pergola, part of which is covered.
The mansion itself is gorgeous and needs little in the way of decoration. We put up some pictures and paper flowers on the mantels and some of the shelves but that was it. Don't even bother decorating or getting extra lighting for the tent. We were having such a good time dancing and enjoying ourselves I couldn't even tell you what it looks like anymore!
When we originally booked you had three caterers to choose from but they ended up adding three more shortly after. Thank goodness they did because the original three were barely in our price range for a very simple dinner. Cost of catering is something to be aware of because you have to choose one of their caterers.
The room upstairs for getting ready is big and bright and perfect for quick touch ups throughout the evening.
Also, book early because we only got our date due to someone else canceling. Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
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Shannon
Wedding:
6/5/2015
5.0/5.0
The most beautiful site we have ever set our eyes on! The mansion for our reception was to die for beautiful! The detail and architecture, the gardens, the water fountains, the ocean breeze...this place has and all and then some! We looked at 3 other places prior to this and we just knew this was the place as soon as we saw it!

Sally, the woman that gives the tours, was (is) very kind. She was very thorough in detail and answered all of our questions. She even gave us her phone # and email to reach her. She always responded right away. We didn't wait more than 2 hours to get a response.

The amphitheater (same grounds as mansion) was the perfect place for our wedding ceremony. Long Island sound was behind us. The breeze was wonderful. Such a beautiful setting.
The most beautiful site we have ever set our eyes on! The mansion for our reception was to die for beautiful! The detail Read more...
The most beautiful site we have ever set our eyes on! The mansion for our reception was to die for beautiful! The detail and architecture, the gardens, the water fountains, the ocean breeze...this place has and all and then some! We looked at 3 other places prior to this and we just knew this was the place as soon as we saw it!

Sally, the woman that gives the tours, was (is) very kind. She was very thorough in detail and answered all of our questions. She even gave us her phone # and email to reach her. She always responded right away. We didn't wait more than 2 hours to get a response.

The amphitheater (same grounds as mansion) was the perfect place for our wedding ceremony. Long Island sound was behind us. The breeze was wonderful. Such a beautiful setting. Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
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Anonymous
Wedding:
Recently Married
4.5/5.0
Not much to say about this venue - it's incredibly beautiful, stately, affordable compared to most venues, and will blow people away. Booking this place saves you huge money on decorations. You don't need them. It's like planting Wal-Mart flowers in a beautiful garden. Just an added waste.

Tables, chairs, a large tent, and a room upstairs are provided. Saves you even more.

I wanted to use this review to address and clarify some previous reviews. Yes, as a historical landmark and a state park, there are restrictions. No, you can't turn Harkness into a club full of kegs and tack crappy decor on the walls. You are having your wedding and reception in a beautiful, antique mansion. The do and don't list is VERY CLEARLY stated in the contract. I mean, word for word stated, down to what you can and cannot bring in and what caterers you can use. We thought the list of caterers (which is now six) were fine and ran the gamut from affordable to elegant (expensive as all get out). The tent outside now has uplighting and plenty of room - we had 75 people out there dancing with cocktail tables and a bar.

The only complaint we had was that it was often hard to get a response from the park. We showed up to do a scheduled walk through and were not on their schedule - I had to make it very clear and show that via our email exchange that we had an appointment, and even then they just opened the door and left. Our caterer had issues with communication as well.

That being said, for less than 5K you cannot beat the sheer amazingness of this place. It's stunning in every sense of the word. When your guests can take a break from dancing and walk 200 yards to the ocean? Yeah, you're not getting that from any other place.
Not much to say about this venue - it's incredibly beautiful, stately, affordable compared to most venues, and will blow Read more...
Not much to say about this venue - it's incredibly beautiful, stately, affordable compared to most venues, and will blow people away. Booking this place saves you huge money on decorations. You don't need them. It's like planting Wal-Mart flowers in a beautiful garden. Just an added waste.

Tables, chairs, a large tent, and a room upstairs are provided. Saves you even more.

I wanted to use this review to address and clarify some previous reviews. Yes, as a historical landmark and a state park, there are restrictions. No, you can't turn Harkness into a club full of kegs and tack crappy decor on the walls. You are having your wedding and reception in a beautiful, antique mansion. The do and don't list is VERY CLEARLY stated in the contract. I mean, word for word stated, down to what you can and cannot bring in and what caterers you can use. We thought the list of caterers (which is now six) were fine and ran the gamut from affordable to elegant (expensive as all get out). The tent outside now has uplighting and plenty of room - we had 75 people out there dancing with cocktail tables and a bar.

The only complaint we had was that it was often hard to get a response from the park. We showed up to do a scheduled walk through and were not on their schedule - I had to make it very clear and show that via our email exchange that we had an appointment, and even then they just opened the door and left. Our caterer had issues with communication as well.

That being said, for less than 5K you cannot beat the sheer amazingness of this place. It's stunning in every sense of the word. When your guests can take a break from dancing and walk 200 yards to the ocean? Yeah, you're not getting that from any other place. Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
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Anonymous
Wedding:
Recently Married
4.0/5.0
This venue is beautiful. There are tons of gardens that are very well kept, the mansion itself is beautiful and detailed (we didn't even need to decorate) and it is overlooking the water. Pretty much the whole package! The bridal suite was large with multiple couches and a full bathroom. 7 girls were able to get dressed and do last minute prep easily. We also brought and set up an inflatable mattress for one of our guests who was ill during the wedding.

Because it is state property there are limitations/ restrictions (nothing hanging on the wall, candles have to be enclosed, the mansion opens 2 hours prior to the event, no fireworks/sparklers) but they are clearly outlined in the contract and Sally was very responsive to emails with our questions. It is also open to the public. There were a lot of picnickers on our wedding day, but it was actually a feature. We were applauded on our way down to the amphitheater (location of ceremony) and on the way back up. A great treat! Parking is also free for wedding guests.

There is a tent set up over the patio for dancing, toasts and cake cutting. Because meal seating is set up in 3 rooms, all of the communal events were done under the tent which I really enjoyed. It guaranteed peoples attention with not clinking of eating and everyone could hear.

The Eolia staff has a limited role in the planning and day of execution and most of that comes down to the caterer. Not a con, just something to be aware of going in. There is no AC but there was a nice breeze and everyone was very comfortable during the entire event.

It was a wonderful day and we got tons of compliments from our guests. We also had a killer sunset. Definitely recommend!
This venue is beautiful. There are tons of gardens that are very well kept, the mansion itself is beautiful and detailed Read more...
This venue is beautiful. There are tons of gardens that are very well kept, the mansion itself is beautiful and detailed (we didn't even need to decorate) and it is overlooking the water. Pretty much the whole package! The bridal suite was large with multiple couches and a full bathroom. 7 girls were able to get dressed and do last minute prep easily. We also brought and set up an inflatable mattress for one of our guests who was ill during the wedding.

Because it is state property there are limitations/ restrictions (nothing hanging on the wall, candles have to be enclosed, the mansion opens 2 hours prior to the event, no fireworks/sparklers) but they are clearly outlined in the contract and Sally was very responsive to emails with our questions. It is also open to the public. There were a lot of picnickers on our wedding day, but it was actually a feature. We were applauded on our way down to the amphitheater (location of ceremony) and on the way back up. A great treat! Parking is also free for wedding guests.

There is a tent set up over the patio for dancing, toasts and cake cutting. Because meal seating is set up in 3 rooms, all of the communal events were done under the tent which I really enjoyed. It guaranteed peoples attention with not clinking of eating and everyone could hear.

The Eolia staff has a limited role in the planning and day of execution and most of that comes down to the caterer. Not a con, just something to be aware of going in. There is no AC but there was a nice breeze and everyone was very comfortable during the entire event.

It was a wonderful day and we got tons of compliments from our guests. We also had a killer sunset. Definitely recommend! Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
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Chrystal
Wedding:
8/31/2014
4.2/5.0
This venue is absolutely beautiful. Our wedding was 8/31/14. Many options for photos. Love the flower gardens. We had our ceremony by the water in the ampitheater (which is free). To marry in the gardens at the mansion is an additional 500$. We just couldn't understand why to pay more, the ampitheater is a beautiful view and provides seating. The coordinator at the mansion is helpful. They are very strict with hours on your contract. We did a 530 ceremony, which got us into the mansion 6-11p. The rental fee is a great value considering the setting is so unique and gorgeous, tent is included and up year round, and tables and Chiavari chairs are included. I would recommend one thing if you do a shuttle service--make sure that the shuttle knows where to drop off and pick up guests. There was some confusion to where our ceremony was held in the park and some guests were up at the mansion in the wrong area. We did have a sign in the lawn, but it didn't seem to do us a lot of good.
This venue is absolutely beautiful. Our wedding was 8/31/14. Many options for photos. Love the flower gardens. We had our Read more...
This venue is absolutely beautiful. Our wedding was 8/31/14. Many options for photos. Love the flower gardens. We had our ceremony by the water in the ampitheater (which is free). To marry in the gardens at the mansion is an additional 500$. We just couldn't understand why to pay more, the ampitheater is a beautiful view and provides seating. The coordinator at the mansion is helpful. They are very strict with hours on your contract. We did a 530 ceremony, which got us into the mansion 6-11p. The rental fee is a great value considering the setting is so unique and gorgeous, tent is included and up year round, and tables and Chiavari chairs are included. I would recommend one thing if you do a shuttle service--make sure that the shuttle knows where to drop off and pick up guests. There was some confusion to where our ceremony was held in the park and some guests were up at the mansion in the wrong area. We did have a sign in the lawn, but it didn't seem to do us a lot of good. Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
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Amy
Wedding:
8/30/2014
5.0/5.0
we got married 8/30/14. Eolia Mansion is beautiful. They book fast! Great space & park. We got pictures in the gardens, the amphitheater, the beach, and in front of the mansion. They had a drier for the golf cart to transport elderly and handicapped guests as many times as needed. They had staff at the mansion to assist where needed. LOVED IT!
we got married 8/30/14. Eolia Mansion is beautiful. They book fast! Great space & park. We got pictures in the gardens, Read more...
we got married 8/30/14. Eolia Mansion is beautiful. They book fast! Great space & park. We got pictures in the gardens, the amphitheater, the beach, and in front of the mansion. They had a drier for the golf cart to transport elderly and handicapped guests as many times as needed. They had staff at the mansion to assist where needed. LOVED IT! Read less
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Anonymous
Wedding:
1+ year ago
4.4/5.0
We got married at Eolia Mansion in August of 2014. It was obsoletely beautiful and I couldn't ask for anything more. This was the first and the last venue we visited and I knew right away it has to be Eolia. They get booked pretty far in advance, thus you need to be flexible. There are also many restrictions and rules, such as strict time guideline and limited choice of vendors for food. We went with Thyme to Cook- they were very accommodating and the food was fantastic.
If you are planning on getting married in the amphitheater just make sure you will be OK with having some people around in the park
We got married at Eolia Mansion in August of 2014. It was obsoletely beautiful and I couldn't ask for anything more. This Read more...
We got married at Eolia Mansion in August of 2014. It was obsoletely beautiful and I couldn't ask for anything more. This was the first and the last venue we visited and I knew right away it has to be Eolia. They get booked pretty far in advance, thus you need to be flexible. There are also many restrictions and rules, such as strict time guideline and limited choice of vendors for food. We went with Thyme to Cook- they were very accommodating and the food was fantastic.
If you are planning on getting married in the amphitheater just make sure you will be OK with having some people around in the park Read less
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Private User
Wedding:
10/6/2013
3.7/5.0
They literally only provided the space, it was beautiful. But they did not mention that kegs were not allowed until the day of. My father in law ended up going to a package store around the corner to buy cases of beer...
They literally only provided the space, it was beautiful. But they did not mention that kegs were not allowed until the Read more...
They literally only provided the space, it was beautiful. But they did not mention that kegs were not allowed until the day of. My father in law ended up going to a package store around the corner to buy cases of beer... Read less
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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.
We got married at Eolia last weekend and it was absolutely beautiful. Eolia is such a gorgeous venue! My guests loved Read more...
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. Read less
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