Toganenwood Estate Barn Wedding Venue / Events Center
Questions and Answers
General Q&A: Call Betty at 315 264 3137 or Willie at 315 224 8479 (Event Mgr), if assistance is needed during your event.
NOTE: Please have ALL family and friends that are in charge of decorating read the Q&A section prior to coming to the Estate, so that they know the rules of the property. These questions are generated from prior weddings ...
Note: Prices or dates are not guaranteed until the contract is received and the deposit is made.
Q - What is your pricing? Any discounts?
A - Please click on the 'Rental Rates' tab for pricing and what is included in the price, as well as discounts.
Q- When can I schedule a tour of the Estate?
A - I give tours on Sundays (throughout the winter). Starting in May, I give tours on Thurs (unless I do not have a wedding on Sunday). Because of health reasons, I give three tours with two - 3 couples each tour. They are at 11am, 11:45am and 12:30pm. Dress warmly in the winter months as the barn is cold.
Q - Can I just stop in or do I need an appointment?
A - Even though this is a business, it also is our home and we would appreciate it if everyone called or emailed for an appointment before stopping by. We work most days on the grounds, maintenance, etc. and would rather meet and greet people at scheduled times. We also have a dog that goes crazy when someone enters the property. If we know when you are coming, we can put him in his crate. Hope that you understand.
Q – How many hours are we allowed for our wedding?
A - 1 day ... Arrive on property at 9am to decorate (no earlier since we need time to clean from previous wedding/event). Lower music at 10pm, clean up and leave by 11pm. All couples should set a 1.5hr appt within one week or so prior to the wedding. This appointment would include family members, DJ, photographer, caterer, officiant, etc to tour the Estate, figure out decorating ideas and complete the rehearsal walk through. Regretfully I do not set separate appts for each vendor. Most vendors, if they have been here before will not require a walk through again. Most brides tape the officiant's instructions for those in the bridal party that cannot attend the rehearsal walk through and send it to them.
DJ / Band / Caterer / Bar / Rehearsal:
NOTE - the acoustics in the barn are GREAT so your DJ should be instructed to start music 'flat' and then turn up the base. So many DJs just automatically turn up the base because they do not know the barn. It will boom, boom, boom their music because the barn is like a horn and exaggerates the lower base. It the base is lower, it is a wonderful sound that you and your guests will enjoy. This does not mean that your music can't be loud, it just has to have lower base range for the barn. Trust us ... Brian has been a DJ and in the audio business for over 50 years. Wonderful sounding barn ... if the DJ understands the acoustics.
Q – Do we have to use your caterer and DJ?
A – No, you can choose your own. See 'Services Links' page for suggestions. You can bring your own food, if you place it in chaffing dishes with sterno canisters underneath. No pots / pans that plug in, since our electric in the barn cannot support them.
Q - Can my DJ, my caterer, my photography, my family or wedding party rehearsal set individual appointments to see the Estate prior to the wedding?
A - You should schedule a 1.5 hr appt to visit the Estate, usually 1 - 4 wks prior to the wedding. Sorry, but we cannot accommodate multiple appts for vendors, friends, family, etc. They all should be included in the 1.5hr appt. We are a small business and do most of the work ourselves, so time is very limited and usually the family, friends, vendors need to ask you questions while they are in the barn, so this arrangement works great. 1.5hrs seems to be plenty of time according to last season.
Q – Does the DJ have to sit up on the loft?
A – No, he can set up on the right of the smaller bar under the stairs in the main barn for larger weddings who need all the space for guest seating. You can use the left side of the bar for your personal photos, drinks, etc. Smaller weddings have placed the DJ in the right corner North side of barn near the Sweetheart Table.
Q – Can we have a live band? Can the band be placed in the upper hayloft?
A – Yes, you can have a live band although you must discuss with owners prior to hiring as it is very tricky to find the room for your guests and a band safely inside the barn. Smaller weddings (up to 120) have a better chance of keeping the bands inside. Possibly place the bands just outside the large bay door with the singers inside the barn. Would need a tent, if it rains. It is shaded in that area so no tent needed, if it does not rain. There is electric on each side of the bay doors. Bands cannot be up in the loft area, although that is a perfect place for a DJ. PLEASE keep the size of the band to 4-5 members or less. Discuss with owner prior to hiring so that we can make sure we can accommodate your request. We have limited space so may need to do some juggling of guests / tables, etc.
Q – What equipment do you have for the DJ? Is there a hook up?
A – If they want to use our surround sound ... we have four 750-watt Yamaha pro speakers/monitors. Two on each side of the beam where the historic ladder is in front of the sweetheart table and two on the beam near the loft railing. All four are pointed toward the dance floor so the sound is distributed evenly. We positioned them toward the dance floor so that the bride and groom sitting behind the ladder / dance floor would have softer music to hear guests that were coming to congratulate them and the 48 people on the loft could eat without the music being too loud. The DJ or Playlist can be plugged into our surround sound system by use of a mini RCA plug adapter from their system. Test your source system during your rehearsal / walk through to make sure it is working with our system. Our system also plays 6 CD's.
Q – Can we serve our own alcohol and bring our own food?
A – Yes/No, we allow you to buy your own alcohol, but you need an experienced / licensed bartender to serve and watch guest consumption. They need to cut off guests who over indulge. If a guest cannot drive home, please have someone move their car up in front of the garage by the house and they can pick it up in the morning. If you buy your own alcohol, PLEASE have someone take the boxes and empties home as the caterers would do, if they supplied the bar.
We have an outside covered bar with kegerators (2 - 1/4 or 1/2 kegs - you supply 5# CO2 canisters), Igloo coolers (2 - 120qts, holds 188 cans each), medal bins, table, etc. We have a smaller inside bar area too.
Q – What about the Caterers? Can they use flames in the barns or on the property?
A – No open flames. They are allowed to use sterno under chafing dishes. If they are roasting a pig or different types of meat, they can park their roaster away from the buildings near the front of the Corn Crib or in back near the water. They can use open flames within their own portable kitchens, as long as they are parked away from the buildings. It is our responsibility to preserve the estate for future generations to enjoy so we are overly cautious with fire and we hope that you understand … the wood is very dry and there is hay laying around, which could ignite a fire with just a spark. Also, we have to follow requirements by our insurance carrier. Caterers take 2 bags of their food garbage with them.
Note: Any cooking device that produces SMOKE cannot be near the barn. With the front and back doors open, the draft will pull the smoke or fumes into the barn. Food Trucks also need to park away from the barns the fumes get pulled into it and could cause harm to your guests. We park BBQ trucks with smokers on the grass close to the road in front of the barn.
Q - How many bottles of water are needed?
A - We just purchased a water cooler for the weddings/events, which will save you time and money on bottled water. We supply the jugs of water you supply the cups. Dixie has a biodegradable option. It is said that during the summer you need 2-4 bottles per person at an event, which even buying from Walmart's can get expensive. The cooler also has hot water for tea ... no need to bring the large electric pot for hot water. Be careful that the children do not touch the hot water tap!
If you wish to bring bottles of water, PLEASE take the empties with you at the end of the night!
Q – What about glass? Can we have glass?
A –We prefer the plastic glasses, but know that mason jars are popular at barn weddings, so they would be okay. It is okay for the caterers to have glasses and glass pitchers for pouring of water or champagne. All bottles and cans should be taken with you at the end of the evening. We do not recycle.
Q – What about the Caterers when preparing food on site?
A – No open flames allowed in the barn. They are allowed to use electric grills, sterno under chafing dishes. If they are roasting a pig or different types of meat, they can park their roaster away from the buildings near the road under the tree. They can use open flames within their own portable kitchens, as long as they are parked away from the buildings. No propane near the barn. It is our responsibility to preserve the estate for future generations to enjoy so we are overly cautious with fire and we hope that you understand … the wood is very dry and there is hay laying around, which could start a fire with just a spark.
Q – Where can I have my buffet tables?
A – We have 8' tables that you can place at the beginning of the loft by the stairs on the right or left. Some caterers place tables in the middle before the bridge and have the guests come on both sides starting at the bridge and then back to their seats. After they are served, the tables are placed to the right to get them out of the way.
Q - Who handles the garbage? Caterers take Garbage?
A - We supply large white barrels with black construction bags for garbage. Do not remove the full garbage bags from the barrels as they could leak. Brian will get you empty barrels when they are full. (His number is on the white paper on wall near door). Caterers are expected to remove at least 2 large garbage bags of their food or dinner garbage when they go. Event Manager will assist, if needed. We add their names to our site for advertising purposes and they help us with the garbage. Most do it automatically as a courtesy. It is really appreciated when we have more than one wedding during a week-end. If you do not have a caterer or the caterer drops off your food and leaves, we will discuss this individually on how we can handle the left over food.
Q – How do I get a contract?
A – Contact me via email and I will email you one after you have toured the Estate. I also will email you a seating chart and measurements of all the tables.
Q – When do you need my signed contract and deposit?
A – If you want me to reserve a date, you must email or text me asap. I will hold your date for 5 days. Your contract must be signed, initialed and mailed with deposit on the 5th day (postmarked) for me to hold the date. Please text me when it is mailed so that I can mark my records accordingly. I will not follow up on outstanding deposits. If you want me to save a date, then it would be your responsibility to follow up with me to ensure that it is saved, if you are unable for one reason or another to follow the above instructions. Please communicate with me, if there is a delay.
Q – Do we need liability insurance?
A – Yes, you can obtain $500,000 coverage for approximately $100. This covers both days, rehearsal / reception, as well as your guests' drive home. See 'Services Links' page, but you can use whomever you want. There is a $50 additional charge if you buy your own alcohol.
Q – Why do we need liability insurance?
A – Most venues charge for liability insurance or it is included in their price. Since we are renting a space, the renters would be primarily responsible for injuries to their guests. Yes, we too would need liability insurance and it would be secondary coverage as the homeowners.
Q – Is your facility kid friendly?
A – Not necessarily. Children cannot run free ... they must be supervised! Because of the dangerous highway on one side of the property and strong current in the water on the other side, we recommend no children. If your guests decide to bring their children, there needs to be constant adult supervision when playing outside. Be careful and keep them off the retaining wall. It is uneven and they can fall. (no guests should be on the retaining wall for safety reasons). The insurance company said that as long as it was posted and advised people NOT to go on the retaining wall, we did not have to install a fence around our entire property. Please do not allow them to climb trees, break off small branches from bushes trees, pick flowers, etc. We need this beauty for upcoming weddings. Have the babysitter or parents for the night speak with the owners to ensure that he/she knows the dos and don'ts of the property. Be careful by the hay chute and the outside balcony door. We already have had a close call when a child ran to the road, but luckily got distracted a few feet away. Please NO CHILDREN under 10 yrs old are allowed in the upper loft area for safety reasons! We have had several that have tripped going up or down the stairs and we do not want to see any children get hurt.
Q - Can we stand on the Tables or Chairs?
A - Absolutely Not ... if you need to reach something, there is a small step stool behind the bar near the kitchenette door for your use. If you have been drinking, this is a very bad idea. Please respect our property and furniture as we would yours.
Q – Is the barn heated?
A – There is no heat. Even if you wanted to rent electric heaters, the heat would rise and go out the cupolas. Although electric patio heaters do well in smaller areas like the lower loft where the ceiling isn't so high. There is always body heat and dancing that will help if the weather is chilly. PLEASE bring your heaters the day of your 1.5 hr appt prior to the wedding. Need to make sure that they will not blow the electrical system.
Q - Is there a dressing room?
A - Yes, the bridal party's dressing room is in the main barn, door to the left. It is for dressing ... hair and nails should be done off site. Although you see a shower, it has never been hooked up so will be unavailable for you or guests. The groomsmen area is downstairs off the bathroom area. The dressing room is air conditioned. The groomsmen's room is not but seems to stay cooler with just the fan.
Q – How many guests fit on the main floor (not including the upstairs loft)?
A – Usually 118, but one wedding placed 130 on the main floor and did not use the upper and lower hay lofts. That will make for a tight squeeze, but possible and tables/chairs can be removed after dinner to free up dancing space.
Q – What types of props do you already have for use at the weddings?
A – We were hoping to save you money by supplying some of the rustic props that most barns might have, such as an old antique door, milk cans, bales of hay, orchard ladder, frames, photo booth and more.
Q – What is included in the price?
A – Access to the main barn, dressing room with bathroom (no shower), groomsmen room, three bathrooms upstairs and down including handicapped, caterers prep area upstairs and down with refrigerators. We also will supply the tables (9' farmhouse, 48" and 60" round and 6' - 8' rectangle) and 175 wood folding chairs. 150 folding ceremony chairs. Access to the property which includes, covered bridge, deck overlooking the water, silo, barns, gazebo, 200 yr old sycamore trees, perennial gardens, etc. We supply rustic props so you won't need to buy or rent them. We have WiFi and Surround Sound. You can have your DJ plug into our system or you can plug in your play list to save money (to plug into our system you need an adapter from your device that can be plugged into a mini RCA plug that is on our system). We have smart lights that we can change to match your gowns or center pieces. We have ceiling, window, floor fans. We have a chandelier. We have extra banquet tables for Caterers and Bar, so you won't need to rent them. We have an Outside covered bar with kegerators (2 - 1/4 or 1/2 kegs - you supply 5# CO2 canisters), Igloo coolers (2 - 120qts, holds 188 cans each), medal bins, table, etc. Also, just bought a water cooler (hot and cold), so no need to buy bottes from the caterer. We supply the water, you supply the cups. If you plan on using bottled water, please take the bottles with you at the end of the night. We do not recycle.
Q - How do we get to the parking area?
A - Barn has a BLIND DRIVE - All cars should enter the Estate through the house driveway, not the barn driveway. They will be parked up by the garage first, then other parts of the property. People dropping off things can drive to the barn from the house then drive back up to the house to park. If a guest is disabled or elderly, they can be parked near the barn ... just let the parking attendant know of your needs. Elderly can be driven to the ceremony site, but the car will need to back up the hill to exit. Although it looks like there is a road around the barn, a balcony was built on the back of the hay barn, which will not allow traffic to circle the barn. There are two wooden septic tank tops on the ground behind the bathrooms. If you drive down in the back to drop things off for the rehearsal dinner, please do not drive on these as they will break. Carpooling is appreciated. There is a 'share a ride' area to the left when you get off the NYS thruway at Ext 42. Singles can drop off their car and drive together 5 miles down the road to the Estate. We park on the grass. 16 in front of barn, 22 in front of corncrib, 45+ in front of garage. Smaller shuttle buses can be used. The larger tourist coach size ones are too big to make the turn up by the house.
Q – Who will set up the tables chairs for the ceremony/reception?
A – You will be responsible for setting up the 150 folding ceremony chairs and putting them away. We recommend putting them away after the ceremony or after dinner, since it gets dark near the water after 9pm. We supply the ceremony chairs so that you do not need to rent them, but you will need to wipe them off, if needed, set them up and return them to the caterer's area. Please do not throw them on the ground on top of each other when bringing them out or bringing them back in. We have benches spotted around for your guests. The tables and chairs for the reception will be in place when you are ready. Any special requests can be handled during the decorating time the night before or early the morning of the wedding.
Q – How is the garbage handled? Is there a charge?
A – If you decorate in the AM, bring a few bags to get rid of the papers and boxes so that the garbage bins will stay empty for your wedding. We will have plastic white barrels spotted around the building and grounds with construction bags for regular garbage during the wedding. Just make sure all garbage is placed in the containers prior to leaving. We will dispose of the contents and ask that the Caterer take at least 2 bags of their food garbage with them. It is a courtesy that most caterers automatically do. DO NOT take the garbage out of the barrels, since the plastic might tear and leak everywhere attracting animals and insects. We will handle the removal of the garbage from the barrels along with the caterers. If there is a problem during the reception, call Brian 315 871 6334 for assistance.
Q – Are their dimmers on the lights?
A. Yes, you can dim all of them by using the remote. If you want to dim just specific ones like, chandelier, string lights, lanterns use the dimmers on the walls near the lights. There will be a remote control affixed to the left door jam (white french doors) as you come into the barn. Please use it from there and do not remove.
Q – Where are the smart lights?
A – We have 2 spots facing the sweetheart table which will stay white, 2 spots on top of the ladder at the end of the dance floor, 2 spots at the other end of the dance floor, 2 on top of the railing in the upper loft, 1 under the bar. Most brides seem to want them the color of their bridesmaid's dresses or to accent their centerpieces.
Q – What is the policy on candles, lanterns or tiki torches inside / outside?
A – We do not allow open flames or sparklers (anything that would start a fire), inside or out. Please use battery operated candles. We want to protect our historic barn for future generations. Exception is the unity candle with hurricane holders (away from the barns and snuff after ceremony) and the sternos under the chafing pans.
Q - Are there more than one wedding on your property on the same week-end?
A - As of right now only one event per day. Since I am now doing weddings Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you MUST remove your decorations after your wedding from 10pm to 11pm. Decorating starts at 9am on Friday for Friday weddings, 9am Saturday for Saturday weddings and 9am on Sunday for Sunday weddings. No decorating the day before. It's a barn and the wind blows things down from the rafters during the night and animals could enter. Because of this we no longer rent for Rehearsal Dinners. We start our cleaning at 6am each morning before a wedding.
Q – Can guests smoke on the property?
A – Yes for now (this may change in the future without notice), but ONLY in the designated smoking area next to the metal doors of the carriage house. There will be a sign, sand bucket, umbrella and chairs for their convenience. No throwing of butts onto the property or into the water. No walking around the property with cigarettes, since there will be hay scattered around and dry wood that could start a fire either during your wedding or throughout the night. Please discuss with your smoker guests as we are seeing that few are being responsible and staying in the designated smoking area. You MUST have your DJ announce that there is no smoking in or around the barn. They MUST smoke in the designated area or they will be asked to leave the property.
NOTE: Guests using Vapor Cigarettes MUST also stay in the designated smoking area. From a distance it looks like they are smoking, which causes smokers to think that they can smoke anywhere, which they CANNOT. We do not want the historic barn to go up in flames because of a careless cigarette. (We may change to a 'Smoke Free Property' in the future, since the Estate is on the National Registry for Historic Homes, if we cannot get smokers to smoke in the designated area.)
Q – Can we come in to decorate or rehearse on Friday?
A –I am sorry, but No. We add 2 hrs at the beginning of your day (9am) for decorating. Most weddings take 1 to 1-1/2 hours to decorate since we have so many props in the barn and the decorative lights already up. Your rehearsal is completed during the 1.5 hr appt set approx 1 week prior to your wedding with you, your family, DJ, caterer, photographer, officiant (whoever wants a look). The brides have someone take a video of the rehearsal (where they walk) and gives it to those who cannot attend. This arrangement has been working very well. Time frame for appointments are from 11am to 2pm.
Q – If we didn't want some of our props / décor can we remove it?
A – Please ask us to remove anything that you want so that we can place it where we can find it to restage the barn for tours. Exception is the antique wall and history wall ... they are part of the barns decor and stay as is. We rarely have a problem with the couples moving things around but would like to be asked so that we are not running all over looking for things before our tours on Sunday mornings.
Q - Are there pests?
A - Very infrequent flies, bugs, squirrels, spiders, bats, birds ... it is farm country so the beauty and the infrequent pests will be part of your barn experience. We treat the barn between weddings with Peppermint, a natural deterrent. The large bay door seems to be open during the reception inviting pests, but the Peppermint treatment after each wedding really helps. You may smell a lingering peppermint scent, which is nice since Lyons was the Peppermint Capitol of the World in the late 1800's and early 1900's.
Main Floor Q&A:
Q – What type of tables do you have?
A – There are six 9' custom made farmhouse tables. They are made from reclaimed wood. No trees were cut down to make these tables. They have distressed white legs and dark tops. Also, we have commercial 48" and 60" round tables (6 and 8 guests). We can discuss your seating arrangements and try to fit as many people comfortable on the main floor as possible. Then we would fill the upper haylofts. The lower hayloft is no longer being used for guests, since 175 can comfortable fit in the main barn and upper hayloft.
Q – Can we have a sweetheart table or traditional tables?
A – Yes, you can have a sweetheart table with two 48" round tables on each side next to it for the wedding party. The traditional tables would be two 8' tables one on each side of the sweetheart table against the back wall of the barn.
Q – Do you have a dance floor? Are the floors level?
A – We have a dance floor area under the chandelier, but not a professional looking dance floor. Some of the barn floor boards are uneven, although we did level them in most areas. The side next to the bathrooms needs to be 3 - 4 ft wide for emergency foot traffic, but we are able to widen the dance floor by pulling tables closer to the door side. Hot weather, the brides are keeping the middle bay door open for the breeze. Some are placing their bar out front instead of inside, which helps with congestion around the bar area and dance floor. Can shorten the distance for emergency foot traffic, if the large middle bay door is open. Some fold up the two 8' banquet tables by the historic ladder after dinner. This gives you a 'T' dance floor for bigger crowds.
Q – Can we decorate the props that are sitting around?
A – Yes, the old door might look nice with photos stuck to it with the sticky stuff that doesn't harm your photos or the door. I have burlap over the bales of hay, but you can add to it. There is an old orchard ladder that is just waiting to be decorated with photos, chalk boards, etc. They are using push pins to hang streamers / banners, as well as tying things with twine. There are two wires above the sweetheart table for adding of paper lanterns. Some string photos from these wires. Nothing heavy though, as it will pull the wires down closer to the floor in front of your guests.
Q – Can we take down the photos on the history or antique walls to put up our decorations?
A – No, they are a permanent part of the structure.
Upper Loft Q&A:
Q – Is there easy access to the upper loft?
A – There is a set of stairs, then a slight turn with 2 more stairs. There is a shorter beam that goes across the doorway about 5' 10" so please be careful. There are two railings on each side of the stairs for your safety. We can only allow 49 people at one time up in the loft area per the code enforcer. The seating is for 48 guests and the DJ. Please DO NOT REMOVE anything from the upper Loft area. If you need extra tables/chairs, just ask and we can show where they are. All fans that are up there should not be removed. Discuss with Event Managers (phone number near door).
Lower Hayloft Q&A:
Q – What are those plaques on the beams?
A – I wrote down the history of the barn and placed it around the building. Explained the history of the hayloft, hay chute, wooden pegs, cupolas, barn, etc. Thought that your guests might like to learn more about old historic barns, since there are fewer and fewer of them.
Q - Is there a parking lot?
A - Yes, 65+ cars ... You can park on the grass up by the garage/house and areas around the barns out of view of the wedding photos. In front of the garage holds approximately 35 cars. In front of the barn around the lawn apron holds 16 cars. In front of the corn crib holds 22 cars. We have grass mesh protectors to eliminate any slipping or getting stuck. You must tell your guests to enter the property from the house driveway NOT the barn, which is a blind drive. If they need to unload or they are handicapped/elderly they can drive to the barn from the house drive way. Carpooling is appreciated.
Q – Can we bring animals on the property for the wedding ceremony?
A - Yes, if in the ceremony and with prior approval. After the ceremony and photos, they should be put in a crate or brought back to the hotel. No animals in the barn since they smell other animals that have been in there and they will urinate on their scent. They must be cleaned up after. No guest animals.
Q – Where are we allowed to have the ceremony?
A – In the gazebo, in front of the covered bridge, in front of the large sycamore tree, on the deck overlooking the water or anywhere else on the grounds near the barns.
Q – Can we walk on the retaining wall near the water?
A – No, it is uneven and would be unsafe to walk on the retaining walls. We were told by our Insurance Carrier that we had to install a 900ft fence OR ask guests to stay off the retaining wall. We added a few signs and ask that your DJ announce this prior to the evening. The water's current is very strong in certain areas, plus there is poison ivy over the banks.
Q – Can we fish or swim in the water?
A – No, fishing and swimming is prohibited.
Q – Can we pick the flowers?
A – No, I am sorry, but we need the flowers for our next wedding. Please watch over the children so that they do not pick the flowers. You can pick any weeds that you see and it would be very much appreciated! :)
Q – Can we climb the sycamore and other trees?
A – No, it is not allowed. Most trees are over 200 years old and must be treated with care. Please do not pull off the bark off the sycamore trees that are spotted around the property. They naturally drop their bark from above but keep it lower to the ground. Watch children so that they do not break small branches off the smaller trees.