Someone Else’s Wedding: Hudson, NY
Image from Basilica Hudson website
Around December of last year, when I knew our engagement was imminent,* I started doing some wedding pre-planning. Since I was not ACTUALLY engaged, I did this furtively, skirting around the edges of wedding blogs and message boards. And even then, venues stressed me out. They all seemed so… expensive. Like stupid expensive. And complicated. And important.
The first venue that I legit fell for was Basilica Hudson in Hudson, NY. It had everything I was looking for: huge, high ceilings, an industrial past, big windows, and charm in every nook and cranny. An old paper factory, it was beautiful and a little mysterious and exactly what I wanted our wedding to be. I spent an embarrassing amount of time looking up train schedules from New York to Hudson, peeping other people’s weddings held there, and searching on yelp, the Knot, WeddingWire, etc for any and all information.
So the second we DID get engaged, one of the first emails I sent was to Information at Basilica Hudson. They promptly replied with all the information I’d been searching for. And it was a little disheartening.
People always warn you that “blank canvas” weddings get pricey very quickly, and they are right. Not only are you paying for a venue, but you are renting and/or buying everything you need for the wedding- tables, chairs, dinnerware, decorations. You’re bringing in catering, bartenders, lighting, dancefloors. Everything. And it adds up. This is only compounded by the fact that they are very popular right now- which is why Basilica Hudson, for the summer “off-season,” had an $8,000 site fee. Now, it’s important to note that, unlike many similar venues in the Tri State, rentals at Basilica Hudson are currently for the entire weekend- Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon. Similar factory-style locations, like the Greenpoint Loft or the Green Building (both in Brooklyn), have much shorter rental times, as they will hold multiple weddings per weekend. Greenpoint Loft’s window was only 12 hours and had a site fee of $6000 for a Saturday wedding. But still. 8 Gs just to walk in the door? I knew that was not realistic for our budget, but I was still trying to find ways to justify it.
We never ended up visiting Basilica Hudson- after I found the Art Factory and the venue we ended up actually booking, Garnerville Arts and Industrial Center, we decided to visit those first, and only see Basilica Hudson if neither of those worked out. And luckily, we had a winner in round one.
But since then, I’ve been curious about Hudson in general. And there was that little nagging feeling in the back of my mind, wondering what we were missing with Basilica Hudson. We had the opportunity to pass through the town on our way to Herkimer, and I was actually nervous as we drove into the downtown. That’s so silly, I know. And as we parked the car and got out to walk around, my heart sank. Hudson is so CUTE. The entire economy of the town seems to depend solely on the dealing of antiques and fancy boutique stores with carefully curated contents. There was a little lot with food trucks. Every street was rife with old factories and charming bank buildings. Etsy has a really freaking adorable office there, too, into which we peeked through darkened windows. At the train station, I saw a listing for a two-bedroom apartment with a washer and dryer for $1200, which is like seeing a white rhino for someone who has dealt with Brooklyn rents for their entire adult life. Forget having a wedding in Hudson, I was ready to pack up and move.
And so with bated breath, I entered “Basilica Hudson” into Google Maps, and we drove to sneak a peek at it.
Let me tell you, it really pops up out of nowhere. It’s DIRECTLY across from the train station, which I imagine is very, very convenient for guests- but to be honest, it’s not the nicest surrounding. The building itself looks beautiful- the big front windows, with which I had been so enamored, reflected the setting sun beautifully. The effect was somewhat marred, though, but the two spooky hippies sitting out front with their van. I had hoped to get out and look around a bit more, but like silent guardians, the hippies kept us away.
At the end of the day, I’m glad we never properly looked at Basilica Hudson. It was out of our price range, and probably a little further from our home base than would be ideal. But I’ll continue to admire the beautiful events that find their way onto Pinterest and blogs. And while the immediate surroundings leave a little something to desired, having a wedding weekend in a charming town upstate like Hudson can’t be beat.
Greenport Conservation Area
Some fun facts about Hudson:
– The first definition of cocktail came from a Hudson publication, The Balance and Columbian Repository, in 1806
-Hudson is situated next to a sick, deer-filled nature conservatory called the Greenport Conservation Area. We found it when searching for a good spot to run- and it was one of the most pleasant and renewing runs of my life.
– Marina Abramovic is about to open a museum that will specialize in long durational works- basically, any performance that lasts longer than 6 hours. Perfect for distracting your relatives for long periods of time during wedding weekends! Best to plan ahead, though- the earliest the MAI will open is 2016.
-Hudson was previously known as Claverack Landing. Whaling transformed it into a thriving city… so there are whales on all the street signs. Yikes.
*because I had forced Nick to sign a devil’s contract with a hard deadline