A fairytale wedding


Why Choosing A Mansion For Your Wedding?

An historic mansion can be one of the loveliest venues for your wedding. Each one will have its own unique charm and character, making it a far cry from more generic sites like banquet halls or hotel conference rooms. Historic mansions have their own unique set of considerations, and these are some of the things that you should keep in mind to ensure that your wedding is a grand success.

One of the first things to think about is the size of your guest list relative to the number of people that an historic site can accommodate. Many grand old homes have very large lawns and estates that can easily host hundreds of guests in tents. If you are more interested in having your reception on a covered porch or in an opulent dining room, on the other hand, space may be much more limited. This is why it is a very good idea to have an idea of how many guests you are planning to invite before booking with a mansion.

When having a wedding in a gracious old home, it is important that your attire and décor match the surroundings. Some brides even go so far as to choose bridal gowns and sets of jewelry that are inspired by the era in which the mansion was built. Brides who are not interested in period weddings, certainly need not match their wedding dresses and bridal jewelry sets so exactly to the house, but a similar level of formality should be achieved. A very casual dress would look out of place in a very opulent setting, and the last thing that any bride wants is to be overshadowed by her venue!

Work with your florist on creating centerpieces that really suit the style of the historic mansion. For instance, a formal seated dinner in a grand ballroom would be the perfect place for elaborate centerpieces set in tall silver vases. If your room has a lot of crystal chandeliers, think about echoing that detail in the candleholders and stemware that you select. It is a wonderful way to create a harmonious flow throughout the reception.

Your music is another element that can be inspired by your wedding venue. Graceful string quartets are a wonderful accompaniment for the bride as she floats down the aisle. During cocktails, a lovely harpist can provide relaxing background music. This is not to say that you must only have formal music for your entire reception, but a big band playing the standards would seem more at home in an historic mansion than a dj spinning the latest dance hits. You can also think about having a compromise by hosting an informal after-party in a nearby club for the younger guests.

Historic sites often have their own particular issues. There will likely be restrictions on the way that you can decorate the site; they certainly are not going to allow you to put any nail holes in the walls or porch columns, for example. If there is a hideous old sculpture on a pedestal in the mansion's entryway, chances are that they will not permit you to move it. Other issues to clarity with the mansion's event coordinator are: parking, the use of outside caterers, noise restrictions, and the like. Once you work out the logistics that are specific to your site, you will find that an historical mansion can be one of the most elegant and charming places to host a wedding.

Mackay Mansion: An Original 1859 Victorian Mansion

Located in historic Virginia City, Nevada, the Mackay Mansion is a beautiful and unique location offering complete wedding and party planning services for groups from two to 500.

Built in 1859 by George Hearst, the Mackay Mansion is the former residence of Comstock King John Mackay and is now a National Historic Landmark open for tours year-round.

Events that took place in this building and on the Comstock would change the course of history in America and the world. The gold and silver that passed through these vaults financed the Union Army during the Civil War, built downtown San Francisco, took Germany off the Silver Standard, led to the formation of International Telephone and Telegraph, as well as many other financial empires.

Originally know as the Gould and Curry Office, the Mansion first served as a mining office and living quarters. It was built and occupied in 1859 by a young mining superintendent named George Hearst, who began the Hearst fortunes with $400 of borrowed money.

As was the first habit of so many miners, he stayed just a short time. Unlike most, however, he made several million dollars here. Then, he parlayed it into hundreds of millions in lumber in California, and mines in South Dakota and Utah. Hearst may have taken his leave a bit early, because the Comstock continued to flourish. By the early 1870s, the three-story house was headquarters for one of the most powerful, wealthy and revered characters on the Comstock: John Mackay.

He was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1831, and immigrated to New York at the age if nine. He became an apprentice ship builder at sixteen, and for four years tooled wood for side wheel steamers under the tutelage of a William H. Webb. But it was a craft he never seriously persued, for on the last day of his apprenticeship, he boarded one of those steamers bound for San Francisco.

He was seeking his fortunes in California's gold fields at the tender age of twenty. But, by 1859, returns were dwindling in California's gold fields. He learned a lot about back-breaking work, but earned very little.

Then there were rumors of a silver strike on the Comstock. With nothing to hold him in California, he walked in from Downieville to try his luck. His ascent here was rapid: first working as a pick and shovel miner at four dollars a day, then timber man and then contractor. Using the skills he acquired building ships, he gained recognition for his work in the mine shafts. Compensation often came as stock in the mines he was helping to develop.

He began buying claims, and his fortunes grew. He was controlling owner of the Kentuck Mine during most of its peak years from 1866-1869. There were other acquisitions: the Hale and Norcross, Gould and Curry, and the Best and Belcher Mines.

When he began living in the Mansion during the early 1870s, dwindling revenues led many to believe that the boom was over. While the financial world blinked, Mackay and his partner James Fair invested. They bought a series of small, relatively unsuccessful claims lying between the Ophir and the Gould and Curry, and incorporated them into the Consolidated Virginia Mine. They sank a shaft and then rocked the civilized world when they discovered the largest silver deposit on the North American continent. When all was said and done, $133,417,000 had been hauled from its depths.

Mackay was a reserved man with simple tastes, and hated the fact that his wealth set him apart from the friends who had shared his humble beginnings -- once grumbling bitterly that winning at poker wasn't fun anymore. He spent much of his wealth helping those in need and developed a reputation as a great philanthropist.

You can learn more about John Mackay and the Mackay Mansion by joining us for a tour the next time you're in Virginia City.

Complete Wedding Services

Mackay Mansion staff specialize in wedding planning for out-of-town groups. We are experienced in every aspect of wedding event planning including arrangements of flowers, photography, music, catering and theme costumes. We work within your budget and itemize all costs prior to your wedding. All you need to do is arrive, get dressed and enjoy your day!

Our facilities include our 500 square foot wedding pavilion, beautiful lawn and garden areas, a 1,000 square foot brick patio, table seating for 150 and chairs to seat 200 guests. Our two changing rooms are decorated with exquisite Victorian furnishings which add a touch of classic ambiance, and are also free to use for photography scenes, as are any rooms in the Mansion. We also provide an all-faith minister included in your price. interior wedding portrait.

Also available for additional cost are kitchen facilites and a formal dining room which seats 24 guests.

Inside wedding parties up to 35 guests will be seated in our formal Grand Parlor, completely furnished in original 1860's Victorian opulence.

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