If your reading this chances are congratulations are in order! You just got engaged and your looking for any information you can get about planing a wedding at Boldt Castle. What will it cost, how long will it take, where can you have a reception and even how do we get to Heart Island!? At Uncle Sam Boat Tours we have helped countless couples tie the knot at Boldt Castle or any one a dozen other places in the picturesque Thousand Islands. As the largest boat line on the US side and closer than anyone else we have been part of quite a few and we would be happy to offer some tips!
Boldt Castle is a unique wedding site in many ways, not just because the romantic backstory and one of a kind location. Its operated by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority (TIBA) as non profit organization with a singular goal: bring people to the Thousand Islands region. In fact it has become such a draw that up to 200,000 guests a year tour Heart Island. TIBA believes hosting weddings at Boldt Castle is great way to add to their numbers, what brings people from all over to one location better than a wedding right? So not only do they host weddings here, they host LOTS of weddings. Up to three a day! But TIBA’s focus on this goal above all else brings disadvantages and advantages for wedding parties.
Disadvantage 1: a time limit. Boldt Castle currently allows wedding guest one and a half hours on the wedding site. This allows them to handle up to three ceremonies a day and keeps as much of Heart Island available to tourists as possible. Believe it or not that is plenty of time for most to have an outdoor ceremony, we know it sounds short. But if you stick to a schedule its enough time for the bride to get dressed in the changing room (1/2 hour), walk down the isle and say “I do” (30 minutes) and take some photos at the wedding site (30 minutes). Once the ceremony is over the couple may stay on the island as long as they like to take advantage of the beautiful surroundings for. Of course you can split that time any way you want. If you get dressed in 10 minutes your ceremony can last the next hour and twenty minutes if you so choose. But when the time is up, just like Cinderella, you need to leave the ball. DONT PANIC here, the wedding site is just a small portion of the Boldt estate and even though you have to leave that spot you are now free to roam the grounds with your photographer.
Disadvantage 2: the rules. There are quite a few and they will all be listed in a contract sent to you. Some examples: no animals, no alcohol, no pictures inside the castle, the list goes on. Read the contract! Understand that in the end you are a guest here and you need to respect the rules just like every other visitor. Some things are off limits and the staff will make sure you get the best experience possible. But don’t push the rules, it’s also their job to see that each group is treated the same so everyone needs to follow them.
Disadvantage 3: other people. This isn’t a big problem but worth mentioning. Because of TIBA’s goal of bringing people to the region you will not have the island to yourself. Business will continue as usual and there will be guests within sight of your ceremony. Its become part of the attraction for guests to catch a wedding on the grounds. They cant get too close but who wouldn’t want to see a bride walk out of a Castle and down the isle! And when you walk the grounds after your time is up there will be tourists around. Once they see the bride and realize whats going on they give plenty of room to photographers and many congratulate the new couple!
Advantage 1: experienced staff. The sheer number of weddings that happen here make the staff very good at what they do! Trust their advice on what you need to bring, how to time your arrival and more. Honestly, the site is always beautiful and you don’t need anything more than a willing couple and an officiate. The staff has even acted as the witness for many a ceremony. However, each wedding is a little different based on the individuals getting married, some worry about meeting before the ceremony, some arrive fully dressed and walk straight down the isle! Tell the staff what your goals are and they will help you achieve them.
Advantage 2: The setting. Boldt Castle is located on a Heart Shaped Island in New York’s famous Thousand Islands region, just across from Alexandria Bay. The staff plants around 20,000 flowers every year and the grounds are immaculate. The buildings look as though they could be the setting for any one of a dozen fairy tales. This is a location photographers fight over, make sure you allow yourself time after the ceremony to get the pictures you came here for!
Advantage 3: the price. Despite high demand TIBA chooses to keep wedding cost very low, believing that making this location affordable brings more people from farther away. The cost is $200 to make you reservation plus the cost of your guests admission, which is around $10 per person US. So a ceremony with around 50 guests would cost $700, not bad at all! On Saturdays in the busiest months there is a required minimum of 50 guests, whether you actually bring them is up to you. Of course there are other factors, you have to get your guests to Heart Island. Uncle Sam Boat Tours is the closest option, operating out of Alex Bay. Our shuttle takes around 10 minutes to deliver guests to the island and we are the only company that allows guests to stay as long as they like. Or you can choose a more private option and charter a boat specifically for you and your guests that operates on whatever schedule you choose!
Boldt Castle’s main wedding site is outside at the Dove Cote structure. And as with any outdoor location weather is a factor. However Boldt Castle has you covered, literally. A rain site is available on the Castle’s Veranda. This large wrap around porch offers a great view, privacy and dry seats. Here your wedding can go on as planned, it also provides some great photo opportunities and the staff has some tricks in the rain to ensure you get amazing photos!
After the ceremony is over and your ready to cut loose Alex Bay has several waterfront resorts capable of hosting a great reception. Uncle Sam Boat Tours can bring you straight from Boldt Castles dock to many of them if you choose. And if your chartering a boat anyway consider using it for your reception. We can provide every option you can find on shore from a well stocked bar, live entertainment to a full sit down dinner.
Should Boldt Castle maybe not be the answer for your search for the perfect venue get in touch with USBT anyway. We have been operating in the Thousand Islands since 1926, we know the St. Lawrence River. We can guide you to an option that may better suit your vision just like we can guide you through the 1000 Islands! We have worked with every hotel and castle (yes, there is more than 1) on the river and we are happy to bring new visitors to the area.