5 Best Places to Get Married in the Hudson Valley

Getting hitched in unique locations is all the rage with brides and grooms these days. From an elaborately designed theatrical tent to a snow-capped mountain top, here are five of the Valley’s most unusual wedding locales


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river rose cruises

Best Place to Get Married in 2012: River Rose Cruises

Captain John “Duke” Panzella loves a good wedding. In fact, he’ll happily bump a scheduled cruise on the River Rose, his 100-foot paddle-wheel boat that is docked in Newburgh, if a couple wants to tie the knot on the river. “I do about 15 weddings a year,” says Panzella, who adds that in the last 12 years he has seen it all: “young couples who don’t want to be sitting in a square room somewhere; second marriages where they are looking for something different and more intimate. Now, we’re booking a few gay weddings, too.”

The boat holds up to 150 guests, although Panzella will do a wedding for as few as 25 people. He offers full catering services — “everything from Cheerios and milk up to white-glove service” — with a popular beef, chicken, and fish buffet that goes for $25 a head. Other services — like an open bar and music — are extra. While the couple is welcome to bring in their own vendors, Panzella’s crew can “handle everything, up to and including decorating the boat,” he says. “Often, the bride and groom don’t want to be bothered; they just want to come on the boat and party.” To that end, there are two bars, two dance floors, and “everybody always has a blast. It is the uniqueness of the boat. It’s an authentic Mississippi casino boat. You can even go and smoke cigars on the upper deck.”

The bridal couple can determine the boat’s route (dependent, of course, on weather, river traffic, and other factors) for the four-hour cruise. “We favor the southern route,” says Panzella. “From Newburgh down to West Point is one of the most beautiful parts of the entire river. It’s full of history, too.”

Seasickness and bad weather are not problems, according to the captain, because the River Rose is extremely stable and the large banquet room is heated. Who needs the Love Boat with all this intimate customer service? Well, there is one thing that Panzella can’t do for the happy couple. “I can’t marry anybody. I don’t have that authority,” he says. “But for a $100 fee I’ll make sure there is somebody there who can.” • 845-562-1067; www.riverrosecruises.com

Skip ahead:
» The Circa 1799 Barn, Ancramdale
» River Rose Cruises, Newburgh
» The Spiegeltent, Annandale-on-Hudson
» Hunter Mountain, Hunter
» The Castle on the Hudson, Tarrytown

» Return to Hudson Valley Weddings 2012


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