The Mashantucket Pequot Museum is the largest tribally-owned museum in the world. Designed by Polshek and Partners of New York, the award-winning 308,000 square-foot facility features multiple spaces for wedding receptions, conferences, award ceremonies, and dinner parties. Nestled in the privacy of an ancient cedar forest, guests can enjoy cocktail receptions on our beautifully manicured terrace and dance under the stars in our glass-encased ballroom. Packages are also available for groups that wish to have private guided tours in our amazing exhibits that highlight the epic history of the Pequot people.
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Abeera Zaheer · Married on 07/06/2019
July 6, 2019 Wedding Reception Review
To anyone considering Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center,Sent on 07/15/2019
On July 6, 2019 we hosted my brother’s wedding reception at this exquisite and one of a kind venue! My mother and I are the wedding industry ourselves and being wedding decorators, we have had years of connections with multiple venues in the tristate area, however, I can confidently & genuinely say that there is no other venue in the tristate area that compares to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center (MPMRC).
I am writing this review not only because Shantal Lapid & Phil Lavallee deserve the utmost recognition for being the masterminds behind this venue, but also because, although my mother and I are in the wedding business, it is a complete game changer when you have a wedding for someone in your own family and you are now the client yourself. I want to be able to provide others with the clear and concise wedding go-to advice that I feel like will make this process less stressful and more enjoyable.
Here are some of the most important things we learned during this process:
1. Do your research and find a venue that is known to be accommodating:
a. In our culture, we have nearly 3 events for a wedding celebration (because dealing with the stress of one event is never enough for us haha). The reception was at MPMRC, however the first two events were in New Jersey. The difference between the venue in NJ versus MPMRC was like comparing oranges to apples. We had the most stressful and difficult time dealing with the venue in New Jersey because they were never willing to accommodate to our needs. Everything was always an additional charge somehow to the point that they even had my sister in law resign a new contract with new policies that were never discussed initially. Nothing was provided to us with the room as we were expecting. It was an additional charge for projectors (and if we brought our own projectors, there would be a convenience fee due to the hotel), if we chose to change the table/chair layout than originally agreed upon, there would be a charge, and to even get the banquet room just an hour before the event (since my mom was decorating, and being the mother of the groom, she also wanted to get ready for the events properly, so she kindly requested to get the banquet room as earliest as possible, however even though the room was not occupied, the hotel management wanted to charge us $1,000 for early access to the room.) I am sharing this information, because I want you all to understand the difference between dealing with a venue that is not accommodating to a venue that is accommodating.
b. When we first got to know Phil and Shantal of MPMRC for the reception, they were so interested and shocked that the family of the groom would also be the decorators of the event. They were more concerned for us than we were for ourselves and made it a point to accentuate the fact that we also need to enjoy this event. Without us even asking, they provided the venue for us a day earlier to get all the decoration done AND even allowed us to pick up all the decoration items the day after the event. I mean, never in our years of being in this industry ourselves, have we EVER found any management this understanding, accommodating, and giving. Since the projectors were not provided to us at the venue in New Jersey, I requested Phil and Shantal a couple of days before our event for the possibility of projectors, and they responded right away with an absolute yes. They even requested for me to send them what we were going to play on the projectors beforehand so they could ensure that the presentation happens perfectly.
c. My sister in law was adamant about wanting sparklers and fog for the events in New Jersey, so we had spoken to the DJ about it. We made the final payment for the sparklers and fog, however a couple of days before the events in New Jersey, the venue decided to change their policy on sparklers and fog and no longer allowed us to use them. The DJ spoke to them multiple times and showed his proof of insurance, however they refused. We immediately got worried because we had already made the payment for the sparklers and fog to the DJ, so I immediately texted Shantal and Phil of MPMRC asking if we could use the sparklers and fog at the reception so our money wouldn’t go to waste. Although, MPMRC previously never had any clients that used sparklers and fog, within a day, Shantal went out of her way to request permission from the local fire marshal and requested the use of sparklers and fog on our behalf and we got the approval (with the necessary requirements needed)! The fog during the couple’s first dance had all the guest blown away!
d. We had originally planned to have the appetizers during the reception to be on the outside garden terrace. We were so excited to have everyone enjoy the garden terrace and enjoy the outdoors, however Shantal and Phil were on the lookout for the forecast the entire week. Unfortunately, the day of our event, we were expecting a thunderstorm. We were immediately worried because of how much we were looking forward to having the appetizers on the garden terrace, but Shantal and Phil both reassured us that no matter what, our cocktail hour would be perfect. They both shifted everything that was supposed to be upstairs in the garden to the downstairs gallery, and looking back at it now, cocktail hour couldn’t have been nicer. The chic and sophisticated look of the gallery had cocktail hour glistening and everyone enjoyed being able to be in that part of the museum.
e. Shantal and Phil also went of their way to dedicate the auditorium right next to the gallery as the prayer room for our guest. Amongst the chaos of everything, my mother and I almost forgot that we even had a room dedicated to prayer, but Shantal was the one to remind us right before our event got started. She immediately got a hold of me before the start of the event and reminded me that we had brought white sheets for prayer and they needed to be set. This meant so much to us because it technically wasn’t their responsibility to remind us, but once again, I don’t have the words that will justice to truly explain how much Shantal and Phil went of their way.
2. Professionalism of venue:
a. People will come to your event and they might forget many things, but they will never forget the food you have. One of our caterers was running late, and although it was not Shantal’s responsibility, she was ON IT. She gave me a call to let me know when that the caterers had not arrived when they were supposed to and that is not the venues responsibility to take care of. Shantal was worried for us, keeping track of the things we should have been keeping track of ourselves, and picking up the slack of others. When the caterer did arrive, she was in constant contact with the caterer and staff to ensure that everything was happening on time and exactly how we wanted it to be. For the most part, we trusted Phil and Shantal with how they suggested the dinner setup to be and I couldn’t have been happier. They knew exactly where our bars should have been set up to allow for spacious access, where our lamb stations would look the classiest (and even provided our caterer with a heat lamp for the lamb), and how the dinner buffet set up could effortlessly accommodate to our 500+ guest.
b. I cannot write a review for this venue without mentioning the security. The security at this venue is just amazing. We had hired wedding coordinators to make sure that the main room was not being accessed by guest during cocktail hour, however they got caught up in other things. When the security saw that guest were attempting to go into the main room before we wanted them to, they themselves guarded the entrance and did not allow anyone in until we gave them the go.
3. Beauty of the venue:
a. When we first started hunting for venues in Connecticut, we were already hit with a hurdle, given that we had 500+ guest. When we made an appointment to come see MPMRC, we were just blown away. You walk in and immediately you are greeted with high glass ceilings, a view of the beautiful garden and luscious greenery through the glass, and intensely eye opening spacious area. We have been receiving nonstop compliments from our guests talking about how gorgeous the main room is.
b. Downstairs are the galleries and auditorium which can be used to your liking (we used them as cocktail hour and prayer room). This area is connected to the exhibition offered by the museum and our guest LOVED it and didn’t want to stop exploring.
c. Shantal and Phil go out of their way to treat your event like it’s one of their own, literally. Amongst many of his responsibilities, Phil was on site during the event and made sure that the audio and visual lights were looking their best. During the cousins dance performance, entrance of the bride and groom, presentation, and open dance floor, Phil made sure that the lighting was appropriate for the setting. There were monograms that Phil had chosen that were lit up on the high ceilings/walls of the room and they were just gorgeous. The way that Phil chose each and every specific light monogram made the room look like a fairy tale.
d. Many of our guests came from out of state. We wanted to give Connecticut a good look and I can confidently say our guest left impressed as ever. This venue is the most ideal location of Connecticut. There is so much to not only inside of the museum, but given that it is located right near Foxwoods Casino Resort and Mystic, our guest made the most of their trip down here. Choosing this venue is the way to go, not only will you be guaranteed to be happy, but your guest will have the time of their life!
For anyone considering this event who would like to have more information about my experience, please do not hesitate in reaching out to me, I will be more than happy to provide you with my honest opinion (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Judi · Married on 09/14/2013
We had both our ceremony and reception at the museum and we couldn't be happier with our choice. As soon as we walked into the "gathering space" of the museum, which is a large open room with vaulted glass walls/ceilings, we knew we wanted to hold our wedding here.Sent on 10/09/2013
The event coordinator at the museum, Stacy Giacchi, is simply amazing. I was planning my wedding from Baltimore and only made it back to Conn. a couple of times during the planning process and she was able to work with my schedule. She was easy to reach by email or phone to answer all of my questions. She is just the absolute best. I was able to turn to her throughout the whole planning process and she was there to make sure everything went exactly the way I wanted on the big day.
The contract includes the use of the lighting specialist, Phil, who can do some amazing things with the lights! It elevates an already amazing space to something truly special.
The food was delicious. You can work with the chefs to create your own special menu.
I am so happy we got married and celebrated at such an amazing place with such a great staff helping to make sure the day was everything we wanted.
Beth · Married on 10/03/2009
This venue is breathtaking! I had never been there before but my parents saw it and talked me into seeing it. It was amazing! The reception was in the lobby of the museum, which is a giant, beautiful glass room. The staff was amazing. You should talk to Gabe. He runs the events there. He is very nice and accomodated our every whim. Because they are a museum, they have lighting technicians on staff. Phil, the lead lighter, was great. He can create a lighting design for every color, concept, etc. that you want and he is included in the price. He made it look like we were dancing in moonlight for the first dance. Their price was extremly reasonable for everything that it included, especially for venues in this area. I highly recommend them. People could not stop telling us how gorgeous the wedding was. Two thumbs up. :-)Sent on 10/21/2009