The Finger Lakes region in New York is a popular destination wedding location for so many reasons. However, it can be challenging to find the right venue if you're not from there or you don't live there full time. Most of my couples live in major cities along the east coast and have sentimental ties to the area. I was working with a couple a few years ago and they loved the idea of having a wedding on the water in the Finger Lakes. The lakes are so beautiful and significant to this region. Many couples want to share that with their guests. But this couple, like many others, was planning a destination wedding to the Finger Lakes and most of their guests were traveling significantly to attend, so they all needed a place to stay.
While there are several hotel chains present in the area, there wasn’t anything really special about them. This particular bride wanted to make sure her guests had a place to stay that was of the caliber her guests were accustomed to. In the end, they chose to book a venue in the city of Rochester and shuttled their guests to the wedding – foregoing their wish to be on the water – because there were nicer places for their guests to stay. I wish there had been more options. I hate to compromise on a wedding venue!
REAL WEDDING: See Mallory & Bill's gorgeous summer wedding at the Lake House on Canandaigua!
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Some of you might have seen on my social media that my family spends a lot of time on Canandaigua Lake in the summer. (Seriously, my interns have no idea how lucky they are that we only live 30 minutes from this special place.) I’ve been excitedly waiting for the opening of The Lake House on Canandaigua because it checks off all the boxes that many couples are looking for in a destination wedding venue in the Finger Lakes.
Canandaigua Lake is so beautiful and I love sharing it with everyone. When my father-in-law drives to their lake house from Rochester, he says the minute he sees the lake, his blood pressure drops and he feels immediately at ease.
If you want to plan a luxury wedding weekend on the shores of Canandaigua Lake (or really, any lake in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York), you’ve probably asked some of these questions:
- What are the prettiest Finger Lakes wedding venues?
- What wedding venues are good for a destination wedding in the Finger Lakes?
- Which wedding venues have lake views in the Finger Lakes?
- What are Seneca Lake, Keuka Lake, Canandaigua Lake wedding venues?
In today’s blog post, I’m going to give you a sneak peek. The Lake House on Canandaigua is the newest luxury wedding venue in the Finger Lakes. Which by the way, was on Vogue.com’s list of The 18 Most Anticipated New Hotel Openings of 2020.
The History of The Lake House on Canandaigua
It was 1993 and a dilapidated motel in Canandaigua had just gone into foreclosure. Bill Caleo remembered sitting with his family and lamenting the loss for their community. After an in-depth discussion, according to Vogue.com, his grandfather said, “I think it would be very good for our community to take that under our wing and to open it to the public.” so the family bought it. I love that story. Many couples have since gotten married at the former property, known as the Inn on the Lake.
Three decades later, the property came under the stewardship of Bill and Lindsay Caleo, the brother and sister duo and founders of The Brooklyn Home Company, a family-run cooperative of artists and builders that develop unique residential spaces in Brooklyn.
The siblings expanded upon the vision of their grandfather and rebuilt the entire property. Lake House on Canandaigua now comprises of two on-site restaurants, 125 guest rooms, a wellness spa, docks for 40 slips, and its own event space. And by the way -the corridors outside the spa smell divine as they mix all their oils on site!
Are you looking for a wedding venue in Upstate New York right now? Here are the Top Finger Lakes Wedding Venues with a View in Upstate New York.
Getting to The Lake House on Canandaigua
The Lake House is located in Canandaigua, New York on the northern end of Canandaigua Lake. Right in the Finger Lakes region of New York. It’s about 5 to 5.5 hours from New York City and is still considered a hidden treasure among locals. Other parts of the state, like the Hudson Valley and the Hamptons are well-known vacation spots. The Finger Lakes is, according to Vogue.com is reserved for those “in the know”. I like the sound of that!
If you want the beauty of upstate New York in a setting that’s more unique and less expected than Hudson Valley or the Catskills, the Finger Lakes should definitely be on your list!
Flights from LGA and JFK take only about 45 minutes in the air and The Lake House is only a 45-minute car ride from the closest airport, the Greater Rochester International Airport. Traditionally, the Finger Lakes region was considered a trek from New York City. But if you’re feeling extra, a seaplane that departs from the Hudson River and lands right at the “docksteps” of The Lake House! So posh. Now THAT is the way to start your destination wedding weekend!
The Interiors (and Guest Rooms) of Lake House on Canandaigua
Owners Bill and Lindsay Caleo worked with renowned Brooklyn-based design agency Studio Tack on the interior design. Upon arriving inside the lobby, guests are welcomed by warm smiles, creamy neutrals, rich leathers, and a relaxed yet elevated aesthetic. Just off the lobby is their library, which doubles as a spot for morning brunch. It's a quiet place to read on velvet chairs and banquettes. And the perfect for bourbon or champagne before dinner. Painted in deep navy, it feels rich and cozy. Like many other interior rooms, the lobby opens up to the lawn with Canandaigua Lake just beyond the boardwalk. During my tour there last month, I could feel the warmth.
Guest rooms are all tastefully decorated in crisp white linens, beige undertones, hand-carved sandalwood bed frames, and dark accents for a refined and organic look. The marble showers and gold accents, giant tubs, and Alexandra Soveral bath products complete the calming environment they’ve created.
The lawn is laid out for leisure pursuits, including fire pits, corn hole, and a sparkling pool, most with views of Canandaigua Lake. While you are outside, poolside refreshments can be ordered from their more casual restaurant – the Sand Bar. Or, you can indulge in a local favorite, Abbott’s frozen custard. The pool deck is even made of special stone that doesn’t heat up under the sun and burn your feet! They really have thought of everything you might need.
REAL WEDDING: See Caleb & Eddie's colorful late summer wedding at the Lake House on Canandaigua!
The Event Space at The Lake House on Canandaigua
Adjacent to the pool and in the southwest corner of the property is their event space. It is a timber-frame structure that reminds me of a building you would find in the Adirondacks. They call it the Event Barn, but the only “barn” thing about it is the wood. Inside, the design and the entire aesthetic feels elevated and contemporary.
If you’re looking for something that feels more historic or (dare I say it?) “rustic,” I could tell you to keep looking. But I won’t because this venue is just too picturesque to pass up. But if you’re worried that the barn will feel too “barn-y,” (as one of my couples asked) I assure you it won’t. It's definitely not what you think of when you hear “rustic wedding venue.”
The ceremony space is just steps from the event space, a beautiful lawn with lush gardens, and a stately tree that arches over where you will say “I do.” The blueish-green waters of Canandaigua Lake sparkle behind you. It's picturesque.
The only drawback to the venue is that patio off the venue is the inclement weather back-up location. Although stunning, this is also where your cocktail hour would normally take place. Personally, if it does rain, I’d just have a quick ceremony with umbrellas with the lake as your backdrop. It’s one of the most beautiful views in the area, with the teal hills of Bristol Mountain descending into the water in the distance.
The event space can seat up to 250 guests with a dance floor, includes a built-in bar and its own catering kitchen and restrooms To top it off, the wedding venue has 5 large wooden beams that provide ample opportunities for decor, drape, and festoons of greenery and flora to be hung. On top of that, they include decorative wooden tables that match the aesthetic and vineyard cross-back chairs for a relaxed yet upscale look.
Looking for the 12 Most Intriguing Wedding Venues in Upstate New York: Click Here for my Upstate New York Destination Wedding Venues
Getting Ready (a dressing suite for your wedding day)
One of the biggest perks about having your wedding at The Lake House on Canandaigua is their on-site dressing suite, which adjoins the wedding suite. The dressing suite comes with a marble shower for last-minute attendants, a built-in snack bar area for nibbles, lunch, and champagne, comfortable seating, a TV, a patio with Adirondack chairs to enjoy the sunshine while you’re waiting for hair and makeup, multiple makeup counters with lighted mirrors, and a dressing area with three mirrors so you can inspect every angle of your appearance. Seriously, the space is beautiful.
Oh, and did I mention there’s plenty of natural light so all your getting ready photos look beautiful? Your photographer will thank you! If getting ready photos are something you want, you couldn't dream of a more beautiful space.
Want more wedding venue inspiration? Download my guide on the top 50 wedding venues in Upstate New York!
On-Site Amenities for your wedding guests
As I mentioned earlier, the property has two on-site restaurants First, the Sand Bar, which is perfect for lunch or snacks after the pool. Second, the Rose Tavern, which boasts its own bar and a wood-burning stove. As of publication, they were still working out the different programming that their Activities Director will be running for the property. But they’re scheduled to include stand-up paddleboarding, yoga, boat rentals, and wine tours. I'm sure they won't disappoint.
The Lake House has thought of and anticipated all your needs and is excited to host your wedding weekend events. They can truly accommodate everything – from your bachelor/bachelorette weekends with lunches and local outings, to your Rehearsal Dinner and Welcome Party the night before, your wedding day, and send-off brunch the day after. Your guests will definitely be comfortable spending the weekend here.
Conclusion (and in case you scrolled to the bottom…)
I think it’s safe to say I think The Lake House on Canandaigua is a dream wedding venue location for your Finger Lakes destination wedding in upstate New York. From design-forward interiors to a waterfront ceremony location like none other, topped with on-site amenities, this is a luxury resort that aims to cater to your every need. And they do it incredibly well.
I would love to work with you to make your wedding weekend a relaxing and beautiful weekend experience for you and your guests. Soak up the time with your loved ones with the knowledge that both my team and the team at The Lake House will see that your Finger Lakes wedding is everything you imagined.
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Fast Facts about The Lake House on Canandaigua as an Upstate New York Wedding Venue
- Event Space: Max seated capacity 250 (150 person minimum on Fridays and Saturdays)
- Total guest rooms: 125 total guest rooms (including suites)
- Neary places of worship: St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Good Shepard Lutheran Church, and St. John’s Episcopal Church in Canandaigua; St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Victor; and St. Stephen Church, Trinity Church, and the Presbyterian Church in Geneva
- After Party Location: The Sand Bar until 12 midnight
- Local Breweries: Young Lion Brewing, Twisted Rail Brewery, Naked Dove Brewery, Other Half Brewery and Star Cidery
- Nearest Airports: Ithaca (37 mins), Syracuse (1 hr 06 mins), and Rochester (1 hr 20 mins the United Ministry of Aurora Presbyterian Church are a short walk from the Aurora Inn
- After Party Location: Fargo Bar & Grill
- Local Points of Interest: Kershaw Beach & Bathhouse, CMAC Performing Arts Center, Finger Lakes Wine Trail, and NYK | New York Kitchen
- Area Restaurants: Rio Tomatlan, Thai by Night, Flavors Indian Restaurant, Laguna Grande, Ports Cafe, and FLX Table
- Nearest Airports: Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC) (45 mins), Syracuse Hancock International Airport (1 hour 15 mins)
Want to look at another Venue Report? Check out my post Finger Lakes Wedding Goals at the Inns or Aurora.
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