When recreating the clubhouse at Deerfield G&CC, the new owners made stylish, functional bridal suites a priority—not only to boost wedding business, but also to provide peace of mind for busy brides.
Weddings can be an excellent source of supplemental revenue for clubs, and one way properties can distinguish themselves from competing venues is to offer bridal suites. These sophisticated changing rooms provide a place where the bride and her attendants can prepare for the ceremony and reception in an elegant, private environment.
In January 2013, when Paul and Claudia Moriarty purchased Deerfield Golf & Country Club (formerly Craig Hill Country Club) in Brockport, N.Y., one of their top priorities was recreating the 24,000-sq. ft. clubhouse so that it was more appropriate for weddings. The property had been neglected for years and required a major renovation, which gave the Moriartys the opportunity to reimagine the space according to their vision.
“From the moment we started this project, we knew that each and every detail would affect a bride’s memories of her big day for years to come,” Claudia Moriarty says. As a result, they put a lot of thought into what modern brides wanted.
Deerfield Golf & Country Club
Brockport, N.Y.Size of Bridal Suites: 420 sq. ft. and 380 sq. ft.
Architect/Contractor: New Energy Works Timber Frame Homes (additional input from Spectrum Design Group)
Wedding Venues: Two ballrooms, outdoor patio
Contractor: Qualified Construction, Inc.
Landscape Architect: RM Nursery
Total Clubhouse Renovation Cost: $3 million
“Somewhere around 60 percent of the people doing receptions are also doing their ceremonies at Deerfield, so you really need those bride’s rooms,” Paul Moriarty adds. The private spaces, he says, also give brides a safe place to store their purses and other belongings while they’re occupied with the day’s events.
The Moriartys designed a bridal suite for each of the facility’s two ballrooms (Deerfield offers two ballrooms for indoor weddings, plus an outdoor patio that is lined with boulders and flanked by a weeping cherry tree).
Each suite offers practical features. A changing area, separated with a patterned curtain, has a full-length mirror and several clothing hooks to hold dresses and get-away clothes. Can lights contain cool bulbs that create a flattering environment for primping and pre-nuptial photography. This winter, the Moriartys plan to build vanities so women have a roomy place to put on makeup and do their hair.
A sitting area featuring plush chairs and benches provides a comfortable place for mothers, grandmothers and members of the bridal party to relax before the festivities begin. Each suite contains a counter where brides can place snacks and beverages. In the future, Deerfield will likely add “pamper me” packages and deliver goodies directly to the rooms.
The doors to the suites have code-activated locks, so everyone’s belongings stay safe during the event. A bathroom is also located adjacent to the suite, so the bride doesn’t risk running into the groom before the ceremony starts.
“Our goal was to design an elegant yet versatile space where brides didn’t have to compete with the existing décor,” Claudia Moriarty says.
Soft gray walls are adorned with decorations in neutral shades. Claudia Moriarty sourced everything with help from friends and local designers. Among her favorite features in each suite, she notes, are the reclaimed leaded glass windows, which she found at a resale shop and restored herself.
“These windows create a perfect backdrop for the bride-to-be and her photographer,” she reports.
The floors of the suites are wood-grain tile, which Paul Moriarty says is quite popular because it’s more durable than real wood flooring.
When the bride is ready, she walks down a decorative stone-lined stairwell from the bridal suites to her wedding location. By connecting the areas in this way, the process feels streamlined and easy to navigate. “You feel like the entire facility was put there for you,” says Paul Moriarty.
The Moriartys believe their investment in the suites is paying off. “When brides see them, they love them,” Paul Moriarty says. “They’re something that hooks people.”
In fact, the renovation of Deerfield’s entire clubhouse, which totaled $3 million, is already showing a return on investment from wedding business alone, with more than 60 weddings scheduled for 2016—10 more than in the past two years combined.