The Antique Boathouse Museum is located in Clayton along the St. Lawrence River. I spoke with Deanna Brenon, who has been the Facility Rental Coordinator since March 2020.
North Country Nuptials: Can you tell me a bit about your venue?
Antique Boat Museum: The Antique Boat Museum campus has 5 different outdoor facility options and 2 indoor. The campus is right on the St. Lawrence River and each outdoor option has a unique river view!
NCN: What’s the history of the site?
ABM: A group within the 1000 Islands Museum began an antique boat show in 1965, which turned into an annual event! Since then, the group went through different changes beginning as the Antique Boat Auxiliary, and in 1970 the Museum received a charter as the 1000 Islands Shipyard Museum and in 1990 the name changed to the Antique Boat Museum. In the last 20 years several new buildings and events have been added as the Museum continues to grow!
NCN: Is it open seasonally or year round? How many weddings do you typically host in a year?
ABM: The museum is open seasonally, typically from May-October. In the past five years, we’ve hosted approximately 25 rentals per year, typically 18 of which are weddings.
NCN: On the average wedding day, what does your routine of events look like?
ABM: Typically, setup begins around 9 am when the Museum campus opens. Many renters use the ceremony lawn and the tent for the reception, and love to get sunset pictures on the docks! Most of our couples opt for afternoon ceremonies with a break for pictures in between, and a reception from 5 or 6 to 10 pm.
NCN: What kind of unique experiences can couples have when their wedding is at the ABM?
ABM: The most important is access to the Antique Boats! Admission is included for all guests, so they can walk through the museum prior to the event. There are opportunities for photos with the boats, and we are going to offer boat rentals as an add-on in 2021, which we are very excited about!
NCN: What would that include in the wedding experience?
ABM: Boat rentals are rented by the hour and routes can be customized depending on the amount of time per cruise! Couples can take a long private cruise with their photographer to see the sights and take some photos, or guests can take shorter rides to soak up the view on the St. Lawrence!
NCN: What’s your favorite part of your job?
ABM: My favorite part is probably helping renters craft their perfect event. It is such a privilege to get to help create someone’s perfect wedding, and brings so much inspiration! I think once we’re able to host events [again in 2021], the preparation will probably be my favorite part. I’m a very organized person and love seeing an event come together even better than planned!
NCN: What kind of finer details can you help couples with planning?
ABM: The Antique Boat Museum’s rental services are a la carte, so while we don’t necessarily plan the event, we help with many of the venue questions that don’t normally come to mind! A lot of important details we like to make sure are properly planned for are food preparation, any additional lighting needs, and of course needs for an outdoor wedding. It’s definitely important to remember SPF for a sunny summer wedding!
NCN: What are you most looking forward to for the 2021 season?
ABM: Getting back out there with rentals and bringing in some new offerings! The Antique Boat Museum’s rental program has a lot of potential and there are a lot of new ideas I’m very excited about. Just getting to be able to celebrate together again will be absolutely incredible!
NCN: What other sort of events do you host?
ABM: We host almost any type of event you can think of! If our facilities can accommodate an event, we are happy to host it. Weddings are our most popular rental type, but we also do rehearsal dinners, parties, business meetings, and celebrations of life quite often.
NCN: I know this question may be a little out of sorts considering this last year’s circumstances, but what changes have you enjoyed being a part of over your time working at the ABM?
ABM: Overall, it has been a great learning experience and exercise in resiliency. Although everything got turned completely upside down about a month after starting the position, not hosting rentals provided some much-needed time to evaluate our offerings! I really enjoyed being a part of this team and collaborating with my co-workers to come up with new and unique ideas for our rentals. It has been completely unprecedented, but a very valuable time for learning and growing professionally as a newcomer in this industry!
NCN: Can you tell me a bit about your team?
ABM: Of course! We are a very small team at ABM, and Facility Rentals is under the Maintenance Department. Mike, the Maintenance and Operations Manager is very hardworking and always has campus in great shape, and everyone in Maintenance is incredible! Our leadership team is very open to new ideas and growth, which is amazing and very very motivating. I’ve enjoyed working with all of our team members and found a lot of overlap and opportunities for collaboration between different departments!
NCN: For a couple who has never heard of you before, what would you tell them to sell ABM?
ABM: I would say the Antique Boat Museum is a venue like no other that can be completely customized to any style! Our extensive collection of antique boats and incredible view provides an experience like no other, and our ceremony lawn and tent space are like a blank slate that can be transformed for events. Couples can be as fancy or minimalist as they like!