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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long has Conroy Catering been in business? A. Conroy Catering began with humble beginnings twenty years ago as an off-premise catering company. They began working events in 1986, purchased the Knowlton in October of 1997, and started officially having events there in August of 1999. To learn more about Conroy Catering’s history, be sure to read our story.


Q: What type of events can I host at your locations? A: A client can host any type of event at our venues. While we usually host weddings, we are often host to corporate events like mid-day meetings, after work cocktail parties or holiday gatherings. They are also perfect for all types of social events like birthday or anniversary celebrations, bar or bat mitzvahs, or engagement parties and bridal showers. For more information about these events, please see our menus for both special celebrations and corporate events. For the Laurita Winery, because our clients have exclusive use of the venue, we typically cater to only weddings.


Q:. When can I come to see the mansion to discuss the possibility of hosting my event there? A : Our schedule is quite flexible. We offer midweek (daytime and evening) and weekend appointments. The availability varies week to week based upon our event schedule. As a result, weekend appointment times are more limited. If your availability is limited to the weekends only, we recommend that you call a week in advance to schedule your appointment time. During the sales appointment, our Catering Consultant will take you on a mansion tour, explaining how each area of the mansion can be incorporated into your event plans. He/she will also review our menu package with you. The appointment lasts for approximately 20-30 minutes. You will also have the opportunity to view photo albums, giving you an even better indication of the style and elegance of Conroy Catering events. Our Catering Consultant will follow-up with you in a day or two to provide a custom quote and answer any additional questions that you might have.


Q: How do I go about reserving the mansion for my event? A: To reserve your event at our venues we require a signed contract and a non-refundable deposit. Because of our high volume of sales appointments, we can not tentatively hold dates, nor can we offer a first refusal right.


Q: Is there a minimum number of guests that you require for events? A: There is not a minimum adult guest capacity at either of our mansions. Instead, we have a ‘Guaranteed Revenue Minimum’ (GRM), which is similar to a food and beverage minimum, common at many hotel ballrooms. However, our GRM includes all of the services that we provide for your event including your ceremony fees, additional hours of rental and service, etc. The GRM does not include any outside services that we may arrange on your behalf, such as special equipment rental. The GRM varies according to the day of the week, time slot, and month of the year. Thus, the GRM for a Saturday Evening in June is higher than a Friday Evening in January. This flexibility makes our locations accessible to events of all sizes. After you visit with a Catering Consultant, he/she will prepare a personalized quote, based on your anticipated guest count and the various dates and time slots that you may be considering.


Q: Is there a site fee for the rental of the mansion? A: Site fees are only required for Laurita Winery. Knowlton Mansion does not require a site fee. Facility fees vary based on the location, time of year and the day chosen. Please inquire within for more information. Site fees do not go towards the Catering Guaranteed revenue minimums.


Q: What works better, sit down or food stations? A: It is simply a matter of preference. The traditional and formal feel of a sit-down appeals to some clients. Others find the relaxed, mingling atmosphere of food stations more appealing. Additionally, clients are often intrigued by the vast array of food station menu options and like the option of “no assigned seating.”


Q: What is the difference in the layout and service-style of a sit-down dinner in comparison to a food station dinner? A: All guests have assigned seats in the dining room area at sit-down dinners and waiters serve the various courses to each table. Conversely, food stations allow guests to sit where they are most comfortable, eat at their own pace, and enjoy more choice in food entrees. Food stations are scattered throughout the mansion and on the outside porches as well, weather permitting. Seating will be provided in different areas throughout the first floor, including the dining room, and outside on the porches.


Q: Can I customize my menu? A: Certainly! You will find a comprehensive list of Hors d’ oeuvres, entrees, accompaniments, desserts, food station selections, etc. in your menu package. Other suggestions can also be accommodated. Final menu revisions must be completed 30 days in advance of your event.


Q: When do the Christmas decorations go up? A: Holiday decorations are up from the weekend following Thanksgiving weekend until January 15th. Decorations at Knowlton include a Christmas tree in the parlor, candle lights in the windows, some poinsettias throughout the mansion, and lighted artificial trees in the conservatory.


Q: Are there any restrictions regarding decorating the mansions? A: There are no areas of the mansion that cannot be decorated. However, we ask that you refrain from tacking or taping to any surfaces such as floors, walls, banisters, etc. in the mansions or the conservatory. We also provide the guidelines for your Florists/Decorators in your ‘welcome’ package, as well as some information for your DJ or Band to review.


Q: Are there any restrictions as to who we can use for our vendors (DJs, florists, bands)? A: While we don’t require that you utilize any particular vendors, we have a list of Preferred Professionals who are very familiar with our facilities. They have been selected for their reputation of client satisfaction.


Q: Can I bring in my own liquor? A. No. We are a PLCB-licensed facility. PLCB law requires that all alcohol on the premises must be purchased by us and served by our staff. We are also pleased to announce that our venues are RAMP (Responsible Alcohol Management Program)-certified facilities. This certification requires that all staff who serve alcohol be trained on safe and responsible service. Our managers have also received additional upper-level training.


Q: What is the timing of events on the weekends? A: All weddings are based on a 5 hour reception, social and corporate events usually last 4 hours. We are able to do day time events prior to 5pm and evenings starting at 7pm, but we are flexible with start times any time of year by request and approval.


Q: What is the ratio of servers to guests? A: The ratio is one staff member for every twelve guests.


Q. What’s the best time of year to have a wedding at your venues? A. This is a hard question to answer! The Autumn season is a very popular time for weddings at our venues. With acres of trees, the fall foliage is truly spectacular. The cooler weather is also appealing. Conroy Catering also decorates both mansions in a Fall Foliage theme with chrysanthemums, multi-colored winter pansies and ornamental flowering cabbage. In the winter, couples can celebrate the holidays in style. Evergreen boughs, poinsettias, and holiday trees add a festive feel to the mansions. Tulips, lilies, daffodils, pansies and flowering trees signal the start of the Spring season. Spring brings a sense of newness and rebirth, offering a perfect theme for a brand new life together! In the summer months, the blooming perennials and multi-colored seasonal flowers accent the lush grounds. The cocktail patios at Knowlton are great for mingling in the warm weather.


Q: Do you offer tastings? A: Tastings are an optional addition to your package. They give you and up to 5 guests the opportunity to experience a private dinner at the mansion, with a menu of your choice. You’ll have the chance to speak with the chef regarding recommendations and any special dietary concerns your might have. You may arrange a full private tasting for six people at a cost of $400.00. Tastings are scheduled for Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays. Arrangements can be made for special situations. Menu selections are finalized at a minimum, 14 days prior to the Full Tasting.


Q: What choices do I have when selecting my wedding cake? A: Our custom cakes are three or four tiers, with the exact size based upon your final guest count. The menu package lists our custom cake flavors, fillings and designs. At your menu consultation, you will have the opportunity to review various photographs of our standard cake designs to aid you in making your selection. If you would prefer more than one flavor or filling, an additional cost will be incurred. You may choose to bring your own cake. If you have found a photograph from a magazine, book or another bakery that you would like replicated, please provide the photo to your Catering Consultant. He/she will discuss the design with our pastry chef to determine if any additional costs would be incurred for you. You may wish to arrange for your florist to provide fresh flowers to complement your chosen cake style.


Q: Where are the ceremony locations at the Mansion? A: Our venues have beautiful and carefully crafted ceremony locations. The Knowlton Mansion’s outdoor ceremony site is located on the west lawns of the perfectly landscaped 13 acres of the mansions grounds. Seating is available for up to 250 guests. The bride processes through a pathway nestled amongst English boxwoods and seasonal flowers, until she reaches the pergola. Alternately, an indoor ceremony can be accommodated on the upper level of our Conservatory, under the expansive glass skylights with either a procession leading towards our French Doors or to the elevated level beneath the staircase.


Q: Is there a specific server assigned to the bride and groom? A: Yes and they do a wonderful job! A Personal Bridal Attendant will be assigned to attend to the needs of the bride and groom and will be their primary contact during the event. The Bridal Attendant will communicate any bride and groom special requests to the Event Manager. They will also be responsible for making sure that the Bride and Groom take the time to enjoy the hors d’oeuvres, dinner and wedding cake.


Q: When can we decide whether to have our ceremony outside or inside – if the weather forecast calls for rain, for instance? A: Our Catering Consultants always devise a plan A and plan B with you at your details meeting. So you/we will both know exactly how the ceremony (and possibly the dinner floor plan) will differ in the event of inclement weather. The decision is made on the day of the event by the Event Manager at your event.