Wedding Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the museum's rental season?
A. Due to the outdoor setting, our rental season is mid April through the 1st weekend of November.
The Studio is climate controlled for showers and rehearsal dinners year round (separate contract required).
Q. Is the museum open during my event?
A. Located on 23 acres within Susquehanna State Park, the grounds are open year round, roughly 9am to sunset.
Steppingstone Farm Museum is open on weekends, 1-5pm, April through October. We often host school tours and other programs and events throughout the year, which can be found on our Events Calendar. If a museum program or event uses the Studio, Pavilion, or areas typical for weddings, they appear of the Bookings Calendar.
We will work with you regarding any concerns, however we do have a large site and plan museum programs accordingly. Most weddings take place at 5 or 6pm, after the buildings have closed to the public for more privacy.
Q. Does the museum offer ceremony only or reception only options?
A. Absolutely! Couples opting to hold their reception only may either rent the entire ground with the Standard package (see Standard contract below), or opt for a "Carriage Barn Only" OR Pavilion Premier rental contract. Please note that Carriage Barn Only and Pavilion Premier contracts are not accepted for Saturdays during the months of April, May, September, and October.
When renting either option, please be aware that the museum is able to rent out other areas of the site and that these contracts do not include access to the rest of the grounds. Use of the parking lot and public restrooms are included.
If you are interested in ceremony only rentals, these may only be booked within 3 months of the desired date. This includes one area for your ceremony, restrooms and parking lot, as well as golf cart assistance for guests with mobility concerns.
Q. What are the dimensions of....
A. Studio: 31' x 29' (seats up to 60 at tables, 100 auditorium style)
Stage: 14'9" deep x 31' wide
Small Pavilion: 20' x 30'
Pavilion: 29' x 67' (seats 80-150)
Carriage Barn: 30' x 90' Open floor space about 25' x 90' (seats up to 140 with a dance floor or 180 with the carriages removed and a dance floor)
Q. Does the museum have tables and chairs available?
A. The museum has a limited number of Lifetime tables and chairs available in the following sizes and quantities. The use of these items are included with your contract.
Banquet tables, 6′ long (72″ long x 30″ wide x 29″ high), seats 6-8 guests, 12 available.
Round tables, 5′ round (29″ high), seats 6-8 guests, 12 available.
Heavy duty Lifetime folding chairs, white plastic with grey legs, 96 available.
Set up is not included and all items must be returned to their racks at the end of your event. Please discuss with us where you would like these items to be dropped off during your final pre-meeting.
Q. What caterers can we use?
A. You may choose any caterer you would like for your wedding. A list of caterers who have previously catered at our site may be obtained from the office. Those caterers on our list already have their Certificate of Liability Insurance on file with us so that saves you a step!
If you do not choose a caterer from our list of approved vendors OR hire a professional wedding coordinator, you will be required to pay an additional fee of $500.
Q. May we have alcohol on the premises?
A. Yes, but please drink responsibly!
The Lessee is required to hire a professional bartender(s) either through the caterer or independently and they must be the only one to serve alcohol at all times. Most caterers will be able to provide a bartender, even if you do not purchase alcohol through them.
You will be asked to provide an alcohol point of contact who is a responsible adult who is not drinking and will be contacted to handle any of your guests who cause a disturbance.
You will need to include liquor liability in your event insurance policy for the certificate you provide to the museum if any alcohol will be consumed on site.
Your caterer is responsible for acquiring and posting a liquor license if they are running a cash bar and providing a professional bartender if you provide the alcohol.
If hiring a bartender independently, you must also provide a copy of their Certificate of Liability Insurance to the museum.
Q. I'm renting additional items from a local rental company. When can those items be dropped off and picked up?
A. Because the museum often hosts multiple events/weddings in a weekend, all items must be dropped off on the day of your event, unless you have booked the full weekend. Set up may occur in the time allotted by your contract.
All additional rental items must be picked up within 24 hours of your event, storage space is not available. If another event is booked for the following day, all items must be removed immediately after your event or by 8am the following day.
All delivery and pick up times must be coordinated with museum staff prior to your event.
Inflatables are not permitted.
Q. Does the museum offer WiFi?
A. Due to the historic landscape, we are not able to offer public WiFi access. Portable WiFi hotspots are strongly encouraged. Music must end by 11pm.
Q. Is smoking permitted?
A. Yes, but this is not permitted within 20ft. of buildings or trees. Cigarettes and other smoking items must be placed into butt disposal units, please remember that we get lots of pets and wildlife on the property.
Any cigarettes and other litter left on the grounds and parking lot are required to be removed by the Lessee within 24 hours after your event.
Q. Are dogs permitted on the grounds?
A. Absolutely! All animals must be leashed and cleaned up after at all times. Please bring pet waste bags with you and dispose of the bags properly. Only trained service animals are permitted inside the buildings, including the Carriage Barn.
Including the "Best Dog" in your wedding? Due to the excitability of animals, we strongly recommend that they be on a harness instead of a leash and have only one animal per handler. Once the ceremony and photos are complete, please designate a person within your party to safely take your pet home for the evening.
All other animals must be approved by museum staff.
Q. What if it rains?
A. Steppingstone does not have large climate controlled indoor facilities. The Pavilion is the only covered area. The Carriage Barn can be used if booked and the additional fee paid no later than one week prior to your event.
You may rent additional tents for your event, the office can supply you with a list of rental companies. Chesapeake Rent All is local and knows the site very well so they can usually accommodate any need for tents. Your tent rental company is responsible for requesting marking from Miss Utility for large stakes.
Q. What if I need more than five (5) hours for my ceremony and reception?
A. Additional event time (ceremony/reception) may be allotted for a charge of $100 per hour. Times must be approved by the museum in advance and noted on your contract. Music must end by 11pm.
All wedding contracts receive 2 hours of set-up time. We strongly recommend a full-day (9am set-up start, day of the event) or a full-weekend (9am Friday set-up) contract if you see the need for additional décor set up time beyond the allotted 2 hours.
Q. How many people can the Pavilion hold?
A. The Pavilion holds up to:
80 at tables and chairs with a small dance floor,
100 at tables and chairs with dancing in the grass,
150 chairs auditorium style.
Ten (10) picnic tables are available at this location if you would like to use them. If not using them, then you are responsible for moving them out and then returning them immediately after your event.
If you need more space, you may opt to rent a tent and place it next to the Pavilion. This area has previously accommodated 150 guests at tables and chairs for an event with this set up.
Q. How many people can the Carriage Barn hold?
A. With tables, chairs, and a dance floor, this space can seat up to:
140 with the carriages in
180 with the carriages removed (additional fee required).
If planning a buffet service inside the barn, we recommend decreasing the capacity by at least 10 people to accommodate the need for catering tables.
Catering tent set up is permitted on the grass between the Carriage Barn and Cannery.
Please consider additional room needed for your DJ/band, cake table, gifts, etc. Tables and tents are welcome in the grass outside of the Carriage Barn.
Q. Where do my guests park?
A. A parking lot is located on the premises that provides ample room for your guests. Please discuss special arrangements with us for handicapped guests, drop offs of any kind, and catering vehicles.
Parking is not permitted on the grass. All walkways and driveways must remain clear for foot traffic and emergency vehicle access.
Q. Is there a limit on the number of people I can invite?
A. No! The more the merrier! For special event rentals, we are capping the site at 2500 people, additional portable restrooms are welcome on the property.
Our largest wedding at the museum so far was 350 guests under a large tent by the Studio with portable restrooms brought in.
Q. Where can I find local accommodations?
A. There are several bed and breakfast style accommodations located in the downtown Havre de Grace area, less than 10 minutes away.
Several hotels can be found in the Aberdeen (10min) and Belcamp/Riverside (15min) areas, right off of I-95.
Seasonal camping is available within the campground at Susquehanna State Park, only 5 minutes from Steppingstone.
Q. Are we in charge of the trash?
A. We provide trash and recycling cans (let us know ahead of time how many you need), dumpsters are located on the grounds next to the Studio. It is the Lessee’s responsibility to provide trash bags (50gal. or larger) and to put all trash bags into the dumpster and recyclables in the recycling dumpster, however you may work this out with your caterer.
If your caterer is not staying until the end of your reception, it is the Lessee's responsibility to ensure that all remaining trash is collected and removed to the dumpsters at the end of the event. We strongly recommend that you designate someone with a pick-up truck to remove any remaining trash to the dumpsters.
Please remember that wildlife loves access to leftovers.
Cigarettes must be placed into butt disposal units. Any cigarettes and other trash left on the grounds and parking lot are required to be removed by the lessee within 24 hours after your event.
Q. What is the museum's décor policy?
A. Steppingstone allows lessees to place signage on the property to direct their guests to various locations and decorate only those areas being used for the event.
All decorations must be draped or tied. Nails, staples, and screws are not permitted as these items cause damage to our structures. Clear Command strips and zip ties are welcome, but must be removed entirely. We do ask that you remove all litter and take down all decorations according to the terms of your contract.
Candles are permitted, but must be in a non-flammable container at least 4 times higher than the height of the flame. Candlesticks are not permitted unless battery operated.
Because the museum often hosts multiple events/weddings in a weekend, all items must be dropped off on the day of your event and removed immediately afterwards, unless you have booked the full weekend. The museum does not have storage space.
All wedding contracts receive two (2) hours of set-up time. We strongly recommend a full-day (9am set-up start, day of the event) or a full-weekend (9am Friday set-up) contract if you see the need for additional décor set up time beyond the allotted 2 hours.
For the full décor policy, please ask for a copy of our Bridal Guide from the Office.
Q. What do I need to secure my event date?
A. Once your date availability has been confirmed by our office staff, the museum requires a combination of 3 things.
All Lessees must hold a family membership to the museum ($50 annually). This can be paid at the time of booking if you are not currently a member.
A contract signed by the Lessee and a museum representative.
One half of your total facility usage (rental) fee.
Any remaining balance, security deposit, and certificate copy of your event insurance are due 2 weeks prior to the event at your final pre-meeting.
Q. What payments does the museum accept?
A. Payments are accepted by check, payable to Steppingstone Museum Association, Inc. Memberships fees are preferred as a separate payment.
Credit cards are accepted at the Office or by phone during office hours.
Security deposits must be paid by check only.
Q. Will we get our security deposit back?
A. A full return of deposit will be allotted: If the Steppingstone property is left in its original condition, nothing is damaged or in need of clean up, all rules of the contract were followed, and your family or guests were not abusive to staff or volunteers of the organization.
Q. What if we cancel?
A. Steppingstone has a dated refund policy because of the early nature of wedding bookings. You can get a full refund of your deposit for cancellation more than 12 months ahead of your date, a half refund from 9-12 months ahead of your date and the other half if we can re-book your date, and a half refund within 9 months if we can re-book your date.