Review of The Hycroft Manor

The Hycroft Manor

 

Make sure you stay up to date on the latest changes at the Hycroft!

Wedding Destination: Vancouver

Wedding Venue: The Hycroft – A Historic Vancouver Mansion

Wedding Venue Size:  Any size up to 250

Wedding Type:  Classical, Formal

Wedding Setting:  A Four Story Mansion with an Incredible Terrace with soaring stone columns.

Wedding Memories: Your Wedding Photography and Videography Possibilities at Vancouver's

This is THE wedding venue if you are looking to feel like you have stepped into the Renaissance and you are the lady of the manor.   There is nothing quite like the Hycroft with a formal ballroom,  2 Steinway Grand Pianos, exquisite crown molding,  stone balustrades on the veranda and Corinthian pillars.  One moment you will believe in you are in a Victorian Manor House, the next it will feel like a Greek Revival with massive soaring pillars framing this prestigious mansion.

Make no mistake this is a mansion.  A full-blown mansion with beautiful architectural detail and surprising touches inside.

Look for beautiful chandeliers dripping light and reflecting exquisitely detailed crown moldings on high ceilings leaving you with a sense of space and delight. There is even a magnolia tree and a Juliet balcony.

Imagine for a moment, yourself walking down a white carpet the exquisite grounds peeking through the flowing white sheets that are framed up against these incredible massive stone columns.

Rich wood panels, marble mantles, and Italian tile work sit beneath ornate chandeliers in bedrooms, dressing rooms, and solarium upon solarium.

What you Won't Find Online

Going to the website gleans you certain information that we have included below.  Descriptions of incredible unique rooms with gorgeous features. But those details, those images no matter how beautiful, in no way gives you any real appreciation, of the possibilities inherent in this venue.  Because those give you a static view of individual rooms and in no way prepares you for the "experience" that is the Hycroft.

Book the Hycroft and the entire mansion is yours.  The wedding coordinator will take your wedding and ensure that your wedding day will be uniquely tailored to you while taking you and your guests on a magical journey that utilizes many of the distinct areas at the Hycroft.  Each new space throughout this matchless wedding venue that will bring a unique feeling to the different pages of your wedding.  You will go on a journey that begins in one area, for a gathering with cocktails or if you want even lawn games, to the next destination space for the wedding ceremony, the next for dinner and the next for the dance.  Your guests will be taken on a journey that will create an ongoing feast for the senses.  A day remembered in vignettes, each unique, each individual, each perfect for "that" moment of your wedding day.  Not only does this create a fluid enjoyable day for you and your guests, it will also provide your photographer and videographer with any number of backgrounds to create lasting wedding memories.

When Who as well as What and Where Matters

When it comes time to pick out your wedding day venue, it is usually the place, the where and how, what it looks like, that is often the deciding factor.  But sometimes people matter as much or more in how incredible your wedding day will be.  Sometimes that is the photographer, sometimes it is the wedding planner, but in this case, it might just be the wedding coordinator at the Hycroft Manor with the official job title of Event Sales Coordinator.

Few people realize that dependent on the venue the catering manager can just be someone who steps you through catering and table choices in which case 'who' the catering manager is, makes little to no difference and in the end, it is the space that you are hiring.

In other instances though, the catering manager can make all the difference to create a magical experience, especially when based in a unique mansion such as the Hycroft.   The current catering manager upon your first phone call, in your first meeting, will create the vision of this journey that the Hycroft can provide you.  She has the vision to ensure that while the Hycroft is exceptional all on its own that even better, she is going to make sure that your experience is tailored just for you.

With your very first visit, you will be introduced to the different ways how from the very first moment of introduction of your guests to the Hycroft you have choices.  What is the first thing you want them to experience? From the west wing or coming into the fabulous garden with a fountain that can do your wedding or your cocktail hour.  There are many options from a secret garden to the Juliette balcony, different paths allowing you to create a fun, classy or whatever mood that you want to create for your wedding.  Whatever your vision is of the day.  You have an entire mansion to explore and use, as your wedding moves from area to area, creating an extraordinary journey for each stage of your wedding.  Among those choices already mentioned there are even more.  For example, from the drawing room with the artisan crafted moldings, a marble fireplace along with French doors that open onto the terrace with views of the mountains and the English Bay. Or perhaps you find yourself drawn to the Hycroft Ballroom an elegant Edwardian Ballroom with backlit stained glass windows and fireplaces at each end or it can be transformed into an exquisite dining area for 130.    Although there is no doubt that it is the terrace that almost all will pick if the weather will only cooperate, overlooking the lights of the city, the gardens this outdoor vista cannot be beat.

Looking for something different?

One bride highly recommended the solarium.  "We had a small elopement ceremony in the Solarium, and it was gorgeous with the stained glass and green tiles. The sunlight and windows were perfect for the feeling of being in a secret garden without having to brave the cold weather."  A lovely intimate feel.

The Latest Information on the Food

This is both a pro and a con for the Hycroft Manor.  There have been many recent changes at the Hycroft Manor, and it appears what we hear today, changes tomorrow, and it is this area more than any other that seems to be in flux, so make sure that you ask questions, don't necessarily trust what information is available online.

The latest update is that you must use their inhouse catering and you no longer can bring in your preferred caterers.  The other limitation is that "Over 50 you have to do a buffet, which is so much more than you can imagine a buffet can be because the grand buffet is headed by a very talented European chef who has been here for three seasons."

The response to the buffet comes with excellent feedback. It also comes with endless choices.  Choices that will simplify everything for the wedding planners.  Making decisions on the menu is one that can be one of the most difficult issues for the bride.  As how do you please everyone?  What do you do about special dietary needs?  This is where the Hycroft Manor excels ensuring that there can be choices for those that are vegan and others that have other dietary restrictions.  Everything is carefully labelled to protect those with specific allergies.  This is huge as how can you possibly be expected to prepare for everyone's dietary and health needs, you may know for close family and friends but there is no way to be able to have that kind of information for extra guests.  And of course, the Hycroft will ensure that everything is well presented.  The buffet is all inclusive, with many different options including ten different salads as well as many other choices, but even here you can customize and shape the buffet all for $85  per person including cake cutting fee, your tear down, linens to flatware all inclusive.

The down side is currently the chef is not available on Sundays, and while until recently they would allow you to bring in your own caterer for the day, now you can't even bring in croissants, it is drink service only for bookings for Sundays in 2018.  You are looking at a wine only wedding to toast the bride, which is such a shame.  Here is hoping that the Hycroft changes their minds, as it seems very short-sighted on the part of the management.

The Classical Theme Continues

There are two Steinway Grand Pianos one on the main level often used for larger events including in regular events of the University Women's Club of Vancouver who have members that play as well as an active choir, a definite option for a wedding rental.  The grand piano can be moved into three different locations all of which is included in the rental price.  There is a second Steinway Grand Piano available in the ballroom as well in the lower level. The Hycroft does have a few preferred vendors who are familiar with these musical instruments and with this venue to help you out.

And while you will see a striking Golden Standing Harp on the website, when we asked we discovered that unfortunately this picture is outdated on the website.  Inquiries confirm that this one picture brings about numerous requests for the harp that is no longer there. Unfortunately, you would have to bring someone to bring their own in.  Which they are more than happy to accommodate, but truly it might make sense to take the image off the website as it can end up being a disappointment to the expectations of the bride.

Great Choices That You Might Not be Aware of

For smaller weddings especially during the week.  You have the option of renting the West Wing instead of renting the entire mansion. Renting the entire West Wing ensures that you have any number of excellent photo opportunities from the grand staircase, the drawing room, the green solarium, the rose garden and west wing of the terrace.  It wouldn't be a photo shoot at the Hycroft if you didn't have pictures on the terrace and the background of those massive pillars.  Just remember that it is possible that the East Wing may be busy and in use at the same time, utilized by the members of the University Women's Club of Vancouver who own the Hycroft Manor.

Otherwise, you are renting the entire facility it is exclusive to you! This space is yours.  Imagine for a moment an entire incredible mansion, the entire venue yours.  Yours to delight in, to marvel at, while your guests feel free to explore this outstanding mansion that is the site of your wedding day.

The Hycroft starts out as a four-story mansion.  But if you prefer to just rent out the West Wing,  you might want to check out the calendar at the website, to see what public functions or meetings are scheduled. There are many events throughout the year, with everything from musical concerts to fun themed dinners, fashion shows, summer BBQ’s, and the traditional Christmas an annual Hycroft fundraiser.

Bridal Suites

Finally!  One of the few wedding venues that provide for both members of the couple about to get married with a bridal suite.

Again and again, we ask is there somewhere for the groom to go? Is there a grooms room?

Well, the Hycroft Manor responded affirmatively, and they have two Bridal Party Suites.  Each person getting their own area, complete with bathroom, a space to change, and relax.  In the case of a bride and groom, the bride is usually assigned the suite in the West Wing and the groom in the East Wing.

The bridal suites available are the Farris Room and the Lett Room.  The Farris room was named for founding member and first President of the University Women’s Club, Evelyn Farris, with the attached solarium north facing windows make it a well-lit room that provides lots of space.

The other bridal suite is the Lett Room names for Evelyn Lett, a longtime member who was awarded the Order of Canada with its own attached solarium that was once the General's bedroom.  Interesting that it is the farthest room from his wife's room, and with adjacent bathroom facilities, it too provides lots of space to get ready for the big day.

Kudo's to the Hycroft Manor for providing bridal party suites for two!

When the Hycroft is your Clubhouse

Can you imagine what if would be like to be able to say that the Hycroft is your clubhouse?  But the women of the University Women's Club of Vancouver get to say just that while at the same time promoting education, rights and opportunities for women.

The University Women's Club of Vancouver

Sad to realize that just a little over fifty years ago these brilliant and educated women would have been blocked from buying this historic mansion if they had not been able to come up with the full purchase price in cash.  Yes, the full amount entirely in cash.  Necessary because of a little-known fact that women in the 60's were not allowed to hold a mortgage.  But these audacious women were not to be undone and came up with the full purchase price in cash and turned the Hycroft Manor into their clubhouse where they continue to work and promote education, rights, and opportunities for women and of course to have fun!  And how could you not in this historic setting.    From their magical Christmas Party to any number of clubs you too can become involved in everything from their primary purpose to promote education, rights and opportunities for women, to joining one of the many clubs that foster the sense of comradery and friendship the Hycroft provides.   From gourmet to dance groups, book clubs to fitness, there is something for everyone, and you might just find that the Hycroft isn't just the amazing venue of your wedding, it can also become a part of your life where you establish friendships and very real relationships with an extraordinary group of women.

It was only when the five-acre property was subdivided in 1962, and the stables were demolished that it created the possibility for the University Women's Club of Vancouver to purchase part of the estate which included the 30-room house, coach house, mews cottage and surrounding grounds.

It took five years to restore this former beauty, the building had been empty for two years, the gracious gardens untended.  The animals including racoons had moved in and the inside was a mess. The gardens totally overrun. It was through many, many volunteer hours that the Hycroft was finally restored. In December 1974 the UWCV deservedly was given an award of merit from the Vancouver Historical Society for the work they had done.

Brief History

In 1909 the 30-room home on 5.2 acres (complete with bowling alley, pool, and coach house) was built. Completed in 1911 this magnificent Edwardian mansion was originally built for Alexander Duncan McRae, utilizing the services of Thomas Hooper, an architect well known in Western Canadian.   The parties held at Hycroft were legendary, especially the New Year’s Eve masquerade balls. The guest book at Hycroft read like a Who’s Who of the 20’s and 30’s and contained names of visiting royalty and the social elite of Vancouver.

McRae ran federally for the Conservatives winning a seat in Parliament the 1926 election representing the Vancouver North district. Later he was appointed to the Senate where he served until his death, at age 71 in 1946.

In 1942, generously The McRaes donated Hycroft to the Federal Government for only one dollar for use by the Federal Department of Veterans’ Affairs as a convalescent hospital for war veterans. An incredibly generous thing to do, their way to support those that had so generously given of themselves to this war that was to end all wars, standing up for others and unfortunately needing help when they came back.

Today the Hycroft is a Community Space

Today it serves a more contemporary purpose including being utilized during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games by the French Olympic Team. It is also heavily used by Vancouver's film and television production industry as a set.

While it is a mansion, many say the Hycroft has a lovely welcoming feel. Perhaps in part, because it resides today as a community space with many public events that are hosted at Hycroft throughout the year: stimulating talks and presentations, musical concerts, themed dinners, fashion shows, summer BBQ’s, and of course the traditional Christmas at Hycroft fundraiser.  You might want to consider in becoming a member and enjoying the discount that is available to members, as well as enjoying this property as a part of your life for years to come.

Secrets

Hycroft has a few hidden secrets, from a full bar (from the time of prohibition in Vancouver) to secret tunnels, a wine cellar, and passageways that used to lead to other buildings on the property. While I have heard a ghost story or two about the mansion over the years (and it was a set for the X-Files)

Accessibility

As a heritage property, wheelchair access is available currently to the Main Level only. But they do have plans to extend accessibility to the Ballroom Level in 2017 which they are currently working on, adding an elevator to the structure, with a plan to expand to the upstairs in the future.

Cons

Lack of Readily Available Information

This is a probably the most aggravating issue as far as the Hycroft is concerned.  Considering this venue hosts over 200 weddings each year, it is surprising how little information is available including at their own website.  You would think that the information that the Hycroft Manor was one of the premier wedding venues was a state secret.  Not only is there little to no information on their own site, it doesn't appear there is little to be found elsewhere making difficult for the bride to find this wedding venue and finding any information on it.  So much so, that this article is probably where you will find the only real resource of information on the Hycroft as a wedding option. As already mentioned, there have been many recent ongoing changes at the Hycroft and it does have a high turnover, not necessarily unusual in the hospitality industry, and there have been a lot of changes lately, so much so we had to rewrite this article multiple times even before initial publication.  Just make sure that you get everything down in writing.  When personal and/or management changes, you want to make sure that all the details will be as you first envisioned.

The Right Photographer

Wedding Photography and Videography in this venue can be both a pro and a con.  There are any number of unique and distinct areas creating endless opportunities.  In this particular case though, it would be too easy to make your images about the place and not the people.  I see this in a number of wedding albums created at the Hycroft.  Don't let this happen to you.  Yes, this is an amazing venue.  Historical, filled with exquisite details and visual surprises on every floor and in every corner.  To truly appreciate this wedding venue takes a lot of long distance shots.  There is no way to appreciate the back balcony for example without getting every massive column into the viewfinder.  But do that and the people become the minor point of the story, not the focus.  While of course, you will want some long range shots so that you can later appreciate this venue that you chose, you are the star of the day. It is the closeups showing the details of your dress, the look in his eyes as he takes your hand, your mother's joy, the focus on the people that will make these images make your heart fill when you look back on this day. Make sure you get a photographer that appreciates this and can do both have the skill set to make the most of this incredible venue while at the same time capturing you and this special day.

The Highlight of the Hycroft

Once you have seen the mansion, there is no doubt that you will have your heart set on having your wedding supper on the incredible balcony.  Visions of a warm summer day, the sun sparkling off of the white china and sparkling crystal.  "This" will be the reason that you are booking the Hycroft for your wedding. But as the catering manager honestly expresses, "we live in a rain forest."  If only other venues were as honest and as blunt.  Every effort is always made and if this is the one thing that is making the Hycroft Manor your choice, know that you might be disappointed.  None of us can predict the weather. Like other wedding venues, of course, there are backup plans, and when you are at the Hycroft Manor, there are exquisite choices for your back-up, but they are not the view of mountains and gardens framed by massive columns soaring upwards a part of an elegant dining experience.

Parking

As you know, we have been here before.  Parking.  Parking too often is often an issue. And the Hycroft is no exception.  The Hycroft is in a residential neighbourhood with only 15 parking spots available.

The workaround is they claim to have an abundance of free parking in the neighbourhood but planning on carpooling, and taxis is not a bad idea.

If You Like to Party All Night or even just to Midnight

We asked.  We knew that you would like to know.

With a non-negotiable rule of being done by 11 pm.  Yes, this can be a problem, but it heralds back to the issue of the neighbours, who it seems like their sleep.  There is no workaround, and it is something you will have to accept if you decide this is the venue that you just have to have.

What else You Won't Find Online Anywhere Else (Note to Maik.  Note sure if you want to include  the note below.  But I find this is a big selling point when I am doing the interviews that when I tell them that you are planning to dynamically keep the information fresh.  I think it gives them even more incentive long term to link to us.)

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Proud To Announce that the Hycroft is one of the wedding venues that we will be keeping in close contact with, after our initial in depth coverage and extensive research for this article, to keep our information up to date so that you have the latest up to date information.   While the initial research takes time, sometimes weeks and we are well aware and thankful of the active participation of  the Hycroft we would never have the right ongoing information to pass along to our brides who utilize our services.

Information appears to change rapidly so it is no wonder that even when we do extensive research on each venue before we even begin to write each review article and are finding discrepancies between the information that is available online and the information that we are gleaning by our in-depth interviews with the managers responsible in each venue.

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To review:

Wedding rental price includes, in addition to indoor space:

The view terrace, the heritage garden, and the Juliet balcony;

Chairs set up for ceremonies and/or reception;

Assistance of staff person to greet wedding planner caterers, florist, deliveries etc;

One hour complimentary rehearsal, for immediate wedding party only, to be arranged with the Rental Coordinator.

A limited amount of parking. Restrictions apply based on day of week and time of day;

Dressing room suite, including washroom, for Bride on Upper Level of Hycroft;

Dressing room and washroom for Groom on the Upper Level of Hycroft;

Please note: Socan fee must be added to any event with any entertainment and/or music.

Contact

https://www.uwcvancouver.ca/hycroft-event-sales-information/ phone numbers top of page

https://www.facebook.com/UWCVHycroft/ womens club facebook

https://www.facebook.com/ChristmasAtHycroft/ Christmas

https://www.facebook.com/hycroftgallery/

https://twitter.com/HycroftUWCV twitter

https://www.instagram.com/hycroftuwcv/

Hycroft Preferred Vendors

DJ/ Entertainment/ Sound SERVICES: Beyond Sound Entertainment.

Web: http://beyondsound.ca/

Contact: Jordan Zwicker

Phone: 604. 726. 7481

Email: info@beyondsound.ca

Speakers, Microphones, screen and projector, ceremony playlist, dance party playlists, DJ, Party games, interactive Entertainment, novelty prizes, photobooth

Shuttle Services: After Party/ Party Bus/ Venue to Home Services: Easy Trips Vancouver.

Web: http://easytripsvancouver.com/

Contact: Christian Vzz

Phone: 604-448-2306

Email: info@easytripsvancouver.com

Shuttle services from venue to After Party destinations, casino, party bus, venue to home service

H.N Wedding Photography

Contact: Jackson

Email: hnwedding@hnwedding.com

Phone: 604. 518. 1768

Photography and video service

Budget Blooms Florals

Contact: Jane Geszler

Email: jane@budgetblooms.ca

Phone: 778. 388. 2051

Simply Beautiful arrangements for your day. Ceremony, reception and bouquets floral and design décor

Sweetheart Events – Day of Planning, Wedding Planning and Design Décor

Contact: Stephanie Reitsma, WPICC

Website: www.sweetheartevents.ca

Phone: 778.988.9384

Email: stephanie@sweetheartevents.ca

Event stylists, wedding décor design and onsite management and planners

Piano Player- pre-ceremony, ceremony and dinner party music

Contact: Diane Froese

Website: www.dianefroese.com

Phone: 778. 241. 5999

Email: dianefroese@shaw.ca

Musicians:

Sons of Granville… string trio  guys in bow ties.. Very classy

Colette Gariepy, Harp  coharps@yahoo.ca

 Rentals & Decor:

A&B Rentals   604-879-5281