Couples scramble to find new wedding venues after Longfellows announces closure

The owners of Longfellows Restaurant and Hotel in Saratoga Springs said Thursday that it will be closing its doors in January, and changing hands to a group of new investors to become a new venue. That means dozens of couples do not have a wedding venue, just months before they were going to say ‘I do’ at the spot beloved for its beautiful weddings.

The restaurant and hotel is closing on January 21. Longfellows says it’s working to help its 78 staff members find new work.

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Longfellows’ owners, Steve and Yvonne Sullivan and David Powers, are calling the sale the toughest decision they’ve had to make. They are well-known in the community for their philanthropy. A statement Thursday said they will continue to own and operate their second restaurant, the Olde Bryan Inn.

Both places are beloved for the way the owners have given back to the community, offering free meals at Thanksgiving and during the season of Code Blue.  

The brides who spoke to NewsChannel 13 said they hoped the venue didn’t know the sale was coming when they booked what was supposed to be their dream weddings.

“I couldn’t breathe, my whole world was turned upside down,” said soon-to-be-bride Jessica Miller, describing the call she got informing her the venue was cancelling.

Miller said she could still cry when she thinks about learning her June wedding to her fiancé Jeremie Ackerman had no location at all.

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“Everything coincides with each other when you book your venue and your date,” she explained, saying her vendors were booked on every date for months. That meant she’d have to stick to her date and find a new location.

Miller said finding a place can be difficult right now, after many couples who postponed their weddings are currently getting married. She ultimately was able to find a new venue in Queensbury, thanks in part, she said, to help from Longfellows.

“Everything right now is on track. Is there wood? Cause I want to knock on wood,” she said.

Longfellows’ statement says more than 2,400 couples have been married there in the past 26 years. Carlye Pagano and her fiancé Ryan Cook always thought they would be among them.

“Me and my fiancé, we’ve been together since high school, we grew up going to Longfellows, we’re getting married there, point blank, period,” she said of her decision.

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Everything she planned came after that decision.

“I was like, ‘We’re going to do these pictures here, a first look over here,’” Pagano said of her vision for the wedding. “The whole view of everything has shifted, not necessarily in a negative way, but in a ‘now we have to start over’ type of way.”

Both brides have new venues booked, but said they feel for those with weddings just weeks away.

“I feel so much more for them than I do for myself, because although we had very slim pickings for 2023, I’m still extremely happy with what we were able to secure for our wedding,” said Pagano.

NewsChannel 13 reached out to one of the owners at a number listed for him, but did not hear back.