Many couples say their wedding day is one of the best days of their lives, and those that get married at the Avanti Mansion on South Park Avenue in Buffalo get to have that day at the place Western New Yorkers say is Buffalo’s Best wedding venue.
It’s a responsibility Avanti Mansion founder Laurie Clark says she takes very seriously.
“It’s really an honor to be given such a responsibility because it is a once in a lifetime event,” Clark said. “For many people they dream of this day from the time they were really little or as soon as they meet the magic other half, and it’s really important for us to make sure that we’re always on our game because unlike other things, we don’t get a second chance.”
Laurie Clark and her husband gave the historic Avanti Mansion property a second chance at life. The original building was constructed in the 1890s as a summer home for a Buffalo businessman, but by the time the Clarks bought it in 2004, it had been empty for years.
They had to do a lot of work to restore it to its former glory.
“We worked every single day for nine or ten months. Every day except for Christmas Day,” Clark recalled.
Since then, construction projects have continued.
The Clarks designed and built the Amore building on the property to serve as a year-round venue for weddings and other events.
Even now, construction is wrapping up on the new and improved tent structure outside the historic mansion building, just in time for the busy summer wedding season.
“It will help us extend our season,” Clark explained. “It’s a clear span which means we don’t have any interior poles, which means we can do a lot more different style of things inside of it.”
Whether they’re getting married outdoors at the tent or in the lush gardens, or indoors in the ballroom or library of the Amore building, every couple has a ton of options to customize their day just the way they want.
“We’ve seen every venue done in every style and every color imaginable,” Angie Thomas, director of planning for the Avanti, said.
The menu options seem to be endless, too, but the Avanti’s take on chicken and waffles appetizers and special chocolate crepe station seem to be especially popular.
As for the signature cocktails, a concoction called Summer Lovin’, which is made with cucumber vodka, soda, and ginger simple syrup, is a seasonal favorite.
Some couples set their menus years in advance.
“2020 is pretty booked. We’re booking into 2021,” Clark said. “And then we get short term bookings. We got a phone call the other day from a couple in Toronto. They want to get married in three weeks. And we said come on down. We have a full wedding planning team and they’d be happy to help you.”
The wedding planners say helping couples have the perfect day is hugely rewarding for them.
“Knowing that the day that they’re going to have is going to be the best and the most memorable is literally why we stay,” Thomas said.
Many staff members have been with the Avanti for years. We’re told they are a big part of what sets the venue apart.
“I don’t know a better team to work with,” said Taylor Clark, the director of media for the Avanti. “I actually enjoy coming to work. We laugh, we have fun. We do a really good job, we work really hard to make sure our clients have the best experience possible.”
In addition to the weddings, the Avanti also hosts retirement parties, graduation parties, and other events.
A portion of the money from every event is donated to local animal rescues.
You can learn more about the Avanti Mansion here.