A spectacular wedding, bar or bat mitzvah or corporate event starts with a grand entrance. Since your lavish celebration takes place here, in our landmark historic site, you have the unique opportunity to plan an entrance unlike any other, one that’s tailored to the rich legacy of Ellis Island itself.
Imagine your guests’ delight when they disembark from their ferry ride to the island to find costumed actors, in character, dressed in period outfits, welcoming your friends, family and colleagues to the island, encouraging them to step forward into a New World, welcoming them in a fabulous performance that just touches subtly upon the arrival of those long-ago immigrants setting foot on the island to begin their new grand adventure.
As our site says, More than one hundred million Americans can claim ancestors who came through Ellis Island. Ellis Island, the immigrant station, opened on December 17, 1892. Five years later the wooden structure burned, along with many immigrant records. On December 17th, 1900, a new fireproof French Renaissance style building welcomed 2,251 arrivals. Ferries and barges brought ‘steerage’ passengers out to Ellis from steamships. In the Registry Room, inspectors questioned each individual. Included among the twenty-nine questions were name, hometown, occupation, destination and amount of money they carried. One third stayed in New York City; others headed elsewhere. Only one to two percent were denied entry. One in four Americans can trace their ancestry through the Golden Doors of Ellis Island.
Imagine how fun it would be for guests to be guided to the Registry Room upon their arrival, where they are met by a new group of costumed actors with clipboards, questioning each guest or family in a very light-hearted way: asking their names and where they are from while consulting your event guest list. They might ask for occupations, and — for fun — ask what they may be carrying on them, with humorous items of the era mentioned.
When guests get their ‘all clear,’ they’re handed their entry ‘papers’ — their table number card, which you’ve designed in era-appropriate theme colors and fonts — and then welcomed to proceed into your event, where tuxedoed waiters hand them flutes of champagne for the start of your modern-day celebration.
It’s a performance — so true to the theater-rich culture of New York City — a fabulous surprise, a fun interaction with our professional actors, a little bit of history, and a grand entrance befitting the origins of our landmark event setting and historic island locale.
Contact the Ellis Island Weddings and events staff to bring your grand entrance plans to life, and start your luxury celebration off with an experience your guests will be talking about for years.