Venue Review – Rowena Inn on The River
Rowena Inn on the River at Harrison Mills is a beautiful venue for any type of occasion and definitely a location to check out if you are having a wedding. About a 2 hour picturesque drive from Vancouver, It is an impressive historical house offset by a pristine setting by the Fraser River and jeweled by the striking turquoise colored water of a magnificent pool.
Rowena Inn is located in the Sandpiper Golf Course Resort. This is a little tricky when looking for the venue as the sign for the inn is quite small. Myself, and a few guests, drove right by the golf course not noticing the marquee that the inn was located within the golf course grounds.
Once inside the gates of the golf course, the prize venue is at the end of the driveway where the large white house is located by the Fraser River. Parking seems to be quite accommodating. The 50 guests at the wedding I was DJing all had a place to park.
There are various options for the wedding ceremony location. In this case, the wedding ceremony took place under a lovely big tree. The setting was wonderful but as you notice in the photo, the DJ was setup quite far from the actual ceremony area. The challenge here was to have the ceremony music project loud enough so that it could be heard by the wedding ceremony participants. The speaker that the venue graciously provided was a 350 watt speaker, but as a Vancouver DJ who has done many outdoor wedding ceremonies, it didn’t seem loud enough even at full volume. Projecting music outdoors requires lots of power due to sound absorption and wind. The processional also started in an area opposite to where the speaker was pointed and I know the bridesmaids and bride could not hear their processional music. I would recommend that if you are doing a wedding ceremony in this particular spot and if hearing the music is important to you, then either have the DJ positioned next to the ceremony or have your DJ setup a more powerful 2 speaker sound system. It will cost more, but hearing your ceremony music will be well worth it in such a beautiful setting.
In the summer, many events are setup around the beautiful pool patio. It is a lovely setting fronted by the Fraser and the low rising mountains on the far shore, but there are some minor challenges you should be aware of.
A most important thing to take note of is that the pool has no life guard. If there are small children at your event please make sure to watch them carefully. A few children seemed to like playing on the diving board when I was there and although the staff were watchful, they were also busy trying to do their jobs.
Although your vendors can drive down the lane to where the outdoor DJ set up is in the summer, the final movement of equipment must be done by hand to minimize tearing up the lawn. In my case, I was able to park right next to where the DJ setup was… so wear and tear on my back was minimal. The management and staff are very good about letting your vendors park nearby so as to make their setup as painless as possible. This is unusual for a first class venue such as this and was much appreciated.
Sometimes there is no cover for the DJ and equipment from the hot sun. This can be hard on equipment but even more so, makes it difficult for your DJ to see their computer screens. It is always best to make sure that a tent is provided for your entertainment and guests. I asked for a tent when I arrived…which the staff cheerfully put up. Here again, much appreciated.
As previously mentioned, a powerful PA system is needed to project music outdoors. The DJ is a bit further from the dance area than usual so please make sure you have your DJ bring a powerful enough PA system…especially if your guest list is a 100 or more. Because the DJ is a little further from the guests, when it comes time for the speeches, make sure you have a professional quality wireless microphone from your DJ if you are using the DJ system for this part of the reception. Not only will a powerful PA system allow the guests to hear your speeches but a quality microphone will help with clarity and prevent dropouts. There seemed to be an event taking place across the river for the labor day weekend when I was there, so during the speeches, you could hear the performers somewhat at that event across the way. It was not an issue when it came the dancing however as my PA was loud enough to cover sound coming from across the river.
Another wonderful thing about this venue is that you, or your guests, can spend the night either in the historical house or a luxury cottage. The house itself is very well maintained. It is not wheelchair accessible that I could tell, but you might want to check on that. The bathrooms were on the first floor for the outdoor event and there were some small stairs that had to be navigated to get to them. The stairs were small so it may, or may not, be an issue for any mobility challenged guests you may have at your event.
The beauty of the location speaks for itself and I can assure you, it looks just like the photos. The staff are very friendly and super helpful. They are all cheerful and ready to help. This is a reflection of a well managed venue and good management. I believe everyone, including the vendors, enjoyed themselves at this venue.
Rowena Inn on the River is an awesome and highly recommended venue by this DJ in Vancouver. They even have different packages from weddings to golf packages, guided fishing packages, holiday getaway packages and more. Please do yourself a favor and check out this fantastic venue for any event you may be having. Definitely one of my new favorite venues and I am sure it will be yours as well.