Social Events
photo credit: Heidi Roland Photography

Event Rentals at the Cope House: Showers, Parties, Memorial Services, Fundraising Events, and More

We welcome you to read our Frequently Asked Questions below and to be in touch – either by filling out our inquiry form or contacting us at

Planning a kids’ birthday party?  You’re welcome to rent the Cope House (details on this page), and you might also consider our AdventureWoods natural playground.

Click here to read reviews about our venue.

Click here for a list of recommended vendors.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many people fit in the space?

We can accommodate up to 175 people.

How much does the venue cost?

Weeknight (Mon-Thurs): $250/hr
Weekend (Fri-Sun): $500/hr

Minimum rental is 2 hours

Neighbors who live within 2 miles of the Arboretum receive a 20% discount!

What does the fee include?

Your rental includes:
– Use of the foyer, parlors, reception room, wrap-around porch, tented bluestone patio, restrooms, audio system, preparation areas, and lawn and gardens near the house during event hours.
– Free parking- both on-site and street- and a parking attendant during guest arrival for groups of over 20 people.
– A one-year membership to the Arboretum.
– Access to 55 acres for walks and pictures.

Are the grounds private during my event?

Awbury Arboretum is open to the public from dawn to dusk- it is a large part of our mission to be an accessible green space. We will, however, strive to keep the Cope House and immediate gardens and grounds private for your event.  While we make every effort to keep your event private and safe, security is the responsibility of client. The Awbury staff on site at the time of the function is not responsible for security.

What time can I hold my event?

Your event may take place any time between 10:00 AM and 10:00 PM on Saturdays and between 10:00 AM and 9:00 PM Sundays. Events held on Mondays through Fridays may take place any time between 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM. Rentals are a minimum of 2 hours. There are no additional rental fees for caterer’s setup and cleanup time.

Who caters my event?

Awbury has an exclusive catering partnership with Birchtree Catering, a small, female-owned business with a strong focus on local sourcing and sustainable events. Please see the attached catering offerings for parties and corporate events.

Why just one caterer?  Here are a few reasons:
●  We have gotten to know dozens of caterers over the past few years, and while many were excellent, we also saw clients struggle with caterers who didn’t care for their needs or neglected event details. We want your day to go smoothly! Birchtree not only provides truly excellent food but also a top-notch staff to welcome your guests and orchestrate details.
●  We’re a preserved, historic house and garden. Our exclusive caterer has proven that they care about the site and know how to protect it.
●  Awbury aims to be a sustainable venue. It’s easy for large events to create a lot of waste, but Birchtree is committed to a one trash bag policy and to composting responsibly. They also purchase local, sustainable food.
●  With our new partnership, Birchtree is able to give Awbury clients special discounted rates!

May we serve alcohol?

Yes. All alcohol is client-provided and served by a Birchtree Catering certified bartender.

How do I reserve a date?

Once you have spoken with our staff and determined that a specific date is available, please submit:

– a venue deposit of $500, made out to Awbury Arboretum,
– a catering deposit of $500, made out to Birchtree Catering LLC,
– and a completed contract

Once booked with Awbury, Birchtree will take you through the planning process of your event, from timeline to menu.

Is the deposit payment refundable?

No, the deposit is non-refundable and may not be transferred to other dates.

For what reasons could I lose my security deposit?

Awbury may retain your security deposit in the case of damage to the property, guests staying on site past the scheduled rental time, or other breach of contract. Assuming none of that happens, we will mail you a reimbursement for your security deposit after your event.

Are there restrictions on décor?

Due to the historic nature of the house, no nails, staples, tape, or tacks may be used when decorating. “Command Hooks” are allowed, provided they are removed cleanly. The following are also prohibited: open flame (with the exception of birthday candles on a cake), sparklers, rice, confetti, and flower petals- both real and fake. Glitter is also prohibited, including that on costumes, decorations, and party favors.
Please note the fireplaces aren’t operational.
Any decorations or event details that harm the landscape are prohibited.
Art pieces are not to be altered or removed, except by special permission.

Does the Arboretum allow smoking?

Absolutely no smoking in the house or on the porch. If there are smokers in the group, renters must establish a smoking area away from the porch with proper disposal systems. Renters assume responsibility for clean-up of these areas.

Do you have heat and air conditioning?

We have both air conditioning and heat in the Cope House. Optional heating and cooling are available under the tent for an additional fee.

Where will guests park?

The guest parking lot at the Francis Cope House accommodates about 15 cars. Overflow parking for another 20 or so cars can be made available along Station Road- a lovely 5-minute walk from the Cope House. Finally, ample free parking is available on the streets surrounding the Arboretum (Chew, Haines, and Ardleigh), a 5-10-minute walk from the Cope House. A parking attendant will be present during guest arrival for groups of over 20 people.

Cars may not drive or park on the grass (other than along Station Road as specified); parking only in designated areas. Vehicles may not block the driveway.

Are buses or shuttle companies welcome?

Renters are welcome to hire a bus or shuttle service. If you choose this option, please notify the Awbury staff so they can coordinate with the vendor.

Does Awbury offer rental items?

Awbury does have an inventory of tables and chairs, which you are welcome to rent. This includes:
• 200 White Resin Folding Chairs ($2/ea)
• 200 Brown Resin Cross-back Chairs with ivory cushion ($9/ea)
• 10 72”x30” rectangular tables ($5/ea)
• 22 60” round tables ($5/ea)
We also offer our projector and screen for $75/day.

All other rentals are procured through Birchtree Catering.

May we have amplified music?

We do allow amplified music. All bands and DJs should set up for dancing in the parlors, using Awbury’s professional-grade audio system. Background music may be amplified under the tent or porch areas, but all music must be kept at an inoffensive level out of respect for our neighbors. All music must end by 9pm, and Awbury staff will control music volume.

We encourage all clients to work with our Preferred Vendors. You may work with work with a band or DJ from outside of our list for an additional fee of $500. DJs or bands from outside of our list will be required to visit the venue in advance and sign an agreement outlining our regulations.  Similarly, any group not hiring a professional DJ or band but using our audio equipment will sign an audio agreement.