Back to information on renting the garden for your event.
Garden Policies and Guidelines
Weather permitting, the museum’s gardens are available for weddings, receptions and other events. There are two spaces available for rental, including the Scarbrough House Garden and the North Garden. If you are interested in renting the garden, please call the Museum’s Event Coordinator to set a date for a tour of our facilities.
The Scarbrough House Garden is the smaller of the two spaces, and is rich with historic charm. The capacity is 200 persons, and it is recommended that the space be covered by a tent. Caterers may use the small kitchen and the multi-purpose room on the ground floor of the Museum as a prep room. Restrooms are on the ground floor of the Museum. The library (also on this floor) may be used as a dressing room.
The North Garden is an open-air event space with a roofed Assembly Hall. It is larger than the Scarbrough House Garden and features a more contemporary aesthetic. The capacity is about 500 persons. Caterers may use the multi-purpose space adjacent to the garden’s outdoor Assembly Hall. There is also a dressing room, handicap-accessible restrooms and more, which are included in the rental of the facility.
No commercial, political, or fund-raising events are permitted, although a non-profit organization shall be permitted to charge its members a nominal fee to defray the cost of the event. There shall be no fund-raising before, during or after the event. It shall be the policy of the Ships of the Sea Museum, in considering a request for rental of its garden facility, to give first priority to the needs of the Museum to accommodate its own activities. The Museum shall decline rentals for the use of its facilities for any activity, event, or other use which, in the best judgment of the staff, will result in a significant burden to the garden because of physical wear and tear, overcrowding, a violation of safety codes or other rules or regulations applicable to the facility, or non-compliance with Museum policies on the part of a renter.
Reservations are taken on a first-come-first-served basis and it is the prospective renter's responsibility to check with the Museum on an ongoing basis for the status of a preferred date if that date has not yet been reserved with a deposit. Reservations should be made at least three months prior to your event. A fifty percent (50%) non-refundable deposit must be sent with the Contract to secure your reservation. The remaining portion must be paid two weeks prior to the date of the event. A copy of the Certificate of Insurance (below) and a completed Vendor Checklist should also be presented at this time. An on-site event meeting with the Director and appropriate vendors is requested during the week prior to the event. No refunds will be given for cancellations. For information on fees and our rental season, please see the “Rental Fees” sheet attached.
The Museum will provide an off-duty uniformed Savannah policeman as security guard for the evening events. Any additional security requested by the renting party will be an additional charge. Security of the grounds and the safety of the guests are paramount. Any breach of security or safety regulations can result in cancellation of an event at any time.
The Museum will make its best efforts to make the facility available to an event sponsor, however, the Museum reserves the right to cancel this contract if, due to a cause beyond the Museum's control, it becomes impossible to perform under this contract, or to permit the event sponsors to occupy the garden. The Museum will have no further liability of any nature for such cancellation and the renter hereby agrees that it shall not bring any claim or suit against the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum due to such cancellation. The Museum shall not be liable for damages of any type whether based on breach of contract, warranty or otherwise.
A Certificate of Insurance must be received at least two weeks prior to the event indicating general liability coverage for the event in the amount of $1,000,000 general aggregate, indicating that the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum is named as an additional insured for the duration of the event. In no case will the facility be available without this coverage, as it serves to protect the renter and the Museum. If liquor will be served, "host liquor" must be included in the policy. Information from Wedsafe – www.PrivateEventInsurance.com (a reasonably-priced provider of wedding insurance whose fee includes this coverage) is provided in this packet as a courtesy to you. You are under no obligation to purchase insurance from them. See Memo C (attached) regarding the importance of securing insurance before hurricane season.
The renter shall be responsible for all injury damage of any kind to persons or property (regardless of who may be the owner of the property) arising out of or suffering through any act or omission of the renter, the renter's employees, agents, contractors or guests in connection with its use of the garden. The renter further assumes the obligation to indemnify and hold harmless the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, its trustees, officers, agents and employees against any and all damages, claims, expenses or other liability due to personal injury or death, or damage to property of theirs, arising out of or suffered through any act or omissions of the renter, the renter's employees, agents and contractors or guests in connection with its use of the garden. All events must comply with the rules and regulations of the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum and all city and state laws. Any type of damage to the Museum's property or equipment is to be reported immediately to the representative of the Museum present at the event.
The Director must approve in advance all caterers or bartenders selected to work at any event. (See the “List of Vendors Approved by the Museum”) If you wish to use a caterer not on our list, you must arrange a meeting between the Event Coordinator and the caterer for mutual approval before you engage the caterer. All caterers are responsible for materials brought into the building and preparation and clean up of the kitchen and service areas (see “List of Caterer’s Responsibilities”) We strongly recommend that your contact person set up a vendors meeting at the Museum at least two weeks prior to the event to coordinate details (and provide the Museum with a completed “Vendor Checklist”)
The renter must agree to comply with and abide by all local, state and federal laws applicable to the serving of alcoholic beverages and contract only insured bar services (see “List of Vendors”). The renter shall be responsible and liable for any and all damages arising out of the use of alcoholic beverages at events. The renter specifically agrees to take whatever steps may be necessary to ensure that alcoholic beverages are not served to minors at events.
Plans for decorations, including signs and banners are subject to the Museum's approval. All decorations supplied from an outside source must be removed from the party area by the renter before noon of the next day. The Museum will provide a sign to be placed over the admission sign at the gate giving the name of your wedding party. No live animals are permitted in the garden. No garden furniture may be moved for any reason. To protect the garden and for safety reasons, smoking is not permitted in the garden and is therefore limited to the parking lot. Formal wedding photography in the Museum or garden prior to the wedding (during business hours) is welcomed. Please make arrangements with the Museum prior to the date.
A tent is strongly recommended for all receptions. (A reception cannot be moved indoors because of inclement weather.) The main terrace can accommodate a tent measuring up to 30' X 60'. We prefer that tents, tables and chairs be erected or delivered at least the day before the event and removed on the Monday following the event. *Due to our arrangements with Savannah Special Events, we are able to ensure that the tent and rental items will be delivered and removed in a timely fashion, without any significant concern to the renter. We also strive to have the seating for the wedding ceremony in place early Friday afternoon so that a wedding rehearsal can be held in “real space.” Our garden electric service is comprised of seven circuits of 120 volts at eleven locations. All electrical requirements and set-ups must be discussed and approved in advance, particularly if a band or dj is to be used. (A plan detailing the garden circuits is included in the garden plan included in this packet.)