Budget Boston Wedding Venue #1


According to the many wedding budget guides I have read, your reception venue and catering should account for 40% of your total wedding budget.  Given the average American wedding is pushing $30,000, many couples are looking at a $12,000 allotment for dinner, drinks and dancing.

$12,000 is more than our entire wedding budget combined.

Boston tends to be an expensive city and Boston weddings are no exception.  I knew we would have to think outside of the box when it came to our reception.  Could we afford to have it at night?  Was it realistic to have a sit-down meal? What about having it on a weekday or during the winter months?

Each of these possibilities was carefully scrutinized as we narrowed down our venue options.  Sometimes family (and their visions of crisp formal linens and a tiered wedding cake) proved to be an obstacle, but I also had to make compromises with my own ideas of what my wedding would be.

Ultimately, we found the perfect reception location for us.  It sits happily within our budget, has some of Boston’s best food, and – if the weather cooperates – we’ll be celebrating al fresco.

But first: a series of posts highlighting the contenders.  All budget friendly and fabulous.

Budget Boston Wedding Venue #1
The Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center

This historic building was once the Middlesex County Courthouse and its grand interiors are intact and available for rental.  The CMAC Theatre, with its painted ceiling and Victorian charm, can accommodate 150 for a seated dinner.  The weekend rental fee – which gives you 8 hours in the space – will be $3200 after July 1, 2009.  If you opt for a weekday, you can get the theater for $1800.


These rental fees were hard to swallow for us, but we played with the idea of this venue for quite a while.  If you did a brunch, hors d’oeuvres or dessert reception it might be doable on a tight budget.  While you have to use one of their partner caterers, it seems like you might be able to supply your own alcohol.  Hello Trader Joe’s.

The CMAC also has a landscaped outdoor area available for ceremonies.


Check out CMAC’s event rental photo gallery to get a better idea of what the party might look like.  And unlike many venues that I’ve researched, the CMAC graciously lists all of their rates, fees and regulations.

Interior shots by Matt Hakola | Outdoor picture by Abena’s Photostream


13 Responses to “Budget Boston Wedding Venue #1”

  1. Koozies Says:

    It IS a night you will never forget. Do not skimp on photography or video. Those 2 items last a life time.

  2. Cupcake Wedding Says:

    My friend got married at the SpringStep in Medford. It is beautiful! Maybe budget friendly?

    • Norah Says:

      Thanks for the suggestion! I looked into SpringStep – their events look awesome!! We’ve actually decided on a final reception venue, but I’m going to hold off on posting it for a while. They won’t except our deposit until 2010, so I don’t want to jinx anything 🙂

      • Kelly Says:

        I can’t wait to hear the venue you chose. I’m recently engaged in BOS and your blog has been full of ideas to help me start digging through all the options here. Congrats!

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