Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Budget Boston Wedding Venue #3

July 13, 2009


I know it’s been awhile, so I’m very happy to present another fabulous and affordable Boston wedding venue!

Budget Boston Wedding Venue #3
The Shirley-Eustis House

Ok, this one might be a stretch, but if you’re in the mood for a big project and a super personalized Boston wedding the Shirley-Eustis House might be for you.  When I was newly engaged and starry eyed, I seriously considered taking on this historic estate.

Built in Roxbury around 1750, the Shirley-Eustis House was home to the Royal Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony.  The home was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960, and today the estate is open for guided tours and event rentals.



  • The entire estate – house, carriage house, and gardens – can be yours for $250 an hour
  • Great excuse for an intimate wedding – the house can only accommodate 50, and the carriage house 99
  • Best of both worlds – have a classy sophisticated dinner in the mansion, and fun, country-style dancing in the carriage house (not to mention a gorgeous ceremony somewhere on the landscaped grounds)
  • Choose your own caterer (no red foods allowed) and bring your own alcohol (no hard liquor or red wine allowed)


  • No stiletto heels allowed in any of the estate’s buildings
  • There is very little electric lighting in the main house, so evening events can be tricky
  • Dancing is only permitted in the carriage house
  • I’ve personally had some trouble contacting someone at the property – which might make planning and coordinating a little stressful

Check out the estate’s site rental page and their rules and regulations. And… watch a staff member give Bob Vila a tour of the main house here!

| Image 1: WWOwens 2 & 3: Shirley-Eustis House |


Pretty Pochoirs

July 9, 2009

Recently I’ve been on the lookout for color palette inspiration.  While researching vintage textiles, I stumbled across the New York Public Library’s digital gallery and this beautiful portfolio of Art Deco pochoir prints.  I’m in love.


Your Ring Finger

June 11, 2009

What bride-to-be doesn’t catch herself staring dreamingly at the sparkling gem on her finger from time to time?  I’m totally guilty of it.  I’m also more aware than ever of other girls’ rings.  When I spot an engagement ring I automatically feel some strange connection to its wearer; some powerful kinship.  I have to stop myself from running up to these total strangers gushing you’re engaged, too!

The popularity of diamonds is a fairly recent phenomenon in the grand scheme of things, but the circle of metal surrounding your left ring finger has ancient beginnings.  The tradition is thought to date back to 2nd century Rome where it was believed a major artery, called the vena amoris, ran from the left ring finger to the heart making it the perfect digit for betrothal rings. (If this magic finger didn’t bring you eternal love, at least it was good for mixing medicine, another common Roman practice due to the powerful “vein of love.”)

This left hand tradition is only followed in some cultures.  Wikipedia says: “In Norway, Russia, Bulgaria, Poland, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Latvia, some countries of former Yugoslavia and in Spain (except in Catalonia) the wedding ring is worn on the ring finger of the right hand.”

Where do you wear yours?

| Image from Heritage History |

The Romance of Ruins

June 9, 2009


The other night my fiancé and I watched “Bottle Shock,” a nice independent film about the infamous 1976 blind taste test where a California chardonnay beat its French counterpart.  The tasting originally took place in Paris, and the movie scene is set in the completely romantic shell of an old crumbling building.  It was the climax of the story, but all I could think about was how desperately I wanted to get married there.

Well, lucky California brides – you can!  The scene was actually filmed at Kunde Family Estate in Sonoma Valley.  Known as the Dunfillan Ruins, the structure was originally built in the late 1800s by wine maker John Drummond.  California’s first Cabernet Sauvignon was bottled there, and it’s available today for ceremonies and receptions.



Amazingly, it’s very difficult to find images of this stunning place online, so head over to the winery’s site to see their photo album.

| Images – 1:100 Layer Cake 2: 3: 100 Layer Cake 4: ourcommon’s photostream|

Generations of Inspiration

May 27, 2009


In preparation for a 2011 bridal fashion exhibition at the V&A, the museum is collecting online submissions of wedding photographs taken between 1840 and the present day.  Go here to contribute your own piece of wedding history.


I lost track of time as I browsed the collection decade by decade.  My favorite wedding so far is the 1930 marriage of Dorothy Murphy and Simon G. Friesen in Merced County, CA.