Archive for the ‘Reception’ Category

On vacation!

August 14, 2009

I’m headed to the Jersey Shore for some much needed fun in the sun!  Pardon my absence – I’ll be back in a week and a half.

| Ballroom at Congress Hall, Cape May, NJ – gorgeous setting for a grand beach wedding |


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 |

Etsy Wedding Vendor: Timeless Paper

July 8, 2009


Timeless Paper has a lovely collection of handmade place cards and table numbers.  So dainty.


Flower: Alliums

July 7, 2009

The garden where our wedding luncheon is taking place should be full of these whimsical flowers next June – hopefully in their purple splendor!  Their striking, stylish shape and height would make them a great wedding motif. (Who cares if they belong to the onion and garlic family!)


| Top image via eRiding; Other images clockwise from top right: OneWed, Lynn Fosbender, Wedding Paper Divas, & FauxReal |

Wedding Favor: Burdick’s Chocolate Mice

June 10, 2009


Might seem strange, but the wedding detail I’m most looking forward to is the favors.  I love anything small and exquisitely wrapped.  Favors are totally my thing.

I didn’t think much about wedding planning before I was engaged, but I admit that I had a few favor ideas well in advance — which means I’ve got a nice list to share with you!

First off, L. A. Burdick’s super irresistible chocolate mice.  If you’re from New England, chances are you’ve probably had the good fortune to sample one of these delicious cuties.  And Burdick’s totally respects brides’ painstakingly chosen color palettes by offering to customize not only the boxes and bows, but the silk tails, as well!

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|

Budget Boston Wedding Venue #2

June 8, 2009


When we first got engaged we were pretty set on doing the smallest wedding possible.  By inviting our parents, grandparents, siblings, and one best friend each, we had a guest list of about 30.  With this number in mind, I started my initial hunt for a venue, which ultimately gave birth to the idea of a restaurant reception.

Think about it: no linen, tableware or furniture rentals; no hiring a bartender or paying exorbitant fees for wait staff; and in many cases, there’s very little need for additional decorations.  So smart and stress-free.  Plus, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get a delicious meal.

I was amazed to find a huge number of Boston restaurants that could accommodate this number of people (and more, as you’ll see!).

Budget Boston Wedding Venue #2
The Wine Cellar at Mooo…

Ok, so being a vegetarian I am loath to put the word “Mooo…” on my wedding invitation, but one look at this private and totally romantic space made me reconsider.


Built into the foundation of a 1722 Beacon Hill mansion, The Wine Cellar feels masculine and sophisticated.  The cozy space – with amazing vaulted ceilings – can accommodate 36 for seated meal and 75 for a standing reception.  Dinner prices per person range from $75 to $125 (before alcohol).  This might seem steep, but with the maximum number of guests and the most basic menu you still come in under $3000 for a gorgeous meal.  Just remember all of the money you saved on ugly folding chairs and crazy expensive centerpieces!

As for non-offensive invitations:  you can always just call it “The Wine Cellar.”

| Photos: |


June 2, 2009


I admit that in many ways I’m approaching wedding planning in the wrong order.  My priorities do not always seem to be appropriate.  For instance, we had our first consultation with our wedding photographer today, yet we still have NO idea who the officiant at our ceremony will be.  Risky.

So it’s not surprising that I’m spending countless hours fantasizing about my reception table décor when I have no idea how many tables I will even have to decorate.

I like the idea of collecting antique vessels for flowers over the course of our engagement.  They would grace the tables on our wedding day, and then afterward we would have a beautiful, meaningful collection.  Right now I’m considering jadite.


Jadite is the common term for a seafoam-green-colored kitchenware popular between the 1940s and 60s.  The milky glass is still easily found at garage sales, antique shows, and of course, eBay.  There are plenty of reproductions out there, so if you’re looking for the real thing, keep your eyes peeled for the following makers: Jeannette, McKee, and Fire Stone.  Jadite was never meant to be fancy – it was made from scrap glass and is often thick with abnormalities and bubbles.  All the more charming.

| Jadite dishes: thepioneerwoman; Top Row: eBay & Creative Influences; Bottom Row: ClassicMemories & SuzieMax |

Cupcake Loveliness

May 26, 2009


If I turn out to be a cupcake-kind-of-bride, I will definitely be getting some lovely, lacy wrappers from Estilo Weddings.

Budget Boston Wedding Venue #1

May 26, 2009


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