Archive for the ‘Venue’ Category

Signing Off

May 27, 2010

Ok, so obviously I am the worst blogger in the history of blogs.

This seemed like the best idea when I first got engaged.  I was spending hours a day looking at all things wedding.  I had such grand plans to neatly compile everything here in a charming, entertaining way.  It so totally did not happen.

About half way through the engagement, I got completely sick of looking at photos of other people’s perfect weddings; dreading the inevitable imperfection of my own.  I thought wedding blogs were the solution to the over-the-top, completely unattainable image bridal magazines promote, but in fact, it was quite the opposite for me.  I was way more jealous about some fabulous hipster bride’s DIY save-the-dates than I was about a designer wedding dress I could never afford.  I stopped reading blogs (with the sole exception of the lovely and real Cupcake Wedding) and stopped writing my own.  Instead, I focused on planning my wedding without the influence of way-too-pretty pictures and way-too-perfect projects.

So here I am, about two weeks away from the big day.  I randomly checked good old Whoa Wedding to see that I still had a decent number of people dropping in here, and even a few comments to keep it up.  I figured I should at least explain myself.

In conclusion (unless I become overwhelmed with the desire to post recaps), here are all of the location details that I strangely never revealed.  I hope they might be helpful to some other budget-minded Boston bride.

Rehearsal/Welcome Party (night before): private event room at Tavern in the Square, Central Square
Ceremony: MIT Chapel (mid-century awesomeness pictured above)
Lunch Reception (family only): Oleana
Party that night (friends only): Gallery 263

The decision to split our celebration into two separate events was a big one, and I hope everyone understands.  It saved us GOBS of money, which was a very important factor.

So far we’ve spent just under $7000, and when all is said and done, I hope we’ll be under $15,000.  That includes all four events listed above.  My original budget of $10,000 was only for the ceremony/lunch reception, so I can deal with this.

If I’m ambitious, I’ll tell you how it all goes.

| photo from Viejito’s Flickr |


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 |

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 |

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: |

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