When I first got engaged two things happened: 1- I would admire my ring finger at every stoplight (like a crazy person) 2- I felt super confident about wedding planning. We got this! No problem!
But with every relative and co-worker asking for details there was a growing sense of urgency. Where! When! Eeek! I felt like I was just adding, increasing and remembering things the shoulds. Where to start? What type of wedding did we really want?
In a way, it was like apartment hunting. Picturing a new life— walking to work, different neighborhood, imagining a future Katie…In a word: overwhelming. But once I signed the lease, I felt settled and life started to make sense again.
I think that’s what happens with wedding planning. Once you finally pick a wedding venue, it's a relief and you can mentally picture the day.
So, a bit of unsolicited advice. Start with the wedding venue (and a rough idea of your guest count) and go from there.
To help with finding the perfect venue, here are a few of my favorite places I’ve visited over the years as a wedding professional. All are equal parts gorgeous and functional.
- Lyman Estate- Located in Waltham, it’s an short drive from downtown Boston but that’s easy to forget with the sweeping (and quiet) landscape. It offers groom and bridal suites, some of the biggest oak trees ever and a wrap-around porch. For larger groups, you’ll need a tent but it has the space for an indoor cocktail/dessert hour.
- Quonquont Farm- This venue has a special place in my heart being located in Western Massachusetts, near where I grew up. It allows for some super flexibility in terms of ceremony and reception. Your picks include: apple orchard, field, patio and elegant barn. It’s really got it all. The staff is super lovely as well.
- Pierce House- All you need to know: mansion in Lincoln, MA, long manicured lawns, the flexibility to have a tented, lawn or inside function. I love how this venue feels like home for the day.
- Codman House- The highlight is the Italian Garden, perfect for a special, unique ceremony. The Carriage House can host dancing or an intimate wedding reception. You'll probably need a wedding planner or taskmaster friend to pull off a wedding here.
- LaBelle Winery- If you’re ok with heading to Southern New Hampshire, check out this venue. Literally located on a winery, it has ceremony options outside or inside the modern, rustic inspired event space. It can host larger weddings and I found the staff to be a well-oiled machine.
- The Marriott Long Wharf- The Boston Harbor Hotel, The Fairmont, The Ritz are all perfect in their own way but The Marriott Long Wharf holds a bit of original Boston charm. I think it’s partly the 180 degree view of the harbor and the proximity to well-trod landmarks. It’s a great place for couples with lots of guests coming in from out of town— close to the airport and lots rooms available on-site.
- The Holden Inn- 100% Cape Cod charm. This wedding venue is for the couple that 1- wants a tented wedding 2- loves the idea of their bridal party staying on site. Located in Wellfleet, it’s a great venue for a small to mid-size wedding and provides a low-key yet classic feel.
- Moraine Farm- Federick Law Olmstead helped to design the green space around the venue so it’s a bit of a photographers' dream. Lots of outdoor nooks, crannies and greenery. There are also a few pretty indoor spaces for cocktail hour and a convenient bridal suite on the first floor.
If you want to check out more options, view my wedding venues and locations list. Tons more places including Downtown Boston, Vermont and Cape Cod.
with Love, from Katie