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Wedding reception with great food?

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Well, I bit the bullet and I'm now engaged. It's only been a week and the little woman and her mom have been planning non-stop. Her family is Italian and their #1 criteria for a reception is that the food is excellent. My fiance also wants good food, but ambiance is equally important to her. We will probably have somewhere around 275 people. Anybody have any experiences with places that can accommodate this amount of people and still serve great food? I'm not sure what the budget is, so all ideas are welcome.

Also, somewhat closer to Boston / Newton is a plus since there will be some older people coming who may not want to travel too far, but again, we are flexible.

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  1. That number eliminates a lot of places. Unfortunately, I think you'll find that its mostly the big hotels that can accommodate a group of that size. (When I got married in 1998, we ended up getting married in Lenox because we couldn't find a decent place, other than the big hotels, that could accommodate 200+ people.)

    If you've got the budget, go for the Four Seasons Hotel!

    1. I had my wedding reception at the Four Seasons, they can certainly take care of any and all needs, but you pay, as you know. Anyway, they were very open to our suggestions for menu items, did all we asked and more, and were generally great to work with.

      1. I got married last July at the Boston Harbor Hotel, to an Italian-American man with a very large extended Italian-Italian family and group of friends. The food was great (as was everything else) and the Italians loved the food-- especially the pasta, which, as you may know, is usually impossible! Anyway, I think they can hold up to 300 people.

        1. I got married (7 years ago) at the Hampshire House and the food was fantastic. My very demanding Italian family said it was the best food they'd ever had at a wedding. I know the room we were in wouldn't accommodate that many people, but maybe the second floor is bigger?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Eatin in Woostah

            I also got married at the Hampshire House 3 years ago. The food was fabulous. So much we may get married there again. The second floor I think can hold 200. But you can check their website for details.

          2. I got married July 2005 at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge. People still tell me it was the best food they have had at a wedding and we loved it. They don't do cakes though (or they didn't used to so you'll need an outside bakery.

            1. I second the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge. I had many functions there- the last being my daughters wedding shower- that was 4 years ago and everyone is still talking about how wonderful the food was. In lieu of a cake I had a crepes station and that was the hit of the day. We also did the mash potato bar for which the line never stopped. They have the absolute best food around. I have been to functions at every pricey hotel in Boston and the Sonesta has them all beat 1000 times over as far as food and atmosphere go. Their function rooms over look the Charles River and Boston skyline- absolutely beautiful.

              1. Aw, so close. The website for UpStairs on the Square says they can handle up to 250 people. (http://www.upstairsonthesquare.com/ev...)

                I got married at Upstairs at the Pudding in 2001 and it was fabulous. Great food, great service.
                The owner Mary-Catherine Deibel is extremely helpful with planning. And it's definitely got ambience.

                Congratulations - I hope you have a wonderful wedding wherever it is!

                1. We had our wedding in the Imperial Ballroom of the Park Plaza. I have to say that people universally complimented the food and the atmosphere - they have balconies and what not, so it's not just a straight ahead boring hotel ballroom. The common areas are lovely, great for photos, although the guest rooms themselves weren't great at the time (this is almost 6 years ago now so they may have done some renovating. We got a suite with the wedding package which was gorgeous. We actually got married right after they had some flood damage so the ball room was completely redone - brand new rug, paint, etc. We just got lucky in that sense. It's worth checking out again. We are big foodies and were really impressed - especially for hotel food and they were easily able to accommodate a group that large! And they had a separate room for our ceremony, our cocktail hour, and then opened into the large ballroom for the reception. At the time, we spent around $120pp. including a TON of appetizers, open bar for 5 hours, and a full-sit down meal, choice of sea bass or filet. The meal also came with mushroom ravioli, salad, sorbet intermezzo, wedding cake, and table wine service.

                  And remember no matter where you go - everything is negotiable before you sign the contract so negotiate the price if it's just out of your reach but you might be able to make it work - especially if you are willing to do an "off season" wedding, a Friday or Sunday, or book not too far in advance (e.g., we did a March wedding that we booked in August although it was a Saturday night and we were able to negotiate).

                  And most importantly, congratulations and a happy life together!