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Rec for a Wedding and Reception

I have a friend who wants to have a memorable wedding and reception in the same venue. He will spend as much as he can, but he's getting crazy quotes: State Room - $40,000; Seaport Hotel - $30,000 and so on. They are both in the hospitality business with fine dining experience, so they do have high standards, but not $350/person high. He looked at the Stonehedge Inn; it was too small. There will be about 170 guests coming from as far as France and he is looking to spend, I would guess, about $90/person, all inclusive (room plus food, not liquor.) Any thoughts?

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  1. Personally I don't feel "memorable" and "hotel" generally go hand in hand. There's just something really sterile about a hotel ballroom, no matter how you fancy it up. I think they would be better off selecting a stunning location and hiring a caterer. A great resource for finding both Boston/New England locations and caterers is www.meetingpath,com. Although it's geared towards event planners it's easy enough to use if you're an average joe.

    I also think your most memorable locations in this area are places with water views- Exchange Conference Center and Inn at Castle Hill are two that come to mind.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chris VR

      Hmmm, the Crane Estate. I like that idea. With a mind like that you must live in Melrose.

    2. What about the Lyman Estate in Waltham? It has so much character and you can do the ceremony in the ballroom. The downside is that they won't be able to seat all the guests together - the ballroom will be converted to tables/seating and then there are (if I remember correctly) 3 or 4 other rooms for seating. I'm not sure of pricing now, but when we were married there (8 yrs. ago), it was mid-range in price for venues. We brought in our own caterer (Tables of Content) and 8-piece band and had approx. 120 guests and it was fantastic.

      1. I have heard of great weddings/receptions at the Omni Parker House, Royal Sonesta and the Boston Harbor Hotel, to name a few

        1 Reply
        1. re: saltyair

          Though it's probably around the same price level as the places the OP mentioned, for the record, I went to a fantastic wedding this weekend at the Boston Harbor Hotel in the Wharf Room (right on the water). The food was excellent as was the service. The overall setting/decorations (is this done by the location or do people bring this stuff in?) were pretty ideal.

        2. Look at longwoodevents.com and see if their locations appeal. I've had three large events at the Brookline location and all went off very well; the rooms are very pretty, the staff does a good job and the food was well prepared.

          1. The USS Constitution Museum in Charlestown is nice for functions.
            Wife and I had a large party there a few years ago catered by Gourmet Caterers (Boston) who did a great job.

            1. The Hellenic Center in Ipswich...I had 170 people there & it was perfect. http://www.helleniccenter.com/index.html

              2 Replies
              1. re: saridt

                What is the cost per eprson for a wedding and reception at the Hellenic Center?

                1. re: hoehp

                  I didn't have my ceremony there, but I think that is just a few hundred more...For the food (through Vinwood Catering, which was excellent), open bar and the room fee it was around $100 pp. This was in 2005, so I'm not sure how prices have increased. This also included a gorgeous & delicious wedding cake from Cakes for Occassions and all of the linens, china, tables, chairs etc.


              2. Unfortunately, these days $90/person is not really going to get much. If you got the catering route, their cost will be about that for food and service only, not the room. Good luck!

                1. There is a lot of variance between Boston venues and Central Mass venues for price, etc. If you're looking to spend less, you should get out of the City. Any of those venues you've mentioned carry a pretty high price tag because of the Boston location. Going to New Hampshire and Central MASS, for example, will lower your prices significantly and give you more bang for the buck. I love Crane Estate but it's a pretty high price tag and lots of restrictions for alcohol and if you have 170 guests, you can't have them all in one area for dinner and have to rent a tent which gets into more of an expense. $90pp is tough. I'd say lower your guest list or increase your budget if you want to have something of quality. A lot of the historic places in and around Boston don't accommodate 170 in one area for dinner which requires separate seating in different rooms or a tent which is another expense. Just my two cents as I plan special events. :) Good luck!

                  1. Look up the Mile Away Restaurant in Milford NH (Near Nashua). www.mileawayrestaurant.com They have fantastic food and can hold up to 200 in a beautiful tent. Ceremony and reception for very reasonable prices. They don't have rooms though. Amazing gardens and a laid back attitude

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ShakeNBake

                      Amazing food at the Mile Away was $40 per person (including tax and gratuity)- add four appetizers for $5 per person- what a bargain in the wedding world! And fantastic food!

                    2. Hi Almansa,

                      I am actually planning a wedding right now, and have looked at many different options. We are trying to do something special, memorable, and unique... and I agree with several other posters that 'hotels' aren't exactly as special as other sites. I have just returned from a wonderful visit to the Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton, MA. Not that your friend is at any loss for good wine in France, but the wine is delicious, the food at their restaurant (or outside in their covered pavilion) is incredibly creative and 'chow' worthy! I absolutely loved the 55 acres (right now, peaches, berries, plums, and other fruits are ready to be picked) and the vineyards. It is gorgeous, and the prices are so reasonable. It is a bit of a hike for those coming to a destination wedding.. about an hour from Boston.. but for a memorable, special day, it would be a great pick! Good luck to your friend.

                      1. We got married a stunning, stunning place in Rangeley, ME for $40 venue fee and $20 per person.The Country Club Inn.

                        1. The Commons in Topsfield was my strong second choice for my own wedding (we had too many guest to fit in the space and have a good sized dance floor). Their menu really seemed top notch (I heard nothing but great things about the quality of the food and the menu is very Boston chic) and it is one of the best steals I found by far in terms of elegant atmosphere and food for mid-range hotel pricing.

                          0. Beautiful converted historic mansion with huge windows, stage, fireplace and small balcony in the ballroom.
                          1. Meal with 5 passed hors douvres, 1 hors d'oeuvres station, salad, entree, and chocolate dipped fruit is $75 including taxes and fees!
                          2. They set up a bartender, but let you buy and provide the alcohol to the site (HUGE savings)!! They provide all the glassware, ice, soda, mixers, and ecutrimond (sp?) down to the olives and toothpicks for only $8 a person all night including bartender staff fee!
                          3. Site is $5000 ($29 per guest) including free parking and ceremony
                          5. 29 for site + 8 for bar + 75 for meal = $112 a person. Even if you buy a $15 bottle of wine and $10 bottle of liquor per person, it would still be only $137 per person!!

                          Look :) http://www.topsfieldcommons.com/

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: InmanSQ Girl

                            The Commons was my second choice too--it is a beautiful venue...they also contract with Vinwood. I remember something weird about the time they are allowed to serve liquor that was an issue for us --I think they had to stop serving an hour before the reception ended? And the space was an issue for our number of guests --when they say it seats a certain number they include the dance floor in that and then break down guest tables to create the dance space.

                          2. The Hampshire House was perfect for my wedding. Very accomodating, lovely rooms, great food.

                            1. We're also in the process of planning a wedding- we went with The Pierce House in Lincoln, which was very reasonably priced and very beautiful, allowing us to spend more on catering. Also found a really excellent caterer- East Meets West- that has given us exactly the kind of menu we want, and has provided some delicious food!

                              1. How about the Institute of Contemporary Art? Great location & views, yet not your usual "hotel" atmosphere.

                                1. The Hampshire House does a good job. Had my wedding and reception there. Very accomodating. Prices were reasonable. I believe the second floor would handle 170 with no problems.