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Unique wedding venue?

I'm recently engaged and looking to plan a wedding for Summer '09. Me and the fiancee want to have a unique, super fun, casual wedding reception for ~80 people somewhere in the vague greater Boston area.

We loved the Milky Way Lounge and Lanes, but we were told that they would likely be moving, so that's out of the picture, which is quite the shame given that it'd be perfect for us.

So we're looking for fun, funky spaces (restaurants, lounges, clubs, lofts, museums,parks whatever!) that would be good for a party. Places that don't traditionally hold wedding probably are more likely to suit our needs. Delicious, wonderful food is also a plus.

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  1. Check out another bowling venue, King's in the Back Bay.


    1. About 10 years ago I worked for Thompson Island Outward Bound planning clambakes and the like. Normally I'd refrain from posting because of my past employment there but there's been a complete changeover since I've been there- the staff and product is pretty different and really the only thing that remains the same is the location (and even there they've made changes- added a function room, I believe.) The location is very unique. It's pretty untouched, great view of the city, fields for running around and having fun. And it's NOT a place I'd generally recommend for a regular wedding, but if you're truly a casual bunch (and can deal with the uncertainty of weather and boat schedules) then it could be a relaly memorable event. I suppose even if you got rained on and left Aunt Myrtle at the dock it would be memorable- just maybe not the way you wanted ;-)

      They've brought the catering in house so I have no idea how the food is these days, but they rely on repeat business, and you wouldn't be able to get that with a substandard product. You ought to be able to schedule a tasting, I'd expect. They have a full liquor license, which used to mean it was the only harbor island on which you could have an event with alcohol- I imagine that's still the case.

      You can find other unique locations by browsing the list of places Woodman's caters at- while they might not be your style (although they do a decent job if a clambake is what you want), the types of places with work with probably are. http://woodmans.com/clambakes/event_s...

      1. My wife and I got married at Cambridge Brewing Co. - we had about 90 people, noon reception outside in the courtyard, then a casual Sat. afternoon buffet until 5pm. They did a good job on the food - but we kept the menu as simple as possible. And it was the day after their 13th anniversary party, so there were all the leftover beers from that plus a couple that we requested. Reasonable prices for a wedding and they were willing to work with us on any detail. We were very happy with CBC.

        1. my step daughter got married at the Griffin Photo Museum in Winchester. They got married outside, then reception was inside - really really nice. I don't remember her caterer but nice high top tables with stations of food. Really really nice


          1. congrats on your engagement! I got married back in September and we started out looking for a unique place, but ultimately settled on traditional.

            Our first choice was the Cyclorama in the South End. It's a really cool, very unique space. The drawback for us was that the staff there in charge of renting the space was awful. They were hard to get a hold of, and after we'd been told we had a date reserved, they pulled back and said they were going to wait for their performance calendar to come out. But I'd highly suggest checking the space out.

            We also looked at a musem near Central Square in Cambridge that was very cool but wasn't quite big enough for us. I can't remember the name for it, but if you're interested I can ask my wife for the name.

            Note that unique spaces often mean you have to take care of the catering yourself and also all of the set-up details. Another spot we considered was George's Island and some of the state parks that allow wedding receptions. If you're not afraid of rain, you can do it on the cheap!

            1. I've heard good things about renting out the Cambridge Boat Club, right on the Charles: http://www.cambridge-boat-club.org/.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chickpea

                We were invited to a wine dinner at the cambridge boat club a few weeks ago. I think the place is a real dump- really is a boat house- cement floors, rickety wooden tables and chairs. Ugh!

              2. I have friends getting married at the house of the 7 gables in Salem, a historic landmark
                The DeCordova in Lincoln is a cool spot
                The Distillery in Southie is cool too

                2 Replies
                1. re: saltyair

                  Smith Barn, part of the Peabody Museum is pretty unique. They offer formal or casual dinners or even barbeques, ice cream bars instead of traditional cake cutting! The big red barn is decorated either in a formal or casual setting. Their planner is really helpful to help get you what you want in a wedding, from soup to nuts.

                2. I am a musician and have played weddings at lots of places. One that I remember as fun was at the Antique Car Museum in Larz Andersen park in Brookline. I don't know anything about the price or the people that run it, but the space was very unique with all the old cars about. Another place was a campground on the water in Jamestown (I think) R.I. Most of the families camped out and had this beautiful bay at their disposal. We played under a covered (but no walls) function area that looked out over the water. They brought in lots of oysters and seafood and beer/wine/drinks and everyone had a great time. Good luck

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: catspercapita

                    OOPS!- What I called the antique car museum is better known as the Museum of Transportation

                    1. re: catspercapita

                      RI = might have been Beavertail Lighthouse ?

                    2. Endicott college in Beverly has a little mansion on the water. Price is very reasonable views are mindblowing. You won't find anything nicer.

                      1. The courtyard of the Isabella Gardner Museum.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: nasilemak

                          I've always thought the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum would be a beautiful location for a wedding (perhaps even mine some day :) ) but their website says they do not host wedding ceremonies or receptions (although they seem to host any other type of reception you want). What a bummer! http://www.gardnermuseum.org/informat...

                        2. I got married at Hamilton Hall in Salem, MA, but this spot may be more traditional than you want. There is an interesting publication called Historic Places for Historic Parties that you can get at the State house library or you can order from the Secretary of State's website, below. Good luck.


                          1. Great ideas already. Adding two more:

                            The courtyard in Oleana
                            The Aquarium

                            1. The Habitat in Belmont has a beautiful outdoor setting and indoor facilities if the weather doesn't cooperate: http://www.massaudubon.org/Nature_Con... The Fogg art museum in Harvard Square http://www.artmuseums.harvard.edu/fogg/

                              1. westport rivers winery only room for 35ish people, but gorgeous & they make seasonal food w/wine pairings from the vineyard

                                1. The Living room in Cambridge.

                                  1. I would love to get married at the Boston Atheneum, the private library across from the state house on Beacon st, it is beautiful and they have two rooms they rent out, no idea how much it costs. Also a few years ago I went to a wedding at the arnold arboretum, it was wonderful, very laid back.

                                    1. This was ages and ages ago (over 20 years!), but my sister got married at the New England Aquarium. The ceremony was in a tent out back right on Boston Harbor, then the reception was in the actual aquarium, with full access to the guests. It was really a fun, striking place to have a party. And the photo opportunities were great! I think the Aquarium had their own caterer, but I think I remember the food was very good. Among other things, my sister requested a raw seafood station which was excellent. Though we all felt slightly guilty enjoying eating the seafood surrounded by its relatives!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: JemB

                                        Oh, every time I leave the aquarium I crave seafood. They're totally missing a market opportunity in their cafe,which is pretty substandard and could use some nice seafood options. I"m sure it's one reason why Legal's located there. But I agree, the catering I'v ehad there has been pretty good and it's a nice location in the tent there.

                                        1. re: Chris VR

                                          I'm even worse. Every time I look at the tanks of fish, I think, yuuuum, sushi and then my stomach begins to growl.

                                          The cafe used to have fish sticks but I think people complained about the "insensitivity" of it all.

                                      2. Mistral has a private room in the back. The food and service are absolutely incredible--can't say enough good things. The only problem is that I think it seats max 65 people or so if you want a sit down meal (which I recommend). It was so easy to arrange and our guests (I think) had a fantastic time. I know we did.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: jrmd

                                          I've had two functions in Mistral's private room (the "Salon Room"), both of which were amazing. That said, there was nothing "funky" about them.

                                        2. Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, near Lechmere T. Fabulous room with amazing ceiling and funky lighting.


                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: bdfan

                                            Yes! That's the one I was referring to in my earlier post. Definitely check this place out... the main room is fantastic, and you can have your cocktail hour downstairs in one of the art exhibits.

                                            The only downside is tha the kitchen is really, really tiny which might make it tough for caterers.

                                            1. re: bdfan

                                              I got married there last year and it was an amazing venue

                                            2. What do you think of The Herb Lyceum in Groton? It's kind of a cool, unusual place.


                                              1. Check out the Charles River Museum of Industry in Waltham. They rent the place out for weddings/events and its a really cool space overlooking the river. With all sorts of neat antiques, etc.


                                                  1. I have the same problem. However I have a guest list of about 200. Have you thought of the museum of science. That would be quite unique and a whole lot of fun!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: fnkymonkee9

                                                      LOVED the Museum of Science...my bridal shower was there...amazing view, Wolfgang Puck Catering....nice outdoor deck if you take the upstairs space and there are 2 separate rooms separated by glass walls which could make for a nice cocktail/dinner transition with the two spaces...then cocktail space switching back over to dancing...we did brunch and my guests were able to go "hang out" in the museum (parking and museum admission were included!)

                                                    2. Some possible places to consider, although I am not exactly sure of pricing and accommodations
                                                      -The Boston Symphony Hall, has a few different reception halls that might suit your needs.
                                                      -Top of the Hub/Skywalk on top of the Prudential. This one has magnificent views of Boston!
                                                      -The Museum of Fine Arts
                                                      -The Aquarium

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Sabramov

                                                        Another interesting place is the Hammond Castle in Gloucester.