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Wedding venue

My daughter and fiancée are planning a small intimate wedding - 20-25 people, to be followed by a reception elsewhere. They'd like a private dining experience in a picturesque setting - or at least something with charm and good food - within 2 hours of Boston. They are open to any suggestions - price range, urban/suburban. Ceremony on site may or may not be part of the event.
Thanks for any ideas....

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  1. Oleana does weddings in their lovely backyard garden for parties under I believe 50. It has to be an afternoon wedding, but the food quality is about as good as you can get.

    2 Replies
    1. re: VintageMolly

      I’ve heard raves for Oleana weddings from friends who are chefs.

      1. Crane Estate in Ipswich overlooking the ocean at Cranes Beach, breathtaking views!!

        1. the herb lyceum at gilson's farm is lovely.

          also check out historic new england which includes old estates like the lyman estate and the codman carriage house. their event planners will help with all the caterers, linens, etc.

          are they looking to book for 2014? i hope not this summer!

          3 Replies
          1. re: hotoynoodle

            My brother got married at the Lyman Estate. Unfortunately, it rained and there were better choices if they had considered the weather might not cooperate. Their wedding was much larger, and I didn't like how everyone was split up into different rooms. It wouldn't be my first choice.

            1. re: catsmeow

              a party of 20 wouldn't need to be split up.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                I understand that. Just trying to make the point that what makes the Lyman Estate so special are the grounds.

          2. Tupper Manor in Beverly Farms is a lovely setting. I don't know what day of the week your daughter is thinking about, but it might be late for wedding venues unless you just go with a restaurant with the type of setting they are looking towards.

            My daughter is getting married this year and she booked a year ago.

            Good luck in your search.

            1. We're looking at fall of 2015 - and thinking of a restaurant or place that does the food. Herb Lyceum is a place I need to contact. Oleana sounds good (I know the food is...), as well, but the fiancée is looking for something with a connection to nature, outdoors, etc.

              3 Replies
              1. re: EllenMM

                You might investigate the Gibbet Hill Grill in Groton and the Wayside Inn in Sudbury for restaurants with lovely settings that can accommodate weddings.



                1. re: EllenMM

                  Habitat is a lovely secluded Mass. Audubon property/estate in Belmont but you would need to bring in a caterer.Lovely gardens, walking trails and grounds.

                  Maybe Drumlin Farm in Lincoln, headqrters for Mass. Audubon.

                  Codman House in Lincoln, a large Federal estate with gardens and pastures, has a carriage house for events.
                  Owned by Historic New England which has many other venues.

                  Elm Bank is large Wellesley estate /hdqrters for Mass. Horticultural Society with lots of gardens and walking trails. Lovely bldg for catered events, though very large.
                  Ditto the Paine Estate/Stonehurst in Waltham.

                  Camb. Historical Society's 18th c. house on historic Brattle St. is excellent for a small group like this, but again, you bring in the caterer, and not really a 'nature' place.

                  I know all these places well. Given the groom's request and the size of the group, Habitat would be my first choice- less formal and more intimate than the others.

                  1. re: EllenMM

                    It doesn't have any ocean or forest vista, for sure, and I understand the desire for that, but the garden at Oleana is truly an intimate, beautiful place. When I can't get out of the city to a true "in nature" spot, I love to go there to get an immersion dose of nature. It is a true oasis in the city. Bonus: by checking it out, you get to eat the meze!

                    You've gotten lots of great suggestions for beautiful settings. I don't know if she does weddings, but

                    is a beautiful setting, and small.

                  2. Moraine Farms in Beverly has a wonderful old house that is perfect for a wedding of about 25 people. The grounds are spectacular... the food is incredible because it is done by the exclusive catering company Fireside Catering. These are the same people that own Giblet Hill, the Barn and several other restaurants.

                    1. Newport, Rhode Island is within two hours of Boston. There are numerous venues ranging from elegant to rustic; from mansions to farms. Some have gorgeous views of Narragansett Bay/Atlantic Ocean. I have attached a site that might prove useful.


                      1. The Trustees of Reservations has a long list of estate venues that would be suitable for your daughter's wedding. They include a manor house and beautiful grounds. We have attended weddings at several estates and each was beautiful, and accommodated every one. The Crane Estate and Great House, for one, are gorgeous with views to the ocean.


                        1. I hear Fruitlands does weddings.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: addiez

                            They do and the catering company is Fireside Catering... see post above regarding Moraine Farm. They also do Glen Magna in Danvers

                            1. re: MeffaBabe

                              I would definitely recommend Glen Magna. We attended a wedding there and everything was perfect, from ceremony to food. It was a beautiful Summer afternoon which helped to create the lovely atmosphere.


                              1. re: Gio

                                gio, i would encourage you and others to think about SIZE and style of the place you are recommending. Glen Magna, but esp the Crane Estate, are lovely landed historic spots but imo, they are not desirable for a 20 person wedding. It would be like having an entimate event on City Hall Plaza. Overwhelming size, and formal (not "Nature walks' )style. That's the challenge here. Think small, intimate, relaxed, informal setting with nature walks..... Habitat was the only place i came up with.

                                addiez, Fruitlands has soooo many problems trying to do weddings. aside from the view not being great, they have
                                not worked out solutions to bad weather scenarios.

                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                  Thank you opinionatedchef. The wedding we attended at Glen Magna was a small wedding. We were on the pretty back terrace for the ceremony then went inside to the adjoining room, where there was a piano, for drinks and small plates a la cocktail party. The room easily accommodated the guests and some sat in there while my husband and I with a few friends sat on the terrace.

                                  Also, many of the Trustees listings are farms and other venues with "nature walks".

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    My brother got married at Glen Magna ( long time ago!), and I think it is more suited for a small wedding! He had a big wedding, and the weather horrendous, so could not use tents. The wedding was inside, but we made do. Not a lot of room, but fabulous food.

                          2. Has anyone had any experience at Willowdale Estate in Topsfield? It's lovely setting, with an Arts and Crafts style Mansion, and carefully planned gardens with a buoyant natural feel.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: gracenote

                              Went to a wedding there in November (~100 people), a really lovely setting. The food was pretty mediocre though, not sure if it was an onsite caterer or someone they brought in.

                            2. opinionatedchef part of the issues of having weddings outdoors in New England is bad weather. Any venues like Glen Magna, Moraine Farms, Fruitlands, Habitat, Mistlewood all have large function tents put up for larger weddings at these venues, if we have torrential blowing downpours these tents can only do so much to keep everyone dry. The lawns become muddy and full of puddles and there is nothing anyone can do about it. It's not a matter of working out solutions for bad weather, there are none at these venues. Places like the Crane estate have room to bring the party inside but these other venues do not.

                              For a small wedding like EllenMM is having these venues are perfect because her wedding is small enough to hold the wedding indoors and have the cocktail hours outdoors and also have a great photo opts. The bad weather would not be an issue for her party.

                              I do know Habitat is really, really cheap, like I think under $100 to rent. You have to pick a catering company from their list of preferred caterers. No air conditioning at any of these venues as far as I can remember so if your having a summer wedding you must remember that also.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: MeffaBabe

                                Per Habitat's website, their rental fee for weddings and other formal events is $2800 for 5 hours.

                              2. mb, what you prob don't know about me is that i owned a boston catering co. for 30 yrs .and we did hundreds of weddings. I disagree with you that all estate venues have the same bad-weather problems. That is why i singled out Fruitlands as a bad choice..

                                And you are incorrect about Habitat on each count. It costs per below, and it CAN easily accomodate an indoor ceremony and reception for that size group.AND it is a nature center and has walking trails.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                  I never said Habitat could not accommodate a wedding that size it can actually accommodate an inside wedding of about 75+ people, I have actually worked over 100 weddings at that venue and have even had weddings indoors of well over 80 people. I was told by the woman that works in the Belmont Habitat that the cost was under $100 I thought since she worked there she knew what she was talking about. Nobody attending a wedding wants to go walking the wooded trails in dress clothes and heals. It does have spectacular gardens and a nice area for an outdoor cocktail hour and it does not have air conditioning.

                                  The estate venues that require tents for large weddings are not the best ones for bad weather problems. The reason they require tents is usually because they cannot accommodate those large parties inside for a reception with tables and chairs. The homes are usually beautiful but not practical for a reception of 150+ but for a wedding of 20-25 ppl they are all perfect for an indoor wedding so bad weather issues is a mute point.

                                    1. re: MeffaBabe

                                      Actually, we visited Habitat, and $2500 is what they quoted us. It is lovely, but perhaps a bit too big. I was hoping to avoid the contracting of caterers, flowers, etc. and just find a lovely restaurant with a private room and an over-the-top meal. I, too, live in Meffa, and was thinking of Bistro 5, but want to check out places a bit more bucolic. Thanks for all the input. Lots to think about.