Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from asimplecook. Show asimplecook's posts

    Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    Hi everyone!  I’m newly engaged and would love to find a venue that is elegant -- but on a shoestring budget. 

     

    I am trying to plan my wedding for 175 people August-October 2010 on a shoestring budget.  Here’s my question – can I pull off a $20,000 wedding in a truly stunning/beautiful architectural settings in the metro Boston area?  (e.g., I love the Peabody Essex Museum, Copley Fairmont Hotel, BPL, MFA, ICA). I am still latched onto the idea of a Saturday evening event somewhere near or in the city with a private courtyard outside for a ceremony and inside for reception / backup (45 min. drive max, as we have a lot of out-of-towners who’ll be based in Boston) and don’t feel comfortable cutting down the guest list further due to a large family.

     

    Is this mission impossible?  I’m finding many of the places are too small or historic homes, which we’re not necessarily huge fans of; or while the venue fee is affordable, the caterer is not (I'd love a food price range around $50-$75 pp.)

     

    I really would like a memorable setting.  Looking forward to hearing your opinions!

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    Well, I was pretty frugal, and our wedding (everything, dress to cake) was about $18,000.  We had it at a non-profit (so they couldn't charge more than it costs to run the place) historic landmark, the Wayside Inn in Sudbury.  I had 80 people, and dinner was the most expensive part of the whole thing.  If you add another $8000 for your guest list, that would bring you to $26,000 at that relatively inexpensive venue whose fee was only $1400.

    You cannot do a sit-down, formal dinner for $50-75 pp.  Not possible.  You can probably do what I suggested above, a brunch or buffet lunch for that much.

    So, it seems to me that if you do a morning or early afternoon wedding with a low key, casual reception (brunch or buffet lunch) you may be able to do it on your budget.  The thing is, though, that the places you are interested in are where everyone wants to get married so they can command a pretty high price just for the booking let alone the food and drinks.

    The average wedding in Boston according to BDC last year is for 150 people at $26,000.

    You can save a ton by cutting the guest list in half since food and drinks are the most expensive portion of the budget.  80 was a great number for us; we have big families so we didn't have a lot of friends there.  We could visit with everyone, and it never felt out of control.

    Bottom line, I think you are underestiamating the cost by quite a bit for the type of Boston locales you describe.

    Sorry to be a downer, but there's my opinion for what it's worth.

    Best wishes and congratulations!!!
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie18. Show pinkkittie18's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    check out some of the other hotels in Boston that are less hyped, like the Hyatt Boston on Lafayette Street in Downtown Crossing. I know they have an outdoor patio they just did renovations on. I had an event the in January and it was a beautiful room.

    [QUOTE]Hi everyone!   I’m newly engaged and would love to find a venue that is elegant -- but on a shoestring budget.     I am trying to plan my wedding for 175 people August-October 2010 on a shoestring budget.   Here’s my question – can I pull off a $20,000 wedding in a truly stunning/beautiful architectural settings in the metro Boston area?  (e.g., I love the Peabody Essex Museum, Copley Fairmont Hotel, BPL, MFA, ICA). I am still latched onto the idea of a Saturday evening event somewhere near or in the city with a private courtyard outside for a ceremony and inside for reception / backup (45 min. drive max, as we have a lot of out-of-towners who’ll be based in Boston) and don’t feel comfortable cutting down the guest list further due to a large family.   Is this mission impossible?    I’m finding many of the places are too small or historic homes, which we’re not necessarily huge fans of; or while the venue fee is affordable, the caterer is not (I'd love a food price range around $50-$75 pp.)   I really would like a memorable setting.   Looking forward to hearing your opinions!
    Posted by asimplecook[/QUOTE]
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from jasmine09. Show jasmine09's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    It's a little scary, but I'm going to have to agree with kar and say, probably not.  (just a reality check).  Unless you cut out all the other usual accoutrements that frequently accompany a downtown wedding (photographer, videographer, wedding gown that costs >$200, floral centerpieces, open bar, live music etc.).

    As a ballpark, in case it helps, I didn't find any large, centrally located, beautiful venue of the type you are describing that would do a sit down dinner for much less than $150 per person, and most were around $200 per person, for catering bill, plus estimated bar costs, plus room rental, plus the 20% service fee venues frequently charge. 

    That's not to say that there are no deals to be had.  Things to look for:
    -off-season, or non-Saturday rentals have lower minimums.  Sometimes MUCH lower.  Our Sunday night wedding is  saving us ~$2k on the band--which meant that we could get a much nicer band than we would otherwise afford.  If you have a lot of ppl coming from out of town, they will likely need to take Friday off to attend a Saturday wedding.  With a Sunday wedding, they need to take Monday off--so it's kind of symmetric, and can save you a lot of money.

    -brunches and lunches are cheaper (lower room rental fees, lower minimums), plus the alcohol bill will be lower if you are doing an open, consumption bar

    -look at private clubs and non-traditional venues--work any connections you have.  If you or a close family/friend are Harvard alums, look at those clubs, for example.  Other colleges have other spaces, so keep your eye out and ask around.  Smaller weddings can be held at the College Club or Algonquin Club of Boston (and I don't think you need member sponsorship, though it is worth checking.)

    -look a little off the beaten track for hotels.  I've heard that on the scale of Boston hotel weddings, the Cambridge Hyatt, the Royal Sonesta Cambridge, and the Seaport Hotel pair gorgeous views with more reasonable/negotiable pricing.  They may not be as architecturally stunning as the BPL, but they are kind of neat.

    -cut down on the extras--print your own invitations, skip the videographer, make your own wedding album, skip the live music (or keep it to a small duo or trio), keep your dress simple, etc.  these things add up.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie18. Show pinkkittie18's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    to mirror Jasmine's advice- DIY as much as you can, as that's the best way to save money. I saved a bundle by making my own bouquets and centerpieces using oragami flowers and other stuff found at a craft store. I used my iPod as the DJ and my dress was from David's Bridal $99 sale. A friend did my makeup and I did my own hair.
    The only things I splurged on were the venue (including food) and the photographer.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie18. Show pinkkittie18's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    www.offbeatbride.com is a great place to find ideas on how to make things elegant but DIY.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    Sorry, kar, I have to disagree. You can totally do a sit down dinner for $50-75 pp, provided that dinner is just dinner and doesn't include drinks, dessert.  You may have trouble finding a place w/in 25 miles of Boston that can accomodate 175 people and that has an outdoor space for the ceremony for that price, but you can def find places that will provide you food for that amount. 

    I can think of several places that are in the right price range, but they are going to be too small for the OP's guest list, or they don't have an outdoor space for the ceremony.  I say keep looking, or else be flexible on the outdoor space for the ceremony.  Check out the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem.   It has no outdoor space, and their prices are higher than what you are looking for for dinner, but you get alot of 'extras' thrown into the package, so I think it comes out to about the same.  Their ballroom is very pretty and the hotel itself, while not in the same style as the ICA or Peabody Essex, is still architecturally interesting.  Good luck!
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from jasmine09. Show jasmine09's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    What ALF is saying makes sense to me in that our actual dinner bill for each person is less tahn $75-100.  In fact, the actual 4-course meal for each person at our Cambridge wedding is under $40.  It's just that once you add in the service fee, room rentals, alcohol, cocktail hour appetizers, wedding cake, etc. the "catering+venue" expenses climb up much higher.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from Cyclechic06. Show Cyclechic06's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    Have you thought about having a cocktail reception?  No one says you have to feed everyone a 4 course sit-down meal at a wedding.  Just make sure your guests know ahead of time.


    I would also do some research on the sites you listed.  I know the ICA, for example, requires you to rent the entire building for your function for some obscene price and the PEM room fee alone is $10K on a Saturday night.  That's already half your budget.

    The Hyatt in Cambridge has a beautiful room with amazing views of the Charles and of Boston.  The have a courtyard with a tent they use for ceremonies.  I remember their prices being somewhat reasonable.

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie18. Show pinkkittie18's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    that reminds me, you can save a ton of money by taking your formal photos before the ceremony and thereby eliminating the cocktail hour.
    Station dinners are also cheaper than plated dinners.

    [QUOTE]What ALF is saying makes sense to me in that our actual dinner bill for each person is less tahn $75-100.  In fact, the actual 4-course meal for each person at our Cambridge wedding is under $40.  It's just that once you add in the service fee, room rentals, alcohol, cocktail hour appetizers, wedding cake, etc. the "catering+venue" expenses climb up much higher.
    Posted by jasmine09[/QUOTE]
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from ajuly09. Show ajuly09's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    I agree with others 20K for a 175 can't really be done in one of the places you stated. The BPL is 15,000 just to rent it for a wedding! (I looked there! eek!)  I think your best bet is finding a place that you can live with that has a lower fee, and then brining in a caterer.  My friend used a caterer for her wedding in Cohasset and the food was only about $45 a person and it was delish!  There are ways to cut down, no floral centerpieces, cheap DJ etc. that can bring your budget down, but when you have a large number the cost of the food and drink is the biggest price tag.  Also, my friends wedding site allowed her to bring in her own alcohol, so she was able to buy inexpensive alcohol, which saved a bunch compared to an open bar at $20 or more a person.  Check out A Catered Affair's website, they are a caterer (not the one my friend used, they are much more expensive) and out of Hingham. They have a huge list of venues that they have catered at in the Boston area and who will let you bring a caterer in.
    Good luck!
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from GEM81. Show GEM81's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    Nope, can't be done. At least not everything you're looking for, which I'm assuming also inlcludes music, flowers, some alcohol, etc. You're going to have to give up something somewhere--either the day of the week and time, the full sit down dinner, proximity to Boston, or the guest list. Only other way is cut virtually everything else out of the wedding except the food. I'm also planning a city wedding on a tight budget (by Boston standards) so I know of what I speak.
    I'd advise you and your fiance to really think about what elements are most important to you and what you're willing to compromise on. Good luck!

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from Reader001. Show Reader001's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    I think you can do it, but you will have to get creative and flexible. Do think about going a little farther outside the metro area, it gets cheaper out there. We didn't have to, we found that the Henderson House has everything we were looking for. The food hits your upper price range, as August is their off season, they have a large and lovely patio and the whole property is surrounded by trees, so folks can go outside and not feel like they're overwhelmed by traffic of nearby buildings. This last was really important to us.
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from Trigirl627. Show Trigirl627's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    http://www.cmacusa.org/HTML/New%20Photo%20Gallery%20page/indeximagegallery.html


    Have you seen this place? I don't know it from experience, but I've heard good things.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from tibird. Show tibird's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    If you are willing to go outside of Boston, you could look at Lombardo's in Randolph.  They can definately fit 175 & their packages, if I remember correctly were pretty reasonable.  I think it was ~$100/person, but that included everything (flowers, music, cake, photography...) This was a couple of years ago, but it's still more reasonable than in the city. 
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    ALF, I don't have the reply option...

    Anyway, I would totally agree with you for places outside of Boston proper that do not charge a minimum that would necessitate spending more. I think the title of her post indicates she knows it's really not possible, and she just wanted a reality check here.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    [QUOTE]ALF, I don't have the reply option... Anyway, I would totally agree with you for places outside of Boston proper that do not charge a minimum that would necessitate spending more. I think the title of her post indicates she knows it's really not possible, and she just wanted a reality check here.
    Posted by kargiver[/QUOTE]

    Oh, for Boston proper, I totally agree w/ you. It's not gonna happen for the amount of people she has, plus the need for an outdoor space.  Since she mentioned the Peabody Essex Museum [which is in Salem], I thought she was okay w/ things w/in a short distance from Boston.  You can def. do it w/in 25 miles of Boston if you are willing to compromise on some things. 
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    [QUOTE]Oh, for Boston proper, I totally agree w/ you. It's not gonna happen for the amount of people she has, plus the need for an outdoor space.  Since she mentioned the Peabody Essex Museum [which is in Salem], I thought she was okay w/ things w/in a short distance from Boston.  You can def. do it w/in 25 miles of Boston if you are willing to compromise on some things. 
    Posted by ALF72[/QUOTE]

    Yes, I think she could do it for about $25,000 at the Wayside Inn, maybe less if she's even more frugal than I was and, like you said, doesn't have an open bar which would be about $3000 for that number there (if you double what we spent).  I spent about $1100, total, on my gown, but if she goes to Target she can get one she doesn't need to alter for 1/10th of that, for instance.  She cant' do much better on flowers than I did, what I got was $600 and was nothing for the reception.

    But, I don't think that's what she's looking for unless I misread her post.  You're right, the P E Museum is not in Boston proper.  Maybe she didn't know that.  She
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from engagedkat. Show engagedkat's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    You are all going to think I'm crazy, but if you can stretch your budget a little bit...you can go to the Ritz Carlton Boston Common...we actually passed it up, but I"m assuming because of the economy they are offering a 5/5 honeymoon at any Ritz and the package was crazy..Before tax it was $150 pp. inc 3 courses off a special menu (which was basically chix,steak,fish) and a 5 hour open bar...and 3 or 5 ( i forget) passed apps for cocktail hour.
    you wouldn't even need flowers - the place is great all by itself..

    I was a little bit more picky about my guests not shelling out money to park, and passed it up. But it's a good deal.

    Anyway, other than that, I am going to say good luck.

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from engagedkat. Show engagedkat's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    oh another thought, the new community rowing center....you have to bring in a caterer, but it's stunning design and brand new on the Charles in Newton. 
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from november2009. Show november2009's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    The Cambridge Mutlicultral Arts Center is a beautiful Charles Bullfinch building that might hold 175.  I went to a gorgeous wedding there that I think about 160 people attended.   Good luck with your search.
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from Carey906. Show Carey906's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    Have you tried the Salem Waterfront Hotel? They have this great package for around 50 to 60 dollars a person currently. It includes champagne toast, reception cocktails and stationary food (with passed hors d'ouevres for an hour) and then a four course sit down dinner. For the packaged price they also include the cake cutting fees, and a free room for your wedding night. The hotel is 20 or so miles outside of boston, but you get a very pretty view of the Salem harbour. It seems to fit within your budget pretty well, and you stated you were willing to go as far as the peabody essex museum, which is just next door, so the distance is okay too right?  We are actually going to use that wedding pacakage for our rehearsal dinner. Definitely give them a call. GOOD LUCK!
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from renton. Show renton's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    We're getting married next week (!) at the Warren Center in Ashland, Mass. (about 40 mins from Boston, off 495, next door to Framingham), and we're definitely paying less than $75 a head! It's on a Sunday (though the Sunday of a three-day weekend, so it may even be considered Saturday pricing -- if they even distinguish that, and I'm not sure they do), and it's a sit-down meal. All of the pricing is available on the Web site, but you can also cut per-head pricing and do some mixing and matching of the packages (e.g., we're saving $5/head by not having a champagne toast). The coordinator there, Nickie, is wonderful, and I have had a fantastic experience with them -- no nickel and diming, either.

    An extra plus is that the venue is gorgeous, open and airy, not at all a typical reception venue, and it's on a 200 acre estate -- there's even a lovely, reasonably priced hotel on the property. We attended a tasting a couple of months ago, and the food is great.

    http://www.warrencenter.com/

    Good luck!!
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from renton. Show renton's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    sorry -- one more thing re: Warren Center is that if you happen to be an alum of Northeastern (unfortunately neither of us is) you get 10% off, since Northeastern owns the property.
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from Jenna4d. Show Jenna4d's posts

    Re: Have my cake and eat it too? Beautiful venues for ~175

    Everything you are looking for is possible if you are willing to leave Boston.  For example Fall River Country Club is absolutely beautiful.  It has an outside terrace and it's on the water.  Beautiful ballroom and food is very low priced and taste great.  My cousin did her wedding there in September for a under 10K + all other expenses she came in aroun 15K for 150 people... That allows you another $5k for additional people, some alcohol, and anything esle you choose.  Just be open to other venues and you will stay right in budget!  Lincoln, RI offered Kirkbrae Country Club - beautiful, but the area is just alright and they do 2 weddings.  Good luck!

     

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