So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from nyc521. Show nyc521's posts

    So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    Hello all - finding this forum has been so helpful.  My fiance and I are recently engaged, and although we live in Manhattan, we are looking to get married in Boston (where I'm from).  Since I'm not local, most of the searching I've been doing has been online - it's really overwhelming, there are a lot of choices.  Our wedding will be 200 guests, and most of those people will be from out of town, so we are looking mainly at hotels (although we are open to others).  Since we are hosting a lot of people not familiar with Boston, I want to be in a fun area of town so I'm thinking waterfront, back bay or Cambridge.  I can't blow a huge budget (Boston Harbor is too pricey), but we do want someplace nice and not your average ballroom.  Currently I'm considering the Intercontinental, Hyatt Cambridge, State Room and Renaissance.  Any others that I'm missing?  Thoughts on above?  Thank you thank you all!!
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from Elmgirl82. Show Elmgirl82's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    Hi NYC:

    I can tell you that the Hyatt in Cambridge is gorgeous. The old restaurant, The Spinnacer, is the new ballroom that they host weddings in. My very good friend had her wedding their this past August and the view was amazing.

    I also had a friend get married at the State Room was not happy with the end result. She had a lot of problems with the coordinator there. But the room is nice.

    I would also check out the Omni Parker House. Right in the heart of Boston and gorgeous.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from jasmine09. Show jasmine09's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    State Room is majorly pricey--in a different (cost) league than the Cambridge Hyatt.  I don't know about the others.

    You might also consider the Hyatt Harborside, The Royal Sonesta in Cambridge--both have great views.  And the Seaport Hotel.

    Also, the Harvard Club of Boston has two absolutely gorgeous venues.  I think one of them can hold 200--not sure about the other.  Anyway, I don't know exactly how event sponsorship works, but I know that they take members from a few area colleges (not just Harvard--e.g. Holy Cross & Bryant, maybe others).  It could be worth contacting them and seeing what the requirements are, and if you know someone who could sponsor you. 
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from nyc521. Show nyc521's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    Thanks - I keep reading that State Room is so pricey, but the package they emailed over doesn't seem so bad.  The Sonesta package was major pricey, so I had ruled that out, but perhaps the packages aren't telling the real story (I haven't met anyone yet, all through email).  I'll look into Harvard Club (very Boston which I love).
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from jasmine09. Show jasmine09's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    I thought the State Room prices didn't look astronomical based on the emailed sheet either, but the minimums were really REALLY high for our group even for a Sunday night.  However my wedding was half the size of yours, so maybe the minimums won't be a big deal for you.  At any rate, make sure you have all the info about minimums and service charges--don't just base it off the menus they advertise.  Maybe you already have this info--if not, it is worth checking.

    I don't know about pricing on the Sonesta, but if it was more than the State Room, I would be floored.  I've been to events there, but not weddings. 

    If a place looks appealing to you, and in your rough price range, you should definitely talk to a human and negotiate and get more info.  Some places stick to they "sticker prices" a lot more than others, I think.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    Welcome and congratulations, nyc!

    It would help if you could post your budget.  Boston views are expensive, but I get the idea that your budget is pretty high just not "Platinum Weddings" high.  Have you seen that show?  They spend more on linens than we did for our entire wedding.

    ~kar
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    Check out the Sheraton Commander in Cambridge.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from dkb6248. Show dkb6248's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    HI NYC!  Congratulations!

    I have no idea what the pricing is like, but The Charles Hotel in Cambridge and The Liberty Hotel in Beacon Hill are really cool venues that might be worth looking into.

    Good luck!
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    The Liberty is gorgeous and really easy to get to from the airport because it's right off storrow.

    The Omni Parker is also amazing, but the cab rides from the airport are going to be a little more expensive. However, if you look in the reviews section someone recently posted about their wedding at the Omni Parker and she was thrilled with it.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from jasmine09. Show jasmine09's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    Liberty Hotel is cool, but I'm pretty sure they can't fit 200 people for dinner & dancing.  You should ask though.

    Also, the HOliday Inn in Beacon Hill has stunning views.  I'm not sure what their max capacity is, but the room felt pretty big to me when I was there for a holiday party last year.  You should check it out.  I was impressed with the function space--it was much nicer than I was expecting.

    My next formal event for the year is at the Hotel Commonwealth.  I haven't been yet, but that might be another to put on your list to check out.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from cosmogirl. Show cosmogirl's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    I always thought that the Boston Harbor Hotel and the State Room were about the same, pricewise.  I know that the State Room makes you use their vendors and charges for every little thing -- that's the feedback we've been hearing from SR brides, although there haven't been that many on these boards lately.

    Although it's in the Seaport District, many brides have been happy with the Exchange Conference Center.  Legal Seafood does their food. 

    www.exchangeconferencecenter.com

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from nyc521. Show nyc521's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    Thanks - this is helpful.  I don't want to spend more than $30k on the reception (including band) which as I now start looking I see isn't getting me far (weddings are expensive!!).  The Liberty is too small, which is dissapointing, I love the space.  I emailed the Commander, that looks like a cool space as well.

    I looked at the Omni - it looks nice, but a little stuffy (more old school Boston and not as 'cool' if that makes sense). 

    Will definitley look into Exchange Center.

    Thanks for the tips about State Room - we are going to see it, but looks like it's going to be out of our price range.

    We are looking at Friday nights so that should help at most places.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from Wedin2010. Show Wedin2010's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    Hi NYC,

    I was looking at venues similar to yours and eventually decided on the Omni Parker House. I'm not getting married til next July, but I'm really excited about everything so far, and from what I have heard from people who've been to events there, the food is always great (one of our major priorities!).

    A few things you might want to ask--things I learned along the way as I tried to find a good spot for a 200 person wedding in Boston:

    1. Are there windows and a view? I found that in several of the hotels, we'd be in a windowless room or the view would be of pretty much nothing. (Even at the Seaport, with ocean views, it was "industrial ocean" and not pretty seaside.) Because my family is from the area, if I was going to have them come into Boston, I wanted them to feel as though they were IN Boston. The Royal Sonesta in Cambridge had great views of the Charles and the OPH is the rooftop ballroom, which means that you get really cool views of the Citgo sign, the Zakim bridge, etc. and the room is full of windows. (Incidentally, I think the Charles Hotel was one of the windowless ones, but I'm not 100 percent sure.)

    2. What's the deal with other weddings the same day? Get them to explain EXACTLY what happens. A couple of the places I looked at said there were other events at the same time and on the same FLOOR even, but that they "staggered them." I didn't like that, which is a personal thing. The Royal Sonesta has two weddings at a time, but I believe they are on separate sides of the building entirely, and at the Omni, you get the entire top floor to yourself, so little chance of running into another event there.

    3. The accommodations. Since it sounds like you will have a lot of out of town guests, just be sure that the hotel situation is going to be OK. For example, the blocks are a percentage off the rate, so you have to be careful that you're not booking a hotel near a college on graduation weekend or the rates could be out of control (so we were told). Also, check out the rooms. Honestly, rooms at some of the hotel looked GORGEOUS and while the Omni is nice, the rooms are TINY! If you have a lot of people traveling, you want to take this into consideration.

    4. The taxes fees etc. part of the bill. DEFINITELY ask about this and calculate it all into your budget. I absolutely grilled my coordinator at the Omni Parker House on fees before we signed anything b/c 18 percent extra on a 200 person wedding is a lot! When comparing venues, I created a spreadsheet and included those fees and anything else i needed to note to balance things out (ex., if one place had a three-course meal and another place had a five-course meal, I noted that and factored into my decision).

    I hope this is helpful! I was looking for a wedding very similar to yours (and hopefully have found it!) and can't imagine having done it from a distance.

    Oh, and you'll probably have to do this anyways because you're out of town, but when I looked at places, I went against conventional wisdom and looked at three in one day. It made me cranky and exhausted BUT I was able to make really astute comparisons because everything was happening the same day. They start to blend after awhile. ;)

    Good luck!
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from whatawagSBNy. Show whatawagSBNy's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

        One of the hard things about checking places out other than in person is that you don't always know if you are comparing the same things,  especially as some expectations do not cover regional customs or state law.

        Make sure quotes include the same thing.

         Some places will quote you a price by the plate, including standard linens, dishes and glassware, chairs with covers etc. Plus a room fee.  

          Others will have a minimum price, then a price menu by the numbers-  so with 2 choices you want, and 150 people, the price estimate is given, no extra room fee if you hit a given minimum.

         What may not be obvious-

           Mass Meals tax of 6.25 % may or may not be included.
           Required gratuity of 18% or 20 % may or may not be in the package quote.  Never in a by the person quote.
           Many places charge an administrative fee, additional 18% to 22%.  Some places don't.

          If your cake is not part of the deal, places charge $1.50 to %5.00 per person as a plating fee.
          If your dinner wine is additional, or you bring it in from a vendor,  in addition to the liquor price you may pay a $10 to $20 dollar corking fee, per bottle used,  for taking and opening your bottle and pouring it in their crystal wine glasses.

        So before you count any liquor costs, a $65 per person 2 choice meal is  really 
    per plate price plus plating fee X # people,  plus total  X 20% grat.,  plus that total x 18% admin. fee,  plus that total X 6.25% tax.
    Plus any corking fee.

    Do the arithmetic, and ask about every possible fee.

         A $65 a plate caterer's quote which with all charges comes out to $118 per person plus corking and liquor'  is not cheaper than a place that is $100 a person plus only a 6.25 % tax, 106.25  a person real cost plus wine and liquor.

         This is where places like the State room can bowl you over.  And even a place with no administrative fee and gratuity included can look high and be cheaper long term.
         State room adds the 18% ad., the 20% tips, high cake and corking fees  if you use outside vendors and also a fee in hundreds or thousands for every outside vendor you use,  and that whole huge sum is taxed.

    Ask every fee question about every single quote you get.

         Then start on drinks prices,  6.25 or 10.50  for every cocktail, and is beer the same price?  $20 a bottle wine or $80 a bottle wine.  These get tip, ad fees and tax figured on them too, so a  difference between places per drink can be a huge  difference in reality.

         And did anyone mention some Longwoods Events venues and other pricey venues charge the B & G for all guest valet parking?

        Whatever the cost, I do love functions at the Charles Hotel,  Hampshire House,  and the Boston Club.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from jasmine09. Show jasmine09's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    No way you are getting 200 people on a Fri at the State Room for $30k, including the band.  That won't cover the minimum, unless things changed a lot in the last year.

    The Exchange Conference is too small for your crowd.  I'm almost certain they can't do 200.

    Hampshire House is also definitely too small.

    Charles hotel might accommodate you.  They have a cool space upstairs (Regatta Bar) but I'm not sure how many fit there.  I didn't like their ceremony space--they recommended we set up in a wide hallway in the basement.  But I don't know if you are looking for an onsite ceremony.  It's a definite option to keep in mind.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from jasmine09. Show jasmine09's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    Also, check the Museum of Science if a tented wedding appeals to you.  They are right on the Charles, so it's pretty.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from jasmine09. Show jasmine09's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    p.s. Don't know what you are budgeting for a band, but I would think that most will quote you $4-6k for a Fri night.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from Summer2010. Show Summer2010's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    I am having my wedding at Belle Mer which is owned by the same company as the State Room (Longwood Events) and I did look at the State Room. 

    For the harborside room, which would be too small for you wedding, the minimum for a Saturday night in peak season was $30,000.  A Friday would be less.  The room rental fee was $6,500 and $1,500 for the ceremony.  I believe that the rental rate for the big room (which you would need) was $10,000 for a Saturday night and the minimums were probably between $40-50K.  The minimum must be met before the taxes and administrative fees which are 6.25% and 18% respectively.  I know you said your wedding will be a Friday so you can take a little off of these numbers but not much. 

    Meal options can be found for under $100/person but they told me the average meal selection is around $125/person.  Open bar will run you $45/person. 

    The PP who stated that you must use the State Room's vendors is incorrect.  You can use ANY vendor you want.  Longwood will work with anyone.  If you book a vendor through the SR, it counts towards your minimum but the SR will add a % to the price.  If you book the vendor on your own, you pay a $500 vendor fee for each vendor.  I negotiated that down to $250/vendor very easily and got them to waive one vendor fee for me. 

    Our minimum at Belle Mer is $30,000 and if my calculations end up accurate (based on an assumed 95 guest count), we will come in almost right at our minimum.  This will include our band, ceremony music, site rental, ceremony fee, vendor fees, vendor meals, and all food and beverage for our guests.  This $30,000 is before taxes and admin fees. 

    We will still have flowers, photographer and other misc. costs on top of that. 

    I hope that helps give you an idea of costs for the State Room!!


    The Boston Harbor Hotel would have been more expensive for us because they have a $25,000 food and beverage minimum and with less than 100 people that is tough to reach.  We would definitely have spent more money there versus the state room.

    One plase to check out is the Ritz Boston Common.  They had some really great packages...especially for the summer.  Their ballroom has a view of the park and the hotel has a very modern vibe.  Surprisingly, it was quite affordable compared to some of the other places and defintely cheaper than the state room.

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from cosmogirl. Show cosmogirl's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    I apologize for the mis-statement in my post.  I know that one of the last State Room brides we've had on the boards recently was really p.o'd because they had apparently changed their vendor policy after she booked and they would charge her money to use a non-preferred vendor.   As in, if she used her own florist, she would have to pay $500.  For what????????????

    Yes, I'm sorry but $30,000 for a 200-person wedding in downtown Boston is pretty close to impossible.  That won't even be enough for some of the nicer suburban venues.  (Assuming cocktail hour with passed apps, open bar, and plated dinner)

    Is that 200 guest count an absolute?  The easiest way to lower your costs is to lower the number of guests. 

    P.S.  The Colonnade has gotten some excellent reviews lately. 
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from cosmogirl. Show cosmogirl's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    P.S.  If you are inviting 200 people from out of town, you can count on a fair amount of declines, though. 
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    In Response to Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!:
    [QUOTE]Thanks - this is helpful.  I don't want to spend more than $30k on the reception (including band) which as I now start looking I see isn't getting me far (weddings are expensive!!).  Posted by nyc521[/QUOTE]

    It's so true!!  when I was planning mine I was like "there's no WAY I'm going to spend $20,000 on my wedding!" and boy, I quickly realized that to stay UNDER that was going to be difficult...

    It's fun, though, so welcome!
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from nibsfeld. Show nibsfeld's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    Hi everyone!  This is such a helpful thread to me--I'm also planning a 200-person-ish wedding in the downtown area.  We've just gotten started and whoa is this process overwhelming!

    Any experiences with
    the Boston Public Library (gorgeous! http://bpl.org/central/eventspaces.htm),
    the Artists for Humanity Epicenter (http://www.afhboston.com/afh_venue.html),
    the House of Blues, or
    the Renaissance Waterfront?

    We're aiming for a Saturday night in January 2011 and hoping that the January factor might help lower our costs, but I'm a little in shock over how much $$$ we're going to be shelling out for this.
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from nsh1018. Show nsh1018's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    You might also want to look into Seaport I have heard rave reviews regarding it.
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from jasmine09. Show jasmine09's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    BPL is GORGEOUS!  I saw pics from a bride's wedding there and they were absolutely stunning. She said she had a great experience there. But she also said it was majorly majorly pricey, so get a cost estimate before your heart is set on it.  I don't know your budget, obviously. 

    I think we all go through the cost shock!  January will help, but it a Boston wedding is almost always an expensive prospect. 
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from nyc521. Show nyc521's posts

    Re: So Overwhelmed with venue locations!

    Thanks - I just got some great information from the Commander, their prices are reasonable and the room looks nice (and its' a great location near Harvard Sq.).  Unfortunately I don't have much room on my guest list, just our two families alone is 140.  I'm hoping that by doing it on a Friday night we can get close to $30k (that's just food/beverage and band, my total budget is closer to $45k).  Both Hyatt's seem resonable as well in terms of pricing.  Thanks everyone for the advice - it's SO helpful!!
     

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