Location, Location

| Boston Weddings |

The North Shore

Salt marshes, seaside shanties, and bustling harbors provide the quintessential backdrop for a wedding north of Boston. But to give your guests a true taste of the region—think fresh lobster rolls and fried clams—kick off the weekend with a boisterous dinner at the legendary Woodman’s of Essex. For your reception, the Willowdale Estate, tucked away in Topsfield’s Bradley Palmer State Park, just underwent a $2 million renovation. The 1901 house is a fairy-tale setting worthy of a princess (with enough dark wood detail to appeal to your knight in shining armor). On the water, the Crane Estate in Ipswich offers three venues: the Great House, a manse overlooking manicured lawns and the sea; the Casino, a series of Italian-style villas; and an oceanside lawn at Steep Hill Beach. For a more low-key celebration, the barn at Brooksby Farm in Peabody, decorated with farm tools, can host a hoedown—or, with a little imagination and a few well-placed candles, an elegant affair. –Julie Suratt

Venues: Willowdale Estate, 24 Asbury St., Topsfield, 978-887-8211, willowdaleestate .com; Crane Estate, 290 Argilla Rd., Ipswich, 978-356-4351, craneestate.org; Brooksby Farm, 38 Felton St., Peabody, 978-531-7456, essexheritage.org.
Rehearsal Dinner: Woodman’s of Essex, 121 Main St., Essex, 800-649-1773, woodmans.com.
Local Planner: Tangorra Wedding Planning, Newburyport, 978-809-0275, linneatangorra.com.
Photographers: Glenn Livermore, 978-462-1686, glennlivermore.com; Karl Blaser Photography, 978-764-7628, karlblaser.com.

Block Island

Want an easy-to-get-to wedding that feels like a great escape? Called the "Bermuda of the North," Block Island sits just 12 miles off the Rhode Island coast but feels a million miles away from everything. The speck of land boasts picturesque harbors and beaches, Victorian inns, and—best of all—a delightfully slow rhythm. When it comes to wedding planning, however, act swiftly: With only a few major venues in town, the sites can book up two years in advance. 

The isle’s largest hotel, the Spring House, brims with blueblood lore—the seaside estate hosted Ted Kennedy Jr.’s 1993 nuptials on its sprawling, wildflower-covered lawn. Just down the road, the Hotel Manisses offers a quaint garden setting for daytime vows, while its sister property, the 1661 Inn, provides the perfect ocean view for a lobster-bake rehearsal dinner. Fill guests’ welcome bags with pure, old-fashioned products from Island Mist Natural Bath and Body, or Chapel Sweets’ beloved chocolate shells. After a weekend packed with 19th-century charm, your guests will understand why the friendly locals like to ask visitors, "So, when are you going back to America?"–Brigid Sweeney

Venues: The Spring House Hotel, 52 Spring St., 401-466-5844, springhousehotel.com; Hotel Manisses, One Spring St., 401-466-2421, blockislandresorts.com.
Rehearsal Dinner: The 1661 Inn, One Spring St., 401-466-2421, blockislandresorts.com.
Local Planner: Stasia Anthony, Exquisite Events, 174 Bellevue Ave., Ste. 310, Newport, RI, 401-846-3254, exquisiteeventsofnewport.com.
Photographers: Ken Lopardo, 401-261-2503, kenlopardophotography.com; Picture Everything by Kristin Studio, 401-709-3796, kristinstudio.com.

 Kennebunkport

Beyond the Bush family compound (a.k.a. Walker’s Point); beyond the couples in khakis sipping gin and tonics; beyond the souvenir-stuffed business district, Kennebunkport, Maine, has a coastal allure perfect for outdoor celebrations.

After doing the requisite drive-by of the ridiculously ornate Victorian home dubbed the "Wedding Cake House," treat your wedding party to a rehearsal dinner at the White Barn Inn’s restaurant. Housed in a 180-year-old barn, the spot boasts an award-winning menu of New England cuisine. For your reception, the gazebo at the Colony Hotel features 180-degree views of the Atlantic; snap post-ceremony shots in the immaculate organic gardens. For indoor events, the ballroom at the 125-year-old Nonantum Resort holds 200 guests. Guests can happily nosh on Goldenrod saltwater taffy favors (made in neighboring York); those with sea legs can venture out on lobster boat tours and sailing excursions. Having enjoyed a few days of alfresco dining, antiquing, and gorging on seafood, you’ll vow to return to Maine’s coast every anniversary thereafter. –B.S.

Venues: The Colony Hotel, 140 Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport, 207-967-3331, thecolonyhotel.com; the Nonantum Resort, 95 Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport, 207-967-4050, nonantumresort.com.
Rehearsal Dinner: White Barn Inn Restaurant, 37 Beach Ave., Kennebunkport, 207-967-2321, whitebarninn.com.
Local Planner: Diane York, 29 Oregon St., Portland, 207-773-7170, dianeyorkweddings.com.
Photographers: C. A. Smith Photography, 207-967-0500, casmithphotography.com; David Murray Weddings, 207-967-9040, davidmurrayweddings.com.

The Upper Cape

A beachside affair is a no-brainer for weddings on Cape Cod (and yes, the region hosts thousands of these every summer). But there’s another way to charm the heck out of your guests—without getting sand between their toes.

The Upper Cape (the area bounded by Plymouth, Falmouth, and Sandwich) is peppered with farms and country inns. Gather your bridal party for a wedding getaway at the Overbrook House, an eight-bedroom 1920s home in Buzzards Bay. Here, salt-tinged breezes mingle with the scent of herbs wafting in from an organic farm; with a pool, tennis courts, and a dance hall straight out of Dirty Dancing, it feels like summer camp. Raise a tent on one of the 22-acre property’s fields for the big day, and play up the rustic theme by hanging a clothesline between two giant pines and attaching your place cards with clothespins. Or, head to Bourne Farm in West Falmouth, which has 49 acres of trails, plus a field overlooking Crocker Pond. Set up a lemonade stand to greet guests as they walk down the path to your outdoor ceremony. Still got your heart set on the beach? The tent-covered deck at Mashpee’s Popponesset Inn overlooks Nantucket Sound. It’s as close as you can get to the water without getting soaked. –J.S.

Venues: The Overbrook House, Buzzards Bay, 617-593-7954, overbrookhouse.com; Bourne Farm, 6 North Falmouth Hwy., North Falmouth, 508-548-8484, saltpond.info/weddings; Popponesset Inn, 252 Shore Dr., Mashpee, 508-539-8350, newseabury.com.
Rehearsal Dinner: The Flying Bridge, 220 Scranton Ave., Falmouth, 508-548-2700, capecodrestaurants.org/flyingbridge.
Local Planner: Allison Wildes Liset, Elegant Engagements, 508-369-7444, capeweddingplanner.com.
Photographers: Bello Photography, bellophoto.com; Romana Vysatova, 617-290-3905; Kristin Young, 508-563-6301, kristinyoungphotography.com.

The Berkshires

Breathtaking mountain views, antique farmhouses, and winding roads are hallmarks of this cluster of resort towns. But tying the knot here offers its own charms, such as treating guests to local bluegrass music, s’mores roasts, or dessert receptions at Tanglewood. At the Cranwell Resort, set on a hilltop, old-world elegance abounds: Its 19th-century mansion boasts sweeping panoramas of the area’s rocky terrain and lush foliage. Ceremonies on the property’s manicured lawn get a dose of drama from a grand staircase entrance on the outdoor terrace; an intimate ballroom brings nature indoors with 10 floor-to-ceiling windows; and the 35,000-square-foot spa is the ultimate spot for a prewedding facial or massage. Alternatively, hold your reception at Gedney Farm in New Marlborough, where couples exchange vows on a grassy knoll and party in a three-tiered barn. Locally sourced favors range from the quaint (Berkshire Berries’ jams and maple syrups) to the urbane (cognac-infused bonbons and other handcrafted sweets from Lenox-based Chocolate Springs). It’s enough to make you forget you’re only about two hours from home—that, and a few glorious centuries back in time. –Brittany Jasnoff
    
Venues: The Cranwell Resort, 55 Lee Rd., Lenox, 800-272-6935, cranwell.com; Gedney Farm, 34 Hartsville–New Marlborough Rd., New Marlborough, 413-229-3131, gedneyfarm.com.
Rehearsal Dinner: Bistro Zinc, 56 Church St., Lenox, 413-637-8800, bistrozinc.com.
Wedding Planner: Clover Bell-Devaney, Impeccable Events, 21 St. James Ave., Lee, 413-441-1657, impeccableevents.org.
Photographers: Tim Ryan Smith, 479-790-7249, timryansmith.com; Gina Renzi Photography, 518-226-4498, ginarenziphotography.com.

Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2008/06/location-location/