Details: Full House

Make your Big Day a home away from home for loved ones.

WHEN IT CAME TO FINDING THE PERFECT location for her wedding, Rebecca Moryl of Waltham wanted a place where her out-of-town guests could feel at home for the weekend. “My fiance is from Ireland, so finding a place for all of his family to stay together was important,” she says. She also wanted the wedding, reception and guest rooms to be at one location—making Concord’s Colonial Inn in Concord the ideal choice. “Everyone could stay there and be comfortable,” she says.

For brides hoping to give friends and family a home away from home, finding the right location where lingering is welcomed can be a challenge—but not impossible. From quaint inns that define cozy to upscale hotels that will make your wildest wedding dreams come true, these spots will do their best to give you the run of their location for the night, or the entire weekend.

Town and Country

BRIDES LOOKING FOR A LOW-KEY BUT elegant affair, where they don’t have to go anywhere else for the rehearsal dinner, lodging or entertainment, are attracted to Concord’s Colonial Inn (978-369-9200,, says Elizabeth Gemelli, catering sales manager and justice of the peace. Brides can block off 30 of the inn’s 56 rooms for friends and family, who won’t have to go far to find entertainment: Concord’s Monument Square and picturesque downtown are right outside the inn’s door, and historic highlights such as Minute Man National Historical Park, Walden Pond and Orchard House, Louisa May Alcott’s home, are all nearby. The inn itself oozes with history: Built in 1716, it was once owned by Henry David Thoreau’s family. The Merchants’ Row room can accommodate 100 guests for brides looking for a larger wedding, while smaller rooms with old-fashioned nooks and crannies are perfect for smaller, more intimate gatherings. “For a weekend it’s easy and perfect, and most of our guests made a weekend of it,” says Moryl.

Not far from Concord, Longfellow’s Wayside Inn (978-443-1776, in Sudbury also offers brides a historic setting for the Big Day. Nestled among wooded hills and open fields, the inn served as inspiration for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Tales of a Wayside Inn. Here, brides can rent all 10 guest rooms and hold the ceremony at the inn’s private Martha-Mary Chapel. A working gristmill on the property also means fresh corn muffins for guests. The second-floor houseguest sitting room offers guests a chance to sit back, relax and catch up. “It’s the old-fashioned way here,” says function manager Sandy Brown. “There’s no TV or radio in the rooms, so when families are here, they’re here!”


IT IS A RARE WEDDING THAT WOULD require renting out all 193 rooms at The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common (617-574-7100,, but it can be done. For $100,000 a night, The Ritz is yours for the taking, along with a private concierge for the bride and groom.

But you don’t have to rent out the entire hotel to get the red-carpet treatment. Wedding-package perks that’ll help show your guests a weekend to remember include basketball or volleyball tournaments and all-day spa-a-thons at the Sports Club/LA. Brides can give their guests a taste of Hollywood by renting out a theater at AMC Loews Boston Common 19 and screening their favorite movie—or even showing favorite old home movies.

At the Hawthorne Hotel (978-744-4080, in downtown Salem, brides are given complimentary save-the-date cards to help set aside rooms for friends and family. Each couple is allotted 10 rooms; the hotel will accommodate more if possible. “It really becomes their hotel when they’re here,” says Susan Babine, director of sales and marketing. The Grand Ballroom is big enough for a reception of 190 guests, and gold-wrapped chandeliers, original woodwork dating back to the hotel’s beginning in 1925, and giant Palladian windows overlooking Salem Common make it an elegant affair. But the hotel, with other function rooms, also can accommodate wedding receptions with as few as 10 guests. And, nearby sites such as the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem Witch Museum and the House of Seven Gables help guests make it into a weekend-long event.

The hotel also seems to hold a certain level of nostalgia for many brides: “We have a lot of generation brides,” says Babine. “Those who have had grandmothers and mothers married here, and now they are too. It’s a place where everyone can stay, but it’s also a destination. We’ve had a lot of people stay with us for an extended time.”

Down By The Sea

BRIDES HOPING TO TREAT GUESTS to a picture-perfect inn located in a quintessential New England town will strike gold at the Red Lion Inn in Cohasset (781-383-1704, 1704 inn boasts Lion’s Hall, a three-story attached barn with exposed beams, giant glass chandeliers and pine floors for receptions. Guests can take over the entire inn (all 15 guest rooms) and settle in for the night. A beach is just a quarter of a mile down the road, and Scituate Harbor is nearby as well. The Cave, a denlike night club with low-rise brass tables and velvet stools, can be rented out for the night so guests can kick back and continue to mingle long after the reception winds down.

Follow the coastline north to Ipswich where The Inn at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate (978-412-2555,, a property of The Trustees of Reservations, offers a Great Gatsby backdrop for the Big Day. Located on 2,100 sprawling acres, the property sports ocean views, walking paths and rolling green lawns. All of the inn’s decadent 10 guestrooms can be rented (think 600-thread-count sheets and Gilchrist & Soames bath and body products), but only small receptions of 22 people for a sit-down dinner or 45 for passed hors d’oeuvres can be accommodated. Just up the hill, however, the property’s Great House (a circa-1928, 59-room mansion) can house up to 200 guests. Innkeeper Diana Lannon will do whatever she can to help your guests feel at home, including organizing golf and spa outings or trips to nearby Woodman’s for fried clams. “When a bride rents out the entire inn for her family, it’s very relaxed here,” says Lannon. “They know they have the run of the place.”