Sponsor Content

Dream Weddings Done Right: Boston Venue Inspiration from Museum Masterpieces to Backyard Parties

Matt Teuten

For their big day, there’s one thing all couples want: a worry-free wedding. Besides booking your dream venue as the perfect backdrop, the ultimate goal is a stress-free, joyful experience from start to finish. The great challenge, of course, is achieving that level of ease.

Luckily, Boston’s dream team of experienced hospitality professionals has been hosting and catering flawless weddings for years. They’ve found a way to combine the grandeur and romance of Boston’s most stunning historical and cultural buildings (not to mention beloved backyards) with flawless service and elevated cuisine. 

If you want that worry-free wedding—the perfect venue, mouth-watering food, and the hard work on someone else’s plate–that team, The Catered Affair (TCA), is your best bet in Boston. TCA provides brilliant food, flawless service, and stunning experiences for every catered wedding.  

We spoke to TCA’s Executive Chef Mark Richardson to learn how the team creates that effortless flavor and feel at the most coveted Boston venues. 

Boston Public Library

Weddings at Boston Public Library (BPL) are, in a word, breathtaking. Richardson trained with some of the country’s most celebrated chefs and has prepared decadent meals for hundreds of TCA events. When asked about BPL, he says: “In my 20-plus years, I have never seen anything more beautiful than the weddings we do at BPL.”

If you’re leaning towards the BPL venue for your wedding, you’ll choose between the iconic McKim Building and the vibrant Boylston Street Building. Although it’s a tough choice, you can rest assured that you’ll have an impeccable food menu in both buildings. “The last thing you want to think about on your wedding day is the food,” says Richardson. “And we routinely exceed client expectations.”

The McKim Building, an 1895 Renaissance Revival, offers more of an arts-centered vibe with intricate architecture and works of fine art as a focal point. With Bates Hall’s 50-foot-high barrel-vault ceiling and the Courtyard’s immersive, al fresco reception area (among many other spaces), it’s hard not to picture your nuptial celebrations in these spaces. 

The Boylston Street Building is more modern, with street-level, floor-to-ceiling windows and a sleek facade facing Boylston Street. Boylston Hall will make for a chic and cosmopolitan wedding.

Harvard Art Museums

Located in Cambridge, the Harvard Art Museums are another magical setting for unique weddings. Calderwood Courtyard, where you can have your reception, is one of the most romantic spots in Cambridge. The space resembles an Italian piazza—dramatic archways, an open-air feel, brilliant food, and flawless service.

“It’s so important that the food is memorable,” says Richardson. A culturally rich and impressive venue like Harvard Art Museums can be enhanced even more with the right menu.

Adolphus Busch Hall, several blocks away, is part of the Harvard Art Museums. It’s a grand medieval-style hall with enchanting stonework and Renaissance sculpture, an immersive and unique setting perfect for those who want an intimate wedding celebration.  

You can even take the festivities outside in the courtyard, surrounded by a European-inspired garden with lush greenery. “Fresh, seasonal ingredients,” says Richardson, “elevate the experience.”

The Institute of Contemporary Art

The Institute of Contemporary Art is a sleek and modern museum with the benefit of Boston Harbor and skyline views.

The Catered Affair can offer various food-service formats to best suit your wedding. A traditional, seated dinner may complement the modern ICA setting incredibly well. 

The first course could be an artistic salad bursting with seasonal flavors, and the entree will be sure to impress, no matter your choice. You can also opt for a dinner buffet to easily accommodate diverse tastes, allergies, and age groups and to encourage activity and mingling. 

The SoWa Power Station

The SoWa Power Station is an iconic masterpiece of late-industrial glamour. Built in 1896 to be the world’s largest power generation plant, it produced enough electricity to run the West End Street Railway. Spanning over 30,000 square feet across two stories, The SoWa Power Station is ideal for highly customized experiences. The venue can accommodate up to 1,500 guests or smaller gatherings, and the design options are endless.

Whether you’re hosting a gala, a conference, or an intimate wedding, the vibrant spaces at The SoWa Power Station create an unforgettable experience for every guest.

/ Cheryl Richards

Boston Athenaeum 

Boston Athenaeum is a venue in Beacon Hill rich with history. It was recently renovated, so old bridges the new for an even more immersive experience. The Athenaeum has five floors of usable space for book lovers, artisans, academics, or couples looking for a distinguished and memorable wedding venue.

The Bayard Henry Long Room, on the first floor, is ideal for ceremonies or dinner.  Boasting a world-famous collection of over half a million volumes that inspire reflection, creative expression, and joy, the Boston Athenaeum is a magical setting for exceptional entertainment.

The newer Leventhal Lounge offers impressive dinner or reception space with large windows looking out into the city. A cocktail reception in Leventhal Lounge provides the ultimate social revelry and culinary exploration. Feast on dinner by the bite with cocktail-size miniature meals handcrafted hors d’oeuvres, and bountiful food stations. 

Stephen Cloutier

Private Spaces

Look no further than your sprawling backyard for sentimentality and closeness to home. The Catered Affair will say yes to visions big and small, from custom-tented celebrations to unique destinations. In other words, you can fully customize the wedding of your dreams from start to finish.

As for the menu, Richardson shares, “These private weddings are some of the most exciting events as a caterer. I’m a restaurant guy,” he says. “That’s where I had all my experience.” Richardson, who has trained with chefs like Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller, says that “in a restaurant, you show up in the same kitchen every day, know where everything is, and are in the confines of the restaurant kitchen environment.”

“Catering is a whole different world,” he says. “You come in, and you’re building your kitchen from scratch.  Last summer, we were catering a wedding for 300 people and looked out over the ocean as we cooked.” 

“Our secret ingredients are the love and passion we have for food in general,” he says. “And whether it’s a wedding, a gala, or a community event, we’re putting our heart and soul into the food.”