By Irene Berman-Vaporis, Cheryl Fenton, Brittany Jasnoff, Michele Snow, and Andrea Timpano / Photographs by Francine Zaslow / Styling by Abby Bielagus/Ennis
The hardest part of planning a wedding is knowing where to start. Of the thousands of talented coordinators, cake bakers, and florists out there, who can execute your carefully crafted vision to perfection—or help you create one from scratch?
Thankfully, we’ve already done the research for you, poring over online portfolios and Instagram accounts, polling industry experts, and even popping into bridal shops undercover, all in the name of creating this, your exclusive guide to the area’s finest wedding professionals. Ready to say “I do”? Read this first.
We found true love in the gold-dipped halos and lace-trimmed veils at Anthropologie’s Chestnut Hill bridal boutique. Embellished with crystals and glass beads, the brand’s handmade belts and sashes add a dose of glam to even the simplest of white dresses, while the ethereal hair combs and flower crowns turn heads in any setting, from dainty garden party to royal affair. There’s even an on-site stylist to help brides accessorize with authority.
220 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, 617-527-3081, bhldn.com.
All Fit Tailoring
Handing your dream wedding gown over for a nip-tuck is an extreme exercise in letting go. The skilled needle workers at All Fit, however, will ensure a seamless transition from your hands to theirs and back again. Manager Binh Tran gets a special shout-out for her command of the most intricate details, from antique lacework to painstakingly handsewn beading. She usually requires 14 weeks to reconstruct a gown, but can work at lightning speeds should small alterations pop up at the last minute.
168 Newbury St., Boston, 617-236-1984, allfittailoring.com.
Best Bridesmaid Dresses
You found it. The dress. Now it’s your bridesmaids’ turn. Choose a frock they’ll want to wear again (really) at Flair, where owner Stacey Kraft helps bridal parties sift through rack upon colorful rack of shifts, one-shoulders, and A-lines from top designers such as Jenny Yoo, Anna Elyse, and the Dessy Group. Beloved by wedding pros, the airy studio offers top-notch service and refreshingly honest advice.
140 Newbury St., Boston, 617-247-2828, flairbridesmaid.com.
Best Engagement Rings
Goldsmith/jewelry designer Laura Preshong and her team use eco-friendly, recycled metals and conflict-free diamonds from Botswana and Canada to handcraft every ring—which translates to less impact on the environment and mining industry, and an even greater impact on your sweetheart. Choose from the store’s existing collection of sparklers, bring in your own sketch, or let the skilled jewelers transform Grandma’s gems into a new heirloom.
558 Tremont St., Boston, 617-236-7660, laurapreshong.com.
This ultraluxe lingerie boutique’s unmentionables deserve way more than a mention. Shape-defining bustiers, classic “night of” babydolls, and racier honeymoon ensembles are displayed like works of art in the Back Bay showroom, and bridal parties enjoy VIP closed-store shopping with champagne, chocolate, and finger foods. One look at the hand-embroidered frastaglio details of the Maison collection and you’ll wish every day was your big day.
250 Boylston St., Boston, 617-423-5709, laperla.com.
Best Local Dress Designer
Candice Wu Couture
Tiered lace trains, detachable skirts, and lots and lots of sparkle: Boston School of Fashion Design alum Candice Wu’s couture gowns are positively showstopping. Browse the sea of organza and tulle in her South End studio and workspace, then let her sketch a custom design just for you. Despite Wu’s penchant for intricate lace- and beadwork, dresses take just two months to stitch—but can be passed on for generations to come.
460-C Harrison Ave., Boston, 857-272-2840, candicewucouture.com.
With a mounted deer head and a sleek bar stocked with craft beer and liquor, Alton Lane’s showroom has all the trappings of a man cave—if said man cave also proffered bespoke suiting with thousands of fabric and design options. Be sure to take a spin in the 3-D body scanner; it captures more than 100 measurements in 30 seconds to ensure the perfect fit.
91 Newbury St., Boston, 888-800-8616, altonlane.com.
Draft your wish list at the Back Bay outpost of Vermont glassblowing and ceramics specialist Simon Pearce, and watch as your dinner guests gasp, “Where did you get that?” forevermore. Unlike at the big-box stores, here you’ll find a wide selection of artisanal housewares ranging from the purely ornamental (handblown glass elephants) to the downright essential (Vermont marble cutting boards).
103 Newbury St., Boston, 617-450-8388, simonpearce.com.
Best Wedding Bands
Shreve, Crump & Low
You’re not officially married until you put a ring on it—which makes Shreve, Crump & Low, in business since 1796, one of the most important stops on the prewedding shopping circuit. Whether you’re looking for his-and-hers engravable platinum rings, a ruby eternity band, or a double row of 30 brilliant-cut diamonds to really make your engagement ring pop, you’ll find it all nestled in the shop’s gleaming cases.
39 Newbury St., Boston, 617-267-9100; 232 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, 617-969-6262; shrevecrumpandlow.com.
Best Wedding Dresses, Classic
L’élite Bridal Boutique
Saying “yes” to the most important dress you’ll ever wear is harder than it looks on TV. Thankfully, L’élite’s light-filled showroom makes the process painless, with both classic silhouettes and dramatic runway looks from such bridal-design powerhouses as Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, and Monique Lhuillier. Bonus: L’élite keeps on-site tailors and even designers on staff, should you wish to create your gown from scratch.
14 Newbury St., Boston, 617-424-1010, lelite.com.
Best Wedding Dresses, Indie
Owner Alix Childs’s sun-drenched Beacon Hill studio has been called the quintessential store for unique gowns. Highly regarded by industry experts for her “breathtaking feminine style,” Childs curates hard-to-find dresses from fashion-world darlings such as Lela Rose and Temperley London as well as up-and-coming designers, from Project Runwa winner Leanne Marshall to Australian dressmaker Sarah Janks. The outcome: a complete all-eyes-on-you moment.
53 River St., Boston, 857-277-1669, ceremony-boston.com.
Best Day Spa
Close your eyes and imagine the sound of a gentle waterfall as you stroll into the Mandarin. A staffer discreetly delivers a hot towel and a cup of tea. The warm vitality pool beckons, as does the quartz-crystal steam room. You sprawl upon a chaise in the relaxation lounge, blanket and strawberry water at the ready. All of this before your hot stone massage commences. Are you relaxed yet?
776 Boylston St., Boston, 617-535-8820, mandarinoriental.com.
Whether you’re after soft, side-swept curls or a play on the classic French twist, your locks are safe in traveling stylist Stacey Kuehn’s hands. Kuehn, who’s worked with such celebrity clients as Taylor Swift and Gwyneth Paltrow, draws from years of editorial experience to create wedding-day ’dos that look like they came straight out of the pages of a fashion magazine.
Best Lash & Brow Extensions
So long, lackluster lashes and sparse brows: Lash L’Amour’s specialists have easy fixes for bigger, better volume. For over-tweezed arches, a set of eyebrow extensions restores original glory. For next-level flirting, a volume extension treatment, which isolates individual hairs and allows up to 500 ultrafine extensions per eye, will have you batting those lashes in no time.
129 Newbury St., Boston, 617-247-1871, lashlamour.com.
Best Makeup Artist
Tan lines and problem skin are no match for Kelly O’Keefe and her team of makeup artists and aestheticians, who travel throughout New England to create flawlessly natural looks for brides. Skilled in both traditional and airbrush foundation application, Blush’s pros can also work with you before the wedding, offering skin-care consultations and trial runs at their Hingham-based studio, Tryst.
29 Main St., Hingham, 781-740-2228, blushweddingday.com.
This polish empire continues its expansion in the Bay State and beyond, and for good reason. A “Clean Lab” sterilizes all equipment to hospital-level sparkle. The atmosphere is minimalist yet warm (picture a chemistry lab combined with Zen hideout). Services are streamlined, too: Instead of doing it all, they smartly focus on manis, pedis, and waxing. What can we say? MiniLuxe nails it.
Prudential Center, Boston, 617-279-0132; and other locations; miniluxe.com.
Best Spray Tan
One session with owner Lauren Rampello, and you’ll never hop into an automated spray-tan booth again. Her paraben-, formaldehyde-, and retinol-free formula is meticulously applied by hand, leaving no room for streaks or missed spots. Stop into the recently opened studio for a custom color consultation, or let Rampello bring her pop-up tanning station to your home. Either way, 20 minutes is all you’ll need for a subtle glow that lasts for the better part of a week.
176 Newbury St., Boston, 617-267-4455, pureglowtanning.com.
There are one-trick pony bands, and then there’s Flipside, a group with absolutely zero limitations. Whether you want to fall crazy in love with Bey and Jay Z or take a trip to Motown with Marvin Gaye, there’s a voice for that. With five lead singers, the band has gotten crowds on their feet at the weddings of NBA superstar Ray Allen and TV personality Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and even on the silver screen, making a cameo in the film 27 Dresses.
Skilled in a range of hand-lettering styles, artist Li Ward excels at loose, watercolor brush type, but can also turn out formally addressed envelopes in tighter, more classic script. And she doesn’t stop at ink on paper. Ward’s work includes outside-the-box offerings such as chalk pen on chalkboard, gouache on terra cotta, and fabric paint on muslin.
As proprietor of the event-music powerhouse Entertainment Specialists, Mike Amado is an expert at reading the crowd, drawing from his vast library of tunes to get guests on the dance floor and keep them there—which makes sense considering his past gigs spinning for the likes of Steven Tyler and Run DMC. With a voice as smooth as silk, the mix master is also a perennially gifted emcee.
Best Event Designer
The perfectly tousled napkins and confetti-strewn farm tables you obsessively regram from your favorite bridal magazines don’t happen by accident—chances are, they’re the brainchild of a stylist like Lauren Wells, who also works her magic behind the scenes at real Boston-area weddings. The sought-after stylist can take your ideas from napkin sketch to full-fledged design plan, then execute, style, and install every last detail on the big day.
Best Event Planner
Janie Haas Events
Drawing on 30 years’ worth of industry connections, planner Janie Haas and her event team will outline an overall vision, negotiate contracts, and coordinate everything from vendor setup to hotel welcome baskets. The result? Dreamy productions that transport guests to a world of the couple’s choosing: a Coachella-themed mountain fete complete with a living wall of moss and ivy, or an ethereal soiree featuring a gold-and-pastel bar and lush cherry-blossom branches.
125 Coachmans Ln., North Andover, 978-725-5956, janiehaasevents.com.
After years spent creating the tight, modern arrangements favored by couples of the early aughts, Teresa Fung’s style pendulum recently swung back to the “wild, organic, tangled” look she’d been spotting at West Coast weddings. Embracing this more-relaxed philosophy, Fung now creates ambrosial, textural bouquets and centerpieces that look like they were plucked straight out of the garden.
64 Plympton St., Boston, 617-751-0855, mimosastyle.com.
Best Party Rentals
Peterson Party Center
As if Peterson Party Center’s vast inventory of tents, tables, and glassware wasn’t enough, this year the company announced the acquisition of Rentals Unlimited, the area’s other premier wedding outfitter. That means you can now browse both brands’ showrooms and catalogs and get everything you covet—from rustic farm tables to marquee lights to faux-fur table runners—delivered to your venue in one fell swoop.
36 Cabot Rd., Woburn, 781-729-4000, petersonpartycenter.com.
Best Photo Booth
The Danger Booth
Beware: the Danger Booth’s open-air setup takes photo-boothing to the extreme. Unlimited on-site photos (which print in 19 seconds, flat) allow friends to let loose and show their wild sides, for better or, ahem, worse. Want to take your prints over the top? Ask Danger Booth’s Pinterest-obsessed staffers to connect you with designers who can create custom 3-D backdrops.
Memories fade, but photographs last forever. Thankfully, you can trust Cambria Grace to be everywhere you are and everywhere you can’t be on your wedding day. The Boston shutterbug’s camera is like an invited friend, bringing unparalleled intimacy to every teary-eyed gaze and loving embrace it captures. These aren’t stiffly posed portraits; they’re art prints meant to be framed, hung, and cherished for a lifetime.
First impressions count, especially when it comes to wedding invitations, which set the tone for the entire event. Work with designers Emily Hostetler and Caitlin Snyder to create custom letterpress or flat-printed pieces jazzed up with on-trend hand lettering, funky geometric patterns, or intricate maps. Don’t have enough time (or budget) to go bespoke? Paper Moss’s ready-to-order collection offers just enough customization options to make it feel personal.
Brighter Lights Media
Ready for your silver-screen debut? Brighter Lights Media’s cinematic wedding-day videos document both the monumental moments and the intimate details in both short trailer and feature-film-length cuts. Bonus: Christian Nachtrieb and Chris Scesny’s stunning aerial shots, captured by quadcopter, let you watch your love story unfold from a birds’-eye view.
15 Channel Center St., Boston, 617-229-5027, brighterlightsmedia.com.
Best Bar Service
Who needs a traditional wedding bar when you can order libations from a retrofitted vintage Airstream trailer? Run by Jamaica Plain buddies Graham McKissock and Lance Davis, Hive’s traveling aluminum cocktail den has quickly become the buzz of the city’s wedding scene, with a setup that includes a 12-foot wraparound bar, a plush, pillow-strewn seating area, and an exterior window for easy ordering. But it’s not all novelty: Using local spirits and herbs, Hive’s mixologists craft unique drinks that match the season and the couple’s tastes—sour-cherry-and-yuzu bellini, anyone?
Chef-owner Ben Elliott, whose grandparents started the family farm in the 1940s, grows garden staples and lesser-known heirloom veggies and raises sheep for meat, chickens for eggs, and bees for honey, which translates to the freshest ingredients possible on your wedding plate. His stint as chef de cuisine at Barbara Lynch’s No. 9 Park, meanwhile, translates to creative, beautifully plated dishes—from wild striped bass with tomato agrodolce in the summer to handmade tagliatelle with white-wine-braised rabbit and charred baby onions in the fall.
84 Commonwealth Ave., Concord, 978-212-3585, saltboxkitchen.com.
Cakes to Remember
It’s what’s on the inside and the outside that counts—if not in life, then at least when it comes to wedding cakes. Ellen Bartlett’s confections get high marks in both design and taste: Dainty sugar flowers, metallic ombré fondant, and intricate lace and damask details give way to moist, fluffy layers in flavors such as strawberry–orange blossom and caramel tiramisu. Want to have your cake and make sure all of your guests can eat it, too? The bakery also prepares gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan recipes.
248 Cypress St., Brookline, 617-738-8508, cakestoremember.biz.
Best Dessert Table
If baking is a science, then Mayflour Confections owner Jocelyn Pierce is the Marie Curie of dessert. Armed with a degree from Chicago’s prestigious French Pastry School, the Rockport baker whips up a something-for-everyone array of sweets (gold-leaf-speckled vanilla meringues, cupcakes topped with fresh flowers) that are as beautiful as they are delicious. Her scrumptious goodies, thoughtfully displayed to match your colors and theme, will be the toast of the reception come dessert time.
One Whistlestop Mall, Rockport, mayflourconfections.com.
Best Food Truck
Throw a wedding-day pizza party beyond your guests’ wildest middle school dreams with help from Stoked, which crisps its wood-fired pies to perfection inside the truck’s onboard Pavesi oven. The vegan- and vegetarian-friendly mobile pizzeria travels to venues throughout Greater Boston to cater full dinners or serve its mouthwatering pies—in varieties such as Buffalo chicken and savory Italian sausage and onion—as family-style late-night snacks or cocktail-hour appetizers.
You’ve set the date. Now find the perfect spot to tie the knot.
Best Ballroom, City
Perched 33 stories above the city with glass walls overlooking the Custom House Tower, the State Room is a blank canvas with personalization options galore. Chef David Blessing, meanwhile, serves up customized menus that are as breathtaking as the views—think tuna poke in mini cones and adorable s’mores tartlets.
60 State St., Boston, 617-854-5000, longwoodevents.com.
Best Ballroom, Suburbs
When the sisters behind this Foxboro venue lost the building to a fire two years ago, they vowed to rebuild. In September 2015 they unveiled their stunningly modern interpretation of the traditional ballroom: a white-on-white dream world featuring cathedral ceilings, sleek crystal chandeliers, flowy curtains, and windows overlooking a lake and pine trees.
45 Lakeview Rd., Foxboro, 508-543-9099, lakeviewpavilion.com.
The Crane Estate
This 2,100-acre wonderland of woodlands and beaches offers three gorgeous ways to make waves on your wedding day: by the sea, in a historical barn, or on the rolling grounds of the 1920s Great House on Castle Hill.
290 Argilla Rd., Ipswich, 978-356-4351, craneestateevents.com.
Museum of Fine Arts
When your love is a work of art, there’s no better place to celebrate. Say “I do” in the Koch Gallery surrounded by masterpieces, then continue the party in the glass-enclosed Shapiro Family Courtyard or the two-level Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, designed by architect I. M. Pei.
465 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-369-3115, mfa.org.
The Barn at Gibbet Hill
With views of the sheep- and cattle-dotted countryside from every angle, this Groton retreat oozes pastoral charm. The pièce de résistance is the century-old post-and-beam barn, which can be styled with Gibbet Hill’s own furnishings and décor, from antique tables to vintage crates.
61 Lowell Rd., Groton, 978-448-3233, barnatgibbethill.com.
Boston Public Library
The gurgle of the cast-bronze fountain in the Italianate open-air courtyard. The glow of the green glass lamps on Bates Hall’s long reading tables. Set the scene for your own epic love story at the BPL. With an array of dramatic party spaces and creative, personalized cuisine from the Catered Affair, the Renaissance Revival treasure is less library and more fairy-tale romance in the making.
With floor-to-ceiling windows and a string-lit terrace showcasing Green Monster vistas, Hotel Commonwealth’s new event space hits it out of the park. Part of the hotel’s recent $50 million makeover, the just-built wing is now the perfect spot for both Sox fans and culinary-minded couples to celebrate their love: The catering menu features dishes inspired by on-site hot spots Eastern Standard and Island Creek Oyster Bar.
500 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-933-5000, hotelcommonwealth.com.
Want to get away? Get hitched in one of these destination party spots.
Best Cape Cod
Wequassett Resort and Golf Club
Imagine warm sun, soft breezes, and plush five-star accommodations. Sounds like a dream honeymoon, right? At Wequassett, it’ll also be the backdrop for your wedding. The azure water beckons along the ceremony-perfect Croquet Lawn. The canopy-covered Garden Terrace—a stunning spot for canapés—opens up to Pleasant Bay panoramas. And the Pavilion ballroom brings all of those vistas inside.
2173 Route 28, Harwich, 508-432-5400, wequassett.com.
Best Martha’s Vineyard
The Beach Plum Inn
Down a dirt road in Menemsha, the romantic, bucolic-chic Beach Plum Inn has something for everyone: sweeping water views, pretty gardens perfect for an outdoor summer ceremony, and even roaming chickens. The on-site restaurant, meanwhile, creates custom dinner menus that put local meat, seafood, and produce front and center.
50 Beach Plum Ln., Menemsha, 508-645-9454, beachpluminn.com.
The Nantucket Hotel + Resort
Classic New England elegance meets modern luxury at the Nantucket Hotel + Resort, where the recently renovated Grand Ballroom stuns with crisp white walls and oak flooring. A poolside terrace, complete with outdoor fire pits and lounge seating, is prime real estate for ceremonies and cocktail hours. Should you choose to swap vows on one of the nearby beaches, the hotel will ferry guests over in an antique green bus and red fire truck. Now that’s what we call island hospitality.
77 Easton St., Nantucket, 508-228-4747, thenantuckethotel.com.
Hancock Shaker Village
Grazing sheep! Vegetable gardens! Lush vistas as far as the eye can see! This living Shaker museum, a National Historic Landmark, couldn’t possibly be any more Berkshires. A seasonal tent offers space for up to 200, but the main attraction is the property’s 19th-century round stone barn, a dramatic, raw space that can be completely transformed for your party. Oh, and did we mention the cocktail-hour hayrides?
1843 W. Housatonic St., Pittsfield, 413-443-0188, hancockshakervillage.org.
Getting married? Start and end your wedding planning journey with Boston Weddings' guide to the best wedding vendors in the city.
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