Three New England Libraries Perfect for a Refined Wedding Reception

Rich with history and charm, New England’s most striking libraries will make your wedding one for the books.

Photo by Binita Patel


Once upon a time, the Boston Public Library was established among the earliest free municipal libraries. Now, nearly 200 years later, it doubles as a swanky Back Bay wedding venue with eleven versatile event spaces. For a taste of timeless elegance, opt for the Courtyard Tea Room and Map Room Tea Lounge, renovated in 2019. Sipping on literature-themed cocktails (think: “Tequila Mockingbird” and the Earl Grey–infused “Dorian Gray”), you’ll be transported right into your favorite books—no fairy godmother needed. Or trade classic for contemporary with Boylston Hall: a clean-cut venue built in 2016 with sprawling windows that overlook its namesake street. No matter where you choose to celebrate, the BPL works hand-in-hand with the food-and-planning specialists at the Catered Affair, so your day is guaranteed to end happily ever after.


Located less than five miles from city limits, Blue Hills Reservation provides ample opportunities for blowing off a little prenuptial steam. The park, which encompasses more than 7,000 acres, boasts miles of hiking, biking, and walking trails, to say nothing of its scenic ponds—prime spots for socially distanced fishing, swimming, or picnicking.

Photo by Molly Lo Photography


Perched prominently in downtown Newport, Rhode Island, the Redwood Library & Athenaeum demands attention—and rightfully so. The 1747 library prides itself as one of the first major projects completed by Peter Harrison, America’s earliest trained architect. Add to the library’s list of notable firsts by saying “I do” in the Harrison Room, dressed up with classic dentil molding. Nearby, the Reading Room, lined with framed portraits and shelves brimming with books, sets the scene for a bountiful feast. For an airier, al fresco affair, look to the showstopping grounds. The lawn, peppered with blooming andromedas, can be tented for a luxurious garden party. And no need to worry about the set up: Redwood partners with local vendors to help execute the wedding you’ve always imagined. The rest, as they say, is history.


Give your guests the ultimate Newport treatment by setting them up at the pleasantly nautical Brenton Hotel. Opened during the summer of 2020, the 57-room boutique property spotlights Newport’s seaside charm. Check out the sweeping water views from the luxury suites, or cruise around the harbor in the Brenton’s private boat.

Photo by Steph Stevens Photo


Exotic destination weddings may be off the table right now, but you can still find European charm in the comfort of the Bay State. Inspired by the Cancelleria Palace in Rome, Robbins Library features elaborate Old World details, including stately marble columns and grand arches highlighted with gold leaf. Gather your nearest and dearest in the spacious lobby and the adjoining Reading Room, where antique-oak paneling and a fireplace offer a warm and inviting backdrop for your big day. After dinner, whipped up by your caterer inside the on-site kitchen, make the most of the space’s intricate marble-mosaic floor: An opulent stage for an evening of dancing, it’s the perfect spot to celebrate the start of your marriage journey—no passport required.


Tempt guests to cozy up with a good book and a spot of tea, courtesy of Acton-based Mark T. Wendell Tea Company. Steeped in history, the longstanding establishment took the time to perfect a citrusy “Joyous Wedding Tea” blend, which comes packaged with a customized label for your special day.


Editor’s Note: While many local venues have suspended or modified operations due to coronavirus, we hope our inspirational suggestions will help you plan your future celebration.

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