Three Gorgeous Natural Backdrops for Your Wedding Festivities

Backdrops of sparkling rivers, stunning skylines, and rolling hills await your outdoor nuptials.

Photo by Elizabeth Willis Photography

Down on the Farm

The Herb Lyceum at Gilson’s
Groton, Massachusetts
Head Count Up to 50 (tent); Up to 150 (greenhouse)
Price Starting at $1,500

Located on a working four-acre farm owned by chef Wil Gilson (of Cambridge’s Puritan & Company fame) and his family before him since the 1800s, the Herb Lyceum at Gilson’s is a renovated post-and-beam carriage house set amid flourishing gardens and stone terraces in Groton. Not surprisingly, wedding couples often choose to scale back on the décor here, instead relying on the greenery and colorful flowers to provide a natural backdrop for their festivities. Before tucking in to locally sourced fare, including shaved fennel salad and spring pea agnolotti with pasture-raised chicken, in the elegant greenhouse, guests can wander along paths through herb gardens reminiscent of Southern France, or savor a glass of wine under the sprawling hickory tree. A big tent provides a dance floor to keep the party going long after the last slice of cake has been served.

Guest Digs

The Groton Inn tosses out the box hotel rules, with each of the 60 rooms boasting its own personality and layout. A retreat to the courtyard brings you to a purposefully landscaped space—a sanctuary for peaceful reflection before or after a meaningful celebration. Pro tip: “Hillview” rooms look out over pastoral Gibbet Hill.

Photo by Atlas + Stone Photography

Bridging Two Lives

Five Bridge Inn
Rehoboth, Massachusetts
Head count Up to 300 seated
Price Starting at $7,950

A scrolled message inside the outdoor gazebo chapel at Five Bridge Inn in Rehoboth says it all: ucite con amore e pace (Italian for “move forward with love and peace”). Named for the property’s small bridges over protected wetlands, a stately Colonial bed-and-breakfast sits on 80 acres in a 900-acre preserve replete with pastures, stunning gardens, and woodlands. You’re afforded an array of outdoor sites beyond the gazebo, including a barn-side chapel among the pines, a covered open-air pavilion complete with chandeliers and pristinely well-maintained grounds, and arbors in rustic birch or elegant gold. Brides disappear into the “she shed” for special moments with their bridal parties, and the celebration continues with dancing, lawn games, and moments by the fire pit. A photo beside the farm’s alpacas or antique truck is a must for the memory book.

Unique Vendor

When a bakery holds sacred the notion “food is love,” its confections clearly belong at a wedding. From amaretti to pizzelle, egg biscuits to pignoli, the displays at Only the Finest Italian Cookies are heaping with scratch-made cookies and biscotti. An espresso bar of imported Italian coffee can sit sidecar, along with seasonal specialty drinks and a cannoli bar.

Photo by Studio Nouveau

Photo by Studio Nouveau

The Science of Love

Museum of Science
Boston, Massachusetts
Head Count Up to 200 seated
Price Starting at $7,900

While dining amid dinosaurs is part of its indoor charm, the hidden gem of the Museum of Science is the stately waterfront Washburn Pavilion. The only function facility located directly on the Charles River Basin, this open-air pavilion offers panoramic views of the Boston skyline (hello, Longfellow Bridge), a semi-permanent tent, a covered patio, and grassy areas begging for lawn games (cornhole and oversize Jenga are available to rent through the museum). Mingle and sip cocktails just steps from the river’s edge as you delight in refreshing daytime breezes and shady trees, or twinkling stars and city lights for an evening affair. Bonus: You and your guests will enjoy complimentary MOS Exhibit Hall passes for the weekend of your celebration.

Rehearsal Dinner

Housed in the sexy Liberty Hotel (the former Charles Street Jail), Clink’s semi-private dining area is separated by vestiges of the historic structure’s original brick wall and jail cell façades. Executive chef Daniel Kenney marries culinary tradition with regional touches through special menus (think: locally sourced fish, handmade gnocchi, and Wagyu beef carpaccio). Here’s hoping the “ball and chain” jokes are kept to a minimum.

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