Three Alluring Wedding Venues in the North Shore

Breathtaking party spots combine coastal charm and plenty of elegance.

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Misselwood. / Photograph by Bharat Parmar Photography

It’s an age-old dilemma: the bride and groom want to bask in the sun and sand of some far-flung coastal paradise, but their parents aren’t having it. The North Shore, then, with its rocky shoreline and quaint coastal towns, is the perfect compromise: a destination-wedding vibe sans inconvenient flights. “They can exhale for the weekend and feel like they’re away somewhere,” says planner Paula Marrero, owner of Marrero Events, which has offices in Boston and Danvers.

It’ll be easy to feel like you’re away somewhere at the 2,100-acre Crane Estate, in Ipswich. Weddings there take on a magical quality thanks to the Great House, a Stuart-style mansion that sits atop Castle Hill. A 100-foot-wide rolling lawn lined with trees and classical statues—dubbed the Grand Allée—sweeps dramatically from the manse’s terrace to a cliff overlooking the Atlantic.

Elsewhere on the coast is Misselwood, a chateau-style manor on the campus of Beverly’s Endicott College. Tie the knot al fresco with the sea as your backdrop, then party the night away in a spacious tent. The grounds themselves are also lovely, with rocky outcroppings and tree-shaded “secret” paths.

Looking to add modern flair to your party? Say “I do” at Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum, where the Atrium’s sleek curving walls and soaring glass roof make a dramatic statement. Adjacent galleries, including ones currently featuring maritime art, can also be opened for cocktail hour should you really want to make a splash.

The Great House on the Crane Estate
HEAD COUNT Up to 250 (tented)
PRICE Starting at $7,000

HEAD COUNT Up to 200
PRICE Starting at $6,000

Peabody Essex Museum
HEAD COUNT Up to 270
PRICE Starting at $4,500

crane estate wedding

Set on a hill overlooking the sea, the Great House on the Crane Estate is fit for a queen (and your big day). / Photograph by Scott Zuehlke Photography

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“I love the North Shore because I feel like it has the best of both worlds in a very compact area. You don’t ever have to travel too far to get to the ocean, beautiful farmland, or private estates.”

Paula Marrero, Marrero Events

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Prewedding Adventure

Get ready to raise the sails (and a glass) aboard the Schooner Thomas E. Lannon. With room for up to 49 passengers, the gorgeous wooden boat will take your nearest and dearest on a private tour of Gloucester Harbor.

Guest Digs

Opening in Gloucester in June 2016, the oceanfront Beauport Hotel boasts 94 well-appointed guest rooms and a rooftop pool and bar. Further south, the Hawthorne Hotel, in Salem, offers newly renovated accommodations within a stately 1925 building.

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Rehearsal Dinner

Give your bridal party a taste of Tuscany at Burlington’s L’Andana, where chef Jamie Mammano serves up wood-grilled meats and homemade pastas in an intimate private dining room complete with a floor-to-ceiling fireplace and full bar.

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Unique Vendor

With more than 100 mouthwatering flavors—from wedding cake to salted caramel to cannoli—the North Shore’s Pipe Dream Cupcakes truck makes for a sweet after-dinner surprise.

Local Favor

Make waves at your reception with Harbor Sweets’ nautical-themed chocolates—favorites include the “Sweet Sloops,” sailboat-shaped almond-butter-crunch toffees covered in white and dark chocolate.

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Photograph by Kristina Smith/MassTravel/Flickr

Consider the Mini-Moon

With its charming shops and top-notch restaurants, Newburyport is the perfect place to kick back after a whirlwind wedding weekend. Check into the elegant Federal-style Compass Rose Inn and curl up by the fireplace in one of its five luxe suites. After a homemade breakfast, head to nearby Plum Island to soak up the sun on the beach or on the trails at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Back across the causeway in Newburyport, fuel up with oysters, inventive small plates, and a bottle of champagne at hot spot Brine. Or, for the ultimate romantic experience, reserve a private dinner for two—capped off by a prismatic sunset over the harbor—atop the Newburyport Lighthouse.

For more venue inspiration, take a peek at our guide to New England’s top celebration spots.