Three Lively Wedding Venues in the South Coast

With its bustling ports, historical parks, and maritime spirit, the South Coast may very well be the region’s quintessential wedding locale—and best-kept secret.

Photograph by Katie Pietrowski


Shining Tides

Head Count Up to 200 seated
Price Starting at $4,000, plus food and drink

For a classic Bay State wedding set at the water’s edge, host your nearest and dearest at Shining Tides, in Mattapoisett. Originally built as a private summer home in 1887, the beachfront property was later purchased by the YMCA, which continues to own, operate, and maintain the site and its pristine shoreline. Proceeds from every event held at Shining Tides help support a scholarship fund that sends kids to summer camp. And while that’s sure to warm the heart, there’s a practical lure, too: With its two distinct outdoor spaces—a sprawling lawn overlooking the water and an expansive covered porch with exposed wooden beams—couples can enjoy an open-air ceremony or reception, no matter the weather. Take advantage of the panoramic view and steal a quiet moment with your spouse to watch the sunset—the most splendid way to soak up local color.

Courtesy of RJD


Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum

Head Count Up to 75 seated
Price $3,000, plus food and drink

The idyllic Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum in New Bedford blends Old-World elegance and natural, outdoor charm. Built in 1834 for William Rotch Jr., a whaling merchant and a founding member of the town’s horticultural society, this stately Greek Revival mansion has been beautifully preserved. While the ornate building’s proud columns, airy verandas, and shining cupola provide a handsome backdrop for your big day (access to the home’s interior is limited), the property’s manicured lawns and abundant gardens are what truly enchant—and transport. The private grounds—complete with a boxwood rose garden and elegant walkways—have the romantic look of a French chateau. Exchange vows under the pergola on the lawn, then host a tented reception for loved ones on the museum’s terrace.

Photograph by Gabby Riggieri


New Bedford Whaling Museum

Head Count Up to 180 seated
Price Starting at $4,500, plus food and drink

For those brides and grooms intent on capturing Massachusetts’ rich nautical heritage, the New Bedford Whaling Museum delivers on every front. Nestled in a town immortalized in Moby-Dick (“perhaps the dearest place to live in, in all New England,” Melville wrote), the museum sits among landmark buildings and commands sweeping harbor views. Inside, wedding guests have access to the many galleries and exhibits, including the Davis Observation Deck and the Bourne Building, which houses an impressive half-scale model of the whaling ship Lagoda. For a ceremony site, consider crossing the cobblestone street to reach the 19th-century Seamen’s Bethel: A nondenominational chapel with a pulpit shaped like the prow of a ship, it’s an ideal place to take the matrimonial plunge.


Prewedding Adventure

Guests of a nautical nature will enjoy exploring Battleship Cove in Fall River, a museum and memorial featuring the world’s largest collection of WWII naval vessels.

Rehearsal Dinner

You could do the sit-down-meal thing with your crew. Or you could get the party hopping—with hops. Situated on a bucolic farm in rural Westport, Buzzards Bay Brewing produces artisanal beers right on site. Guests can mingle, grab eats from a local food truck, and play cornhole.

Guest Digs

Want to install your out-of-towners someplace special? Try reserving a few of the area’s small, historical inns. One notable example: the refined Delano Homestead Bed and Breakfast in Fairhaven, which once served as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s summer residence. Decked out with period furnishings and wide-plank hardwood floors, the property has only three guest rooms, but it’s the ideal bonding spot for small bridal parties.

Unique Vendor

Plate feeling a little too full? Fear not: In addition to developing creative and eclectic menus with locally sourced ingredients (think: buttermilk-fried chicken with popcorn grits and jalapeño jelly), Russell Morin Catering & Events can suggest local vendors and works directly with your event space to help coordinate all the details.

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