Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wedding on a small budget: Part 3

Continuing the journey of planning a small budget wedding, the first major step to conquer: location. Our dream location would be outdoors in a wooded area. This was an interesting situation because at the time of our March engagement, I had lived in Boston for 6 months, and all of that bad weather. Patiently I waited for Spring to bloom, then get to know the city quickly while searching for the perfect outdoor venue. 

Our guidelines: An outdoor space without much traffic on a June Saturday afternoon (which is probably impossible), with a fee of $75 or less. Below are a few places in Boston we considered, some in my wedding fantasy and others a bit more realistic.

Boston Common and Public Garden - The Common was one of our front runners. Man, do public parks have a lot of rules (which I totally understand). Also there is the possibility of less than cooperative weather, hence adding umbrellas to the ceremony.

Boston Public Library Courtyard - This location was definitely on my fantasy wish list. A fountain, gorgeous architecture and beautiful foliage? Yes please.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - Most definitely on my fantasy list - though they don't allow ceremonies, only rehearsal dinners or engagement parties. But go visit the courtyard, as it looks like something out of a fairy tale.

Your own backyard - I wish I had a backyard in Boston. Ladies and gents, if you have a small budget and a generous friend/family member with a beautiful and accommodating backyard, definitely go for it. You can begin the reception two seconds after the ceremony, the cost is little to nil, and you don't have a bunch of rules to follow.

Arnold Arboretum - At the suggestion of a friend, we checked out the Arboretum just south of Boston. Though the first visit happened before the foliage had fully blossomed, I knew we discovered the perfect venue for our budget and tastes. The grounds are much bigger than Boston Common, and  there is no fee for ceremonies (but donations are accepted). Here's a link to the arboretum photo stream.

No matter where you have your ceremony, be creative with your locations. If you are open minded about what is possible, you are sure to find the perfect spot, no matter the budget.

Photo: Chris Devers


  1. My daughter got married in a garden near Boston. Now Wellfleet has a marvelous venue for weddings: Preservation Hall. We got married on Uncle Tim's Bridge, in town, after a church service in Sweden. Uncle Tim's Bridge was free!

  2. I love free. It is the best! Thanks for sharing your story. ;)

  3. Arboretums are so lovely. Everything looks so colorful in the pictures. Congrats on finding a space!

    Of course I can't help but think of my wedding. My husband and I got married at this funky art museum in Baltimore on a stair case. It was kind of a weird spot, but fun being surrounded by art. And because we were on stairs between the 2nd and 3rd floors, my brother-in-law fake dropped a "ring" (a keyring, really) through the slats, with us in on the joke. It was worth it just to see the expressions on the guests' faces!

    Thanks for letting me share that story!

  4. That is a great story, Jen! I had two friends who were married at the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, KS (on the campus of my alma mater). I love the setting because you don't have to decorate - as you are surround by cool art! But the key chain incident is great.

  5. I vote for the BPL (I bet you aren't a bit surprised after my BPL comment!) I think that would be so lovely! When I was in Boston last time I saw, but didn't go in, the Japanese garden at the Museum of Fine Arts. Amazing, too!

  6. An outdoor wedding in a garden. I can't imagine a more lovely setting.


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