I know that finding a venue and reception site is top priority.. but after a few weeks of solid searching I've become so dicouraged that I'm putting it off more than I should. The engagement butterflies are starting to subside and the reality of planning a wedding is setting in. One obstacle is that I'm planning a MA wedding from South Carolina. Another is budget, I really wanted to keep everything below $15,000. FI and I are paying for everything ourselves, and while we do have a small savings, I'd like to be able to go into marriage with a bit of cushion. The food expense is unreal. With 140 guests I can't really afford more than $50 a head. And what's with the cake cutting fee? I'll cut the damn cake myself and personally hand it out!

It's funny, because I already have a theme, and some bridesmaids already have dresses. I want a vintage/rustic feel. Still classy and romantic though.


They will all have knee length flowery/lacey dresses in muted colors with cow girl boots.

We're shooting for a late summer wedding next year. I've been leaning towards September 1st, as it's a Sunday which makes it less expensive for some areas, but it's also Labor Day weekend, so guests will still have the next day off. Smith Barn in Peabody was where I had my heart set on.. but they're booked. Everything else I come across just doesn't fit.


So instead of more searching I have resorted to pouring myself a glass of wine and venting about it on the message boards.
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Re: discouraged.

  • Does it have to be in MA?  I know of some less expensive venues like the mile away in Milford NH is only $38 dollars a plate.
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  • In Response to <a href="">Re: discouraged.</a>:
    [QUOTE]Does it have to be in MA?  I know of some less expensive venues like the mile away in Milford NH is only $38 dollars a plate.
    Posted by shannie11[/QUOTE]

    just checked their website.. quite nice actually :)

    It doesn't have to be in MA, but I did want to keep it within 45 min from Peabody, about 80% of our guests are coming from within a few towns of there.
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  • Check out Georgetown Cupcakes instead of a cake - they are now located on Newbury St in Boston, and they'll even do a custom fondant topping with your wedding logo - for free!

    We did them for our wedding - as favors, and they put them in boxes for us.  They're $29 for a dozen, so around $2.42/cupcake - way better than any halfway decent cake you'd buy!



  • Did you look at the Gould Barn in Topsfield 0 - you can bring i n any caterer.
  • Did you look into Salem Cross Inn in West Brookfield? They have a beautiful barn and are within your budget. Im getting married there next June. There's a few other rustic venues in the Sturbridge area, not sure if that is too far for you or not.
  • Are you dead set on your date? Although it is a Sunday, since it is a Holiday weekend most places will not extend discounts typical of a Sunday to that date because it is a more popular date for a wedding.  When you look at venues don't hesitate to ask if changing your date by a week or so would change the price or discounts offered at all.
  • Check out Norton Country Club. This is where we are getting married next May.
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  • Did you look at the Rockport Art Museum.  Their old barn buildings. 
  • I got married at Brookstone Park in Derry, NH. Chicken was $53 a plate and Prime Rib was $55, there was no cake cutting fee and this included Hors d'oeuvres.
  • Take a look at the Smith Barn in Peabody!  Laughing
  • ahhh Smith Barn was my dream venue! But they are completely booked for next year..

    Good news though: I secured the date with the Stevens Estate in North Andover today!!!

    Not a barn.. but outside tent area that I really liked. (The cobblestone floor its much better than most tent venues I've seen. A lot of places have tables and chairs right on the grass, and I just envision women pulling their high heels out of it all night long.) They also have fabulous chandeliers hanging, makes for a very 'country chic' feel. Erin there is awesome, she even have tons of vases and mason jars available for use on the tables and other decor. The Sunday date and BBQ buffet option from one of the caterers put it within our budget.

    Time to celebrate!!!! Thank you all for your suggestions -- they really helped me narrow down.

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  • I hear you.  I experienced the same disappointment in trying to find affordable venues, but luckily got over the hump.   

    The Elks at Bass Rocks located in Gloucester, MA may be an option to consider.  Initially I was unsure of whether I wanted to get married at a Elks, but I got over it quick because it just as nice as other places in the area and the wall to wall view of the ocean is a steal for the price we're paying to rent it out.  We're paying $1500 (July 5th, a Friday), but I think normally its $2000 for a Saturday.  As far as caterers, I would def. recommend Vinwood. They have a great reputation and very reasonable prices ($40-60 a plate)

    Good luck!
  • Pembroke country club is totally affordable and has a beautiful ballroom! Check it out
  • the topsfield commons is super affordable and beautiful plus because its a dry town you can supply all of your own liquor. NH outlet is right up the road :) . Don't forget your photography costs. If you want to stay at a good budget contact genevieve bergeron photography. I paid about 1300 and got 2 photographers and custom engagement session and all sorts of additional things. She was awesome. 
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