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WR: Small receptions

Blackbird230Blackbird230 Connecticut member
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FI and I got to talking wedding planning and budget last night and we figured out that we'll have between 50-60 people at our wedding. Neither of us have tons of friends and our family is what's most important. However, the question is, what's the best way to find the "hole in the wall" venues? I would feel really weird putting only 50 people in a huge ballroom. (Looking in the New England area). We will not be getting married at a particular church although it will be by his pastor. I would like to stay with one venue for both ceremony and reception.

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Re: WR: Small receptions

  • SwazzleSwazzle New Jersey member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    How about a restaurant?



  • Many wedding venues have smaller spaces. For example, they might have one area with a max capacity of 30, another for 75, and a third for 200. Or they have ways of making a large room look smaller, like closing off a portion of it. But yes, also look at restaurants, museums, community centers, historic homes, and other locations.
  • We looked at a hotel that could make their ballroom anywhere from like 20 people - 1000 people.  It just had horrendously hideous carpet, lol.

    Plus we liked our ceremony place better :)
    I guess, to tell you the truth, I've never had much of a desire to grow facial hair. I think I've managed to play quarterback just fine without a mustache. - Peyton
  • GoldenPenguinGoldenPenguin Upstate NY mod
    Moderator Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its
    Look for cool gallery spaces or something like that. In our non-BSC "when we get married" talks, BF & I know we want something super small - like, smaller than yours (except we want more friends and less family, haha) - so, when the time comes, I want to look for neat little spaces like galleries or libraries or something similar. If I was already planning, I'd probably be more help, since we will also more than likely get married in New England. 



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  • Blackbird230Blackbird230 Connecticut member
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    @BriSox81, we can be small New England wedding buddies. Right now, I'm kind of liking Old Sturbridge Village in MA. It's not too too far from where we are and it seems like they have a lot of options for reception sites. 

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  • Blackbird230Blackbird230 Connecticut member
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    FI and I have kind of agreed on "intimate rustic" being the best way to describe us and the wedding.

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  • GoldenPenguinGoldenPenguin Upstate NY mod
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    Kait said:
    @BriSox81, we can be small New England wedding buddies. Right now, I'm kind of liking Old Sturbridge Village in MA. It's not too too far from where we are and it seems like they have a lot of options for reception sites. 
    OHH! Love! 



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  • Blackbird230Blackbird230 Connecticut member
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    @BriSox81, I'm kind of in love with it. Gotta set up a time to visit soon and drive up there. They do a lot of the smaller receptions in the Bullard Tavern which, with all the wood and everything, is so adorable!

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  • GoldenPenguinGoldenPenguin Upstate NY mod
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    Kait said:
    @BriSox81, I'm kind of in love with it. Gotta set up a time to visit soon and drive up there. They do a lot of the smaller receptions in the Bullard Tavern which, with all the wood and everything, is so adorable!
    Definitely keep me/us posted!! Hopefully I can join you in actively planning sometime soon :)



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  • Blackbird230Blackbird230 Connecticut member
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    @BriSox81, what are you looking at for a possible date/month/year?

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  • GoldenPenguinGoldenPenguin Upstate NY mod
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    Kait said:
    @BriSox81, what are you looking at for a possible date/month/year?
    No idea! I personally love the fall (for EVERYTHING), so if I could pick right now, I'd want a fall wedding, but we'll have to see when the engagement happens for everything else!



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  • Blackbird230Blackbird230 Connecticut member
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    @BriSox81, gotcha! Well sending engagement pony vibes to you! We're thinking spring since May is our anniversary. I do love April/May, though not when we've had a winter quite like this one.

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  • GoldenPenguinGoldenPenguin Upstate NY mod
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    Thanks, @kait!! I hope the engagement pony shows up soon - my patience pants are getting tight. ;) My best friend's patience pants may be even tighter than mine, actually. I'm pretty sure she has a pre-planning binder all set for me, haha. 



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  • phiraphira Bahstin member
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    J's brother and sister-in-law had about 80-90 people at The Publick House in Sturbridge and apparently it was AWESOME. They might be good for a smaller wedding, but you'd have to check it out and see. It's definitely not a big ballroom kind of place.
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  • 500days500days MA member
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    I checked out Sturbridge Village (it was the publick house! @phira) and it didn't have a/c, which was a dealbreaker for us. I looked all around RI, MA and southeastern CT. I ended up in Westport, MA at Bittersweet Farm.


  • PepperallyPepperally member
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    edited March 2014
    While I'm also not officially engaged either, we already know it will be small with 50 at the max, but probably smaller. We are looking at a restaurant for both ceremony and reception. We don't want to have hire a caterer, deal with getting seating, tables, linens, etc. with a restaurant it's all already there. I like the idea of those other cool out of the box places but don't want to have to piece together the whole thing. So that's one aspect to consider when looking for places...do you want to choose and coordinate all of the pieces yourself or have it all included as a package?
  • We had a small wedding too at right at 50 people. It was perfect for us and like Bri it was more friends less family haha. We looked at B&B's in the area, historic homes and farm type places. We ended up at a small winery that we loved who provided everything except the food, DJ and florist. We liked that we didn't have to rent tables or linens and they took care of all of the set up and tear down, including setting up all my centerpieces. They really took care of coordinating everything and that left me free to just enjoy the day without worrying over every little detail.


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  • PepperallyPepperally member
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    edited March 2014
    @doubleSS07 - did they allow more than just wine to be served at the winery?  I like the idea of a local winery, but wasn't sure what their rules are around serving alcohol other than wine.  Haven't looked into them thoroughly as I'm not engaged yet, but I wondered what you encountered with that?  I like wine but my guy doesn't (gets headaches), so of course I would want to offer more than wine.
  • SwazzleSwazzle New Jersey member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    @Pepperally - I got married at a winery also and we were able to bring in our own beer and liquor with no problems at all. We paid the winery directly for their wine package ($8pp plus tax) and used a private distributor with a great reputation and who offered a buy-back program for the beer and liquor. 



  • doubleSS07doubleSS07 member
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    edited March 2014
    @pepperally - They required their wine be served but there was no minimum purchase which some wineries do. We also could bring in beer and our own bottled water and soft drinks. They provided a bar set up and service as part of the package. We didn't mind because it also forced a limit on what we spent on alcohol (ie: no hard liquor) but still allowed us to fully host a bar. ETA: It will depend on your state rules whether or not you can also serve hard liquor. In CA wineries do not have hard liquor licenses so no go on that. Some places will also have a PP like @swazzle mentioned or a minimum case purchase. Ours was very laid back and had no minimums. We were also wine club members there so we could add on per bottle/case at a discount if needed. That was awesome because then we weren't stuck with cases of wine after.


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  • @swazzle & @doubleSS07 - thanks for the info!  I decided to look at one online that is close by just to see what their rules are, then went to another winery site in the area...they are both saying absolutely no outside alcohol per state law.  UGH!  I guess that will be off my future list!  Wineries are so nice, just a nice atmosphere.  But not everyone does wine...that wouldn't cut it for my BF.

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