Budget Weddings

Venues in MA that don't require you to use their catering

Hi! As I am sure a lot of you can understand, I feel overwhelmed with the cost of food when wedding planning. Spending $10k on food alone (with tax and gratuity) is just not doable. My budget is about $25 per person, maybe up to $35.  All of the venues that require you use their catering are well above that. I have found a few that are close, but when you add in the gratuity, fees and taxes, it goes up by another $2k.

I am thus searching for a venue that will let me choose the catering, or even bring my own food potluck style.  I have fond a couple of churches, but believe it or not their ceremony and reception fees were at $2700.  I also am not really religious so would prefer not to do a church. I am open to an Elks Lodge type of thing but haven't found any that are my style or nice enough. I am not looking for fancy, but it can't look like a hall where people play bingo.  I live near Cambridge in MA. 

I am also looking for cheap but good catering suggestions for if I do find the venue that lets me do it myself.  My fiance is Vietnamese, so Asian inspired catering would be nice.  

We think we will have about 110-120 guests. 

Any thoughts on venue?


Re: Venues in MA that don't require you to use their catering

  • jenna8984jenna8984 clam bakes & patriots member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Have you looked outside of Boston metro? I'm in the Worcester area and they are many venues that serve in that price range. 



  • Hi! I am totally willing to look at Worcester. I'm not looking directly in Boston anyway and looking at areas outside. 1.5 hour out from Cambridge is ideal.  I'm intrigued by the Worcester Art Museum but I am sure that is $$$ and they make you use their preferred caterers.

    Do you know of any places that would allow you to bring your own food and alchol?

  • wrigleyvillewrigleyville Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I would try posting this on the MA boards as well.

    Here are the links:

    Have you considered cutting your guest list? Cutting as few as ten people can give you more wiggle room. If you don't want to cut people, consider scaling back the budget for invitations, flowers, the rings, etc.

    Alternately, you could have a morning wedding. Brunch receptions can be much, much cheaper than dinner receptions, depending on the menu.

  • Thank you! I will check out those threads. We did cut our guest list by 12 people, but unfortunately 60 of the 106 is his family and we can't cut any of them. He is the first in his family to get married and it's a big deal to them.

    I've looked at brunch and will look at bit closer at that again.  I just can't believe how hard it is to find a place that lets you do your own catering!!! 
  • primafaba15primafaba15 member
    100 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited December 2014
    (Hi, fellow Worcester people!) 

    The Worcester Art Museum is VERY expensive. That was my first choice for reception venue, but unfortunately it was also the first eliminated. The cost to rent the Renaissance Gallery (which just about accommodates your 110-120 range) was $4500 -- just for the space.

    In case it helps, we went with the Leicester Country Club instead, which is very reasonably priced but may not be low enough for your budget (I think their buffet package, the smallest, is $37/head). We have about 100 and chose the Chef's Stations, so we'll probably end up around $7800 including taxes and fees (but a big chunk of that is the $1800 open bar which my family is insisting on). That is the best price we found, but we were looking at all-inclusive type venues. I know there is an Elks Lodge and at least one or two VFW / KOC hall type places in Worcester, but we didn't get to pricing them out. 

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