Given that it's a multi-gazillion dollar industry, you'd think some folks would have developed helpful websites along the way...
September 17, 2008 1:39 PM   Subscribe

Can any of you help us find unique, casual, interesting wedding venues in Maine, NH, VT, Mass, CT or NY?

My partner and I have spent a great deal of time wading through various sites which claim to be the best way to find unique, casual, interesting wedding venues and so far it's been a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. For example, many recommend Indie Bride's chat but I cannot for the life of me figure out a helpful way to search that freaking site to find anything helpful.

We would love it if a site like this existed for the region I mentioned, but I have yet to locate it.

If not sites, then do you happen to know of cool locations? We'd love to hear about the off-the-beaten path places where you or those you know have had your receptions and/or maybe how you went about finding them without having to quit your day jobs.

What we're after:

someplace not too far from a (more or less major) airport (2 or so hours)
gay friendly

we've been considering unique spaces like:
private homes that people might rent for events

We'd like it to be comfortable and FUN - things we've thought about that might make that happen:
an outdoor fire pit
a clam or lobster bake or bbq
definitely much room for dancing
a place that doesn't shut us down at 11pm
maybe a place that would make a Friday-Sunday event possible with things to do nearby, etc.

We are, for the moment, ruling out NYC where we live - but if we wnd up having it here, I think I've discovered most of the interesting locations.
posted by jasbet07 to Human Relations (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I've never been there but I've heard fantastic things about the scenery and resorts on Mount Desert Island, Maine.

I'm sure you could find a resort (the Grey Rock Inn) to host your wedding. The scenery, apparently, is simply unbelievable.
posted by camworld at 1:52 PM on September 17, 2008

This may be a little self-linky, but my own flesh and blood run a bed and breakfast in Huntington, Vermont. The cousins who run the place had their wedding there, and it was just lovely.

-Big Octagonal "Barn" for reception
-Rooms available for overnight guests.
-Hiking and biking trails
-Hearty and friendly New England peeps

-Not a whole lot to do nearby.
-Bugs an' stuff.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:01 PM on September 17, 2008

In Vermont the Round Barn is a great!
posted by k8t at 2:10 PM on September 17, 2008

Not to be too much of a homer, but Newburyport, MA might be a great choice. It's quite gay friendly (until CA legalized, I think we had the second most gay marriages in the nation- right behind Provincetown). There's some great beaches, plenty of places to party as you describe, and you're close to Portsmouth, NH, Freeport ME, and Boston MA.

Houses on Plum Island have weekly rentals all summer long, and you can definitely get beachfront if you want.

posted by jenkinsEar at 2:10 PM on September 17, 2008

We attended a wedding at The Lookout Inn in Brooklin, Maine a couple of years ago.

Pros: unique, beautiful coast location and views, had a lobster bake, bonfire/fireworks, tent reception with dancing and DJ. Acadia NP is just up the road for those wanting to do a little extra.

Cons: 3.5 hours from Portland, Maine airport.

I'd assume they are gay friendly but can't be sure.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 2:16 PM on September 17, 2008

Maybe not entirely unique, but I just attended a wedding at the Warren Conference Center in Ashland MA.

Pros - 0.5-1 hour from Boston (depending on traffic), nature trails, lake with part-time lifeguard and boating, lodging, indoor reception hall, one or two decent restaurants in Ashland. Staff was very accommodating as far as setting up tents and barbecue. According to their online brochure, they have moonwalks!

Cons - mosquitos!, might be other events going on at the same time as your wedding, not sure how much $$ all of that extra accommodation costs. The website says receptions end at midnight - however I don't remember them shutting down the entire reception, but they did close the bar at midnight.
posted by twoporedomain at 3:20 PM on September 17, 2008

Well there is always Provincetown.

A wedding ceremony on one of the beaches -- harborside or oceanside, in Provincetown Town Hall, The Unitarian Universalist Meeting House of Provincetown, etc. followed by a clam/lobster bake & BBQ (catered by Clem & Ursie's). Next -- drinks and a private D.J. and dancing (until 1:00 a.m.) at one of the more swanky questhouses: The Brass Key, Carpe Diem, Crowne Pointe, etc.

Pros: 2 hours from Boston; gay-friendly; comfortable and fun; plenty to do for all guests -- art, beach, great food/drinking, daily excursions (biking the dunes, whale watches, etc.); fun nightlife, entertainment (from "people watching" to nightclub revues, drag shows, comedy, etc.).

Cons: Ummm. Let me get back to you on that!
posted by ericb at 4:00 PM on September 17, 2008

BTW -- many guesthouses in P-town have special wedding packages. For example here's Crowne Pointe's.
posted by ericb at 4:06 PM on September 17, 2008

It's expensive but the Blithewold Estate in Bristol RI is stunning
posted by chickaboo at 4:30 PM on September 17, 2008

My friend just had a casual wedding at a day camp. It was great. You might want to try to figure out your ideal location and go from there.

Here's an idea, I use to live right near Gilette Castle and it's beautiful. The only downside is you'd have to have your reception somewhere else. It's in central Connecticut.
posted by hazyspring at 4:42 PM on September 17, 2008

We attended my best friend's wedding in Rockland, ME at the Berry Manor Inn. It was a bit of a schlep to get to, but really lovely. Very cozy and intimate. It was an October wedding, and the reception was held both indoors and out (under tents). It was a lot of fun, and quite a nice place to stay (I think we were there for 2 nights.)

Good luck!
posted by missuswayne at 5:19 PM on September 17, 2008

This organic farm near Portland, ME does weddings.
posted by sophie at 5:38 PM on September 17, 2008

I got married at the Mass Audubon Habitat in Belmont, Mass. It's a really nice place, very accommodating, and extremely non-stuffy. The walls are decorated with whatever art the most recent visiting school group created, and basically feels like you're visiting a day camp off-hours (which, basically, you are).
posted by range at 7:10 PM on September 17, 2008

The Fruitlands in Harvard, MA is fantastic. I don't think their website shows their reception facility but it is cute and the catering is good. It's best for an outdoor affair in the summer - the reception hall is not huge - but there is a lot of "interest" to the location - guests can tour the museums and grounds - and the views are _spectacular_. I highly recommend checking them out. (Full disclosure: I was planning to have my wedding there.) Also, it's fairly affordable. Good luck!
posted by smallstatic at 12:25 AM on September 18, 2008

camworld, I just got back from vacation there, and I highly recommend it to the OP (with the caveat that it is a long drive from MA).

My wife and I got married and had our reception at Hammond Castle in Gloucester, MA - a castle built to hold the medieval collection of an eccentric inventor. It might not be casual enough for you, and has a max of 90-100 seated guests, but it's beautiful and right on the coast.
posted by canine epigram at 6:13 AM on September 18, 2008

I just attended a wedding & reception at the Quichee Inn in Quechee, VT. It was lovely! The accomedations were cozy, the food was fantastic, and the setting was beautiful. It's about 2 hours from Boston.
posted by ahdeeda at 12:36 PM on September 18, 2008

I've heard good things about the Barns at Wesleyan, in central Connecticut., and Hopkins Winery in New Preston. I don't know about the specific venue staff, but Connecticut in general is pretty gay-friendly and I wouldn't anticipate any problems. There's also the all-lesbian Highlands Inn in New Hampshire, which helps organize gay weddings. (Yes, their website is very cheesy.)
posted by bassjump at 7:41 PM on September 18, 2008

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