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8 Boston Wedding Venues Boasting Historic Charm & Modern Glamour

photographer: Dennis Lee Photography | event planner: Wendy Joblon | décor: Marc Hall Design | venue: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

By Jessica Terson, Writer

Since its founding in 1630 by Puritan settlers, Boston has both witnessed and made American history. These Boston museums and landmarks capture the city’s storied history and offer a spectacular backdrop for an exclusive celebration. Imagine toasting to new beginnings surrounded by American masterpieces or dining al fresco in a many-pillared courtyard. From art museums to long-standing libraries, these historic Boston wedding venues and event spaces will bring the grandeur of the past to your present celebration.

For towering ceilings and a bookish ambiance complete with vintage bankers lamps...

Boston Public Library
Boston Public Library | photography: Snap! Photography

Boston Public Library

Founded in 1848, the Boston Public Library is the 3rd largest public library in the United States. It’s opulent architecture and historic details make it a stunning backdrop for a sensational private event. The McKim Building, often described as a “palace for the people,” owes its design to the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève in Paris. We love how this summer ceremony took place in the lush courtyard, surrounded by lofty pillars and an ornate fountain. For more intimate celebrations, the Boylston Lounge features vast red bookcases, wood-slatted scalloped ceilings, and arched floor-to-ceiling windows. 

Boston Public Library Capacity: 330 (seated)

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For the art lover who also loves the option to celebrate in or out of doors...

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston | photographer: Kerry Brett Photographer

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston draws people from all over the world, and with good reason. Celebrants will love the spectacular architecture as much as the 450,000 works of art housed in this sprawling museum. The Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Rotunda and Colonnade offer a striking event space with an ornate dome ceiling. We love how this bride and groom posed for photographs on the room’s dramatic staircase. Red damask-covered walls and European masterpieces in The William I. Koch Gallery create a one-of-a-kind backdrop that will have guests taking out their cameras. We also love how the glass-enclosed Ruth And Carl J. Shapiro Family Courtyard boasts limestone walls for large-scale projections. 

William I. Koch Gallery Capacity: 190 (seated) 600 (standing)

Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Family Courtyard Capacity: 500 (seated) – 1,000 (standing)

Linde Family Wing For Contemporary Art Capacity: 300 (seated) – 1,200 (standing)

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For a light-filled celebration in a massive modern space with unrivaled city views...

JFK Library
JFK Library | photo courtesy of JFK Library

JFK Library

Entertain your guests with the same lavish style that First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy brought to the White House. This gorgeous event space, located on a 10-acre park, pays tribute to the life of John F. Kennedy. The Museum Pavilion, a nine-story glass atrium, provides unrivaled views of the city skyline and Boston Harbor. Smith Hall, named after President Kennedy’s brother-in-law and trusted advisor, offers additional stunning views. It’s tiled walls are the perfect blank canvas for projection lighting or other unique visuals.

The Museum Pavilion Capacity: 170 (seated) – 500 (standing)

Smith Hall Capacity: 500 (seated) – 500 (standing)

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For contemporary art and unique architecture lovers alike...

Institute of Contemporary Art Boston
Institute of Contemporary Art Boston | photographer: David Collaço

Institute of Contemporary Art Boston

Contemporary art lovers from around the world routinely flock to this architectural gem. This unique building, with its striking folding ribbon form, produces shifting views of the Boston waterfront. For vibrant galas and celebrations, State Street Corporation Lobby boasts soaring glass walls that overlook the Boston skyline as well as one wall devoted entirely to large-scale paintings by renowned contemporary artists. Putnam Investments Plaza goes right up to the water’s edge for picturesque outdoor events. The plaza can be tented and heated, making it an ideal space regardless of weather.

Institute of Contemporary Art Boston Capacity: 225 (seated) – 225 (standing)

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For dramatic party-enhancing installations and a top-notch dining experience...

Museum of Science, Boston
Museum of Science, Boston | photo courtesy of Museum of Science, Boston

Museum of Science, Boston

With over 700 interactive exhibits, the Museum of Science, Boston is one of the world’s largest science centers. Wolfgang Puck Catering brings its legendary service and creative seasonal cuisine to all private events held at the museum. A combination of indoor and outdoor spaces are available for your celebration. Washburn Pavilion, an open-air space situated directly on the Charles River, predates the museum itself. Hosts can choose from such unique menu items as clambakes, lobster dinners, and barbecues. For a stunning indoor event space, head to the Skyline Room located just beneath the museum’s 230-foot spire. With two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows, dramatic backdrops range from sunlit waters to glittering city lights. Don’t forget to check out The Blue Wing. Three levels of wrap-around gallery space include a 45-foot long T. Rex and suspended Apollo module.

The Skyline Room Capacity: 120 (seated) – 150 (standing)

Washburn Pavilion Capacity: 300 (seated) – 350 (standing)

The Blue Wing Capacity: 350 (seated) – 900 (standing)

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For an Italian-influenced celebration close to home...

Harvard Art Museums
Harvard Art Museums | photo courtesy of Harvard Art Museums

Harvard Art Museums

The Harvard Art Museums include the historic Fogg Museum building and a dramatic contemporary addition. Calderwood Courtyard, designed to evoke an Italian piazza, showcases wrap-around wrap-around balconies and soaring ceilings. Guests will love posing in front of the countless masterpieces from renowned artists. Adolphus Busch Hall captures the spirit of a grand medieval hall, replete with casts of medieval and Renaissance sculptures. An adjacent open terrace and tranquil garden let guests step outdoors for al fresco dining or cocktails under the stars. For more intimate celebrations, we especially love the Naumburg Room, a Jacobean-style hall with luxurious old-world details.

Adolphus Busch Hall Capacity: 80 (seated) – 80 (standing)

Naumburg Room Capacity: 80 (seated) – 80 (standing)

Calderwood Courtyard Capacity: 200 (seated) – 300 (standing)

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For car-lovers, horse fans, and Francophiles alike...

Larz Anderson Auto Museum
Larz Anderson Auto Museum

Larz Anderson Auto Museum

Located on 64 picturesque acres, Larz Anderson Park is home to “America’s Oldest Car Collection.” Celebrate at this unique venue surrounded by the museum’s permanent automobile collection. Carriage House, built in 1888, owes its design inspiration to the Château de Chaumont-Sur-Loire in France. The Great Lawn accommodates large parties up to 500 and can be tented year-round. For a truly unique setting, host a cocktail party or buffet station in The Stable Room that once stalled the Anderson horses. 

Main Gallery Capacity: 120 (seated) – 150 (standing)

Great Lawn Capacity: 500 (seated) – 500 (standing)

 

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For a unique indoor space that features the sky as a stunning décor element...

Peabody Essex Museum
Peabody Essex Museum | photo courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum

Peabody Essex Museum

The Peabody Essex Museum, the successor to the East India Marine Society, features the combined collections of the Essex Institute and the Peabody Museum of Salem. The museum houses a diverse collection of world-wide objects first gathered in 1799. The museum’s dramatic Atrium space features a soaring curved glass roof and walkways that lead to various galleries. Other event spaces in the museum are currently being renovated but will be available for private rental starting in 2020.

The Atrium Capacity: 270 (seated) – 270 (standing)

 

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