What better way to spend SuperBowl Sunday afternoon than go hunting for possible wedding venues. So P and I and Ryan and Alice are hitting the road tomorrow for a 4-stop tour of beautiful places. Oh, me, oh, my. Must we? ;-)
So, the Warren Conference Center and Inn that Paul posted about earlier this week is still a possibility, but we've added some to our list (named here in no particular order):
Garden in the Woods -- For those of you who don't live in or near Framingham, you may not be aware of this "hidden gem," but both P and I have loved this place for many years, separately. It's the garden for the New England Wildflower Society and it's bee-yoo-tee-ful! The problem is that I'm not sure it has an open space large enough for a gathering of people. Oh, the other problem is that there's no reception area (that we know of). I've left a message to just feel the joint out. We can't go see it (although we know what it looks like already) because it's closed in the winter. Garden in the Woods is almost up the street from us, so if they have the means and space, this would be a good option.
Elm Bank Horticultural Center -- The garden for the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, who throws the annual New England Spring Flower Show in Boston. P and I went last year and were just amazed at the flower show. But I've never been to Elm Bank, so we'll stop by tomorrow to take a look. It appears that Elm Bank holds weddings in the carriage house, which looks very nice from the Web site. From this carriage house, they apparently attach a three-walled tent for "outdoor guest spillage." It looks like it could be very lovely. I've left a message with the Director of Operations, so I'm expecting a call back next week. Elm Bank is two towns over, so this venue would be nice and close.
Tower Hill Botanical Gardens -- My mom and I hit this gorgeous area last year (was it May or October, Mom? Or was it Oct., 2005?) and we keep saying we need to go back because it was absolutely stunning but we only had like 1/2 hour there, as they were closing. There's a lovely garden area and then down a hill is a wide-open field and beyond that are walking trails through the woods. So I'm thinking use the garden for the ceremony and the unbelievably pretty Orangerie as the reception site. The Orangerie is literally dripping with plantlife and is just stunning when you walk in. They have other rooms as well, but this glass-walled and -ceilinged room would be my first pick. Tower Hill is definitely on the tour for tomorrow. Boylston wouldn't be too far of a drive, so this is definitely in the realm of possibility.
Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary -- This may be a bit too woodsy, and the indoor capacity is 50 seated guests, but they do suggest a certain site for a tented reception for more, so they have probably done this once or twice before. A wildlife sanctuary would be right up my alley, but then again so would gardens. ;-) This is also on the list for tomorrow. I have a feeling the Website didn't do this place justice. This place is in Natick, so it has the benefit of being one town over from where we live.
Lake Pearl Luciano's -- This was Maggie's idea. It's a bit of a trek -- probably close to 45 minutes -- but it's on the water and Paul and I are water people, so it may be worth it. They seem to be sort of a wedding mill (that's why we're steering clear of Longfellow's Wayside Inn) and have plenty of rules about when you can have the wedding, and even the rehearsal. For instance, for a Saturday (morning, BTW, not even afternoon) wedding, the rehearsal would have to be the previous Wednesday or Thursday, as they'll have to block off Friday evening for another wedding. I'm thinking this is too many restrictions on a day that I want Paul and me to control the timing of. This would probably be my last preference as far as this list goes, both for the drive there and for the seemingly strict rules they have. A rehearsal any other night than Friday wouldn't work, seeing as how my entire family will be driving up from PA for the wedding (Scott and Liz and the kids would be coming up on Friday, as Corinne and Aiden, my niece and nephew, have school on Wednesday and Thursday). So I may wait to even look at this place, seeing as how I'm hoping one of the others will work out.
So, tomorrow's tour will be Elm Bank, Broadmoor, Warren Conf. Center, and Tower Hill. Wish us luck!