New England Wedding Ballrooms That Aren't Boring
836 Warwick Neck Ave., Warwick, RI; (401) 739-6850; AldrichMansion.com
This sprawling French chateau is the perfect blend of European and New England charm. The 70-room estate overlooks scenic Narragansett Bay, putting a nautical twist on the mansion's gilded, old-world aesthetic. Commissioned by Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, the interior is dressed to impress with ornate paintings, intricate wood carvings and a stunning marble staircase. After a ceremony at the on-site chapel, invite your guests (up to 230 of them) to take in the panoramic views of the bay from the Great Terrace, guarded by two decorative marble sphinxes. Fun fact: Meet Joe Black was filmed here!
Boston Park Plaza Hotel
50 Park Plz., Boston, MA; (617) 426-2000; BostonParkPlaza.com
In case one's not enough, this Back Bay landmark has two swoon-worthy reception spaces to choose from. With room to seat a whopping 1,130 guests, the Imperial combined with the Plaza Ballrooms -- with two Baccarat crystal chandeliers, gilded balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows -- is the largest option. Smaller but still spacious, the Georgian Ballroom is ideal for more intimate affairs. For a luxe touch, ask about white-glove service.
The Barn at Hardy Farm
254 W. Fryeburg Road, Fryeburg, ME; (207) 869-5289; HardyFarm.com
If you think the mountains are an unlikely place to find a stunning reception spot, you'll be pleasantly surprised by The Barn at Hardy Farm in Fryeburg, Maine, located just over an hour northwest of Portland on the New Hampshire border. Rustic has never looked so chic! The star of this historic wooden barn is the double stairs (hello, entrance!) that wrap around to the second-floor mezzanine. In the warmer months, leave the original barn doors and expansive windows open for a breath of White Mountains air.
The Matrix Conference & Banquet Center
39 Old Ridgebury Road, Danbury, CT; (203) 312-1555; MatrixConferenceandBanquetCenter.com
The sky really is the limit at The Matrix Conference & Banquet Center. This modern event space is nestled on 100 wooded acres in scenic Danbury. Its crown jewel is easily the soaring glass atrium ceiling sitting hundreds of feet above the main ballroom. A state-of-the-art lighting system allows you to transform the venue in whichever way you'd like as the night progresses. Think: warm, natural sunlight for the ceremony, followed by sleek uplighting for dinner and dancing.
321 Main St., Worcester, MA; (508) 752-5608; MechanicsHall.org
Don't let its name fool you -- there's nothing casual about Worcester's Mechanics Hall. In fact, this historic music venue has earned international renown as one of the world's great concert halls. You don't have to be a musician to appreciate the ornate coffered ceiling, Corinthian pilasters, 3,504-pipe organ and balustrade balcony of the awe-inspiring Great Hall. We give this space -- which can comfortably seat 600 -- a standing ovation.
Museum of Science
1 Science Park, Boston, MA; (617) 723-2500; MOS.org
Have you always dreamed of saying your vows surrounded by the planets? What about having your reception with a dinosaur? If you answered yes to either question, the Museum of Science is for you. You and 200 guests will enjoy the unique atmosphere of this venue, which has five different event spaces and sits right on the Charles River. We're partial to receptions in the Blue Wing, where you can dine and dance next to a 45-foot T. rex or sit beneath a suspended Apollo space module.
The Red Barn at Outlook Farm
310 Portland St., South Berwick, ME; (207) 384-1010; OutlookWeddings.com
For the quintessential New England barn wedding, look no further than The Red Barn at Outlook Farm, just 45 minutes south of Portland. Say "I do" in the outdoor wedding garden before moving inside for a reception in the authentic post-and-beam barn complete with a grand entrance, working fireplaces, chandeliers and a wet bar. The barn -- of course painted a classic shade of red -- is the most recent addition to the property, which also includes an 18-hole golf course.
Rivermill at Dover Landing
2 Washington St., Dover, NH; (603) 343-2192; RivermillNH.com
Treat 350 of your closest friends and family members to a night of dinner and dancing in Rivermill at Dover Landing's unconventional ballroom. The raw loftlike space retains the exposed brick walls, beam constructions and rough wooden flooring from its previous life as a riverside mill. We love the picturesque views of Cochecho River, Henry Law Park and the historic City Hall clock tower through the arched windows.
The River Room at Latitude 41°
105 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic, CT; (860) 572-5305; MysticSeaport.org
Drop anchor at Latitude 41°'s River Room (seats 200) for a classic coastal wedding in one of New England's oldest seaports. Unparalleled views of historic Mystic River and nautical wall decor pay homage to Mystic's storied seafaring past and provide a unique backdrop for any event.
The Society Room of Hartford
31 Pratt St. #1, Hartford, CT; (860) 524-0796; HartfordSocietyRoom.com
Ah, The Society Room of Hartford -- talk about a ballroom! Make your entrance from the second-story balcony via the grand staircase before joining your guests beneath the exquisite 35-foot muraled ceiling for a night of celebrating that would make Gatsby himself proud.
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