The Inside Scoop
FROM THE KNOT EDITORS
The First Look
The Main Exhibit Gallery houses the amazing 200,000-gallon Giant Ocean Tank with abundant sea life. Sleek contours and chic lighting enhance the space even more, making it great for a trendy ceremony or a laid-back reception—or both. This venue has enough space for 300 seated guests or 800 for a cocktail-style service—not counting the dozens of penguins of course.
The West Wing Gallery splits up into two separate levels, providing awesome photo opportunities and an air of elegance. Count on a capacity of 75 seated or 100 for a cocktail reception. Kids—and let’s face it, adults, too—are enthralled by the shark and ray touch tank in this location.
The Harbor View Café is an enclosed indoor venue with spectacular vistas of the Boston Harbor thanks to wall to wall windows. The natural lighting also creates an artistic vibe that enhances any wedding reception or ceremony. There is enough room for 100 seated guests.
The Harbor View terrace and tent is a must-have space for an unforgettable wedding celebration. Its magnificent open-air ambiance and spectacular views transport you to another world for the duration of your wedding day. It is unbelievably romantic, offering a great place for a dance. In addition, it has capacity for 300 seated guests or 400 for a cocktail reception.
Simons IMAX Theater takes whatever you imagined as being an audiovisual presentation during a wedding ceremony to a whole new level. Imagine an enormous multilevel screen playing your favorite moments together as a couple or with friends and family. Just make sure you’re having a good hair day first. You can count on space for 120 seated and 150 cocktail style, with a total theater capacity of 398.
What You Should Know
The five-star reviews from happy newlyweds are so endless that it’s impossible to mention them all. But, suffice it to say that they all agree that the New England Aquarium is a great choice for wedding ceremonies and receptions. There are also a lot of extra options that make your wedding day truly spectacular. The best part is that, since this location is a nonprofit organization, all additional fees you pay are going to a good cause as well.
- Edge of the Sea tide pool lets you hold marine animals
- Roving interpretation provides guests with knowledgeable staff and sea life facts
- Costumed shark, penguin and turtle characters interact with guests
- Giant ocean tank divers feed the wildlife during your celebration and interact with guests
Your events coordinator can answer any additional questions, and also help you to find florists, DJs and other wedding professionals that are of the highest quality. While bringing your own decorations is permitted, there are a few things that are specifically prohibited.
- Elastic bands
- Rubber wristbands
- Glowing sticks, bracelets and necklaces
- Hawaiian leis
- Cans or bottles
- Small toys
- Seashells are allowed in vases only
- Candle flames in hurricane lamps or votive holders only
The New England Aquarium provides access to some of the most unique venues imaginable. If you want, you can reserve the entire aquarium. Not only does that give you tons of space—from 1,000 to 2,000 guests for seated and cocktail-style receptions—it also means free access for all of your guests to every exhibit inside during the entirety of your celebration.
Another amazing perk of the New England Aquarium is the staff's experience with strolling receptions. Instead of a normal sit down meal with hundreds of guests, take to the halls of the aquarium to check out the sites while munching on your favorite hors d'oeuvres and dishes of the highest quality. This provides for colorful photographic opportunities like no other for the bride and groom, and also gives them an excuse to sneak away from the crowd from time to time.
In addition to these amenities, there are others provided by the aquarium no matter what venue you choose.
- Bridal suite
- Specialty drinks
- Complimentary tables and chairs
- Aquarium security guards
From the Vendor
Congratulations on your engagement!
Capture the romance of Boston's historic harbor with one of the most unique venues in the city. With stunning settings, one-of-a-kind views and a backdrop of awe-inspiring aquatic animals, the New England Aquarium is the perfect Boston location for your upcoming waterfront wedding reception.
Amenities + Details
Outdoor - Covered
For more details about amenities, please message the Venue.
$$$ – Moderate
Waterfront, Museum, Tented
Food + Catering, Planning
The New England Aquarium was a spectacular venue. The Aquarium is an unique and beautiful venue. There were so many guests who loved cocktail hour so they could see all the different exhibits. The venue itself is amazing as well as the food and staff. The food is outstanding and the people that we worked with went above and beyond. Abigail, the aquarium's coordinator, is amazing to work with. Our wedding was perfect and I would recommend the aquarium as the venue. There are many different options for the reception depending on what you would like as well as your wedding size. My wedding was 4/23/16, it was a beautiful evening and we had the ceremony outside on the terrace in the back of the aquarium. The views are amazing!!! We had cocktail hour in the main hall with the penguins! The guests loved this! The reception was then in the outdoor tent in the back of the aquarium and it was an amazing evening of good food and dancing!
From the moment we toured the Aquarium, we knew that this is where we wanted to have our wedding. We were looking for a place on Boston's waterfront that was unique but that would host the ceremony, the cocktail hour, & the reception all in one. This was the spot for it all. The sales manager Emily walked us through everything to help us envision our day. She made us feel so excited to set the date. The catering manager & day of coordinator, Abigail, was the next person we met with. She was FABULOUS from start to finish, efficient in returning emails throughout our planning, wonderful in coordinating with our other vendors, & fantastic at dealing with week of stress that a bride can bring to the plate! She went above and beyond to make everything work.. All more fantastic than I could have ever imagined! We had our ceremony outside overlooking the water. The cocktail hour was hosted inside around the fabulous exhibits all dressed up to host such an event & very interactive for the guests! The reception was in a covered tent behind the aquarium with the water as the backdrop. The waitstaff was prompt, courteous, & very professional. The bartenders were fabulous & even helped "design" one of our specialty drinks. The night was seamless & I wasn't stressed thinking about anything that night, as I was so comfortable in knowing the the AMAZING Abigail was there to help with any last minute issues to put all of us at ease. The food was amazing. Who would think that food prepared in a kitchen at an aquarium would be so fantastic?! We were blown away and still have guests that say to us.. The food at your wedding was incredible! Not many people can say that their food was memorable at a wedding! Overall, The New England Aquarium blew us away with their ability to meet all of our needs of hosting our dream wedding. Thank you for the best night of our lives.. Thanks Abigail! xo, The Genoas
ABSOLUTELY PERFECT!Reviewed on 9/17/2015 Janet B
We recently got married at the NEAQ and I don't think I can accurately express how happy I am with their service. First of all, we did a tour with Emily who was so responsive and wonderful in getting us started with our contract. Once we picked the place the planning process began with Abigail who is not only INCREDIBLY professional and amazing at her job but who responded to every concern within a day of my emails. We had such a pleasant experience planning the wedding that we weren't sure it could get any better. However, the day of was incredible. Everything went on without a hitch and Abigail was beside us every step of the way and always made sure we were fed, happy, and stress free. Planning a wedding can be an incredibly stressful experience but having a good time around you is essential to making this process less so. The team at the NEAQ is not only a good team, but an amazing one. Not one detail was overlooked and I have gotten the greatest compliments on how fabulous, unique, and delicious everything was for our wedding day. Do not have doubts about having your wedding here, it is 100% worth it!!!!! You will not be disappointed.
We were so excited to book NEAq for our wedding reception (July 9, 2016) and even more ecstatic the day of. It was a memorable night for the two of us and our guests to spend the cocktail hour in the exhibit area and then to spend the rest of the evening in the tent by the water. Thank you to Abigail for working with us from the very beginning to prepare for the day. You are such a patient and wonderful person! And the staff for the evening was great. Everything went smoothly without a hitch. We would highly recommend NEAq to anyone considering this location.
We had our dream wedding at The New England Aquarium! We got married in the Café - a gorgeous space that looks out onto the harbour and is magical at night. Our cocktail hour was in the West Wing with the Shark and Ray exhibit open which was a lot of fun for our guests. The food is amazing and service is top notch! Our event coordinator made planning our reception so easy.
We had an absolutely wonderful experience at the aquarium. The staff was attentive, respectful, and hard working. We heard over and over again from our guests that the venue was incredibly unique and memorable.
Pat and I had our dream wedding at the Aquarium. It is such a gorgeous and fun venue and the staff is amazing. Abigail is the point person throughout the planning process and she is amazing! I never had to worry about anything and she always kept me on track with helpful reminders. Thank you!
We had such a positive experience getting married here! From the very beginning when we signed the contract until the end off the evening of the big day Abigail, our wedding coordinator was awesome. She helped us navigate through picking our menu, the layout of the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception and just making sure all the little details were in place. She also helped us get information about rehearsal dinner venues and chuppahs. On the day off everything went smoothly and looked beautiful. We couldn't have asked for anything better and we really appreciate everything that Abigail and the aquarium did for us.
We had a fairytale wedding at the New England Aquarium! Yes, you wouldn’t believe it because it is a “nontraditional” venue but Abigail made sure everything went smoothly and the evening was perfect. The aquarium is such a cool place filled with beautiful tanks, amazing photo ops inside and out on the harborwalk as well as at the nearby parks. Your guest will forever remember that you got married in the aquarium and there were penguins there who so happen to be mated for life (with their color coordinated wing bands)! The tent is huge and can accommodate large weddings but can also be made quite intimate for smaller groups. We had 130 guests and it felt like just the right size. The tent can be decorated beautifully and the chairs and linens offered at the aquarium made everything come together beautifully. We had an orchid purple, creamy off white color scheme and they had the perfect linens for us. The food was great and cocktail hour inside the aquarium was so much fun! We got married on Saturday, July 2nd and we even had free fireworks on the Harbor!! There are so many amazing things about working with Abigail, I can barely list all the wonderful things but I will try. She is organized and knows all the vendors and is so pleasant to work with. She makes sure you’re on target with your planning and helps with getting all your vendors together for your big day. It is clear that she loves her job because she does everything so well and everyone (vendors and guests and everyone) loves her! The biggest miracle that she somehow pulled off was this – there was going to be a concert for Boston Harborfest on the pier next to the aquarium that was going to be loud and start at the same time as my quiet wedding ceremony on the harbor! I was so worried that we would be drowned out as we say our vows and our pianist would not be heard at all. SOMEHOW, Abigail worked it out with the Harborfest coordinator to start the concert later! My guests who were all waiting for the ceremony to start were so surprised that the loud music suddenly stopped as the wedding ceremony began! Abigail saved the day and our wedding ceremony! There were many more amazing miracles thereafter and we can’t thank Abigail enough! THANK YOU, New England Aquarium!
The Aquarium is the perfect unique Boston wedding venue. We loved how the Aquarium was one of the only truly outdoor wedding venues on Boston Harbor and you were able to have a waterfront wedding in a tent combined with the urban feel with the city of Boston in the background. The entire evening went so smoothly and we credit much of that to the attention to detail and planning that went into every aspect of the day from all the vendors and especially the coordinators the NEAq. The food was delicious and we had many friends tell us it was the best meal they've had at a wedding. The ability for guests to walk around and enjoy the Aquarium all evening was so fun and enjoyed by all. We are so incredibly happy with our decision to have our wedding at the NEAq!!
In short, our wedding was amazing beyond our expectations. I reached out to Abigail before we signed the sales contract to walk through my questions and concerns, and this was instrumental in winning us over. I would really recommend people who are on the fence about the aquarium to do so. We did everything at the aquarium itself (ceremony on the water, cocktail hour on the top floor, and the reception on the first floor by the penguins - 70 guests in total), and felt this was a very unique and special place to have our wedding. Our out of town guests were all blown away by the choice and layout of the venue. Abigail was responsive and helpful every step of the way during our 12+ month planning process. We even asked her to meet us in person at the aquarium a few times to discuss logistics, and she was happy to do so. She was quick to respond to any surprises or oversights, no matter who was ultimately at fault. Of course, no venue or vendor is perfect, but the aquarium responded to obstacles in a professional and efficient manner, helping us feel that they were personally vested in our wedding rather than just a business partner expecting to only fulfill the “bare minimum” in terms of their duties. My favorite experience was how the staff surprised me with two entrees at the reception, since I couldn't commit to only one. This just shows how well they pay attention to their clients’ needs and preferences and readily adapts to accommodate the uniqueness of each couple’s needs and situations. The staff performed like a well-oiled machine. There were moments where I had no idea what to do next and had to just trust that they had everything under control. Twelve months of planning led to a 4.5 hour event that went by faster than we could ever imagine, but the staff were always on top of things. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience and were extremely blessed to have our special day at the New England Aquarium.
We're so glad we had our wedding at the aquarium. We had to plan our wedding long distance (I was in California), but Abigail was always very responsive to our questions (same-day response during the week) and always friendly and professional, even if some of my questions were borderline dumb. Plus, she made last minute adjustments to the guest list when a few people canceled. Our guests were really excited about the venue as well and can't stop talking about how great the wedding was! Food was excellent as well. One note: If you get a plated dinner with a selection of entrees, the per guest price will be set as the most expensive entree. This was in our contract after we selected our entrees, but we missed it, so were a little surprised to realize this later, so just be aware of that. Truly a wonderful evening with a staff that definitely knows how to throw a wedding in a friendly and elegant fashion.
Aquarium weddingReviewed on 12/09/2015 Brian S
Every piece of the wedding was perfect. From our first visit through the end of the night it was amazing. The staff, particularly Abigail, was incredibly helpful. She guided us through the process, gave us a lot of good advice kept things on track! She also made every crazy request we had seem routine whether it was adding beer from small local brewers, last minute photobooth addition or changing our menu! And the actual wedding -- I can't imagine a better location. The food was spectacular. everyone had a blast in the building and then we rocked out the dance floor all night. It was the perfect night for us and we could go on raving about every aspect of the people, the facility, the location and well...everything.
Unique Venue & Excellent Team to Work With!Reviewed on 10/12/2015 Samantha G
As soon as we visited the Aquarium and toured the space with Sales Manager Emily, we were sure it was the perfect place for our wedding. The Aquarium is such a unique and cool venue and the Special Events team was amazing, from our first visit, through the whole planning process, and managing every detail of our special day. Abigail, our Catering Manager, was incredibly organized, responsive, and thorough in her responses to all of our questions along the way and provided great recommendations for other vendors including the officiant we ended up hiring. We really appreciated the personalized attention we received including a private tasting; even though NEAQ hosts weddings almost every weekend, it never felt like it! On our wedding weekend, we had total confidence in Abigail and the Events team, but we were particularly impressed and grateful for the amazing service we received from all of the attendants and other event staff as well. Our guests had an amazing time and, from the ceremony to the reception, our wedding was everything we had dreamed of and more!
Best day everReviewed on 10/08/2015 Kimberly O
The aquarium was the best venue from initial contact through the end of our wedding. Emily was so helpful when we were booking the venue. She answered all of my questions and never made me feel silly for the random things I asked. She was always prompt and very pleasant to work with. Once we booked the venue we were transferred to Abigail's care. She is also fantastic! Her attention to detail and responsiveness was always appreciated. She knows her stuff! She is really helpful in the planning process and helps everything go smoothly the day of the wedding. Our guests loved our venue, the food, the staff, everything! We couldn't have asked for a better day or venue for our wedding.
Gorgeous venue with great staffReviewed on 9/17/2015 Alla H
My partner and I had an amazing wedding at the Aquarium. We had the ceremony and reception outside on the deck overlooking the harbor and cocktail hour inside the Aquarium by the penguin enclosure. It's a beautiful area, and it's a ton of fun being able to look at the animals during the party. The food is delicious, with a New England-y slant, and there are good options for vegans and people with other food restrictions. Abigail, the venue coordinator, was unbelievably helpful. She helped us keep track of everything we needed to do and provided us with vendor recommendations and reminders as time went on. On the day of, she was great about accommodating surprise food changes, taking care of details that never occurred to us, and even helped us finish one of our DIY projects last minute. Everyone on staff worked hard to make sure that we weren't worried about anything and had a good time. The venue was totally welcoming to offbeat ideas and queer couples, and I'd highly recommend working with them to anyone.
Loved the aquarium!Reviewed on 9/16/2015 Allison S
Our wedding was so wonderful. The aquarium was the perfect setting and surprising romantic...couples could mingle with others, or go off and see the marine life. Everything went off without a hitch, and Abigail was a huge help in the whole panning process.
Wedding of Our Dreams!Reviewed on 9/06/2015
My husband grew up boating and on the water. I grew up with a love of sea animals, so when my husband suggested the New England Aquarium as our wedding venue, I knew it was the perfect choice. The experience exceeded our expectations. Everything the staff did--from the coordinator Abigail Stephens down to the wait staff--was perfect. We had a simple ceremony outside, cocktail hour in the Aquarium, and reception in the tent outside. Leading up to the wedding, Abigail answered our questions speedily and had helpful suggestions. When we changed our minds about adding a champagne toast like 5 days before the wedding, she added it without a bat of the eye. She also worked with our vendors--DJ, String Trio, Photographer, Cake, Flowers, etc.--during the planning so that they vendors were comfortable and ready to go on the big day. The day of the wedding, everything was laid out perfectly from our seating chart to card table and guest book to wedding cake to gifts for our guests. The ceremony went off without a hitch and the staff moved the guests smoothly to the cocktail hour inside. I've had so many guests tell us it was the best wedding cocktail hour they ever attended. The setting was unique and fun and the food was delicious. On to the tent for the reception. Again, everything flowed smoothly and on schedule. We had the buffet dinner and people were not standing around waiting, but got food timely and were able to enjoy themselves. And the food was terrific. Almost everyone made it a point to tell us how much they loved all the dishes, especially the short ribs. My husband and I had wait staff assigned to us and our plates were full and we never had to look for so much as a glass of water--it was all taken care of. I honestly can't think of one thing that went wrong. I highly recommend this venue if you are looking for a unique and fun venue, with great water views and also very elegant.
Unbelievable Experience and Service at NEAq!Reviewed on 8/11/2015 Kate B
I could not be happier with our choice to go with the New England Aquarium for our reception and ceremony venue. Since the wedding, all my parents have heard and I have heard is that everyone just loved the venue. It was such a unique place and memorable. The staff was outstanding. Emily was great to work with at the beginning of the process and Abigail - I think Abigail is a total saint in the eyes of my mom! Once we signed the contract, they passed us off to Abigail and man, does she know her stuff! She was so efficient at managing the process - making sure that we knew exactly what to be prepared with, asked all the right questions, and on the day of, she managed everyone like a pro - ring bearer and flower girls included! From the tasting to the night off, the entire staff was incredible. You could tell they all wanted it to go great and it showed through in every interaction I had with them. If you are looking for a great Boston location with a beautiful waterfront view and fantastic service - look no further! Plus, it's kind of cool that at least the obscene price tag you have to pay for a wedding reception in the city is at least going to support a great organization! :)
Thank you!Reviewed on 7/14/2015
We had our wedding reception at the Aquarium and it was amazing! Everyone is so wonderful and easy to work with. It was virtually seamless from the day we booked until the event. We could not be more pleased. Our guests were raving about the view! We highly recommend the New England Aquarium for any event!
Great Wedding VenueReviewed on 7/02/2015
The Aquarium was a fabulous wedding venue. The event planner helped us each step of the way to plan our perfect wedding with experience, attention to detail and a smile. The tent looked beautiful with a great view of the harbor. The fact that our guests could wander through the aquarium during the reception made it unique. The chef worked with us to choose a wondeful meal and the wait staff took care of our every need.We received many compliments! Thanks Abigail!
June Wedding!Reviewed on 6/24/2015
Everything was fantastic! Weddings are never easy and non-stressful affairs but Abigail took as much off of our plate as possible and was extremely helpful and kind from start to finish. The venue was fantastic, our guests raved and many said it was the best wedding they've ever been to. Once in a lifetime experience!
A+ Wedding VenueReviewed on 6/15/2015
I just had my wedding reception at the New England Aquarium a couple weeks ago and it was just beautiful. The emails and calls and personal notes keep rolling in from our wedding guests about how much they loved our wedding especially the venue. The food was absolutely delicious, the staff was awesome, venue beautiful. Abigail who is the wedding coordinator is so, so wonderful to work with. She made the entire process so easy. It was such a unique wedding venue and so beautiful. The New England Aquarium impressed us so much and we are beyond happy that we made the choice to have our reception there. Abigail and team did an amazing job, Thank you Thank you!!!
Fabulous, different wedding with Sharks!Reviewed on 4/09/2015 Lindsay W
We were looking for atypical wedding venues and since most of our guests were coming from out-of-town, we wanted something that would show off Boston. We looked at several museums and other area landmarks and the aquarium was one of the few places that were actually within our price-range. It was probably the best possible place we could have asked for in terms of both service and quality. For summer weddings, they rent a tent in back on the harbor but since we were married in March, we needed to do it inside. We were given the harbor-view cafe for ceremony and reception and the west-wing gallery (shark and ray touch tank and jelly-fish room) for the cocktail hour. This was PERFECT for our small wedding (around 70 people). They assign you an event-planner from the minute you contact them and she was the best person I could have asked for. She led me through everything from day one and the aquarium took care of everything from catering to furniture and linens. They also had multiple people also on-hand during the event to make sure everything went smoothly. They completely transformed the room from ceremony to reception. During the cocktail hour, my guests and I got to touch sharks and rays--you couldn't ask for a cooler wedding activity! And the harbor-view cafe has the most gorgeous view of both the city and the harbor. We got tons of amazing photos in and around the aquarium. This location made for an incredibly memorable wedding and the service was AMAZING. I could not have asked for a better venue.
NEAQ - 5 starsReviewed on 3/24/2015
My wife and I recently held our ceremony, reception, and dinner at the NEAQ. The service, quality, and professionalism exceeded our expectations. This was a march wedding and the NEAQ hosted our wedding entirely indoors. We received multiple comments that this was the coolest wedding they've ever been to and also received wonderful comments on the food, especially the h'orderves. There is no question that the NEAQ is more likely to be a pricier venue then some other more traditional venues - but we loved the aquatic theme and the event coordinator, Abigail Stephens, was incredibly helpful in getting all our specifications and needs just right. My wife and I would highly recommend the venue to those who are interested in a non-traditional venue. -J