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Massachusetts is one of the smallest states in the nation, but is at the top of the list in terms of history, romance and contemporary relevance. Wedding planners often assume there's not much in the state beyond Boston. But this WeddingWire guide will show you some of the hidden hotspots, out-of-the-way wedding sites and other pleasant surprises that you can incorporate into your Massachusetts wedding!
Let's start in Beantown. Few American cities can rival Boston's blend of historical offerings and modern elegance. You really get the best of both worlds in Boston - and that's wonderful news for wedding planners. For wedding photos, you have a laundry list of world-famous, ready-to-shoot picture spots, including the Old North Church, Faneuil Hall, the downtown skyline and more. About three-fourths of Massachusetts' population is located in the Boston area, so there's certainly no shortage of wedding service providers. Cambridge, right next to Boston, is home to a pair of famous academic institutions: Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From Boston, a southeast swing puts you firmly on some of the most picturesque beaches in the United States: Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket Island and the Cape Cod area. Sparsely populated and extremely affluent, this region hosts some of the most beloved (and pricy) wedding venues. Edgartown, on Martha's Vineyard, encapsulates what wedding planners love about Massachusetts seaside celebrations: quaint cottages, quiet and less-commercialized beachfronts, classic New England hospitality, and beautiful natural scenery. The I-495 / I-90 corridors link up Boston and the state's east coast with other important metro areas, including Lowell (north of Boston), Worcester (central Massachusetts) and Springfield (western part of the state). Sports enthusiasts have made Springfield's National Basketball Hall of Fame a part of their wedding celebration. Further afield, the gently sloping hills of northwestern MA are an ideal setting for dramatic sunsets, stunning mountain outlooks and winding waterways. From windswept beach settings to winter wonderland destinations, Massachusetts is custom-tailored for practically any celebration - urban and rural, oceanfront and back-country, serious historical significance and whimsical wedding character.
Massachusetts presents wedding planners opportunities and challenges. First, the opportunities: a summer wedding at Martha's Vineyard or other Cape Cod-area beaches are off-the-charts romantic. Plus, the state's fall foliage assortment ranks right up there with any other state in the country. That's the good news. Now for challenges: Massachusetts weather is notorious for turn-on-a-dime climate shifts. Watch out for storms in the fall and winter months. And though MA typically doesn't catch Atlantic hurricanes on a full-frontal basis, rainfall and high winds from leftover storms can put a damper on fall wedding celebrations. Spring weddings are increasingly popular in Massachusetts, particularly in the Cape Cod and Boston inner harbor areas, respectively. The climate - color connection is an important dynamic for your wedding celebration. Blue, white, yellow and green are popular Massachusetts beach wedding colors, while green, red and purple are the current hot trends for interior areas. The state's hilly western region features a hint of rustic wilderness, so darker tones (green, brown, etc.) are outstanding options. The mayflower, the official state flower, figures prominently in many spring and summer Massachusetts weddings; the flower's milky white petals and purple accents make an excellent pair of colors to work with. At the end of the day, Massachusetts' gorgeous landscapes should complement - not determine - your personal color palette preference.
Weddings in Massachusetts make an impact - one thing's for sure, you won't soon (if ever) forget MA matrimony. Unfortunately, your budget won't, either. Massachusetts weddings are some of the most expensive in the United States. In the Boston and Cape Cod areas, it's not uncommon for weddings to cost up to $200 - $250 per guest. Massachusetts wedding planners will sometimes utilize smaller guest lists to offset the costs, which presents the ultimate conundrum - Massachusetts provides unforgettable beauty and elegance, and engaged couples want as many people to experience their wedding; however, too many people may create a considerable financial hurdle. To help Massachusetts wedding planners, there's a general geographical correlation with overall weddings costs. The further west you go, the less expensive your MA wedding will impact your bottom line. For example, using WeddingWire's location-specific wedding service feature, you'll soon discover that Springfield wedding catering services are considerably more affordable than wedding caterers in Boston. The state's eastern beaches, in fact, feature some of the priciest wedding venues anywhere. Edgartown-area wedding caterers serve up terrific menu options, including staple seafood dishes. As we mentioned earlier, Boston has everything couples could want: Boston DJs, transportation services, wedding planning and more.
In the northeast U.S., just about everything costs more than the rest of the country - education, real estate, groceries and more. Add a marriage license to the list, too. Costs vary throughout the state. In Springfield, a license is $40.00. Further east, expect to pay a bit more. A Massachusetts city or town clerk issues marriage licenses, and the bride and groom must apply in person. There is a 3-day waiting period to receive a marriage license, and it's good for 60 days upon issue.