Thursday, October 8, 2009

Researching Homes for a Backyard Wedding Reception

I was getting closer to deciding on the perfect location to marry Adam.  I had realized a vacation home would be my best bet for a backyard wedding reception and ceremony.  Since I wanted an outdoor small wedding, with fewer than 20 people, this seemed like something I could make elegant and exactly to my tastes, and it would be economical to have Adam's family stay there for a week.  So it was time to start looking at vacation homes online.  I used several websites in my search:,, and and I mostly stuck with the following criteria:

  • 3+ bedrooms
  • Seaside community
  • Scenic outdoors
  • Good looking indoors

I figured I needed at least 3 bedrooms to accommodate Adam’s family.  A fourth bedroom wouldn’t hurt, in case his best friend is able to make the journey from England to Massachusetts for us.  And if the place is far enough from my condo, a fifth bedroom would be good so we could stay overnight.

At first I started looking at some seaside communities, because I’d love to have a backyard wedding reception near a beach for photos.  I didn’t want to traipse through sand during the ceremony, but after might be nice.  So I started looking at houses on Cape Cod with space for an outdoor small wedding, and worked my way up.  I looked in Plymoth, Chatham and Dennis, which were all beautiful. 

Then mom told me that Cape Cod would be WAY too far for me.  She knows I hate driving, so I needed something closer.  I looked in Salem, but there’s pretty much no yards in Salem.  If I wanted a gorgeous historical building Salem would be great, but I couldn’t have a backyard wedding reception there.  I tried Salisbury since that’s closer to her, but the yards all sandy, not gardens.  Newburyport just didn’t have much available.  I looked in Glouster, and finally Rockport.  These places are much closer, and have some pretty nice spaces for an outdoor small wedding.

As I looked at dozens (/hundreds?) of houses, I made notes on the price, bedrooms, and the look.  Though a scenic outdoor space for the backyard wedding reception is the most important thing for me, at this point I still wasn’t sure exactly what my priority was for the outdoors: Ocean? Garden? Lake? Trees? Lawn? Architecture/exterior paint color?  I made haphazard notes on all those things.  I guess in a way it’s good: by not having my heart set on one thing, maybe I’ll be happy with whatever?  But in a way it’s not good, because of course deep down I want it ALL.  But for now, I’m just gathering information and seeing what’s out there for what price point.  For now, looking at all these pretty places and getting a vision for my outdoor small wedding is fun.

Now the INSIDE is so much easier to decide on.  Some of these places are so rustic that they were a definite no.  No offense to the brides who are going that route: I understand that’s very big this season, it’s just not what I’m looking for.  Wood paneled walls, floors, and ceilings don’t say elegant to me, and I’m going for elegant.  I don’t like the typical blue and white interior either.  That’s very relaxing, and would fit a beach theme wedding I know, but I like the neutrals and warm colors instead.  So all in all, I’m not sure yet what I want for my backyard wedding reception, but I sure know what I DON’T want.   


  1. I am planning an outdoor wedding, so all your hard work and research is super helpful to hear. Good luck, keep us posted!

  2. I'm so glad someone's finding this helpful :) I like blogging for myself so I can look back on this after I'm married and reminisce, but it's also exciting to know that others are benefiting too!

  3. what a great idea! I had never thought of renting a house for a backyard wedding. sounds like a great plan for your very small wedding!


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