Scouting potential wedding venues.
It just so happens several of my best friends are also engaged, so we set off together to see whats out there.
First stop? The Massachusetts Horticultural Society gardens at Elm Bank in Wellesley, MA. This location was a favorite of Maura's mom and her fiance Mitch, so she brought us there to get a second opinion.
It was the perfect fall day for this. Both of us want to get married in the summer, so imagining it with greenery and flowers is a bit tough- but as you can see it's still beautiful this time of year. The above picture would be a great place for an outdoor ceremony.
Elm Bank features several little gardens, my favorite being the Children's Garden. You walk through twisted wood doors, into a little maze of cute sitting areas and pretty flora and fauna.
Fancy a seat?
Very easy to imagine lots of beautiful and unique wedding photo shots here.
Next up was Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyards in Little Compton, RI. I knew after stepping foot on the premises that this was the one. Now I have a tendency to be a bit impulsive with big decisions, but it's never failed me in the past. I will force myself to see more before committing but first impressions were WOW.
You pull into the 120+ acre vineyard, to find sprawling beautiful lawns littered with old fashioned wooden adirondack chairs, just begging to be sat in with a bottle of wine and a cozy flannel blanket with your loved ones.
The vineyard is currently owned by Carolyn Rafaelian, creater of the Alex and Ani brand. The signature of Alex and Ani is "positive energy," and you can really feel it all over the estate.
Now this is a vineyard so naturally we sampled the wine.
All the grapes are local, and everything is fermented and bottled on premise- so the wine here is 100% estate.
It's also damn delicious. My favorites were the Blessed Blend white, which is actually blessed by Armenian preists, and the Rhode Island red. Carolyn is very spiritual, and has had the estate blessed several times, and has even buried crystals all over the property to balance the energy.
The sampling room/cafe was so cute and cozy. Little rustically decorated vignettes scattered the room, as well as Alex and Ani merch of course.
Coolest staircase ever.
I want that wine lightup board! After getting our fill of wine, the employees were nice enough to give us a tour of the property as well as fill us in on some of the history. The property has been in use since the 1700's- first by the Sakonnet Indian tribe, and then decades later as a vineyard. It passed through the hands of several people including a Broadway star before ending up with Carolyn about 2 years ago.
There are 2 venue options here- one with the ceremony on one of the lawns, and the reception in really cute barn for 80-90 people, or down by the water with a big tent for 100+ people. To get to the water you take a little golf cart down a cute pebble road, and pass by acres and acres of grapes.
This is Carolyn's house down by the water for when she stays at the vineyard- unfortunately it can't be rented out and can only be used for an extra fee by the bridal party to prep for the ceremony.
Afterwards they took us into the back of the winery where we saw the fermentation room and the wine barrel storage. How cool are these oak barrels?
After our tour we settled back into the cafe chairs inside by the super cozy fireplace.
We indulged in a bottle all to ourselves, as well as a cheese plate (when in Rome, amirite???)
Even if neither of us go with either venue, it was such a good time (wine tasting IS one of my favorite pastimes). It was also so cool to see a bit of local history.
Can this please be my life everyday???