Five Questions to Ask Your Caterer

  1. What do you provide?

Get the details on exactly what your caterer will bring. Some services provide everything, from food to tables and chairs, linens and silverware. Figure out what the caterer provides and what you’ll need to supply yourself.

  1. Do you have other events booked on the same day?

Don’t commit to a catering company that has indicated that they have other events on the same day as your wedding. You’ll want a fully devoted staff that’s focused on your event and guests.

  1. What kind of equipment will you need?

This one is especially important if you’re having an outdoor wedding or a reception someplace that doesn’t have a traditional kitchen. Make sure your caterer can bring the proper equipment for preparing and serving anywhere, if necessary.

  1. Can you bake my wedding cake (or dessert)?

Sometimes, adding your wedding cake or dessert onto the catering budget can save you money and time. Ask the caterer to cut and serve the cake, as well.

  1. Will you allow me to customize my menu?

Many brides and grooms opt to add personalized flavor to their wedding menu, so make sure your caterer is open to this if it’s something you desire.


Around the City: Boston Public Garden

Photo Credit: David Paul Ohmer via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: David Paul Ohmer via Compfight cc

In our Around the City posts, we’ll explore both popular and lesser-known areas of the city sure to be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. Enjoy!

A morning or afternoon stroll through the Boston Public Garden gives visitors the chance to reflect and relax in an environment that’s been inspiring residents, visitors and botanists for more than a century.

As the first public botanical garden in America, Boston Public Garden offers 24 acres of exotic and unusual plants set amongst strolling pathways and aquatic inlets. Visitors will enjoy interacting with the garden’s most famous residents — a pair of mute swans named Romeo and Juliet.

The garden’s Boston skyline backdrop gives its distinctive features — its enchanting Swan Boats, bronze George Washington statue and a handful of calming fountains — a sense of urban grounding.

The Public Garden was designed by George F. Meacham in 1837. With Boston Common, the Public Garden forms the northern portion of the city’s Emerald Necklace. The Victorian garden showcases a huge assortment of planting techniques that have been done in the Victorians’ trademark spirit.


Easter Brunch at the Hampshire House

Garden-Oasis-Drink-Display-HHHampshire House invites families to come and enjoy a three-course Easter brunch set within our historic Beacon Hill mansion on Easter Sunday. A seasonally inspired prix fixe menu will take you on a culinary journey through the fresh and flavorful — beginning with French and New England favorites like lobster bisque and clam chowder and finishing on a high note with Hampshire House’s decadent chocolate trilogy. You choose from 10 main courses ranging from brunch-hour staples like eggs benedict and stuffed French toast to heartier options like beef tenderloin medallions and herb-crusted salmon.

There’s no better Boston Easter brunch for those with an appetite for perfection. Hampshire House will also have a full-service bar available to customers, so be sure to try one of our popular bloody marys. The Easter brunch is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 5. The Cost is $55 per person excluding tax, gratuity and beverages. Please call 617-227-9600 to make reservations.


The Benefits of Off-Site Corporate Meetings

Hampshire House Corporate Meeting
The Thayer Room on the 3rd Floor of the Hampshire House

It may seem obvious, but hosting your corporate meeting off-site can help motivate and energize employees at all levels. According to the Harvard Business Review, “a successful off-site can align executives, galvanize corporate performance and strengthen the company’s position in its industry.”

Off-site corporate meetings can be planned to address large-scale company questions — like a specific company’s plan for future growth — as well as to encourage smaller scale company agendas, like boosting employee morale and strengthening individual department functions. No matter your business’ specific goals, an off-site corporate meeting can be used as a powerful tool to help strengthen your company from the ground up.

Here are some more benefits of hosting your corporate meeting off-site:

> A focused group creates focused results. Inviting a limited number of core participants means that you get strategic conversation that yields thoughtful responses and effective results.

> Actual questions get actual answers. Setting aside time for an off-site corporate meeting that has been planned ahead gives participants the time they need to gather data and do research that will contribute to the conversation.

> Fewer distractions mean higher productivity. Executives and employees who have stepped away from their daily responsibilities — ringing phones, excessive e-mails, etc. — get the opportunity to focus solely on the company’s future or the meeting’s objective.

> Off-sites build team morale. Taking team members out of their typical environment forces them to interact in new ways with their co-workers. Off-site meetings allow for face-to-face conversation in an environment that’s less stressful than the office.

The reason for why off-site meetings are exceptionally productive is simple. An inspiring environment elicits inspiring results. A mediocre backdrop for brainstorming is just that. Having your off-site meeting somewhere that’s forward-thinking, refreshing and stimulating will help team members get reengaged with their employers.


Three Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

Before your big day, you want to make sure that your wedding photographer is prepared to help you achieve your specific wedding day vision. Use this guide to ensure that all of your questions are kept in mind beforehand.

1. Can I see your portfolio?

Ask your wedding photographer upfront about their shooting style and request to see a physical portfolio. This way, you’ll be able to see how his or her photos translate to print. If your photographer leans more photojournalistic, you can expect wedding candids and fewer touch-ups. If he or she has been inspired by the fine arts, you’ll probably get more conceptual or abstract photos.

2. What kind of experience do you have?

A seasoned wedding photographer will have a better idea of what brides and grooms generally want. They’ll know to capture both big-picture subject matter (walking down the aisle and the first dance) as well as minuter wedding day details (table settings and getting ready). But less experienced photographers may have something to offer, too — like a lower price point or a less hectic schedule.

3. What happens if you can’t make it?

If your wedding photographer becomes ill or can’t make your date for some reason, you’ll want to make sure he or she has a reliable backup. Before signing a contract, ensure that your photographer has someone just as skilled to act as the understudy.


Four-Handed Illusions: Magic and Comedy at Hampshire House

Come and enjoy a truly awe-inspiring evening filled with magic and comedy at Hampshire House’s Four-Handed Illusions event with magicians Joel Acevedo and Steve Kradolfer. Acevedo and Kradolfer have been mystifying audiences for a combined 35 years, specializing in a unique performance of comedy-meets-magic filled with brain-twisting tricks like teleportation and mind-reading peppered with razor-sharp humor. This unforgettable, intimate event is open to just 50 people, so guests will get an up-close-and-personal experience inside the Hampshire House’s cozy and sophisticated Library Room.

The evening begins with a pre-show reception, a half-hour before showtime in the Hampshire House’s stately Baker Bar. Event-goers can take advantage of a cash bar — open during the pre-show reception and intermission — and enjoy light hors d’oeuvres before the show begins. Hampshire House will offer two show times on Sunday, March 22: 3:30 p.m. with a reception at 3 p.m., and 7 p.m. with a reception at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available here.

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Image from

The Beacon Hill Women’s Forum at Hampshire House

Beacon Hill Women's Forum meeting at the Hampshire House. Image from BHWF website.
Beacon Hill Women’s Forum meeting at the Hampshire House. Image from BHWF homepage.

Hampshire House will welcome the Beacon Hill Women’s Forum on the second Tuesday of each month (through May 6, 2015) for a conversational cocktail reception in our historic turn-of-the-century mansion.

These comfortable cocktail meet-ups will feature Hampshire House’s fresh and flavorful hors d’oeuvres, plus a cash bar and a monthly guest speaker. The Beacon Hill Women’s Forum will welcome guest speakers like Filmmaker Lorna Lowe and others this season.

The Beacon Hill Women’s Forum invites all women in the community to come and enjoy these forums in the casual-yet-inspiring Hampshire House setting. The organization is open to all women who live in the extended Beacon Hill community who have a similar mission — to connect, inspire and enjoy.

These events will take place the second Tuesday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Hampshire House. The cost is $50 for an annual membership fee plus a $20 fee per meeting.


The Best Winter Engagement Photo Locations in Boston

Top 5 Locations for Enagement Photos - Winter


Create an engagement album that’s memorable, romantic and unique to your winter love story with these inspiring Boston winter engagement photo ideas.

Maybe we’re a little bit biased, but we love Beacon Hill engagement photos in every season, especially in the winter. The historic row houses and brick sidewalks offer true urban charm for the bride- and groom-to-be that would prefer a touch of traditional in their engagement photos. Beacon Hill’s landmark architecture looks ever-so-enchanting after being dusted with a winter snowfall, too.

Boston’s rich history has left residents with a vast assortment of settings for romantic photos, including the opulent Boston Public Library or bustling Quincy Market. Seasonal twinkling lights and decorative evergreens make these Boston landmarks ideal for shooting in the winter.

Tailor your engagement session to your love story with Boston’s full complement of fun and iconic photo locations. If your courtship was sports-centric, take a few snapshots at TD Garden. If you love all things nautical, your seasonal, sea-inspired photo shoot will come alive at Piers Park. Each of these winter photo engagement settings will help you capture the romance and whimsy of Boston.


BHCA’s Oscar Night Cocktail Party at The Hampshire House

The Hampshire House will roll out the red carpet for the Beacon Hill Civic Association’s star-studded Oscar Night Cocktail Party on Sunday, Feb. 22. Movie-lovers, BHCA supporters and those who love an old-fashioned, black-tie affair will delight in this Academy-acclaimed event.

Event-goers can expect to get the V.I.P. treatment, with butler-passed and stationary hors d’oeuvres, red carpet photos and live entertainment, all while enjoying Hampshire House’s fit-for-a-celebrity backdrop.

The event will also feature a movie trivia game with prize drawings. Guests are invited to wear their best red carpet attire. Two drink tickets, hors d’oeuvres, tax and gratuity are included in the $55 per person ticket price. To purchase tickets, visit

This A-list event will help support the Beacon Hill Civic Association, a neighborhood organization whose main goal is to preserve and enhance the quality of life on Beacon Hill.


Hampshire House’s Downton Abbey Dinner – This Weekend!

Downton Abbey fans are cordially invited to the Hampshire House on Saturday, Feb. 14, for a once-in-a-lifetime Downton Abbey Dinner set amidst an authentic Georgian revival backdrop. Our mansion’s intricate woodwork, opulent chandeliers and elegant Palladian windows will make you feel like you’re dining in Downtown Abbey.

This enchanting evening will feature a period-inspired five-course dinner complete with Devonshire cream and royal croutons, champagne sorbet, British-style beef tenderloin and a spread of Mrs. Patmore’s sweets. Hampshire House will also present a special performance based on the hit BBC show. This decadent dining experience will make for an unforgettable Boston Valentine’s Day date.

The Hampshire House Downton Abbey Dinner will take place Saturday, Feb. 14 at 6:30 p.m. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be followed by a lavish 7 p.m. dinner. The cost is $120 per person and includes food, entertainment, tax and gratuity. Vegetarian and non-beef options are available. Tickets still available!

Purchase Tickets

Downton Abbey Formal Invitation