Vintage Wedding Guide: Throwing an Old-Fashioned Affair
If you’re planning a vintage-inspired wedding, set the perfect backdrop to your special day with the help of Hampshire House. Our turn-of-the-century, five-story Georgian revival home in the center of Beacon Hill will add an air of old-school elegance to your entire event. Vintage weddings are the perfect choice for the couple who loves a classic ambiance with a bit of an eclectic feel, and our special space makes the perfect backdrop for your vintage vision.
Choosing a Vintage Venue
If you’re looking for a unique venue that’s well-suited for a vintage-style wedding, consider choosing a historical setting with architectural features that set the stage. Choosing an indoor setting complete with elaborate woodwork and stunning chandeliers will help you take some of the guesswork out of planning, since you won’t have to recreate the old-fashioned vibe with costly décor rentals. Choose a venue that allows you to decorate freely with whimsical centerpieces, string lights, and plenty of freshly picked flowers.
Constructed in 1910, the Hampshire House has elegant and timeless architecture that has held up over the years. In its over 100 years of existence, the home has dwelled on Beacon Hill and seen generations of Bostonians filter through its rooms. Overlooking the Boston Public Garden, the mansion offers exceptional views from its upper floors. Warm weather weddings can also take advantage of the location to take some photos in the garden before heading indoors. With elegant crown molding, fireplaces on every floor, eye-catching chandeliers, and enchanting staircases, the antique feel of the Hampshire House is sure to complement any vintage theme.
Vintage Wedding Themes
Although all vintage weddings are united by their ability to pay tribute to old-fashioned elements, there are a variety of different roads you can take with this theme. Here are some of the more popular vintage-inspired wedding styles:
- Antique Chic — Think all things charming, sweet, and antique! Complement your antique chic vibes with elaborate, Victorian frames, and milk glass centerpieces.
- Rustic Romance — This theme is a good choice for more laid-back vintage affairs. Capture your rustic, romantic side with mason jars, Edison bulb string lights, burlap, and birdcage centerpieces.
- Free-Spirited Formal — Celebrate your whimsical, free-spirited side when you implement tons of colorful wildflowers, vintage suitcases, flower crowns, and macramé.
- Old-School Industrial — You can also give your vintage theme a less flowery vibe when you implement hints of retro-inspired industrial charm into your décor. Add filament bulbs and aluminum vases for a style straight from the Industrial Age.
Touches that Set the Stage
If you decide to go all out with vintage inspirations, consider a few different areas to enhance the effect. Vintage wedding dresses that are refurbished by a local designer or seamstress can add an authentic touch. If you want a new dress, look for elements of lace or a 1920s silhouette to evoke the vintage feel. Additionally, you can accessorize with hats, combs, and jewelry depending on which era speaks to you the most. In your event’s décor, look at incorporating color palettes that draw from rose, mint, gold, and other timelessly fashionable colors into your linens, china and centerpieces.
Hosting a Bridesmaids’ Brunch to Remember
Just before you walk down the aisle, take a moment to honor and thank your closest friends who have supported you throughout your life. A bridesmaids’ brunch is a wonderful way to give a heartfelt thank-you to your bridal party. Take it as a way to unwind and begin to enjoy the festivities of the wedding itself. Typically, these luncheons are held the day before or the morning of your wedding. However, if you plan something much earlier, you can use a bridesmaids’ brunch or luncheon as a sweet and memorable way to ask your best girlfriends to be a part of your wedding.
The bridesmaids’ brunch has long been a Southern tradition, and Hampshire House is the best place to give your event some Southern charm with a New England flair. We have several unique, sophisticated spaces in which to host this event, and our intimate setting makes it all the more memorable. Our staff will work with you to create a custom brunch menu (complete with mimosas, if you so desire) so that you can leave your best girlfriends with a memory they’ll cherish for a lifetime.
Hosting Etiquette and Who to Invite
Bridal brunches are a wonderful way to express your gratitude and unwind amidst all the wedding stress. In order to ensure that you don’t add unwanted strain, choose a venue that will take care of all the finer details for you. Who to invite is completely up to you: keep it small and intimate by inviting the bridesmaids only or open up the invitation to additional girlfriends, moms, and family members.
Sweets, Treats, and the Bridesmaids’ Cake
In addition to the fabulous menus offered at the Hampshire House, consider taking part in the historic cake tradition. A staple of bridesmaid luncheons, this tradition includes serving a cake that is baked with a coin, ring, or thimble inside. The bridesmaid who finds the token in her slice of cake is thought to be lucky in love, and maybe the next to marry. In the Victorian era, this ritual evolved with six different charms attached to ribbons, which would be baked into the cake. Before the cake was sliced, the bridesmaids would each pull a ribbon to get their special charm.
Thoughtful Gifts for Your Bridesmaids
It is customary to give your bridal party gifts for being in your wedding. Consider giving a bracelet or earrings that they can each wear during the ceremony or select a pretty memento for each one that says something about your friendship. Increasingly, brides are also purchasing matching robes for their bridesmaids to get ready in before they put on their dresses. Although many couples still opt to give out their bridal party gifts at the rehearsal dinner, this is a fun and thoughtful option for the bridesmaids’ luncheon, too.
If you want to use a bridesmaids’ brunch as an opportunity to ask your best girlfriends to be a part of your wedding day earlier in the planning cycle, then you can surprise each one with an extra-special card — pick something out pre-printed or have one custom-made with your bridesmaids’ names — and a small token of your appreciation, like a miniature champagne bottle or a customized charm or trinket. With that being said, the brunch is enough of a gift on its own!
An Intimate Ambiance
At the Hampshire House, bridesmaid luncheons are typically hosted on our third floor. In the cozy Thayer room, a fireplace will be made in cooler months to warm up your gathering. From the windows, you can overlook the Boston Public Garden. In warm weather, take a stroll through the garden after your meal to capture some pictures of your bridal party. This intimate ambiance is perfect for smaller groups and provides you with an especially enjoyable backdrop to calm your pre-wedding nerves.
Get a head-start on planning a memorable shower for the bride-to-be with the help of Hampshire House’s bridal shower planning guide. If you are the maid of honor, it is up to you to lead the charge on this celebration, but don’t be afraid to enlist the help of your fellow bridesmaids, the bride and groom’s parents, and the venue to create a day tailor-made for the bride. You’ll want to start by discussing ideas with the bride — venue, theme, favors, décor and menu — and then divvying up tasks for the rest of the bridal party and the bride’s family.
Our exquisite Bostonian mansion, situated in the heart of Beacon Hill, lends itself well to both intimate and larger bridal showers. We’re happy to work with you and the bride-to-be to create an enchanting bridal shower that suits her special love story, with our unique venue as the backdrop. Brides of all styles will be delighted to throw a memorable shower in our space, which comes complete with fireplaces, hand-crafted oaken bars, brass chandeliers and sweeping views of Boston!
Initial Planning: Working with the Bride
While this is your event to throw, have an early conversation with the bride to get a sense of her ideas. Bridal showers are typically held about a month or two before the wedding, but she may want to coordinate it when certain friends or family will already be in town for the main event. Find out if she is looking for a big event or a more intimate gathering and determine whether the shower will be primarily bridesmaids or if it will also be open to other friends and relatives. Now is also a good time to decide whether to keep the event ladies only or to invite men as well. Coed bridal showers (also called “couples’ showers”) are quite the trendy option, but if you decide to go for this nontraditional take, consider that you’ll have to account for double the guests.
A Themed Occasion that Tells a Special Story
As you develop your friend’s bridal shower, decide whether to incorporate a theme. Even if you don’t go for an explicit theme, you’ll want to create a cohesive feel with décor, favors, food, and drinks that work together, even if they’re only tied together by a color scheme. If your friend is planning a beachy wedding or an upscale affair, you can draw from her existing plans to throw something in a similar vein. Another option is to opt for a full departure and host a fancy high tea even if she is having a low-key wedding. Once you have the theme nailed down, you can make decisions on food, favors, and décor.
Popular bridal shower themes for this season include:
- Around-the-World — Deck out the Hampshire House Library or Oak Room with travel-themed décor, such as decorative globes, antique luggage, and plenty of maps. Work with the catering staff to develop a global menu with dishes and desserts from her favorite destinations.
- Glamorous Garden Party — Brides who love all things floral will adore the garden party themed bridal shower. Cover tables with colorful, fresh flowers in spring or summer themes and send guests home with adorable seed packets or miniature planter favors. Make it an extra-sweet affair when you pair it with high tea.
- Effortlessly Eclectic — Hampshire House provides the perfect backdrop for eclectic affairs, with our Old World finishes and handsome hardwood. Complement this theme with wildflowers, antique centerpieces, and popping pastel décor for an eclectic approach.
- Literary Love Story — Another ideal choice for the Hampshire House Library, the literary bridal shower theme is a perfect pick for academic brides. Craft unique centerpieces and décor from old books and order shower invitations that look like library cards to tie your theme together.
Memorable Bridal Party Favors
Create some charming favors to give back to all of the gift-bearing friends and relatives, and to help them remember the occasion forever. Consider local candies and treats from a Boston sweets purveyor, or find another local artisan who can craft candles, bookmarks, or makeup bags for the special day.
Activities and Games
Shower activities like a wedding-related bingo or the newlywed game are fun and topical, while more unconventional bridal shower games — wedding Jeopardy and two truths and a lie, for example — will keep things upbeat for out-of-the-box brides. Encourage games that get the bride to dish about her fiancé and their relationship, while keeping everything appropriate for grandma!
Champagne is the perfect way to top off a mid-day brunch or afternoon high tea while keeping the mood light. If the bride is not a fan of champagne, consider a specialty cocktail featuring seasonal ingredients. At the Hampshire House, a range of menu items are available for a brunch, tea party, or late afternoon reception. Contact the Hampshire House today to schedule your Bridal Shower!
Imagine this: it’s your wedding day, and instead of your guests being confined to one specific table all evening long, they’re all mingling around and noshing on delicious foods from butler-passed hors d’oeuvres or specialty food stations. If this sounds more like your style compared to a sit-down dinner, you may be interested in one of Hampshire House’s reception-style packages.
Hampshire House is one of the premiere wedding venues in the greater Boston area and we offer a very wide array of wedding packages to accommodate parties of all sizes. If you prefer to forgo the traditional sit-down dinner option and instead offer a reception-style event, you may want to check out our Elegant or Grand wedding packages. Both of these packages are designed to accommodate a reception-style dinner service, and they feature butler passed hors d’oeuvres, food displays, and carving and specialty stations that allow you and your guests to mingle throughout the evening. Here’s everything you need to know about these all-inclusive packages.
The Elegant Package
This incredible wedding package includes everything you and your guests will need to have a truly unforgettable wedding day. Your celebration will begin with a selection of five hors d’oeuvres presented by Hampshire House’s friendly servers, followed by a one-hour open bar before a champagne toast to the new couple.
Instead of a sit-down dinner, your guests will enjoy food stations after the passed hors d’oeuvres. This will include two carving stations, one specialty station, two sides and wine to accompany dinner. A custom wedding cake will be served as dessert, as well as fresh-brewed coffee and tea selections. Couples can choose from a selection of floor length linens to help customize our event space. Hampshire House provides budvases with seasonal flowers and mercury glass votive candles. There will also be a complimentary coat check all evening.
The Grand Package
Enhance the evening with even more amenities from Hampshire House’s culinary team. Guests will begin the evening with seven hors d’oeuvres options and two food display options, as well as a champagne toast and five hours of an open bar.
After mingling over drinks and small plates, guests will enjoy a number of food stations and retire to their tables for dinner. This option can be as casual or as elegant as you like, and can be served cocktail-style or as a seated buffet. Food options may include two carving stations and one specialty station. A customized wedding cake will be included for more than 50 guests, plus fresh tea and coffee. On the tables, you’ll receive a selection of floor length linens, seasonal budvases, candles.
Let us help you plan a perfect rehearsal dinner here at Hampshire House! We aim to make the planning process easy and seamless, but there are a few things every bride, groom, or family should know about planning and hosting a great rehearsal dinner. Here’s how to ensure that yours goes off without a hitch.
- Choose who will host. To avoid any confusion (or, let’s face it, any drama), you’ll want to make sure everyone is in agreement about who will host and pay for the rehearsal dinner. Traditionally, the groom’s family pays for this wedding expense; however, in modern day weddings, it’s up for both parties to decide who should write the check.
- Narrow down the guest list. The only real essentials when it comes to the guest list are those in the wedding ceremony — the bride and groom, their parents, and the bridal party. However, many couples choose to invite other family members, close friends, or out-of-town guests. Choose a guest list that you feel comfortable with, both socially and financially.
- Invite your guests. If you’re only having a small rehearsal dinner for just your wedding party, you don’t need to send out formal invitations; instead, simply add the dinner to the rest of the agenda. If you’re having a larger event, you may want to mail out separate invitations to invited guests.
- Know when to invite. Instead of inviting your guests to the rehearsal dinner along with the wedding invitation, send out rehearsal dinner invitations a week or so later. This will avoid any confusion and make sure that your guests still have enough time to make travel arrangements.
- Create the event. Work with your event professional to plan out the food, beverages, décor and entertainment to showcase some of your favorite things as a couple.
- Food: Decide if you would like to offer a reception-style event or a plated meal for your guests. Hampshire House’s creative executive chefs are happy to customize a menu to showcase some of your favorite foods, including hors d’oeuvres, displays and plated dinner selections. Be sure to choose foods that will set the menu apart from your wedding menu!
- Beverage: Determine what beverage selections you would like to offer your guests throughout the night. We often recommend welcoming your guests to the event with butler-passed beverages upon arrival. Is there a special cocktail that you enjoy? Would you like to begin dinner service with a champagne toast? Be sure to also select a red and white wine option to offer tableside with dinner service.
- Décor: Consider adding décor to the mantles, cocktail and dinner tables in Hampshire House’s beautiful dining room. Seasonal florals instantly brighten any room and help to create an elegant atmosphere for your celebration.
- Photographs of the bride and groom, parents, grandparents and other guests will also help to personalize the event.
- Entertainment: Consider a trio or pianist to enhance the atmosphere at the rehearsal dinner celebration.
- Consider table assignments. Will you assign seats for your guests or will you allow guests to seat themselves? If guests are choosing their own seats, be sure to reserve a place for the bride and groom and parents. Often times, these guests of honor are interacting with all of the other guests and are the last ones to be seated.
- Consider welcome remarks and thank-yous. The host will want to start the rehearsal dinner with a greeting or welcome toast to start the celebrations. The bride and groom may also want to thank their friends and family for all their support.
Enjoy the evening with your family and friends. You’ve worked hard to plan the evening! Let the Hampshire House event team take care of you and your guests.
The Hampshire House event professionals work diligently throughout the year to plan a special evening to showcase our venue to recently-engaged couples in the area and beyond. It’s a fun night for us to celebrate with couples and to give them an opportunity to experience what it’s like to attend an event at the Hampshire House. Guests can also interact with other couples and meet with a variety of Boston wedding professionals in an intimate, one-on-one setting to get a feel for what planning a wedding will be like.
This year’s Engagement Celebration was one for the books, as it had a great turn-out from both engaged couples and wedding vendors from around the Boston area. Read on to hear a complete recap of the evening’s festivities.
From the moment guests arrived, we wanted to showcase the elegance of our venue and staged a Rolls Royce courtesy of Rockstar Limo at the entrance of the Hampshire House. Guests were then welcomed into the lobby with elegant music from Gilded Harps performing, as well as bistro lighting draping from ceilings provided by Gateway Lighting. Throughout the evening, guests were also treated to the illustrious music of Siman Entertainment, Groove Events and Entertainment Specialists.
Hampshire House’s turn-of-the-century architecture and grand rooms provided a beautiful backdrop for the Engagement Celebration, and it also gave couples a chance to tour the facility and learn more about utilizing the space for a wedding. From the charming Library to the elegant third floor, guests were able to really visualize their future weddings while learning about what goes into planning a wedding. Other design vendors in attendance included Lolo Event Design, Rentals Unlimited, Lynn Graham Designs, Invitations & Company, Marrero Events, Unique Weddings by Alexis, Katrina Hess Make-up and Boston Wedding Magazine.
Aside from the décor and transportation, we also see the Engagement Celebration as an opportunity for the Hampshire House to showcase many of the food and beverage items that are available to our clients when hosting an event in our space. As guests made their way up the spiral staircase to our second floor, they were greeted with our specialty cocktails such as cosmopolitans, blood orange mimosas and old fashioneds.
Butler-passed hors d’oeuvres included decadent dishes like baby lamb chops, Maryland crab cakes, caprese skewers, miniature clam chowder and vegetable spring rolls. The library also featured a gourmet ravioli station with lobster, pumpkin, sweet pea and ricotta cheese raviolis for guests to enjoy.
Our third floor featured some of the most elegant desserts in the Boston area, including French Macaroons and Tuxedo Dipped Strawberries. Our Abbot Bar was transformed into a Cake Bar for the evening, with Ellen and Maggie from local bakery Cakes to Remember serving some of their most popular wedding cake flavors. Our personal favorite was the Summer Breeze, which was a lemon zest cake filled with white chocolate mousse and fresh blueberries and topped with a frosted citrusy lime buttercream.
Many of Boston’s top wedding professionals were also at the Engagement Celebration, which offered newly engaged couples a chance to see what their options are when planning their wedding at Hampshire House. Justices of the Peace Elizabeth Gemelli, Barbara Kahn and Joseph Gagnon were in attendance, as well as wedding photographers such as Ambrose Photography and Person + Killian Photography. Other photography groups in attendance included Johnson Photography, Alternative Angles, Binita Patel Photography and Generations Cinemastories. There were also floral displays from Jeri Solomon Floral Design, Artistic Blossoms and New Leaf Flores, which allowed guests to get an idea of the types of vibrant, colorful florals that they would like to have at their weddings.
Hampshire House extends our sincere gratitude to all guests that attended the event to all event professionals that added to our evening. We are truly grateful for your support.
Be on the lookout for a video recap of the Engagement Celebration in a future blog post! If you’d like to contact the sales office to book a wedding, email email@example.com.
Are you looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift for Mom that will really show her how much you care? Hampshire House’s Mother’s Day brunch is the perfect way to treat your mother to something truly special and elegant this year. This annual event is held at Hampshire House, a turn-of-the-century mansion in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, which gives an upscale, historic setting to your Mother’s Day celebration.
This year’s Mother’s Day brunch at Hampshire House will be held on Sunday, May 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. You’ll want to make your reservations in advance, because this event fills up fast. Whether you plan on celebrating Mother’s Day with the entire family or treating Mom to some one-on-one time, Hampshire House’s expert staff will provide your party with impeccable service and a gourmet meal that she’s sure to love.
Your three-course brunch experience begins with your choice of an appetizer from a list of locally sourced favorites. Choose from lobster bisque, fresh fruit, clam chowder or even a Gulf Shrimp Martini while you decide which entree to choose. Main courses include brunch options like the stuffed French toast or the Florentine Benedict, as well as seafood-inspired dishes like the New England Lobster Omelet or the herb-crusted salmon. Finally, your meal will conclude with a decadent sampling of the Hampshire House Chocolate Trilogy, a dessert that includes miniature selections of the chef’s Swiss chocolate maple soup, chocolate bread pudding and bitter sweet chocolate crème brûlée. Pair your meal with a mimosa or a Bloody Mary to add even more opulence to your afternoon.
Hampshire House’s Mother’s Day brunch costs $65 per person. Taxes, beverages and gratuity are not included. Make your reservation online at the Hampshire House website or by calling the venue directly.
Whether your wedding style is elegant and traditional or sleek and modern, your table settings should reflect that personal style. There are a number of new wedding trends that might spark some inspiration for your own wedding table settings. If you’re planning your wedding at Hampshire House, here are some of the top types of table settings for 2017.
- Classic table settings. With simple silver or gold silverware, crisp white plates and elegant stemware, classic table settings are a tried-and-true trend that is coming back around. Add rounded floral bouquets in the center of the tables and you’ll have a classic yet not at all boring look.
- Rustic table settings. Rustic, farm-style weddings have been on trend for a few years now, but rustic table settings take a bit of know-how to perfect. While you want to maintain a shabby chic look, you want it to focus more on the chic side than the shabby side. Add linen napkins, vintage silverware and foraged centerpieces, and dress it all up with pops of reclaimed wood throughout.
- Vintage table settings. For a wedding with a vintage flair, you’ll want table settings to match. Scour local vintage stores and online shops to find the perfect china, or if you’re lucky enough to have a set of family china, you can carry on the tradition. Add bronze or silver candle holders, luxurious napkins with matching napkin holders, and regal glasses to complete the look. You can also rent vintage china to mix and match place settings for the big event.
- Colorful table settings. To keep your wedding feeling fresh and fun, add pops of color to the table settings. Keep things simple with white plates and accent them with bold napkins, or add color with color blocked plates and eye-catching floral arrangements.
- Minimalist table settings. This year’s hottest interior design trend is spilling over to weddings as well. To achieve the minimalist look through your wedding table settings, add crisp, white linens, china with slight, delicate details and bursts of eucalyptus or an equally sparse centerpiece.
Here at Hampshire House, we couldn’t be more proud to be from Boston. Our Beacon Hill neighborhood is full of rich history, stunning views and beautiful architecture, and we love exploring every part of the city. If you’re already planning for a fun-filled springtime in Boston, be sure to add these great upcoming events to your calendar.
- The Boston Marathon. This incredibly popular race takes place each year on a 26-mile course between Hopkinton and Boston. It usually sees around 36,000 runners from all around the world, as well as thousands of spectators cheering them on along the route. This year’s Boston Marathon takes place on Monday, April 17.
- Patriot’s Day. This patriotic holiday is celebrated every year on the third Monday in April to commemorate the battles in Lexington, Lincoln, Concord, and present-day Arlington. These battles were some of the first in the Revolutionary War and today, Boston celebrates with re-enactments, parades, and other free events throughout the city.
- The Boston Red Sox. This year’s Red Sox home opener is scheduled for April 3 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. There is also always a home game in Boston on the day of the Boston Marathon, so after you check out the race, you can also cheer for the home team at Fenway Park.
- See a show. If you’re a fan of the theater, you won’t want to miss one of Boston’s many performing arts events. See the Blue Man group at the Charles Playhouse any time in April, see Rogers & Hammerstein’s The King and I at the Boston Opera House from April 11 through April 23 or check out Rent at the Shubert Theater between April 11 and April 23.
- Old Town Trolley Tours. If you want to learn more about the history of Boston, a trolley tour is always a fun way to spend a spring afternoon. Old Town Trolley Tours provide an informative, hop-on, hop-off tour of the city’s historic district.
- The Boston Public Garden. On a warm day, these lush gardens are perfect for an afternoon stroll amidst the flowers. The garden is in full bloom during the marathon, so it’s the perfect place for residents or visitors to enjoy.
Easter is just around the corner, and if you’re looking to make this year’s celebration a bit more special, you won’t want to miss Easter brunch at Hampshire House. This annual event gives families a truly elegant, memorable way to spend Easter together without the stress of hosting or cooking. If you just want to spend time with the ones you love and celebrate the true meaning of Easter, let Hampshire House do the work for you at our one-of-a-kind Easter brunch celebration.
At the Hampshire House Easter brunch, you and your loved ones will enjoy three gourmet courses featuring the very best in Boston seafood and upscale new American options. The plated meal includes an appetizer, your choice of main dishes and a decadent dessert to top off the afternoon. Appetizers include options such as a Sunday Lobster Bisque, plates of fresh fruit or a Gulf Shrimp Martini with fresh tomato-olive relish, while main dishes include everything from brunch favorites like Eggs Benedict to grilled tenderloin medallions, herb-crusted salmon and a New England lobster omelet. Guests can pair their meal with a refreshing mimosa or a house special Bloody Mary for an extra charge.
With its turn-of-the-century architecture, Italian marble details and crystal chandeliers, Hampshire House is truly one of the most special places in the Boston area. The view overlooking the Boston Public Garden and Beacon Hill address only adds to the already incredible experience that comes with visiting this historic attraction. It’s the perfect place to bring the whole family together for an Easter celebration that you won’t soon forget.
This year’s Easter brunch will take place on Sunday, April 16, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Hampshire House’s dining room. To make a reservation, visit Hampshire House’s OpenTable page through the Hampshire House website.