Accommodations - Fitzhugh-Beers House / Acton House Inn, Acton, MA
The Acton House Inn is a huge Victorian house with several units. We and our wedding ceremony guests were all able to stay here. This meant that we could serve all meals before the ceremony and after the reception there, and get a chance to see our guests in a more informal setting than the ceremony and reception.
Ceremony Venue - Temple Shir Tikvah, Winchester, MA
Temple Shir Tikvah is a Reform congregation in Winchester, MA. Shir Tikvah means Song of Hope. The Temple was founded by 33 families in 1984 to represent the needs of Jews and their families in the Winchester area, where historically very few Jews lived. When the congregation got too large to continue meeting in members' homes, they wanted a building that would reflect their home-based traditions. The current building, a renovated Victorian lodge hall that became the congregation's home in 2000, was modified for the synagogue's use and made accessible for the disabled. It is adjacent to Wedge Pond, which provided a scenic background for photos.
The sanctuary is set up with individual chairs rather than pews, so we were able to set it up with an aisle where we wanted it, and with sufficient chairs to seat everyone while still maintaining an intimate atmosphere.
Luncheon Venue - Legal Sea Foods, Burlington, MA
For the luncheon following the ceremony, we chose the Legal Sea Foods at Burlington Mall in Burlington, MA, which was the closest Legal Sea Foods to our ceremony location. It has a private dining room that holds about 25 people, so our guests would not be rattling around in a huge space. And although it is in a mall, there is an entrance separate from the mall, so we did not have to wander through a mall in our wedding gowns.
We attempted initially to use the "Request More Information" link on the site to inquire about reserving a private dining room. When we received no response, we called the location. We then got a call back from Elaine Hebert, the Sales & Event Manager. She made the reservation, and e-mailed us a contract, which we signed, scanned, and returned by e-mail. We had to supply a credit card number, but it was not actually charged, just used as a guarantee.
For the dozen guests we had, the private dining room was able to be set up with one large table, so that we could all chat. Although described as "glass enclosed," the private dining room has curtains that can be drawn to make it a cozy space for a private party. The staff was happy to deal with our special requests, such as using the dinner menu for a late lunch. We selected a fixed price option with several entree choices. The Legal Sea Foods created a personalized menu, with our wedding in the heading on the top, from which our guests could order on the spot instead of having to make selections in advance. When our guests made special requests, such as having the lobster removed from its shell, the staff complied cheerfully and efficiently.
We got great service from the staff at our luncheon. Service was efficient but unobtrusive. The staff members were clearly excited about the wedding, and friendly with us. Even when two of the guests (who were old enough to know better!) got involved in a whipped cream fight, they just brought wet towels for clean-up, and appeared amused by the whole thing.
For our at-home reception, a friend who owned a private club allowed us to use it. The location was huge, and had a kitchen, showers, sound system, bar, and dance floor included.
The club was a converted warehouse, and had never been used for a wedding reception before. The above is how it looks at normal times.
However, the owner allowed us to come in the day before the reception, and spend that day and the day of the reception decorating. See details under Reception Decor. By the time the reception started, it looked quite elegant!