Thursday, December 4, 2014

Location, location, location!

We were married at the Shaker Museum in Enfield, NH and couldn't be happier with the location. When we first shared the location with friends and family, we had quite a few different questions ... Where is that? What is that? Do they allow alcohol? But by far the most common question we were asked was how did you choose that location?

I had dreamed about planning a wedding for many years and had been an avid reader of wedding inspiration blogs and wedding Pinterest boards so when the planning actually began, I was ready to write a list of potential venues. I knew I did not want a traditional hotel banquet hall, so we were looking for something with character and something that would serve as a simple and elegant backdrop to our own decor elements. Our spreadsheet compared over 12 different places and was a mix of rustic barns, elegant halls and bed and breakfasts. We also felt strongly about a location that our family and friends could stay on site. With a tentative November time frame, we also needed an indoor ceremony location and we hoped for different spaces for the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception (more decorating potential!).

I had seen photographs from a wedding at the Enfield Shaker Museum on a blog several years ago and it quickly went to the top of my list. It was the first place we visited and when we first stepped into the chapel, my fiance exclaimed "this is exactly what I imagined for our wedding!" The rest of the tour fulfilled the rest of the points on our wish list - separate spaces for elements of the wedding, 20 guest rooms for our family and friends and a simple, but beautiful backdrop that we would really customize with our vision! (On our first visit, there was over a foot of snow of the ground so we actually snowshoed to the Old Stone Mill!)

Let's explore ...

First, the Great Stone Dwelling, the six story main building on campus, was our home base for the weekend. Some of us arrived Thursday afternoon and settled in. The guest rooms are simple but comfortable with private bathrooms and lots of Shaker character. The twenty guest rooms are located on the third and fourth floor. With the place to ourselves it was our home away from home for the weekend. Guests lounged in the rocking chairs at the end of each hall way and mingled freely from room to room. It was the perfect feeling and reminiscent of summer camp or a college dorm.

On Friday night after our Rehearsal Dinner, we (our younger guests and those young at heart) went "Trick or Treating" from room to room.


The Mary Keane Chapel was the site of our marriage ceremony and it was spectacular! The chapel was originally built as a Catholic church but is no longer consecrated and therefore available for any type of ceremony. The giant organ played wonderfully by a local organist was beautiful for the processional music and hymns.


Our Cocktail hour was across the street in the Old Stone Mill. This was one of my favorite places when we first visited - I loved the high ceiling, exposed granite walls and lights strung across the room. It was one of favorite places to decorate and plan. There were lots of different elements and will certainly be a post of it's own.


The reception was back in the Great Stone Dwelling in the second floor meeting room. We set the tables up in long rows leaving half the room for dancing. The space held our 105 guests well.

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