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Massachusetts Wedding

Get information about planning a Massachusetts wedding.

The happy couple enjoys their Massachusetts wedding. [©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
The happy couple enjoys their Massachusetts wedding.

A Massachusetts wedding is a fitting locale for a traditional American wedding. Whether planning a formal or informal event, there are certain timeless traditions that can be incorporated into the ceremony and reception. From the white dress to the white, tiered cake, Martha Stewart Weddings suggests picking the traditions that are meaningful to couples on their happy day.

Historic venues, ocean vistas and picturesque countryside are some of the fabulous Massachusetts wedding locations that set this state apart. For couples that do not have the good fortune of a fair weather event, there are plenty of enchanting indoor options that capture New England's charm and old-world grandeur. In fact, some wedding venues offer substantial discounts during the chilly winter months. Prior to exploring wedding venues, the couple needs to decide on the budget, an estimated number of guests and whether to have a formal or informal ceremony. Emily Post's Wedding Planner recommends choosing a wedding location at least 12 months in advance. However, it is not uncommon for the most popular venues to book 18 months or more in advance.

American Wedding Traditions

The ceremony itself is steeped in tradition, beginning with the white wedding gown and veil. Although this attire originally began as a symbol of purity and subservience, modern brides continue to follow this tradition. The bride's father normally walks her down the aisle and "gives her away" to the waiting groom. The walk represents leaving an old life behind and starting a new one. The ceremony includes vows to each other, music and a kiss at the end. The kiss dates back to Roman times and signified the union was official to a witness. Young and old wedding guests enjoy throwing rice as a symbol of showering abundance and fertility on the united couple as they leave the ceremony.

Various traditions spill over into the reception following the ceremony. Food is served either buffet-style or as a sit-down affair with several entrée selections. Toward the end of the meal, champagne is normally offered during a toast from the best man. The meal concludes with the bride and groom cutting the white, tiered cake. Next, the bride and groom kick off the dancing with the "first dance" together as a meaningful song plays. Before the bride departs for the evening, she tosses her bouquet over her shoulder to a gathering of unmarried female guests -- the one who is fortunate enough to catch it may very well be the next "lucky" bride.

Historic Massachusetts Locations

National historic landmarks are in no short supply in Massachusetts. Choosing an estate built in the late 1700s in the Boston area is one way to make a wedding a historic event. An estate makes an elegant statement while providing complete privacy for the wedding ceremony and celebration.

A historic hotel erected before the turn of the century combines charm and grandeur for those looking for a formal setting. Lofty ballrooms can accommodate a lengthy guest list and may offer panoramic views of the city lights. Luxurious guest rooms can be a welcomed advantage when planning a winter wedding or inviting out-of-town guests.

Massachusetts Seaside Weddings

From the romantic seascapes of Cape Cod and Nantucket to the bustling Boston Harbor, the water's edge is an ideal location for a traditional Massachusetts wedding. Resorts, hotels, country clubs and yacht clubs line the coast, offering an abundance of choices at the waterfront or simply with water views. Summertime affairs have the option of an outdoor wedding near the beauty of the water. Many of these waterfront venues offer sweeping views of the ocean and outdoor decks that overlook the water. Whether a bride is inspired to stand with her toes in the sand, barefoot in the lawn or strapped into 3-inch heels, the seaside offers fantastic photo opportunities.

Massachusetts Country Weddings

Autumn is a perfect time to entice guests out to the country to enjoy the fall foliage. Bed-and-breakfasts dot the Massachusetts countryside, providing an intimate setting for a country wedding and reception. For a summertime wedding, the bride and groom can exchange vows in a romantic garden and then move to an outdoor deck or interior reception room. At the end of the day, the united couple can simply retire to a bridal suite for the night.

Mansions, nestled in the countryside, are a fitting backdrop for wedding couples looking for a wedding reception in a grand ballroom. These opulent mansions capture a bygone era complete with marble floors, hand-carved banisters, chandeliers and acres of meticulously manicured grounds.

Massachusetts Wedding License

According to Mass.Gov, 18 is the legal age to wed in Massachusetts, and a marriage license is available through any city or town clerk. There is a mandatory three-day waiting period after the license is issued and it is valid for 60 days.

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