IH Blog

Independence Harbor Blog

Stay at Home Advisory Update

Brian Dunning - Wednesday, April 01, 2020

April 1, 2020

Friends of Independence Harbor

Anne, Connie, Matt and I send our best regards to all. Anne and Connie are staying in touch with our wedding couples, responding quickly to all questions and concerns. They have been alternating coverage of the office seven days a week. Their understanding and compassion combined with their wedding planning expertise is a blessing to Independence Harbor and to our clients. They have been successful in rescheduling weddings that have been interrupted by the Massachusetts Stay at Home Advisory. And, now as I am sure you are aware of Governor Baker’s announcement of the “Stay at Home” extension to May 4th, Anne and Connie are continuing with that effort. Our April couples have all been accommodated with alternate dates later this season. Some of our May couples have opted to postpone to later this season as well. We are doing all that we can to ease the transition to alternate dates, and we cannot thank you enough for your patience, cooperation and understanding.

Matt and I will be taking care of the “I.H.” physical plant including the grounds for the next several weeks. Matt has been in the greenhouse diligently transplanting thousands of tiny summer annual plant plugs. I’ve been readying our mowers and trimmers and blowers etc. Before long, we will be mowing and weeding! All will be in top notch shape as soon as we receive the “All Clear”! The gardens are exploding in beautiful yellow daffodils and pink hyacinths! Wish you could see it for yourselves.I will take plenty of pictures and post them soon.

Our facilities have been closed to the public for more than two weeks now, and will be until May 4th. We can’t wait until our doors are open again to all of you and to our wonderful team of chefs, servers, bartenders, kitchen workers and groundskeepers, as well as our suppliers, sales reps and support system workers. Each of us is severely impacted by this horrible virus. Please follow “social distancing” protocols carefully and religiously. It is our best defense against a longer-lasting and wider spread pandemic. Be safe, be well, take care of yourselves, each other, your loved ones and your communities.


Warm Regards,

Brian Dunning

Owner, General Manager

Covid-19 Update

Brian Dunning - Sunday, March 22, 2020

Friends of Independence Harbor

Connie, Anne, Matthew and I have been keeping up with all office related activities, as well as doing all that we can to prepare for the re-opening of our facilities. As I’m sure you are aware, we are currently under government mandate to be closed through April 6, 2020. We have been working closely with couples whose events have been interrupted due to the COVID-19 crisis. Thankfully, these events have been successfully re-scheduled to dates later this season. It is our fervent hope that further closing of our facilities will not be necessary. We will continue to closely monitor all matters related to this virus outbreak, and will continue to work diligently toward resolving any further interruptions. Please accept our sincere appreciation for your patience and understanding throughout these difficult days. We are truly all in this together, and together is the way we will overcome this crisis.

Our office is open for business every day. We are practicing appropriate and responsible “social distancing” measures with visitors to our facilities. We are scheduling private tours and meetings so as to allow for only one meeting at a time. We are maintaining the highest level of cleanliness and disinfection of our facilities at all times. Do not hesitate to contact us directly with any questions or concerns you have about your upcoming weddings.

The health, safety and welfare of our customers, our employees and our families are of the greatest importance. and continue to be our primary focus. We pray for a speedy return to life as it was before Covid-19.

On a bright note, our perennial gardens seem to be jumping out of the ground. Everyday more daffodils and crocus burst into blossom. It is such a welcome sight!

We are also in the process of applying beautiful new clapboard siding to our entire building. It looks amazing! The project is expected to be completed by the end of this coming week.

And, we are expecting our first shipment of thousands of summer annuals this upcoming week, which we will be nursing in our greenhouse toward ground planting readiness in May.Speaking of “expecting”, we just got word that one of our chefs became the proud father of a beautiful baby boy last night! Congratulations Ed and family!



Warm Regards,

Brian Dunning

Owner, General Manager

Spring is Just Around the Corner

Brian Dunning - Monday, February 17, 2020

The groundhog has projected that Spring will arrive early this year. We eagerly anticipate this time of year as we watch the gardens "Spring" to life. Already we see a few daffodills peeking up in anticipation. 

Our gardens are spectacular in the Spring. April offers thousands of trumpeting yellow daffodills to greet your guests. May is tulip season along with flowering shrubs and trees sure to impress.

Spring weddings are generally well attended without major holidays or vacations to conflict. And, your guests love the opportunity to toast you and the beginning of a most beautiful season.

Why not consider gorgeous floral dresses for your girls (let them choose their favorite with a common color scheme) or have them choose a dress they love in a pastel of your choosing. Guys will love the option of a light colored suit that they can wear again with complimentary ties.

Bouquets of daffodills with whites and herb greens or tulip bouquets in a multitude of colors offer a gorgeous and affordable look, or use Spring branches such as cherry blossoms or dogwoods for a "WOW" factor.





Best of Weddings

Brian Dunning - Sunday, December 15, 2019



Fourteenth Annual Best of Weddings Awards
Honor the Top Wedding Vendors Across America


Independence Harbor is pleased to announce that it has once again been selected as a winner of The Knot Best of Weddings, an accolade representing the highest- and most-rated wedding professionals as reviewed by real couples, their families and wedding guests on The Knot, a leading wedding planning brand and app.


In 2020, only five percent of hundreds of thousands of local wedding professionals listed on The Knot received this distinguished award. In its fourteenth annual year, The Knot continues its longstanding tradition of supporting local wedding vendors with The Knot Best of Weddings 2020, an annual by-couples, for-couples guide to the top wedding professionals across the country. To determine the winners, The Knot analyzed its millions of user reviews across various vendor categories, including venues, musicians, florists, photographers, caterers and more, to find the highest rated vendors of the year. These winners represent the best of the best wedding professionals that engaged couples should consider booking for their own unique wedding.

Hints For Viewing Venues

Brian Dunning - Wednesday, November 20, 2019

We first wrote our "hints for viewing venues" blog in 2018, and have been told numerous times how helpful it was. As engagement season approaches, we want to share it with you again.

So, here goes our 2020 version:

The best time to choose the perfect venue for your Wedding Ceremony and Reception depends on how flexible you can be with your wedding date. At Independence Harbor, wedding dates may be reserved up to two years in advance. Although most couples reserve their wedding date within one year of their wedding, if you will consider only one special date for your wedding, we advise you to reserve your date as soon as possible! We have reserved weddings with only two months advance notice! In fact, at "I.H." huge discounts are offered for "last minute" booked weddings!

A few hints on touring prospective venues:

Before you schedule a venue "Tour", it is best to put together a tentative guest list for your wedding, to include immediate family and your bridal party. Most venues, including Independence Harbor, require minimum food purchases and guest minimums.

Set a tentative budget for your wedding. You will want to know that the venues you consider fit within your budget guidelines. Independence Harbor publishes its wedding menus complete with detailed pricing on its website.

Spend some time scrutinizing the websites of venues that you are considering. If websites are difficult to navigate, or if information is lacking, request of the venue to send you a hard copy of their menus etc. Carefully review guest minimums and event hours and event timing.
Most venues offer five hour wedding receptions...Independence Harbor offers 5 1/2 hour receptions. The Harbor's guest minimums vary by time of year and day of the week. Full details are printed on our website and in our wedding menus. 

Determine if your wedding will be private or if other weddings or events will take place at the same venue during your wedding hours. Independence Harbor hosts only one event at a time on its entire 20 acre estate.

Be certain to determine what is included in wedding packages. Some venues charge separate fees for chairs, tables, linens etc. Also, be watchful of "extra fees" such as cake cutting fees, fees for split meal selections, bartender fees etc.
Independence Harbor explains in detail its pricing and package details  on its website and in its wedding menu. No surprise fees...we promise.

Consider if you can be flexible on the month of the year, day of the week, and time of day for your wedding . Pricing will vary depending on these considerations. For example, a Thursday Night or Winter wedding will offer significant savings over a Saturday Night Wedding in Prime Season.

Prepare a list of questions for venue personnel to answer. There are so many details involved in planning a wedding...you don't want to forget something important to you. Anne or Connie, Independence Harbor's sales directors and wedding planners, will escort you on your tour of "I.H.", and attend to all of your questions and concerns. 


Winter Weddings Are Trending

Brian Dunning - Wednesday, November 20, 2019

This week Independence Harbor is transforming into a winter wonderland.
Thousands of white twinkle lights sparkle in the trees along the entrance walkway. Lighted evergreen garlands line each of the Harbor's windows. Antique sleighs and carriages, beautifully appointed with evergreen boughs and glittery bows, create a quintessential New England winterscape. 
The Harbor's interior is magical with seasonal decor of sparkling garlands and evergreen accents.
Winter weddings are trending at Independence Harbor. The Harbor's grand fireplace is an ideal backdrop for your winter wedding ceremony and reception. The Harbor's winter "All Inclusive" menu offerings are the ultimate in affordability. Winter weddings at "I.H." are intimate, affordable and so romantic!


Brian Dunning - Thursday, June 27, 2019

So..many words come to mind when you are planning your wedding, personal, romantic, elegant or simple.

Whatever your style...MAKE IT FUN.  Blending two families, and friends and coworkers who may not know each other can be tricky.

Our All inclusive menu package includes stationary hors d'oeuvres (choose from options such as Mac and Cheese martini bar, Mashed Potato bar, or a Nacho bar) giving your guests a chance to mingle during the cocktail hour along with passed hors d'oeuvres giving your guests a chance to chat before being seated for the meal.

After dinner, select an Ice Cream Sundae Bar (Memorable and Fun) or a Gourmet Cookie Bar to be complimented by your wedding cake.

Your DJ or Band, orchestrates the "flow", of your wedding and emcees the introductions, toasts, roasts and cake cutting.

Your DJ will work with you to choose music selections that are uniquely you and suggest some options to ensure that you get all of your guests up on the dance floor...or choose a Band for that live entertainment vibe.

Check out our preferred vendor list for wonderful DJ and Band recommendations or choose one that offers both DJ skills and Live music for a Memorable and Fun event.







Summer Classics

Brian Dunning - Friday, June 21, 2019

PEONIES are perennial garden classics loved for their extravagant May and June early summer blossoms and perfect for a Bridal bouquet. They are available in multiple colors from creamy white to salmon and blush pink to magenta.
Pair with greens for a stunning simple bouquet or choose multiple shades for an ombre effect. Combine with garden roses and deep greens to create a fragrant show stopper.
Our garden peonies are in full bloom right now and really offer the WOW effect!
Why not check out our Preferred Vendor list for our talented florist recommendations.


It's all about the cake!

Brian Dunning - Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The wedding cake started from humble origins in ancient Rome. The Groom smashed a barley cake over the Bride's head to ensure a prosperous future. UGH! Watch out for the hair and makeup please!

Wedding cakes today are the ultimate vehicle of self expression.

Today's cakes are truly "works of art" from traditional crafted sugar flowers to hand painted cakes or fabulous unique touches and toppers to incorporate your wedding theme.

In addition to an amazing design, the cake has to taste great too, often incorporating several flavors in individual layers.

Why not check out our "Preferred Vendors" list to see our recommendations for some wonderful, skilled Cakemasters.

Spring at "I.H."

Brian Dunning - Tuesday, June 11, 2019

SPRING IS HERE! and, the gardens are lush and changing every day. The window boxes are filled with an array of colorful flowers and the antique carriages are decked out with an assortment of spring plants and flowers creating a place for some memorable wedding photographs. Iris in assorted colors are popping up everywhere. The Shasta daisies and Poppies are showing off as well. The peonies are in full bloom...a sure sign of June with their fragrance and huge beautiful blossoms and our 13,000 annual border plants have been planted by our talented gardening staff adding stunning color throughout the season. The Adirondack benches are placed along the Assonet River affording another beautiful spot to relax and take photographs. 
As we write this blog post, there is a fun Brunch Wedding taking place, featuring our wonderful Brunch Buffet Package. As the wedding guests enjoy their meal, they are being entertained by a DJ who is both a talented musician and ready to play any favorite songs requested. We have some very talented people on our Preferred Vendor list, offering a fabulous addition to any wedding. The Bride and Groom literally danced down the aisle at the conclusion of their garden wedding ceremony, and the guests are feeling and sharing their happiness vibe. This is the perfect time for you to schedule a tour and see what "IH" has to offer.