Venue Spotlight: Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation

Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation

The Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation is located in Waltham, Massachusetts. This unique venue is perfect for just about any type of event. Guests arrive over a quaint footbridge crossing the Charles River where they can view the waterfall that once powered America’s first automated machinery. Inside, your event takes shape with spectacular 50-foot ceilings, exposed brickwork, arched windows, and unique exhibits that will entice all ages. We are thrilled to be planning Sarah and Andy’s wedding at the CRMII this September!


Located on the scenic banks of the Charles River in the historic 1814 Boston Manufacturing Company textile mill, CRMII is on the National Register of Historic Places as America’s first factory. It was the first integrated mill in the United States; though many mills existed before the Boston Manufacturing Company, Francis Cabot Lowell’s mill was the first to combine all steps of cotton fabric manufacturing under one roof.

Hands-on exhibits feature American innovation and invention from 1812 to the present day, with exhibits on Waltham’s Boston Manufacturing Company, the Metz Company, the Waltham Watch Factory, and Orient bicycles from the Waltham Manufacturing Company. In addition to the permanent collection, the CRMII has revolving temporary exhibits and plays host to private events throughout the year.



With this venue, the possibilities are endless. How about a romantic indoor ceremony overlooking the Charles River or amidst history right in the Main Gallery?  Or, you can choose an outdoor wedding ceremony in scenic Landry Park along the banks of the river. The reception can be held in the stunning Jackson Room which has period-style lighting, river views, and space for up to 250 guests theatre-style and up to 180 guests seated with room for dancing.

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Vendor Information

The CRMII has a list of authorized caterers of which you must choose from and additional preferred vendors that are optional.


Rental Information

For events occurring Monday through Thursday, the rental fee is $1,400; for events Friday through Sunday, the fee is $2,800.

For more detailed information and to book your next event contact Event Manager, Jen DiSciullo at or 781-893-5410 x10.

Happy Planning!

The Swank Team

Vendor LOVE: Ars Magna Studio

Ars Magna Studio: Allana Taranto


We had the pleasure of first working with the Allana in 2012 at Jess & PC’s wedding at Gore Place. The name of her studio, Ars Magna, pretty much sums up everything about her (it’s latin for “Great Work”). Not only is she an uber-talented wedding photographer, but also specializes in boudoir and portrait photography as well! We caught up with Allana and asked her to tell all of you readers a little more about herself.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a restoration-in-progress Victorian between the Fields Corner and Codman Square in Dorchester. My dad ran an assistive technology (way ahead of his time, my Dad!) business out of the house and was also an artist. My mom was a school psychologist and all around enthusiast of life.  I grew up right in the middle of this wonderful intersection. Most of our neighbors were artists and writers and dancers. There was a pretty strong crew of neighborhood kids, many of whom are still having amazing adventures. This eclectic and joyful energy played no small part in creating a unique childhood and cultivating my point of view.


How long have you been in business and how did you get started?

One of my best friends got married the summer after we graduated high school. As a wedding gift, I photographed it with my K1000 and TRI-X film. Can I admit that this was in 1995? I majored in photography undergrad – but shot mostly landscapes at that point. In grad school, I started getting asked to photograph more weddings and portraits.  I was both shooting and teaching art, and eventually transitioned into shooting full time in 2007.


What’s your favorite part of your job?

I love meeting people. I love photographing people.  I love sharing beautiful and strong images of people at strong and beautiful moments in their lives.  Photography is as fascinating to me as it was 20 years ago when I first really committed to it.


How would you describe your style?

My work was described in the book The New Art of Capturing Love as “hitting just about every mark of the foundations of photography in a way that is modern and fresh.” That description made me smile.  I’ll take it.


What’s your guilty pleasure?

Oh, I’ve got lots of pleasures, but I can’t say I feel guilty about them.










What’s your favorite quote?

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” –Thoreau


What makes you unique in your field?

I think I’m good at making people comfortable.  And once they feel comfortable, we’re ready to make some photo magic happen.








What is the best piece of advice you can give to a couple?

Have fun! Really? Yep. Just savor the day. Enjoy the time you have with each other, with your friends and family.  Let go of the idea of perfection.


Check out more of Allana’s work in our gallery of Jess & PC’s wedding or on her website:


The Swank Team

4 Trends that are Taking Over Weddings

In recent years, weddings have certainly changed…for the better! They have become less traditional and much more personal. Here are a few trends that we’ve been seeing and loving these days!

Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses

It is likely that your bridesmaids all have different body shapes and sizes, so expecting everyone to look good and feel comfortable in the same exact dress may be unrealistic.  Luckily, this new trend is sure to make all of your bridesmaids happy.

To achieve the mismatched-but-we’re-still-all-besties-of-the-bride look, you should set some guidelines to avoid your maids looking too mismatched.  We recommend focusing on one color and allowing your bridesmaids to choose the shade, style and fabric that will work for their body type.  The trick is to stay within the same color tones (photo left).  You can also mismatch the dresses by following your wedding theme. For example, if you’re having a Gatsby inspired wedding, your bridesmaids could wear different vintage style dresses (photo right).


Photo Credit: Huffington Post


Photo Credit: Green Wedding Shoes


Mixed Gender Bridal Parties

Although we’d like to credit Patrick Dempsey in Made of Honor (2008) for starting this next trend, we really have only been seeing this take off over the past couple of years. As weddings have become more personal and couples are really embracing the idea of “anything goes”; we’ve seen this concept of mixed gender bridal parties becoming more mainstream.

If you are concerned about how this will look in photos there are plenty of ways to flawlessly coordinate the attire for a mixed gender bridal party.  We recommend to dress each side, for example if the groom has a “groomsmaid” select the same color dress or match the style of the groomsmen’s suits, instead of matching the bridesmaids dresses.  If you want to include your best friends in your bridal party, regardless of their gender, we say go for it!


Photo Credit: Refinery29


Photo Credit: Bridal Guide








Late Night Snacks

This popular trend is usually in place of favors – surprise your guests with a tasty treat at the end of the night instead. Pizza, grilled cheese, milk n’ cookies…the options are endless! Or if you’re looking for something really unique, we recently planned a wedding that had a cannoli bar, which was a definite crowd pleaser! (photo left).  Or if you have room in your budget for a food truck or ice cream truck, it will be sure to wow your guests on their way out and keep their stomach’s happy, too! (photo right).

Check out our previous blog post on A Late Night Snack for Every Season for more even more fun snack ideas!


Photo Credit: Swank Events


Photo Credit: Ars Magna Studio








Outdoor Ceremonies

Despite the chance of showers, more and more couples are opting to exchange their vows outdoors these days. Outdoor ceremonies can be so romantic and beautiful, so it is no surprise that this trend is taking off!

For a fresh, rustic look – use your wedding flowers to create a beautiful arch and hang blooming flowers along the seats of the aisles.


Photo Credit: Jovee Photography

Since you are outside you can arrange the seats however you want.  Our favorite setup is illustrated in the photos below- arrange the chairs in a circular pattern so you are literally surrounded by the people you love!  It will make everyone feel like they are included in the ceremony, and your guests will all have a great view of you.


Photo Credit: Buzzfeed


Photo Credit: Rustic Folk Weddings









Keep in mind that with the beautiful outdoors come additional challenges, including Mother Nature. Regardless, there are a number of ways to make your outdoor ceremony unforgettable!

Contact us today to hear about more current trends and how we can assist you with planning a unique, creative, extraordinary event!


The Swank Team