Venue Spotlight: Castle Hill on the Crane Estate

Castle Hill on the Crane Estate

The spectacular Crane Estate encompasses more than 2,100 acres in Ipswich, Massachusetts. We’ve had the pleasure of planning Dennis and Viji’s gorgeous wedding at The Great House and it was fantastic! The mansion is stunning and the beautiful rolling hills are so picturesque – you will not find a more perfect place for your big day!


Photo Credit: Livermore Photography


Chicago industrialist Richard T. Crane, Jr. first purchased the 2,100 acres that would become The Crane Estate in 1910. Crane was captivated by the beautiful landscape, and over time worked with eight leading architects and landscape architects to shape his summer retreat. In 1928, he crowned the estate with a grand 59-room, Stuart-style mansion, designed by the world-renowned architect David Adler. Beyond the Great House terrace, the half-mile long Grand Allée offers an amazing view of more than 160 acres of landscaped grounds, manicured lawns, and woodland trails.

Today, the Crane Estate plays a vital role in the local community and beyond as a place for year-round recreation, historic house tours, weddings, corporate and private parties, an annual art show, summer concerts, lectures, movie filming, a popular summer camp and public volunteer opportunities.


Photo Credit: Derby Photography


The mansion can fit up to 200 people seated in several different rooms. For more than 200 guests, cocktail hour is usually held in the mansion and a tent is rented for dinner and dancing. The ceremony can be held inside the mansion or outside on the beautiful rolling hills behind the mansion, weather permitting. There are also many other outdoor options available, depending on the weather.


Photo Credit: Allegro Photography



Photo Credit: Livermore Photography

Vendor Information

Fireside Catering is the exclusive caterer for The Estate. There are other preferred vendors which are optional.


Photo Credit: Livermore Photography

Rental Information

Rental fees range from $3450-8500 depending on the month and day of week. This fee includes:

  • Exclusive use of The Great House event rooms and immediate surrounding grounds.
  • Bartenders, beverage service staff, set up and clean up staff.
  • Private changing rooms for the wedding couple.
  • (20) 60” round dining tables, (200) indoor mahogany chivari chairs, (200) outdoor white garden chairs for ceremony at The Great House.
  • Gate Attendant to welcome guests and direct them to parking area, ample free parking,   Parking Attendant (no valet service), and Event Ranger for security.



Photo Credit: Sarah Bastille Photography


Photo Credit: Schippert+Martin Photography

For more detailed information and to book your next event contact the Director of Sales and Events, Maura McCarthy at 781-221-3003.

Happy Planning!

The Swank Team

Vendor LOVE: AUX Boston

AUX Boston: Michael Phillips

Michael Phillips

We first worked with AUX Boston on Rachel and Drew’s wedding at the Cyclorama last May. We loved how easy Michael was to work with and his laid back approach to the day. He lets the music do the talking and remains discreet; announcing important things but otherwise focusing on keeping everyone on the dance floor! We look forward to working with AUX Boston again in June for Lydia & Henrik’s wedding at the beautiful Lyman Estate. Continue reading to learn more about Michael.

Where did you grow up?

I was raised in Acton, MA. It’s the suburbs, man. Spent some time in Burlington, VT and Dover, NH as well. For nostalgia’s sake, I always think about buying a house back in Acton and raising the fam there someday but on the surface it lacks the vibrant culture we’ve really been enjoying in Somerville and the city in general.

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

AUX Boston started in 2013 after having some time to myself to figure out how to showcase my passion for seeing people react to music. Corny, right? But it’s always been such a huge part of my life – Right out of college I was working as a DJ in radio and after a nice stint in the office, I realized that I’m most comfortable not at cubicle but here, there, and everywhere… or the couch, because why not do work on the most comfy piece of furniture you own?   I also co-own a karaoke business which has me meeting lots of people during the week (The People’s Karaoke) and helps pay the bills! I’ve picked up a good number of events & weddings in a short period of time so I know people like the product.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

All of it? Can I say that? Probably overused response, but very true. Ok, first thing that comes to mind –  Creating playlists with & for those who bring me on as part of their team. I’m very hands-on when it comes to dialing-in the vibe of what a couple is going for musically because folks I work with typically have good taste & knowledge for music. In an abstract way, you get to narrate & produce a story with music all while making sure it’s unique to their style & vision. It’s rad. I also love working with the crowd and I actually get psyched when friends & fam come up for requests.

How would you describe your style?

For a second I thought this question was about fashion and almost decided to pass on answering but now that I think about a name for it, it’d be “kinda-sorta hipster” but I’ve been to Williamsburg & Bushwick (Brooklyn) to know that’s a huge over-statement.  Okay, my style:  Let the music do the talking. I have no problem announcing first dances, toasts, the shuttle’s coming, but other than that – Why is there a need to squawk over the jams??  I like to know the couple outside of their wedding world, even if its just a few short chats here & there, it definitely helps me establish the music that is connective and integrative to the celebration.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Hardly any guilt in this but I’ll say Cheez-Its and Cheer Wine (cherry soda).

What’s your favorite quote?

“If it’s not fun, why do it?”  – Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s. It also was a bumper sticker I put on several cars I drove.

What makes you unique in your field?

It comes down to my background, my personality, and my connection to music. I grew up looking up to DJ’s in Boston Radio (i.e. – WFNX & WBCN) who sounded like & acted like people you’d want to be friends with. Then I started working as a radio “on-air personality” and discovered a lot of those DJ’s were salt of the earth folks who cared about the listeners and the music. I naturally have that same ethos and individuality which helps stand out as genuine.   I love a good party too, so being there to support a couple in that quest is my motivation to nail it!

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

The little stuff adds up FAST, and sometimes you forget to include stuff like centerpieces, thank you cards, guest book, gratuities, etc.  In terms of DJ advice – You might find a bit of emotional stress figuring out what to pick for your first dance (or other “spotlight” dances), but the trick is to pick those out as far in advance as possible without reservation because you’ll probably remember those moments of the day the most.

Learn more about AUX Boston:


The Swank Team

Coloring the Seasons: Spring Color Palettes

The snow is finally starting to melt, the birds are beginning to chirp and after this long winter, yes, it feels like spring! The new weather has us thinking about some beautiful seasonal colors to incorporate into your special event. While every season offers unique color palettes, we are excited to turn on the spring wedding colors!  In 2015 we will see a move toward the cooler and softer side of the usual spring colors – think of a mix of pastels, simple brights and nature inspired neutral colors.

Choosing your colors is a big part of the planning process. Once you have your wedding colors, all the other stylistic decisions are easy.

Classic Blue

This is a traditional wedding color but typically not one we see during spring nuptials.  Classic blue is pretty versatile, as you can pair it with the brightest colors to even the most neutral earth tones. Add some flair to your dinner tables with classic blue (blue willow inspired) vases with tangerine flowers;  for a nautical look, dress your bridesmaids in classic blue and make a statement with custard bouquets; or for a softer look, dress your groomsmen in light almond and accent with a classic blue tie.

There are many ways you can incorporate classic blue into your wedding colors –from your bridesmaid dresses to your china…the possibilities are endless!


Photo: June Bug Weddings


Photo: Bridal Musings

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Photo: Katelyn James Photography





Toasted Almond

Toasted almond is a beautiful neutral color that can be paired perfectly with any gorgeous pastel color. Although not a typical color for spring, it can look stunning, especially with a flash of something bright! Toasted almond is a flattering color for bridesmaid dresses and also looks fantastic in linen, suits and many other wedding details.

Almond Dresses

Photo: Mazel Moments


Photo: Elizabeth Anne Designs








Tangerine is a juicy orange shade that is energizing and refreshing (very fitting for spring)! The color is striking enough to stand on its own or pairs nicely with light grays and other neutral tones. Tangerine is also great as an accent color – for your flower bouquets, ties, or shoes!


Photo: Elegant Wedding Invites


Photo: Style Me Pretty


Photo: Offbeat Bride









Starting with your invitations, the perfect spring color palette will set the tone and can be carried throughout your entire event. Ask us for ideas on how to incorporate your favorite colors into your big day.

Happy Planning!

The Swank Team