Private Events

A Beautiful Garden Setting for your Event

Social Events | Professional Events | Memorial Services

Thank you for thinking of the Garden at Elm Bank for the special event that you are planning!

We look forward to introducing you to our remarkable property and showing you the unlimited possibilities of our unique event spaces. Our location is home to many Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Bridal and Baby Showers, as well as holiday and personal celebrations!

The Garden at Elm Bank resides on Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s stunning 36-acre property located along the Charles River in Wellesley and Dover, Massachusetts. Just thirty minutes outside of Boston, our property offers twelve gorgeous display gardens and multiple event spaces to suit your event of virtually any capacity. We take pride in offering one event on the property at a time for our late afternoon and evening rentals, allowing for the most intimate experience possible.

Massachusetts Horticultural Society, founded in 1829, is the oldest, formally organized horticultural institution in the United States. Our location at the Garden at Elm Bank is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for many elements. Whether you are looking to incorporate our history or simply have a unique setting for your event, our property is the perfect backdrop.

Our variety of reception locations can accommodate seated or standing receptions of nearly any size. Whether you are looking to be exclusively indoors, outdoors, or a little bit of both, we are pleased to offer a variety of options.

Escape the frenzied pace and enjoy the inspiration of connecting with nature at the Garden at Elm Bank and Massachusetts Horticultural Society.

Located just 30 minutes from Downtown Boston, and 20 minutes from Downtown Framingham, the Garden at Elm Bank is a unique, natural venue. Our location here in Wellesley and Dover, Massachusetts is an ideal setting for your corporate outing, fundraiser, or social reception. With twelve stunning display gardens, several outdoor spaces, and multiple indoor rooms, we offer a wonderful variety for your group of virtually any size. 

The openness of the Garden allows your guests to transform to a new state of mind and is ideal for leaving the hustle and the bustle of the workplace behind. Our property is ideal for retreats, retirement parties or a casual celebration with coworkers, friends and family. 

Our incredible gardens and open vistas of the scenery allow your guests to leave feeling reconnected and energized! We have a wonderful Vendor Collection including preferred caterers, entertainment and audio-visual companies to make your event planning simple and stress-free!

There are many ways to celebrate a life.

If you are planning a funeral reception or memorial service for a loved one, The Gardens at Elm Bank offer a private, beautiful estate setting. The Garden at Elm Bank is located on the 36-acre Cheney Estate in Wellesley and Dover, Massachusetts. Our beautiful, unique garden venue is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for many different elements. The Garden is a place of beauty, discovery, and quiet reflection. We are happy to help, along with our list of preferred vendors, with all planning to make this a simple, stress-free event for you, your family, and friends.


Access to all of our twelve display gardens is included in all event rentals at the Garden at Elm Bank. Whether guests are arriving early, want to stroll through the spaces during cocktail hour, or take advantage of our unlimited photo opportunities, we encourage you and your guests to explore and make the most of every minute while on the property.


Italianate Garden

The Italianate Garden is located at the west side of The Gardens at Elm Bank with the remarkable Manor House overlooking its lush garden beds. Designed by the Olmsted Brothers between 1914 and 1928, this is one of just two Italianate gardens open to the public in Massachusetts. This eye-catching space is most often home to cocktail receptions or ceremonies on the property.

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Belvedere Cocktail Space*

This beautiful, rustic structure provides the perfect backdrop for the outdoor cocktail reception of your dreams! The Belvedere is conveniently located steps away from Weezie’s whimsical Garden for Children, the sprawling grass paths of the Bressingham Garden and the Maple Grove, ideal for lawn games and lounge furniture. This space allows guests to mingle and explore as they enjoy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails in this unrivaled space!

*The Belvedere Cocktail Space is not available for Memorial Service rentals.

Other Areas at the Garden at Elm Bank

Beyond the Italianate Garden and Weezie’s Garden for Children are many other spaces for photographs as well as your guests to roam freely and enjoy. The Bressingham Garden and Trial Garden are often incorporated into events as welcoming spaces for your guests as they arrive at the Garden at Elm Bank. All of our gardens offer unlimited photo possibilities for groups of any size! 

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The Hunnewell Building

Our largest, indoor reception location is the Hunnewell Building, our historic and stately carriage house. The great hall of the Hunnewell Building boasts nearly 3,000 square feet of event space and is capped with a magnificent vaulted and trussed ceiling. The interior of this building is equipped with heating and air conditioning for optimal comfort at any time of year. 

The building alone can accommodate up to 150 guests for a seated reception with dancing or 200 guests for a seated reception without the dance floor. It can also accommodate cocktail-style receptions up to 300 guests.

From mid-April to mid-November, the rental of the Hunnewell Building also includes our attached three-season tent which comes in great use for inclement weather, dancing or extra seating. Utilizing the three-season tent and having a dance floor for your reception, this indoor venue can accommodate a maximum of 225 guests for a seated reception, and 400 for a cocktail reception.

Inclusions and benefits of the Hunnewell Building and seasonal three-season tent:

  • Beautiful fruitwood chiavari chairs with removable chocolate cushions for up to 250 guests 

  • 60” round banquet tables that seat 8-10 guests each 

  • Six and eight foot rectangular tables for catering and vendor needs 

  • Catering prep kitchen 

  • Seasonal coat room 

  • Restrooms facilities 

  • Heating and Air Conditioning (in the Hunnewell Building) 

  • Handicap accessibility  

  • Ample electrical access for both bands and DJs 

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The Maple Grove*

Centrally located amongst the gardens and surrounded by towering maple trees is our spacious Maple Grove. With nearly 17,000 square feet of grassy lawn, this outdoor area can accommodate tented receptions of virtually any size! This outdoor venue allows for the most customization possible. From the tent itself to flooring, tables, chairs, lighting, and so much more, the possibilities are limitless. 

We work with four incredibly knowledgeable tent companies that offer modern, beautiful rentals. Please note that special coordination is required for all events in the Maple Grove due to high level of detail and wear on the property. To learn more about our tent and rental companies, please visit our Vendor Collection

*The Maple Grove is not available for Memorial Service rentals.


The Cheney Room

Located on the first floor of The Education Center, The Cheney Room is the perfect space for more intimate groups. Overlooking the beautiful Trial Garden and Hartley Botanic Victorian Lodge, this room has large windows allowing for natural daylight to soften the space. Included in the rental are rectangular tables and upholstered chairs. Round tables can also be provided and you may upgrade to folding white garden chairs. The Cheney Room can accommodate up to 50 guests for a seated reception at round tables, up to 70 for a lecture, or 20 guests for classroom style or U-Shape seating.


The Putnam Building

A short walk from the gardens is our adorable Putnam Building, a wonderful classroom space. This room allows private parking for up to 20 vehicles and easy access to our greenhouses if you are working with one of our staff. Included in this rental are rectangular tables, upholstered chairs, as well as demonstration counter, sink, and a projector screen. The Putnam Building can accommodate up to 40 guests with classroom-style seating.

Inquire Today

Contact us today to learn more about our beautiful venue for your upcoming event!

Functions & Events Department

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What Our Clients Have to Say

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This venue... I can't say enough about how wonderful The Gardens at Elm Bank was for our late September wedding! Kayleigh and Mary Kate helped us through every little step and were absolutely wonderful. They always had plenty of suggestions in times of being flustered and worked with such patience in important and indecisive moments! The venue itself is stunning as well. I couldn't have asked for a better wedding! (Reviewed On 11/30/2017)

- Heather F
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Elm Bank was the backdrop for our most magical wedding this August! My husband and I were looking for a convenient, non-traditional wedding venue that was a bit different from the hotel "cookie cutter" weddings. As foodies, it meant so much to be able to bring in our own caterers and select all aspects of the menu. The gardens were in full bloom for our wedding date and could not have been more beautiful. We were able to rent shuttles to transport our guests from Boston to the venue which worked seamlessly. As the venue is not a traditional wedding space we did have to do a lot on our own including renting a tent, dance floor, tables, table linens and settings, and most definitely could not have done it without the help of our phenomenal wedding planner. If you are looking for a beautiful, non-traditional wedding venue and are willing to put in the extra effort to customize your special day, this is the place for you. (Reviewed On 12/11/2016)

- Stephanie F, Wellesley, MA
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Kayleigh and her team at Elm Bank were great to work with. My husband and I truly felt like we had the entire property available to us as potential ceremony locations on the day of our walk through. Ultimately, we chose the gardens they have advertised for each segment of our special event. The fountain in the Italianate Gardens is a gorgeous location for nuptials. Weezie's Children's Garden has a more playful, relaxed atmosphere, suitable for cocktail hour. Finally, the Carriage House provides a nice balance of laid back yet formal depending on how you've had it set up. If you are looking for a garden wedding with beautiful scenery and helpful staff, this is the place to go. (Reviewed On 8/03/2017)

- Teresa F, Wellesley, MA
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We just got married in this beautiful venue and I cannot recommend this place enough! Although it is slightly on the pricy side, it is worth every penny if your desire is to be married outdoors. The gardens are truly STUNNING in the summertime. We had an Indian fusion wedding, with the ceremony in the Italianate Garden and the reception inside the carriage house. Our cocktail hour was held in the Children's Garden and we did first look photos in the Bressingham Garden. Each one of these outdoor locations has so much to offer. Our guests could not stop gushing about the beautiful gardens and taking photos of all the horticultural variety. The carriage house does have an attached tent which can be used for larger guests counts, but it was reserved as our backup plan in case of rain. Fortunately, we didn't have to use it! Renting the venue does not come with anything other than tables and chairs, so you'll have to find your own design/catering/lighting companies etc. That being said, they partner with some great companies that we would recommend. Kayleigh and Mary Kate at Elm Bank are marvelous to work with, and they made the day of the wedding so stress-free. I would highly recommend this place to anyone. (Reviewed On 6/26/2017)

- Meera S, Wellesley, MA

Vendor Collection

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Massachusetts Horticultural Society is dedicated to encouraging the science and practice of horticulture and to developing the public’s enjoyment, appreciation, and understanding of plants and the environment.

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