Have you heard? There's a secret in Blackstone Valley, although word about this quintessential New England gem is spreading quickly. It’s the Asa Waters Mansion, located in the heart of Millbury Center. If you don’t already know about this exceptional venue, you'll want to add it to your list of sites to visit before making any final decisions.
So what makes the Asa Waters Mansion so exceptional, you ask? Certainly there are a lot of choices in the region, especially if you’re looking for the timeless elegance that goes along with a venue worthy of being called a mansion, like those found in Newport or Lennox. The Asa Waters Mansion has so much of what they have to offer, with its stately columns and 22 interior rooms, constructed with the finest materials, some dating back 200 years. In fact, the Asa Waters Mansion has all the grandeur, the beauty, and the rich architecture of those better known venues, yet it also exudes intimacy as well as the warmth and charm worthy of a historic home—something not often felt in larger locations, and certainly not in a country club or hotel ballroom. It’s also one of the most affordable high-end wedding venues of its kind in New England. The Asa Waters Mansion checks all the right boxes without emptying your wallet.
“There's a sense of magic here,” said John McElroy, director of the Asa Waters Mansion. “It’s a spectacular setting, yet it’s very private too, so couples say it feels like it’s their home for the day. Unlike other mansion venues, the Asa Waters Mansion isn’t so vast that it swallows you whole as you enter the foyer. Instead, it has a feeling of classic familiarity for our guests. It's refined, not ostentatious, and couples feel at ease in its splendor because they know they’re standing in a place connected to history—and now they’re becoming a part of that history. It's like opening your own grand estate to your family and friends for your once-in-a-lifetime special event.”
Asa Waters II, the man behind the mansion, was born in Millbury in 1769. There, he learned to be a gunsmith in his father's shop, and became quite successful. He and his brother founded a prosperous armory in the area, which allowed Asa to found the Millbury Bank, too. In1823, he became a state representative for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and while in this highly respected position, he developed a plan to erect the stateliest residence in the country as a gift for his wife, Susan Holman Waters. Using only the finest materials from around the world, construction of the Asa Waters Mansion was set in motion in 1824. Over two centuries, the house enjoyed a rich and important history, including being a stop on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War, and Alexander Graham Bell was once there, as well as President Taft.
During the last century, the home fell into significant disrepair, which inspired a large group of people in town, including the historical society, to develop the Friends of the Asa Waters Mansion about 25 years ago and an extensive restoration began. Their goal was to bring this pillar of Main Street Millbury back to its original glory through extensive research. Since then, it’s been a labor of love, with the donation of hundreds of hours of work from volunteers who have created a very special place.
From late spring into the fall, celebrating on the grounds of the mansion is a real treat, with its park-like exterior and blooming gardens. There’s a lovely bandstand and a brick pathway leading to the gazebo, with antique blue stone steps out to one of the fields. Twinkle lights are used generously throughout. Tent weddings are the most popular and can accommodate up to 250 people, while those looking for a more intimate, indoor setting can host a reception with up to 80 people at any time of year. Winter—Christmas in particular—is an astonishingly beautiful time at the mansion, when an army of volunteers deck the halls; each room has its own tree! Wreaths, candles, and an antique sleigh make it a stunning place to be married over the holidays.
Jennifer Lisa Photography
Brides and grooms can choose their own caterers from the Asa Waters preferred list of vendors. These businesses know the mansion well and share its mission of providing only the best experience for couples, allowing them to express their own style within their specific budget. They take pride in finding ways to make each wedding significant and affordable, just for you.
When couples step through the doors of the Asa Waters Mansion, they feel that they are in the presence of something very special. A great deal of consideration went into the restoration of every corner of the interior, as well as the outside with the splendidly manicured grounds. The restorers kept it very tasteful throughout, emphasizing subtle opulence and elegance.
It’s so full of romance, too. The caretakers of this mansion have worked hard to include amenities that modern couples want, while staying very close to the period style wherever possible. From top to bottom, the elegance and charm of the Asa Waters Mansion sets it apart and enhances the beauty of every wedding celebrated there.
The Asa Waters Mansion
123 Elm Street
Written by: Jennifer McNally Monac
Photos by Alvah Reida Photography
Gowns fromQ Look Bridal and Bella's Bridal Boutique
Tuxedos from Bonardi's Formalwear
Flowers from Millbury Towne Florist
Linens, napkins and dinnerware: Woosta Party Rentals