When you hear the term, “rise from the ashes,” what do you think of? Maybe you think of the phrase’s Ancient Greek ties or even just its simple definition. For all of us here at Engaged, we are reminded of the inspiring story behind Lakeview Pavilion.
Originally established in 1906 as a ballroom space where locals could dance the night away, Foxborough-based Lakeview Pavilion became a premier wedding ceremony and reception space in 1988 when it was purchased by the Kourtidis family. In the twenty-five years or so since, the Kourtidis sisters, now known as Anastasia Tsoumbanos and Natalia Kapourelakos thanks to marriages of their own, have helped plan and execute picture-perfect weddings for hundreds of couples at the gorgeous venue. But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing: Unfortunately, a three-alarm fire, which was the result of an improperly discarded cigarette, burnt down their beloved building to the ground in April 2014. While most would call such a misfortune a total loss, Anastasia and Natalia refused to hang their hats; less than a year and a half after the fire, they saw their new dream emerge from the ashes.
As anyone can imagine, starting over after a devastating tragedy can be difficult to say the least. But when we visit with Natalia and Lakeview’s event coordinator, Terry Memmo, it becomes easier to understand just how they pushed through. For years, they had been dreaming of giving the pavilion the updates that it truly deserved. Looking at the fire as an opportunity rather than a setback, they immediately went to the drawing board. “It was a new challenge,” Natalia says.
The team’s first priority was to ensure that the couples with already scheduled weddings had venues that they could use instead — although five brides chose to wait until after the rebuild was completed to have their wedding. They had so much faith in Natalia and Anastasia that they confirmed and planned their weddings after only seeing blueprints of the new building.
With the support from the future brides, their neighbors and the entire town of Foxborough behind them, Natalia and the rest of the Lakeview team never even thought of giving up. “We had each other for strength,” she recalls.
The original venue consisted of dark woods, high ceilings and white curtains. Both women say that it had a certain charm about it. While they wanted to keep some of the characteristics about the old building, there were also many things they wanted to change. Natalia and Anastasia took the time to hand-pick every detail that went into the new Lakeview Pavilion, including the bridal suites directly off of the ballroom and the ample dining and eating space.
When the refurbishments had been completed, what stood before them was their dream wedding venue. Instead of one ballroom, there are now two; the Lakeside Ballroom and the Lakeview Ballroom each have their own individual entrance so that, in the event that two weddings are booked for the same day, they’ll be kept completely separate. In both ballrooms, the ceilings reach thirty-two-feet and the floor-to-ceiling windows remind everyone of stained-glass church windows. The Lakeview Ballroom is able to hold up to 300 people while the Lakeside Ballroom can fit 160, comparable to the original ballroom’s size.
They’ve designed the updated building to be a modern-chic style with new chandeliers and white walls, tables and chairs. The purpose for the white, according to Natalia, is so the ballrooms can be a “blank canvas, that way no bride’s color palette will clash.” Although the colors may sound plain at first, walking through it makes you think of the classic fairy-tale wedding.
The team also added a new modern fireplace, making it the perfect spot for a winter wedding.
But if spring or summer weddings are more your fancy, their outdoor terrace and gazebo that overlook the serene Lakeview Pond will please both you and your guests.
When we ask Natalia and Terry what their favorite thing about the new Lakeview Pavilion is, they both smile and say “everything.” But we, of course, want them to try and narrow it down. When they do, Terry says her favorite update would probably be the brand new commercial kitchen they were able to give the executive chef, Chris Smaller. The top-of-the-line appliances and larger cooking space made it a “dream kitchen” for any chef.
And our favorite part? Lakeview Pavilion reopened on Sept. 2, 2015 and just two days later they were hosting their first wedding. Natalia and Terry both recall feeling more excited than nervous for the momentous occasion. “We would have moved the world to make it happen,” Natalia says. Another aspect that was touching: The firefighters who worked to extinguish the fire in the original building were among the firsts to experience the new one. On Sept. 11, Lakeview Pavilion had the honor of hosting their first Firemen’s ball.
Today, the pavilion is still located in a quaint area surrounded by woods, making for a picturesque wedding space tucked away from society. The business has been family-run for almost three decades and the owners are on the premises every day. They take pride in the fact that they customize the menu for every individual wedding or special occasion and that delicious, fresh meals always consist of fine meats and vegetables.
The ceremony decor is also always set up on the day of the event. What makes this special is that if the wedding is intended to be outdoors and it rains, the team is able to move the equipment inside so that the wedding is still able to run smoothly (check out Chris’ and Kevin’s real wedding in Engaged 2017, where a rainy day actually gave them an even more stunning backdrop for their vows). Lakeview is not a country club, so couples never have to worry about random guests playing golf the day of the wedding. Their main events often involve weddings, but they also host bar/bat mitzvahs, proms, corporate events and fundraisers.
While it may be out “in the woods”, the pavilion is centrally located between Boston and Providence. Only a few minutes from multiple hotels and restaurants, Lakeview Pavilion is a one-of-a-kind place to have your wedding and reception. It’s owned and managed by passionate people that put their hearts into what they do. As Natalia says, “It’s the people that make it special.”