Getting Married in the Berkshires

Getting Married in the Berkshires

In this post, we give you the answers to one of our most popular questions, "How do we get our marriage license in MA?"

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Event Chat--Wedding Industry Retreat

Event Chat--Wedding Industry Retreat

During this week of intensive group fireside chats (and super-loud nightly games of Heads-Up), we discussed not only our goals as small business owners, but we also got real about our fears and insecurities.  We gathered as a group to make breakfast in the kitchen, ate family style lunches and dinners, broke off into small groups, fell asleep on the couch, gained amazing insights into each others' businesses, stayed up way too late just hanging out and walked away from this stronger than ever before.  In every sense, we arrived as strangers and departed as family.

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Top 10 Wedding Venues in the Berkshires

Top 10 Wedding Venues in the Berkshires

Ah...the Berkshires.  A cultural retreat, nestled in beautiful rolling hills, beloved by young and old alike.  That is, if you've been here!  Those who visit our neck of the woods, tend to love it and want to come back often.  And those who have simply heard about us are usually the phone calls I get asking me to help them find a wedding venue in the Berkshires!  Now, I'm not sure if they think there are only two or three to choose from or what...but choosing the perfect wedding venue is something I take pretty seriously, so I begin by asking them a series of questions:

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A Fun-Filled Wedding at Tanglewood

A Fun-Filled Wedding at Tanglewood

When I was a little girl, before we moved to Virginia, my family and I were frequent visitors to the magnificent Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts.  With blankets and picnic baskets in hand, we spent countless evenings on the famed Lawn, listening to Seiji Ozawa, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, John Williams and many other world-renowned guests as they joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  I have such fond memories of the booming cannons (used for the 1812 Overture) and the starry night skies and always welcome the chance to step foot on those hallowed grounds.

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A Late Summer Wedding at The Mount

A Late Summer Wedding at The Mount

One of my favorite things about living in the Berkshires is the fact that we have a plethora of stunning wedding venues.  From elegant barns to revitalized mills, stately mansions to Boho chic properties, if you can't find what you're looking for in the Berkshires, you'll be hard-pressed to find it anywhere else.

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A Bohemian Chic Wedding Event in the Berkshires

A Bohemian Chic Wedding Event in the Berkshires

Have you ever noticed how so many of our literature and theatre greats highlight how opposites attract?  It's as though people--artists, especially--have historically been drawn to two things that just don't make sense together.  Beauty and the Beast.  The Prince and The Pauper.  War and Peace.  I'm not sure if it has anything to do with being a "creative" {or one who thinks outside the box}, but I, too, find myself fascinated with pairing two things that just don't quite add up.

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A Glamorous Wedding at Wheatleigh in the Berkshires

A Glamorous Wedding at Wheatleigh in the Berkshires

I am so excited to share Alexandra and Jeremy's Wheatleigh wedding with you guys today!  This wedding...so over-the-top gorgeous...was the perfect way to kick off my busy wedding season.  And in a way, I wish it could have been my last wedding of the season as well...I just hated saying goodbye to this newly-blended family!

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Ralph Lauren-Inspired Styled Wedding Shoot in the Berkshires

Ralph Lauren-Inspired Styled Wedding Shoot in the Berkshires

One of my very favorite things to do is play dress-up.  But not dress-up like when we were kids, going through our mothers' closets and donning their long pearl necklaces.  I love to take a room--or a venue, blank piece of paper, etc.--and accentuate it with beautiful pieces of furniture, accessories, flowers...  I think this is why I love to design styled shoots so much.  Every once in a while (actually, quite often), I'll get inspired by something--a piece of moulding, the color of the sky, a weathered doorknob--and suddenly, I'll have an idea for a photo shoot that brings a team of professionals together, showcases a stunning wedding venue in the Berkshires, and produces perfectly "pin-able" pictures!

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A Lenox Wedding at The Mount

A Lenox Wedding at The Mount

As a wedding planner in the Berkshires, I constantly count my lucky stars that I live in such a unique area, surrounded by natural beauty and filled with a rich cultural and historical presence.  And one of my favorite estates--even before I started planning weddings in Lenox--is Edith Wharton's stunning home, The Mount.  So when I received a call from Kathy (who grew up in the Berkshires but now lives in San Francisco) telling me she and Rusty wanted to host their wedding at this grand mansion, I was thrilled!

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A Venue Coordinator is NOT a Wedding Coordinator

A Venue Coordinator is NOT a Wedding Coordinator

A wedding planner will advocate for YOU at every step of the way, negotiating best rates with venues and vendors, making sure that YOUR needs are met as you get closer to ceremony time, and keeping your schedule on track. 

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A Fall Wedding at Jacob's Pillow

A Fall Wedding at Jacob's Pillow

I vividly remember the day that Emily reached out to me about planning her wedding.  My family was on a quickie summer vacation (since summers are our busy season, we can usually only get away for a couple of days at a time), and I was sitting by the pool when my phone rang.  (And now that I think about it, I shouldn't have even had my phone with me, so I guess it was fate!)  Emily explained that she had hired another wedding planner, had paid the deposit and never heard back from the planner again!  She explained that her wedding was only three months away, that nothing had really been done, and that she had seen some of my work in Well Wed Magazine.

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A Barn Wedding in the Berkshires

A Barn Wedding in the Berkshires

When I first met Nick and Sarah, I liked them instantly.  Both were new to the area, having just purchased a gorgeous farmhouse and barn in an idyllic setting, and both settling into their new jobs.  When I asked them what their priorities were in hosting this event, they talked about locally-sourced foods (including some veggies from Nick's gorgeous garden), great music and above all else...one that would include their closest family and friends, including quite a few children!

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A Wedding Weekend at Wheatleigh

A Wedding Weekend at Wheatleigh

The weekend began on Friday, with all of the NYC guests partying late into the evening, and then catching the private shuttle to the Berkshires as one big group!  By the time Saturday evening's welcome dinner and Kristin Chenoweth concert at Tanglewood ended, most of us would have called it a day.  But this group just kept ticking, like the famed Energizer Bunny!  Sunday morning, the day of the wedding, began with the beauty team coming in to pamper the bride, her sweet mom (seriously...I wanted to bring her home with me!) and sister, while the guys took off to Stockbridge to have a full-on basketball tournament (complete with custom jerseys and all)!

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Alison + Walter + Jonas: A Wedding Story

Alison + Walter + Jonas: A Wedding Story

This past weekend, I had the honor of producing a wedding that was 16 years in the making.  A wedding that united two wonderful families.  A wedding whose guests traveled from all over the world to attend.  The setting would be a stunning modern venue, overlooking the East River, with all of its twinkling lights from the buildings beyond.  The tables would be illuminated by soft candlelight and the guests would be in their finest attire.

Sounds pretty perfect, right?

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Three Steps to New Year's Eve with Tweens

Three Steps to New Year's Eve with Tweens

As a mother to two tween daughters and a wife to a man who doesn't like crowds, I often find myself searching for ways to satisfy my not-so-inner desires to throw a fabulous party that suits everyone's tastes--especially on New Year's Eve.  Luckily, we're fortunate enough to live on an awesome country road with neighbors we love, who all have children around the same ages as ours and just happen to be some of our best friends!

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Our blog has moved!

Since the development and creation of the Berkshire Wedding Collective, it has become nearly impossible to keep up with a blog on each site (the BWC has TWO blogs that run on its site alone!)!  And though my work in the marketing/pr field still carries on (meaning that this website is still relevant!), I think it's just going to be easier to direct all of my readers (so Mom, lol) over to those two blogs--Real Weddings in the Berkshires and Berkshire Wed.

Be sure to hop on over to the Berkshire Wedding Collective website for continual updates on all-things-wedding in the Berkshires!  

The AMAZING Peter Pan

This morning I awoke (much later than usual, as we've been getting home around midnight for the last two weeks) to the excitement on my girls' faces as they ran into my bedroom saying, "Mom!  It's opening night!", and I started to reflect on how our fast-moving summer has gotten to this point...

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So YES!, the day has come where the Berkshire Theatre Group's Peter Pan production is about to hit the stage.  For the next ten days and eleven performances, the lights will shine bright and the children's expressions even brighter as all of their hard work will finally pay off.  I see the little blurbs in the newspapers and the smattering of social media posts announcing the dates and times of the show and that "tickets are still available," and I can't help but feel like, "Gosh...this doesn't even BEGIN to tell the story about WHY people need to see this show...!"

Since the very week that Berkshire schools closed their doors for the summer, these children--aged seven to 67!--have rehearsed literally day in and day out for anywhere from four to TEN hours every day!  This type of dedication and enthusiasm is increasingly rare on ANY front...much less when viewed through the eyes of your nine-year-old.  And I seriously doubt that readers pause to consider this when skimming over the "What's Happening this Weekend" pages in a newspaper.  These little performers, the theatre staff and the parents have poured their hearts and souls into making this a performance worthy of such a grand stage as the historical Colonial Theatre.

And while I applaud the efforts of the local media for publishing the pieces that give a  synopsis of the show and include images of the kids rehearsing, I am quite certain that  those who read the article probably think, "Oh, that's nice...another community fundraising effort."  (And I'm not throwing stones here...I'm all too often guilty of this myself.)  Well... "just another" effort it is not.  But let's break down the rest of that phrase.

Community--absolutely.  This production is put on by ordinary people in our community who truly have amazing talents...from the crew member who keeps everyone organized each day, to the bursting-with-energy Ugh-a-Wugs--who, after all this rehearsing, really only get to take the stage for about three minutes! 

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Fundraising--no doubt.   With government funding to the arts increasingly at risk, and our usual donor pools getting tapped out, this is certainly the most viable option to bring in the much-needed dollars that keep these types of programs alive.  And no, the arts may not be one of the "food, shelter, clothing" types of necessities, but it IS so often this type of outlet that saves at-risk children from becoming another statistic. 

Effort--ummmm, YEAH!   Believe me, there is effort put into every car ride to rehearsal, every night of sitting in a warehouse for five hours...  EVERY. SINGLE. PERFORMANCE.  When these families sign on to be in a Berkshire Theatre Group production, they make a commitment to have their child there every night, many even foregoing their much-needed family vacations!  And if you think it doesn't take some serious effort to tell your child they can't go to their best friend's birthday party because they have rehearsal, you have another thing coming!  And the parents?  Let's just say there were many nights that I would have rather just relaxed with a bottle of wine and a...well...just a bottle of wine would have been fine!

But there's another component to all this that makes all the commitment, dedication and effort worthwhile...family.  These 150+ people that come together each summer truly get to be one big (happy?) family.  As with most family units, I can't say that our group is without any squabbles--mothers get mad at other mothers, mothers get mad at directors, mothers get mad at our husbands (who always seem to get out of taking the kids to rehearsals!)--but it is so nice to know that you'll be hanging out with your friends for a few hours, complaining that you have no life and that you have to live vicariously though your children...  And when the curtains close and the lights go down, there really isn't a dry eye in the house.  It's like leaving summer camp, knowing you probably won't see your buddies again until "this time next year."  And it's worth it.  It's all SO worth it.

I cannot tell you enough how PROUD I am of all of these children. 

So PLEASE consider coming out to watch Peter Pan.  Not only because it's going to be an AMAZING show (these kids are really gonna fly, you know!), but because now you also have a better understanding of what really goes on all summer long behind the scenes.  Performances begin tonight (at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield) and run through Sunday, August 18th.  Tickets ARE still available, and you can purchase these by calling the ticket office at 413-997-4444 or by visiting www.berkshiretheatregroup.org. 

 

No Magic Bullet

With marketing, there really is no magic bullet.  Marketing professionals study the trends, know the best ways to engage in social media, understand the importance of using keywords and finding their target audience; but there is NO way to guarantee that your words (or ads, calls to action, etc.) are going to "stick."  

This can be REALLY frustrating at times, as we--I--really want to provide the BEST service--and RESULTS!--to our clients, but just as that old tale of the tortoise and the hare goes, slow and steady wins the race.  We just keep doing what we know is right (with a few crazy, fun ideas thrown in from time to time!), and plug along promoting our clients. 

Now the fun part comes when you can actually see the fruits of your labor...and that has happened several times over this past week!  I've received word that several of my clients are going to be featured (or mentioned) in three of our top industry blogs/publications!  They have all earned their "as seen in" badges for Style Me Pretty, The Knot and Well Wed Magazine!   (I'll even be featured in Well Wed...so I guess I can add that badge to my site now, too! YAY!)

What a great momentum we have going (not to mention TONS of new angles for press releases...haha)!  Keep your eyes peeled...I'm pretty sure there are GREAT things ahead!