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, and were looking for an event manager, I was thrilled!
And then, when she told me her wedding date was a mere five weeks away (!!!), I thought, "WHAT?!" But then quickly realized this was going to be a really fun challenge.
The first time I spoke to Kathy, I knew I was going to like her...a corporate negotiator, Maserati driving, fast-talking, no-nonsense kind of girl...and I also knew we'd be able to pull off an amazing event, despite our quickly-approaching deadline.
Here's some of Kathy's advice for brides currently planning their weddings:
“The best advice I could give is to remember that this is your day. Make it be what you want it to be, not because protocol says it should be a certain way. For instance, I wanted to wear an elegant dress which spoke to the beauty, glamour and timelessness of Edith Wharton’s home. I wanted to wear a dress that was so elegant, and so “larger than life” that it only had one place ever in my life, and that was my wedding day. That dress turned out to be an Oscar de La Renta (which they amazingly made for me in three weeks) with a Carolina Herrera veil and long kid leather gloves. I felt the overall look was very old school glamour, very befitting of The Mount! Of course I later changed into a beautiful white Lanvin for dinner (I had it in my closet in San Francisco but had never worn it!, and the same dress in a different color was worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in a Vogue magazine photo spread for Sex in the City). Much easier to sit in!”
From our very first phone call, Kathy gave me the background about how she and Rusty met, what brought them together, and how important family was to them--especially his children.
“Another thing we did that was different, in addition to layering in the story about how my Mom brought Rusty to me, was that we involved Rusty’s kids in the ceremony. He has three kids, all in their twenties – they each were in the wedding, and then were asked to step up to the altar with us. We vowed to each other that with our steadfast care and mutual respect that we would support the marriage and new family. These kids are such a very important part of our marriage and family, and very important to me, and I wanted them to know that. Then, after we said the vows, we did a group hug!”
And as the day turned to evening, and the party really got started, I wasn't surprised to learn that Kathy wanted to amuse her guests with one more special thing...
“The other variation from traditional wedding norms was how I did the first dance with Rusty. I wanted to change into a little black dress for dancing in a fun way that all the guests could enjoy! So I came up with the idea to do a little skit for our first dance. We started out dancing to Etta James’ “At Last”, with me in the white Lanvin – we did a couple of slow dips and twirls, then I motioned to Rusty “One minute!” and ran out of the room! Then we had our day of coordinator sit him in a chair and hand him a drink, looking all dejected, while we played a country song “Waiting on a Woman”. All the guests were wondering what was going on!! With the help of my bridesmaids I changed into the little black dress. Then when I came out into the hall, they broke into Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend”, to which I came running into the room and jumped into Rusty’s arms! Everyone started clapping, it was very fun! After a minute or two of just the two of us dancing, we broke into Queen’s “That Thing Called Love”, and engaged all the guests to start dancing with us! It was very fun and got everyone up dancing right away! So, my message is to make your wedding be what you want it to be, and have fun with it! Your special touches are the things that you and your guests will remember the most!”
And why did Kathy choose The Mount over all of the other wedding venues in Lenox?
“I grew up in the Berkshires, however I have lived in San Francisco for the last 20 years. Prior to booking The Mount, I had not been there since I was fifteen years old. What brought my attention to The Mount after all those years was a photo shoot done by Annie Liebovitz that appeared in Vogue magazine in 2012. The photo shoot was of The Mount and the surrounding area – and it was truly amazing. The Mount pictures were so ethereal and other worldly – like a different place and time. The accompanying article talked about Edith Wharton – who she was, how she lived her life, etc., which increased my interest even more, even down to the way she had a strong interest in cars and frequently went for long drives. I enjoy driving a lot and am licensed to race F-3s. When I got engaged I immediately knew I wanted to get married at The Mount. There is absolutely no place better to get married. So many of our guests told us it was the best wedding ever!! We were very blessed!”
Planning and Creative Direction: The Bride!
Photographer: Christopher Duggan Photography
Event Management: Tara Consolati, Creative
Floral Designer: Crocus Hale Flowers
Rentals: Classical Tents and Party Goods
Caterer: Old Inn on the Green
Wedding Cake: Old Inn on the Green
Wedding Gown #1: Oscar de la Renta
Wedding Gown #2: Lanvin
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Wedding Veil: Carolina Herrera