8 Reasons Why the Berkshires are a Perfect Wedding Destination
It’s no secret that destination weddings are on the rise. And yet it amazes me at the number of people who are shocked when I say that 100% of my weddings are destination weddings! It has dawned on me that there is still such an educational component to this job and that I should probably consider writing a series of articles about destination weddings.
But for now, since the bulk of my weddings are actually based in the Berkshires—which comes in really handy since that’s also where I live—I figured I would begin by highlighting what I think makes the Berkshires such a great destination wedding location. So here are my thoughts…in no particular order!
Right in the Middle
The Berkshires are located right in the middle of New York City and Boston…about 2 to 2 1/2 hours in either direction. This makes the Berkshires a pretty easy drive for your guests, and even though it’s relatively close, you and your guests will feel like you’re worlds away!
We Have Some Amazing Venues
Tucked away in these rolling hills, you’ll find SO many venues to choose from…some better-known than others. From Lenox to Great Barrington, Stockbridge to North Adams, nearly every little town in Berkshire County has something to offer. Lenox is probably the most “congested”, with Blantyre, Stonover Farm, The Mount, Tanglewood, Church on the Hill, Cranwell and a smattering of smaller inns who host more intimate affairs. But Stockbridge comes in at a pretty close second, with Wheatleigh, Naumkeag, the Norman Rockwell Museum, Chesterwood, Berkshire Botanical Gardens and multiple private homes available for use. In Lee, there’s the Lake House Inn. In Becket, there’s Jacob’s Pillow. In the northern part of the county, we have Hancock Shaker Village, Bloom Meadows, Williams College, MASS MoCA, The Clark Art Institute, the Berkshire Lake House, the Stationery Factory, Cricket Creek Farm and others! From barn weddings to estate weddings to weddings held in art museums, the Berkshires truly has everything you’re looking for!
We’re a Foodie Region
One thing that the Berkshires is becoming more well-known for is our amazing farm-to-table movement. We have an abundance of local farms and an abundance of fantastic caterers who source their products from these local purveyors. Each of our catering companies puts their own spin on things, so you’ll want to attend some tastings and compare pricing. They’re all talented, but some handle higher-end weddings with a bit more finesse. Two of my personal favorites are The Swell Party by Tom Ellis and SoMa Catering. Using the freshest, locally-sourced ingredients and their own flairs for design, either company is every party planner’s dream partner when planning and executing a seamless event.
We Have Plenty of Hotels for Your Guests
From our brand new chain hotels to our boutique hotels and quaint inns, you’re sure to find enough room blocks to accommodate your guest count. We have Marriott affiliates like the Courtyard in Lenox and the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Great Barrington. We have Hilton hotels like the Hilton Garden Inn in Lenox/Pittsfield and the Hampton Inn and Suites in Lenox. Our local hotels include unique places like Porches, Hotel on North, the super-cool Briarcliff Motel, Annie Selke’s 33 Main in Lenox, the Garden Gables Inn (mine and my husband’s favorite little hideaway!), the Kemble Inn. We have lake-front properties like the Lake House Inn in Lee and the Berkshire Lake House Guest Cottages in Lanesboro. And of course our historic properties like the Red Lion Inn, Blantyre and Wheatleigh. Be sure, though, if you’re planning to host your destination wedding in peak season (June-October) you’ll need to set up your room blocks EARLY. You can almost guarantee that there will be multiple weddings on your weekend, all vying for these rooms at the same time! Negotiating hotels/blocks is one more reason to align yourself with an experienced, connected wedding planner. ;)
Things To Do ALL Year Long
The Berkshires has long been known as a cultural attraction in the summertime. From world-class theatre to famous music halls, dance festivals and museums, there is truly something for everyone. But in addition to the arts, the Berkshires boasts an abundance of natural beauty. Hiking trails, lakes and rivers and scenic roads for cycling abound. And it’s not just in the warm-weather months that our calendars are full. Skiers flock to the Berkshires to hit the slopes and our theatres have a long list of shows and entertainment acts even during our winter months! One of my favorite lists…which seems to have EVERYTHING on it…is this one from the Red Lion Inn. Be sure to check it out if you’re looking for something to do in the Berkshires!
“Like Riding Through a Painting”
I have to say that is one of my favorite quotes. One that I overheard a tourist say to her friend as she had just arrived in the Berkshires. Until I had heard this lady so perfectly describe her ride in, I had never quite known how to articulate just what it’s like to arrive in the Berkshires. Whether your guests are choosing to drive in on their own, take a train to nearby Hudson or fly in to Albany or Hartford (or one of our private airports), their easy trip in to your wedding weekend will truly be “like riding through a painting.”
We Have Four Beautiful Seasons
I know that there are a million moving pieces when planning a destination wedding (which is why it’s essential to have a good wedding planner!), and that weather is always a concern (no matter where your wedding will be held), but in the Berkshires, we have four uniquely beautiful seasons and we’re equipped to handle them all. Naturally, our high season is late-Spring through mid-Fall, but even winter weddings are especially stunning here, and frankly, I wish we had more of them. Local weddings continue to occur, of course, since the guests all live close-by. But what my destination clients fail to consider is that even in the heaviest of snowstorms (i.e. worst-case scenario for your weekend!), our road crews are equipped to handle them. Your guests will still be able to drive right in and the hired shuttles are adept at traveling snowy roads. In fact, much to my children’s chagrin, we really don’t have that many snow days because our crews are just that good! So if a winter wedding is something you’ve always dreamed of, but the logistics freak you out, I urge you to consider the Berkshires for its unparalleled beauty in winter. Trust me…your guests will thank you!
Vendors From Near AND Far
Because most of my clients are traveling in from larger cities and countries, they’ve grown accustomed to a level of sophistication that—until recently—hadn’t quite reached the Berkshires yet. If there’s one point I can drive home in this article, it is that the Berkshires is able to produce equally rave-worthy, lavish affairs that grace the pages of the most popular wedding blogs. In addition to our amazing venues, we have some pretty talented vendors in the area. But if you still feel more comfortable bringing in some of your favorite vendors from home, I have witnessed just how much the city event professionals enjoy traveling here. It is not uncommon for my events to include entertainment, florals, lighting, etc. from NYC or Boston and this just continues to raise the bar for the types of weddings that can be hosted in the Berkshires. I’m so excited for how far we’ve come and the endless possibilities from continuing to grow my network. The sky is truly the limit!
And there you have it! If you’ve made it to the end of this long article, I’m truly impressed! :) And I’m guessing that means you’re starting to plan your own destination wedding and the Berkshires is a serious contender. If that’s the case, I would love to speak with you about your vision for your wedding weekend. Please don’t hesitate to reach out so we can start your planning journey together!