Weddings in the Berkshires ---- one of three blogs! It is my pleasure to be writing a few blogs about the reasons why we love hosting weddings in the Berkshires!
The Berkshires is an excellent destination location for your wedding weekend! If you want to feel away from it all, be someplace with a vibrant arts community and host a weekend with stellar cuisine at each meal, this is your destination.
We often hear the following:
1. We want a destination wedding but don’t want to spend more than we would in the city.
Weddings held in NYC are by far more expensive than most places in America and sometimes abroad. The price of food, staffing and site fees almost always come in higher than elsewhere. In some cases hosting a wedding in a destination location may cost you less while remaining just as discerning as you would be in the city. You level of your discernment and expectations matters, but relative to most NYC budgets, I would not fret over this concern at all if hosting your wedding in the Berkshires.
2. We are exhausted by the thought of having to go to the Berkshires many times before the actual week of the wedding.
Have no fret - that is why you hired a planner! The Berkshires is an educated area with enough select people that know what a Manhattan or Boston clientele is expecting. Also, a planner such as ourselves, works very well with all vendors from all walks of life, helping them to revise and finalize all proposals and creative work to our level of detail and standards. You do not need to travel there a bunch of times, especially in this day and age! Plus, we have enough weddings that are north, be it in Hudson Valley, Litchfield, to the Catskills, to the Berkshires - we make it work for ourselves and our clients!
3. Will people be offended if we are asking them to travel too far?
In most cases, if you are asking people to leave the city to attend your wedding, they will be getting themselves a hotel for the night anyhow. Why send them 90 minutes away to a nondescript place when you could send them to an interesting place with more things to do that perhaps they have never explored. Furthermore, high season hotel rates in the Berkshires are lower than any hotel in the Hamptons or any nicer hotel in the city anyway. Once away and engaged in something different, your guests will appreciate the mini vaca that your wedding afforded them!
4. Will some people accustom to modern day conveniences be turned off or feel that we are being inhospitable or too 'rustic'?
Plan ahead, just as your wedding planner will anyhow! In most cases weddings have two hotels to choose from, of varying price points. Some hotels and B & Bs have better reception than others but all for certain have Wi-Fi. Also, giving people a break from perfect reception can be a godsend!
On another similar note, just because a wedding is in the country doesn't mean that you and your guests will be roughing it, nor does the design have to be rustic. There is a historical quality to the Berkshires and while country, there is refinement as well.
Some of the cultural attractions and venues in the area:
1. Berkshire Theater Festival: I am impartial to BTF as my parents and I have both performed here during their summer months, more than a few years back, to say the least. www.berkshiretheatergroup.org and www.berkshireonstage.com
2. Normal Rockwell Museum: A must visit! His paintings will make an avid art fan out of anyone. They are full of history and story, and enjoyable for children as well. Also, a GREAT wedding setting! The Normal Rockwell museum can host your wedding reception for up to 250 people under their seasonal tent. Also their 36-acre estate has gorgeous sites for an outside ceremony. www.nrm.org
3. Naumkeag Historical House: Lovely and interesting country side setting to host your wedding or just tour while in town. Naumkeag has an asian garden that is under renovation, which will soon be a wonderful place for photography, as well as a culturally diverse ceremony setting. http://www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/berkshires/naumkeag.html
4. Red Lion Inn: Now hold on before you judge this Inn that is the oldest building in the area and is flanked with cool vintage knick knacks. This Inn's rooms are extremely comfortable. In fact, I have had the best sleep I have had all year at the Red Lion Inn. Secondly, I have had the best breakfast (4 actually) ever and their is a house cat names Simon that can be your pet away from home - enough said. Also, you can walk the cute historical town. The Inn is a great place for accommodations for many of the surrounding areas. www.redlioninn.com
5. Chesterwood: The Country studio, home and garden's of America's foremost sculpture Daniel Chester French. Beautiful garden settings to choose from and site for a tented reception. www.chesterwood.org
1. Hancock Shaker Village: We are going to include this charming venue in our next blog about the Berkshires. We want to give this excellent choice of a wedding venue more attention! www.hancockshakervillage.org
1. Tanglewood: You cannot go wrong with a delicious picnic basket, bottle of wine and the Boston Symphony up close and personal while laying down on a blanket (or sitting in a chair). Tanglewood is Boston Symphony's summer home away from home and they frequently have such stellar stars as Renee Fleming and Yo-Yo Ma. www.bso.org
2. Shakespeare & Co.: I mean, if you do not like Shakespeare or 'get-it' you will when seen well done. Done well, you cannot love Shakespeare. www.shakespeare.org
3. Cranwell Resort Spa & Golf Club: Amongst all the area venues, Cranwell is the largest and the one that offers the most modern day amenities. In some cases, hosting families need to offer such a setting or at least hotel accommodations for their loved ones and friends. Phenomenal luxury spa on site. www.cranwell.com
4. Kemble Inn & Table Six Restaurant: As with Hancock Shaker Village, we are going to give this beauty its own time on our next blog! Stay tuned; its a cozy, stylish, stunner! www.kembleinn.com
5. Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival: Okay, okay I am bias as I was also a dancer in my youth and spent the summer of the 16th year at the festival. After you are done chilling out with some bubbly and cello, head to the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. Over the course of most summer seasons they have a wide variety of modern dance companies in residence, some more ballet inspired and some more jazz inspired. ( In Becket, near Lenox). www.jacobspillow.org
6. The Mount: The country home of noted American author Edith Wharton, who designed the house and its grounds and considered it her "first real home." Gorgeous outdoor setting for a ceremony, photography and a balcony for a smaller wedding with interesting spaces inside for a reception split into a few rooms or for dancing indoors. www.edithwharton.org
7. Stonover Farm: A stunning venue for those looking for a barn wedding well taken care of and clean. This venue will be featured in a later blog! www.stonoverfarm.com
8. Wheatleigh: This venue too will be covered in the next blog or two. The best meal I have had in a long time was at the Wheatleigh. Okay that is kind of a lie; I do eat well often, but truly this ravioli was impeccable and unforgettable. www.wheatleigh.com
1. Williamstown Theatre Festival, of course!: Theater at its best and it happens to be in the Berkshires. When I was a wee lassie of 21 I performed and was an intern at their blackbox, while stars the likes of Judi Dench graced the main stage. In the center of Williams College, this theater festival has more applause than any lauded broadway company. A company that significantly defines the Berkshires summer season. And yes, I am bias when it comes to theater! www.wtfestival.org
2. The Clark Museum: Also at the center of Williams College, practically within walking distance of the theater festival, is this impeccable art museums. While small, you will only notice how wonderful their selection of art work is. I have toured quite a few museums and the Clark has always stood out in my mind. www.clarkart.edu
NEW MARLBOROUGH near Lenox and Great Barrington
1. Gedney Farm: This venue will be covered with much detail in a later blog. Before our recent trip we had visited once before. It is a cozy, smartly designed venue that is perfect for so many clients. Also, their food is in house and excellent. Stay tuned..... www.gedneyfarm.com
1. Mass MOCA: One of the largest contemporary art museums and performing arts complexes in the county, relatively new and a creative alternative wedding venue for the non-traditional couple. This venue will also be given more attention on a separate blog. www.massmoca.org
Please catch us again on the blog some time next week as we put the spotlight on a few more venues we love most in the Berkshires!