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Real Wedding at The Mount: Kathy and Rusty

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Today I am sharing with you a very special Mount wedding. Kathy and Rusty are two charismatic and kind people who value family, friends and fun. Kathy lives in San Francisco, but was born and raised in the Berkshires. When they got engaged in December of 2014 Kathy immediately knew that she wanted to return to this beautiful area and get married at The Mount.  They ended up booking their wedding in April for a June 6th date.  Looking back on their fabulous celebration, I think only having 5 weeks to plan the wedding was an advantage to them. Instead of getting caught up in protocol and tradition they let their values guide the day, weaving their family and friends into every aspect and never forgetting to let themselves have fun.  It was all the more beautiful for it! Christopher Duggan Photography was there to expertly capture every stunning moment.

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I’ll let Kathy tell you the touching story of how they met:

“Rusty and I met in the San Francisco Bay Area, right after my Mom passed away.  She died over Memorial Day in 2013.  My Mom was a matriarch over her immediate family of 25 kids, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  She was loved by all, and although she passed at the age of 86 of a massive stroke, and had lived a full, great life, the entire family was extremely bereft.  I came home from Massachusetts on a Thursday after she passed.  I was so bereft, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get past it, and could barely get up in the morning.  Come the Saturday morning after arriving home, I realized I looked like such a mess because I’d been crying for days on end – I decided I needed to go for a drive (I love to drive) and get some sun, so I headed to Stinson Beach, the  nearby beach just over the Golden Gate Bridge.  I was laying out in my bikini on a blanket and I saw this bald guy far from me – the back of  his head was beet red and I thought to myself, someone had better tell that guy that he’s sunburnt! Then about a half hour later, out of nowhere, there he was, the same guy, crouched at the corner of my blanket, saying “I saw you over here by yourself and thought you might like some company”.  He was in great shape, had bright blue, very discerning eyes, bright white teeth – he looked pretty good (!!) – I was just so sad however, that I said, very tearfully, “Well, I’m not great company right now because my Mom just passed.”  He stayed talking with me, it was a really great conversation – he gave me his business card, then said, “Okay, I’ve taken up enough of your time, you have my card, email me or call me if you want to stay in touch.”  About a half hour later I texted him and said I was leaving, and within two seconds, there he was again, at the corner of my blanket, saying “Let me help you carry your things to your car.” On the way to the car, he asked me if I wanted to have lunch, and I said yes, and we’ve been together ever since!  Truth is, that day, if I had not been bereft because of my Mom, I would have talked to that guy, been nice, but taken his card and put it in the drawer and never contacted him.  It was because of my Mom’s passing that changed how I felt that day – and so forever since, I have always felt in my heart that my Mom sent Rusty to me.  That’s how she was, always watching out for her kids.”

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Here is Kathy’s advice to brides who are planning their weddings now:

“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!”

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“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!”

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“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!”

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“And we decided to ask guests in lieu of giving us gifts to make a donation to an organization out in San Francisco called Larkin Street Youth Services.  Larkin Street is an organization that helps get homeless kids off the streets and back on track.  We felt that if the advent of our wedding made a difference in one of these troubled kids lives, well that’s the best wedding gift we could receive.”

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Kathy chose The Mount as her wedding venue because it fit her vision and her personality:

“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!”

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Real Proposal At The Mount: John and Alexis

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Over the years we’ve been lucky enough to be the backdrop for many beautiful engagement shoots.  But this is the first time, that we know of, that The Mount has been the setting for a surprise proposal!  John popped the question to Alexis on a beautiful Fall day in our French flower garden. Alexis said yes! Later she told us: “We had such a wonderful experience at The Mount. Our family and friends agree: it really was the picture perfect setting for this very special milestone.”

Photographer Mark Swirksy was there to capture every moment.

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Real Wedding at The Mount: Lauren and Eric

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If you’re in the mood for a good happy-cry this Friday afternoon watch this unbelievably gorgeous video from Christopher Duggan Photography of our September 12th 2015 couple, Lauren and Eric. Christopher’s team captured so many perfect little intimate moments. Watching this video makes you feel like you’re right there with them! Stay tuned, soon we’ll be posting photos of Lauren and Eric’s beautiful Fall wedding.

Lauren & Eric’s Wedding at The Mount in Lenox, MA from Christopher Duggan on Vimeo.

Real Wedding at The Mount: Jess and Jake

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Today I have a radiant June wedding to share with you. This celebration of 200 really showcases how wonderful it is to have all your family and friends with you on your wedding day. Jess and Jake were amazing clients, so fun to work with every step of the way. Their love for each other, and their friends and family, really shines through in these photos by Tricia McCormack. Enjoy these gorgeous shots and some memories and advice from Jess and Jake.

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“How did we choose The Mount?

With both of us having family connections to Stockbridge, Jake and I knew that we wanted to get married somewhere near there. We also knew we were looking for a venue that could accommodate a fairly large gathering so our choices were fairly limited. We visited The Mount to scope it out in August of 2014. Immediately, we were entranced. It was so breathtaking, elegant and also steeped in history. We ourselves actually connected over our shared love of a celebrated American author. No, it wasn’t Mrs. Wharton but as literature-lovers, we felt it was close enough! We wanted to get married at the Mount so much that we even decided to change our projected wedding to another month when The Mount had availability. We weren’t sorry!”

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“Everything about this place was perfect. We can’t imagine having gotten married anywhere else. We were excited to offer our guests a bit of Berkshire history, an interesting museum-quality experience, and then just a breath-taking atmosphere and view. Everyone loved it!”

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Mount-Wedding-Berkshires-Wedding-Photographer-Tricia-McCormack-Photography-WEB_0081 “Our favorite moment of the day was the ceremony. Jess was so overcome with emotion that she cried right through the whole thing. The depth of feeling and love was indescribable and we cherish those moments of being able to say our vows in front of people we love in an incredible setting.”

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Mount-Wedding-Berkshires-Wedding-Photographer-Tricia-McCormack-Photography-WEB_0100 “The inspiration for our wedding was the location. We wanted The Mount to really shine as the magnificent place that it is. With a venue like that, you really don’t need to dress it up with tons of lights or fancy flowers. It just speaks for itself. Jess chose sage-green for the bridesmaid dresses and we wanted our flowers and decor to be very natural– green and white and lots of fresh herbs like lavender and rosemary. This was in keeping with the house (green and white) and just made everything feel natural and elegant. It came out exactly as we hoped. For the reception tables, we used a lot of birch and named each table after places in the Berkshires that were meaningful to us. Birch makes us both think of summers on the Stockbridge Bowl. We spent hours last spring driving around to take pictures of the signs of these places so that we could print them in sepia and use them as table signs. We wanted the wedding to feel like “us,” to reflect our love of the Berkshires, and to be intimate, even though it was quite large –somehow, we felt like that happened!”

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“Advice for people planning a wedding now? That’s hard. People told me not to sweat the small stuff and that it would go by very quickly. Both those things are true. I would say most importantly though, surround yourself with vendors you can really trust, like the staff at The Mount. It was so important to us that I felt we had hired a stellar team of outstanding people who I really felt understood what we wanted and cared about us. It’s really helpful to know that you feel good about all of the people who are actually executing the wedding because at some point, it’s out of your control! The Berkshires is an amazing place to get married because there are a number of top-notch wedding vendors who you will want to keep seeing after your wedding (at least we do)!”

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