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Real Wedding at The Mount: Joe and Darius

Posted by | Real Weddings at The Mount | 2 Comments

Today I want to share with you a gorgeous wedding that took place on a sunny day this past July.  Joe and Darius were so much fun to work with. Being locals, regular visitors to The Mount, and fans of Edith Wharton’s theories on home and garden design, they had a very clear vision in mind. The aesthetic of their celebration complimented Wharton’s architecture and landscape perfectly. The day was a celebration that hearkened back to the beauty of a gilded age garden party. A guest commented that their wedding was very “Great Gatsby.”

Even more important than the decorations and details was the fact that every moment of this wedding was a tribute to the love of a couple who are clearly adored by their friends and family. I mean just take in the happiness and emotion in these pictures shot by the wonderful Christopher Duggan and his team. And if you aren’t tearing up by that point then watch this trailer for their wedding video and just try not to bawl like a baby. I dare you.

Cheers,

Grace

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From Joe and Darius:

“The elegance and beauty of The Mount made it the perfect place to celebrate the most important day of our lives.  We have visited many of the Italian villas Edith Wharton described in her book, Italian Villas and Their Gardens, villas that inspired Wharton’s own garden design.  While the design of the home is magnificent, it is the design of the gardens that really make Edith Wharton’s masterpiece such a special place.  As frequent visitors to The Mount, we knew instantly that we wanted to celebrate our marriage in a place where architecture and nature exist harmoniously.”

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“One of the most memorable moments of the wedding ceremony was the release of the monarch butterflies.  Each family member released a butterfly to remember the loved ones not physically present on the day of our wedding but whose spirits live on as positive influences in our lives.  The sight of the 36 monarch butterflies taking flight at the same time was magical.  Of course the backdrop of the flower garden made it even more spectacular!”

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“After our ceremony, we snuck away to spend a few minutes alone before the cocktail hour.  As we relaxed in Wharton’s bedroom, we kept peeking through the windows to watch our family and friends stroll down the limestone walk toward the Italian walled garden for the cocktail hour.  How glamorous each guest looked, dressed in tuxedos and gowns, walking along the path, stopping to look at our family photographs tucked into the niches along the way.  Each step one takes at The Mount reveals the estate in a new way.” 

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“When we first began planning our wedding, one thing was for certain – we wanted our guests to experience the Berkshires.  We often say that we work in New York and live in the Berkshires!  And there was no better way to share that with our guests than to celebrate at The Mount.”

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“Wharton said, ‘There are two ways of spreading light:  to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.’  How wonderful it was to ‘spread that light’ by creating memories with our family and friends that will last a lifetime!   The Mount will forever hold a very special place in our hearts.”

The Mount’s first Rehearsal Dinner in the Carriage House!

Posted by | New At The Mount, Real Weddings at The Mount, Vendor Spotlight, Venue Spotlight | No Comments

When I first started envisioning what events could look like in our 1902 Carriage House ideas of rustic charm, soft lighting, and great farm-to-table food came to mind. We even put together a photo shoot with a team of very talented vendors to represent what that could look like. But nothing could have prepared me for just how absolutely perfect our first event in the Carriage House was.

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It all started with Amanda and Stephan’s vision of an intimate dinner that would speak to their love of fresh, seasonal food. They quickly teamed up with the crew at Fire Roasted Catering, known for their high-quality meats and their practice of using traditional Argentinian grilling, New England fireplace cookery, and colonial cooking methods to create an interactive experience for their guests.

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From there, the gifted Crocus Hale Flowers and Julie Seitel Lighting came together to give the Carriage House a magical glow.

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Our friends at Classical Tents supplied the rentals, including those gorgeous copper-top tables that fit in so well with Crocus’ and Julie’s designs and the look of the Carriage House.

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The Easy Ridin’ Papas provided the tunes- a mix of 20’s, 30’s and 40’s music with a bluegrass/ragtime feel. There couldn’t have been a more perfect audio accompaniment to this night.

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And if you’re wondering who snapped these ridiculously good-looking shots, it’s our friend JP Elario.

We had so much fun working with Amanda, Stephan and all these amazing vendors to make this dinner a reality. Every detail of the event complimented the Carriage House’s rustic elegance. It reminded me of a 1920’s speakeasy, but ten times classier.

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If you’re interested in hosting an event in our historic Carriage House please contact me at gleathrum@edithwharton.org .

Stay tuned for pictures of Stephan and Amanda’s wedding coming up soon. Here’s a sneak peek:

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Cheers,

Grace

Real Wedding at The Mount: Joanna and Matt

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Today I am bringing you a beautiful wedding from early June. Joanna and Matt were so fun to work with. I loved their vintage style and attention to detail. They created a wedding that was filled with classic beauty while also managing to subvert some old traditions. Parasols instead of bouquets? Brilliant! Mini gourmet cupcakes instead of wedding cake? So cute!

Joanna was drawn to The Mount because it fit her theme of Spanish, vintage elegance perfectly, and she had a personal connection to the estate:

“The Mount is absolutely breathtaking- it is the venue of a fairy tale wedding. I grew up coming up to the Berkshires in the summer and even acted on the grounds when Shakespeare and Co was here!”

The best part of this wedding was that everyone had so much fun, just check out these dynamic photos from Michael Bloom Photography. All smiles!

Cheers,

Grace

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From Joanna:

“The day of the wedding could not have been more magical. We thought it was the best wedding we have ever been to! We had an enormous amount of fun and literally danced the night away! Everything from the venue to the wonderful people who work there, to our florist, photographer, videographer, and Rabbi was perfect.”

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Real Wedding at The Mount: Michelle and Augustin

Posted by | Real Weddings at The Mount | One Comment

Today I’d like to share with you the first wedding of our 2014 season. This wedding stands out for me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Michelle and Augustin were so wonderful to work with. They were both exuberantly excited and level-headed at the same time. They approached the many challenges of planning a wedding for almost 300 people, coming from very different cultures and traditions, with the same poise and creativity that they bring to their professional lives.  By the way, if you are travelling anytime soon check out Michelle’s site Untapped Cities to uncover places that you’d never find in a guidebook.

It was the biggest wedding we’ve ever hosted, with a guest list of 275, it spread from the main house to a tent site next to the Stables.  This model allowed Michelle and Augustin and their guests to experience the classic architecture of The Mount and then transition to a more personalized space.

The final thing that made a lasting impression on me was how much fun everyone had! It was a celebration bursting with culture, class and color. I don’t want to spoil any more details though, because Michelle has given us a beautiful account of the day. So read on to hear Michelle’s point of view and take in some dynamic shots by Jane Hu and Steven Wu. And if that’s not enough for you, check out their adorable wedding video from Will Ellis.

Cheers,

Grace

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From Michelle:

“Augustin and I met by chance while backpacking in Santa Cruz, Bolivia in 2009. I’m Taiwanese-American from New York and he’s French from Paris, so we really wanted a wedding that celebrated the multiculturalism and diversity of our friends and family, with guests coming from over 10 countries. Equally important was that the wedding be a real celebration–we believed it was possible to meld French and American wedding traditions together, and for formal and fun to co-exist.”

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“My wedding dress was custom made in Paris, but not because I was trying to be fancy. I used to work as a fashion merchandiser for brands like Calvin Klein and J. Crew, and I’m pretty well-versed in fabrics and production. It’s an incredible experience to be able to be a part of the evolution of a wedding dress. I worked with the fabulous Laurent Kapelski, a wedding dress designer in Paris, over the course of nine months every time I was in Paris for work, weddings or family. 

Custom design isn’t for the faint of heart or for those that want to know exactly what they’re going to get, though. In each meeting, we would push the design forward, changing fabrics, construction and details. After each meeting, there would be piles of tulle, feathers, silk and organza all over his atelier. But it was truly an artistic process, starting from the seedlings of an idea I had–that I wanted the dress to be architectural–and becoming the dress that completely represented me. My one criteria was that I wanted a dress that I couldn’t have imagined myself and Laurent took my ideas and created a work of art. The best part of the dress was that it converted into a fun, short version that I wore for the dancing part of the reception and I’ll definitely wear again.”

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“We also wanted our day to be as personal as could be, despite the fact that there were 270 guests. To that end, we used many vendors that were already a part of our personal creative network. When Augustin and I met, we were holding the same SLR camera, and we’ve continued to travel and photograph places in the same spirit as the first day.  

Our videographer, Will Ellis, is actually a photographer and videographer of abandoned places in New York City and runs the website Abandoned NYC. One of our photographers, Jane Hu, shoots mostly architecture and events like Burning Man and now, weddings. Steven Wu is a wedding photographer who takes striking street scenes of everyday life around the world.” 

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“It had always been a dream of mine to have my wedding at The Mount, the home of Edith Wharton. I studied architecture and urban design, and though Wharton is most famous as a novelist, her first book was on architecture. The estate she built was the culmination of her architectural principles and is a beautiful, Gilded Age home situated amidst the dense Berkshire forests. We also loved that Wharton had a strong connection to France. She lived in Paris and Provence the last four decades of her life and was awarded the Legion of Honor from France for her work during World War I. My family and I have visited the Berkshires in all seasons since I was four years old and I performed cello at Tanglewood when I was older. This is the place Augustin and I go to when we need to get away from urban life.” 

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“After a church ceremony at the landmarked Church on the Hill in Lenox, we moved guests by school buses (because yellow school buses are a big myth for the French!) to the main house at The Mount where we had the cocktail. Guests could walk through the house, lounge in the sitting rooms, take a tour with a docent, and explore the formal gardens and forests. 

I love rain and the romance it creates in beautiful forests, but we knew that most people do not! The weather could not have been timed better and while we had a romantic drive in the 1937 Rolls Royce in the light drizzle, the sun came out during the cocktail so that guests could fully enjoy the property.” 

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“The dinner and dancing took place in a sailcloth tent in front of the house stables. The tent was fully floored with barnwood, so we wanted something slightly rustic to strike a contrast with the formality of the house. Julie Seitel did a subtle tree-patterned lighting on the ceiling that referenced the trees installed inside the tent. ” 

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Crocus Hale Flowers did our flowers and table settings and immediately got that we wanted: something to complement the gorgeous location and house, not compete with it.” 

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“All the tables for dinner were named after places Augustin & I have traveled to together, and we had long tables to encourage more people to meet each other. I think my favorite moment of the entire wedding was the French style entrance we had. It’s not formal, in the American way, with introductions. The music blasts, guests get on their chairs and wave their napkins, and the bride and groom literally run around the tent holding hands. This moment really sets the tone for the rest of the reception.” 

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“Most importantly, it’s so important for the bride and groom to take moments for themselves throughout the wedding day and weekend. It all goes by so quickly and there is a flurry of activity around you at all times. Following great advice from previously married friends, Augustin and I decided in advance to sneak away throughout the festivities and have some time to take in the scene, rather than always be in the middle of it. I’ll always remember the magic of standing at a distance from our tent, with the patterned lights glowing through the tent into the dark Berkshire night, and seeing everyone jump inside to the music. All these people, united for one night.”

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“We were so lucky to work with Mezze Catering from Williamstown, who understood the process of working with both cultures (plus the Taiwanese side!). With their farm-to-table mission and hands on approach, Mezze provided not only amazing food but also a great wedding planning team. Our “cheese cake” was made by Rubiners Cheesemongers in Great Barrington, MA based on inspiration photos we found on Pinterest.”

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 “The cultural differences between French and American weddings are surprisingly striking, and we used humor to prep our guests in advance. There’s no wedding cake in France? We had a cake made of cheese rounds. French weddings go all night? We told everyone it was a competition to the finish, and guests rallied until the sun rose. There’s no maid of honor or best man in France? The bridesmaids all have to make a group speech, as do the groomsmen? Égalité is part of the French national motto, we explained. 

In contrast, the French couldn’t believe the concept of a rehearsal and were beyond excited to see bridesmaids wear matching dresses for the first time. And in case there were any missteps as the different cultures met, we let everyone know that Americans love superlatives (amazing, awesome) and that the French say pas mal (not bad) when they mean, Great!

We got married, but in the end, this was about bringing so many disparate groups of people together, showing them this place we love so much and having many cultures learning from each other

And to that I say: not bad, Michelle and Augustin, not bad at all.

Real Wedding at The Mount featured on Style Me Pretty

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Today I’m very excited to share this link from one of our favorite wedding blogs, Style Me Pretty! This classic all-white wedding took place just as the leaves were changing last year. It was a particularly appropriate wedding for The Mount because the bride, Karin Tanabe is a huge Edith Wharton fan and an author herself. Her new Novel The Price of Inheritance is getting rave reviews. So go check out Karin and her work and click the picture below if you want to read the Style Me Pretty write-up and swoon over some unbelievable shots by Sweet Monday Photography:

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Cheers,

Grace