Hitched in the Hills
Wedding bliss begins in the Berkshires
Photo by Michelle Girard
Undulating hills, breathtaking vistas, and a panoply of colors that wax and wane with the seasons await couples who choose to say “I do” in the Berkshires. The popularity of spring weddings dates back to Roman times when, on June 1st, the festival of Juno, goddess of marriage, was celebrated. In the 14th century, brides who pined for a pleasant-smelling crowd chose June as it marked the month people resumed bathing after a long winter, and the availability of flowers gave birth to the bridal bouquet as a means of masking any lingering, unpleasant odors. For couples keen on a wedding in the verdant hills of western Massachusetts, there are many options for the modern bride and groom.
The wealth of beautiful properties in the Berkshires—many with ties to family homes, private estates, and summer-camp experiences—is attracting couples from as far away as the West Coast. Destination weddings are turning into major events, and these events provide a welcome boon to the local economy.
For those looking to break free from the confines of a hotel ballroom, rustic spaces with updated amenities are gaining favor across the county. Bloom Meadows, an emerging venue run by husband-and-wife team Sarah and Greg Holland, is designed to accommodate both couples and vendors, a model lacking in north county. This Hancock property boasts a mountain backdrop and terraced lawn that rolls into the meadow. The newly constructed Silo Suite—complete with beautiful brick floors, fireplace, and French doors that open onto a second-story deck—affords newlywed couples sweeping views of the Berkshire hills.
Hilltop Orchards in Richmond, home to Furnace Brook Winery, offers another uniquely beautiful setting. The historic farm of 200 acres is situated on a picturesque hilltop overlooking the rolling Berkshire hills. Couples can choose from an intimate indoor venue for 50 guests or a tented affair for a nearly infinite number. Celebration choices range from an elegant sit-down dinner under the stars, a wine-tasting party with hors d’oeuvres, a traditional BBQ followed by a s’mores roast to anything in between.
Traditional yet intimate venues can be found at the county’s many inns and bed-and-breakfast establishments. Stonover Farm in Lenox, a fully appointed, luxury bed and breakfast, is situated on ten acres, complete with duck pond, and just a short walk from Tanglewood. There’s a four-acre field for a tented wedding reception or a magnificent haybarn for a more rustic celebration. LakeHouse Inn, on the shores of Laurel Lake in Lee, is a hidden gem touted as a “boutique retreat” that includes expansive lawns with sweeping lake and mountain views.
On a larger scale, the Lake House Guest Cottages of the Berkshires is a weekend-event venue that accommodates 50 overnight guests and up to 150 guests for an event. Set against the backdrop of the majestic Pontoosuc Lake in Lanesborough, this exclusive-access property offers, among other things, a sit-down dinner in the elegant and charming Lake House Lodge, water activities, and late-night bonfires.
Many cultural destinations also present unique options. The Mount in Lenox, once the home of Edith Wharton, is known for its formal gardens and expansive terrace. The scenic outdoor stage at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, with its rich history and 225 acres, is quickly becoming a popular backdrop for dramatic weddings in the off season. The 19th-century, renovated-factory complex at MASS MoCA in North Adams is home to contemporary art. Its unique atmosphere can be customized, indoors and out.
Perhaps the happy couple would like to help support local nonprofits. “Maintaining a physical space is paramount for nonprofits,” says Liana Toscanini of the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, and hosting special events becomes an important source of revenue for many arts and cultural venues.
It is the elegance and charm of the Berkshires that Lenox photographer Tricia McCormack is drawn to. “There is a quality to weddings here that few other places can provide.It’s a mix of history, culture, authenticity, and nature’s beauty.”
Bascom Lodge, North Adams
Berkshire Hills Country Club, Pittsfield
Berkshire Lake House, Lanesborough
Bloom Meadows, Hancock
Country Club of Pittsfield
Cranwell Resort and Spa, Lenox
Crissey Farm, Great Barrington
Gedney Farm, New
Hancock Shaker Village, Hancock
Hilltop Orchards, Richmond
Hotel on North, Pittsfield
Jacob’s Pillow, Becket
Lake House Guest Cottages of the Berkshires, Lanesborough
MASS MoCA, North Adams
The Mount, Lenox
Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge
Saint James Place, Great Barrington
Seven Hills Inn, Lenox
South Farms, Morris, CT
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art
Stockbridge Golf Club
Stonover Farm, Lenox