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Modern Tented Wedding at Willowdale Estate in Massachusetts

When we meet Brides that tell us that Style Me Pretty was a huge part of their planning process and they spent hours right here on this site, we’re honored. And when we get to see the beautiful result that came from all that inspiration and hard work? We’re proud. Proud of the vendors involved and the way that each one of you find your own slice of style and infuse that into your Big Day. Today’s fete set at Willowdale Estate is no exception. Molly Anne‘s images are the beautiful proof.

From the Bride… As a Pediatric Transplant Nurse, my patients and the lessons they have taught me are a huge part of my life. After my husband, family, friends and these incredible children I get to work with every day, my next love has, and will always be weddings. I found weddings to be the positive outlet I needed to balance with my often times emotional job. I even worked at a bridal salon for a while to help share in other brides happiest days while I was helping guide families through their absolute worst. I have been subscribed to bridal magazines for years, have browsed Style Me Pretty for hours, and have watched more episodes of “Say Yes To the Dress” then any normal person should.

My engagement to my husband Alec came as a complete shock on the night of my graduation for my Master’s Degree in Nursing. After so many years of adoring weddings, to say I was excited to plan my own was an understatement. Two weeks after our engagement, we took the trip of a lifetime to Spain. We were awestruck and fell in love with the beauty, cobblestone alleyways, stone architecture and greenery of a small town called Valldemosa in Mallorca. When we returned, Willowdale was one of the first venues we visited while wedding planning and as soon as we drove up to the estate, we knew this was where we wanted to get married. It was like our own piece of Spain, here in Massachusetts. The history of the country manor, in the depths of a state park, mixed with the greenery of the courtyard was the perfect location for our ideal outdoor wedding. Willowdale gave us the feeling of warmth, love and happiness. We felt at home.

While planning, we really wanted to incorporate our mutual love of traveling into our day. We were inspired by the places we have been, places dear to our heart, and places we have yet to go. From touches of french inspired florals and shades of blues to Boston themed table numbers, we mixed inspiration from my countless hours of browsing real weddings with our experiences together and made our wedding uniquely ours.

Some of the most special and beautiful parts of our wedding day were flower girl dresses handmade by Alec’s mom out of material from his grandmother’s wedding dress, the grooms travel scrapbook gift, a cherry blossom card given to me by Alec (symbolizing where our relationship began), bookshelves filled with loved ones wedding photos, a bouquet charm of my grandmothers given to me by my mother, a special Irish blessing, family members we haven’t seen for years that traveled long distances to be with us, a custom veil made for me by Michelle Roth herself, a signature drink named for our cat Lily, emotional toasts by my father, maids of honor and best men, and 4 birthday celebrations. We even had the breathtaking privilege of having a previous patient of mine, now thriving, at our wedding. Words cannot explain that feeling. These are just a few of the moments of our day that we will cherish forever and that made us feel so loved and so happy. We have never smiled as much as we did on our wedding day.

Surrounded by friends and family, we said I do on the most perfect August Day. It was 72 degrees, partly cloudy and absolutely beautiful (unheard of in New England in August!) Our incredible team of vendors helped us create our dream day, and our photographer Molly captured every last minute. The love, support, happiness and energy of our guests was palpable throughout the entire day and into the night on the packed dance floor. We are so grateful and so blessed to have had such a perfect day and cant wait to share our photos with everyone!

To those who are currently planning a wedding, my recommendation to you would be this; breathe, enjoy the process, and don’t settle. If you have a feeling something isn’t right, trust your gut and go with what makes you happy. I changed my mind so many times during this process because I wouldn’t settle for anything less then what I had dreamed about my entire life. Admittedly, it was stressful at times with having perfectionist tendencies because of my job (I cant tell you how long I debated the perfect blue goblet), but it was all SO worth it. Wishing you all so much happiness and many adventures in your wedding and marriage. Good luck, you got this!

Photography: Molly Anne Photography | Videography: City Point Films | Floral Design: Les Fleurs | Wedding Dress: Michelle Roth | Cake: Jenny's Wedding Cakes | Invitations: Wouldn't It Be Lovely | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Flair Bridesmaid Boutique | Band: Wilson Stevens | Groom's Attire: Men's Wearhouse | Wedding Venue: Willowdale Estate | Accomodations: Hawthorne Hotel | Beauty: Kristen Kay Makeup Artistry | Ceremony Musicians: Atlantic Strings | Rentals: Peak Event Services | Wedding Dress Tailoring: Kleinfeld Bridal

The Coziest Winter Wedding in New England

If you’re going to throw a wedding during the cozy winter months, I can’t think of a better spot than the Willowdale Estate. Especially when said wedding day includes seasonal florals by Luna Moss and sweet treats from Mayflour Confections. With pretty fur wraps and romantic snow scenes, this gallery by Cuppa Photography will make you crave winter in a serious way.

From Willowdale EstateWinter weddings are instantly romantic; but this particular occasion stands out for incorporating a few details that we cannot get enough of: vintage fur, cascading greenery, candle-light and warm fireplaces. Melissa and Ryan made a great impression on everyone who worked with them for their generous care for the guests, the authentic connection with each other, and their effortless style that was both formal and relaxed at the same time. The weather outside was blustery and cold but the guests were welcomed with a warm drink and escorted into the ceremony which was filled with candle romantic candle light. We kept the atmosphere cozy with our savory appetizers, warm fireplaces, and a soup course during dinner!

From The Bride…The inspiration was a secret garden in winter type of theme. We wanted it to look whimsical and romantic! It was the weekend of the polar vortex in New England so it was FREEZING. We were taking photos outside in negative thirty degree temperatures.

I love winter weddings because there are not many so everyone is looking forward to it. There is also something so wonderful about being together with all your loved ones by the fireplace while it’s negative degrees outside. Also, during our ceremony, the wind was howling and it made it really beautiful when we were saying our vows. We did a burning of sage during our wedding ceremony to clear the space for us as well as our guests. The smoke looked beautiful against the moonlight winter sky at Willowdale!

I wore my Grandma Mae’s fur shawl and all the women in the bridal party wore their grandmother’s fur. The Blue Vintage Ring and Gold Bracelet were both my grandmothers! My husband’s mom made beautiful welcome boxes for the hotel rooms, but unfortunately we don’t have a picture of them. We have some really nice memories of going to dance lessons to practice our first dance. My favorite memories are of practicing our dance in our tiny living room in Boston. We donated the flowers to the Kaplan House which is a hospice house that my mother volunteers at. It is a beautiful place.

Photography: Cuppa Photography | Floral Design: Luna Moss | Wedding Dress: Allure Bridal | Cake: Mayflour Confections | Bride's Shoes: Something Bleu | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Erin Fetherston | Makeup: Joya Beauty | Hair: Hair That Moves | Calligraphy: Leveret and Hare | Band: Night Shift Entertainment | Groom's Attire: Nordstrom | Officiant: Weddings With Spirit | Venue: Willowdale Estate | Ribbon: Silk & Willow

An Anthropologie Shopping Bag Inspired This Entire Shoot!

I have the unique pleasure of living a stones throw away from Willowdale Estate and let me tell you, that place is seriously special. So much so that a talented team of vendors decided to get together and make said venue all the more enchanting. Because when you add in oil paintings from SMP alumni Jess Blazejewski, the ideas of Esme Isolde, and the lens of Annmarie Swift Photography, you’ve got yourself a wedding inspiration to save. See it all in The Vault!

From the designer, Ghislaine Ruiz of Esme IsoldeLittle did I know, what began as a sweet treat at Anthropologie would soon transform into a source of inspiration for a fine art wedding design. The beautiful combination of colors on the Anthropologie shopping bag simulated a painting of perfectly imperfect brushstrokes, blended just so to formulate what quickly became a design that I could not forget. Deep golden yellow, woven with pale blue, and the softest whisper of translucent grey.

This bag gave way to the idea that a fine hand painted work of art should be the statement piece of the tablescape design, providing an exquisite and inimitable backdrop to a beautifully simple place setting with clean fine lines. The stunning works of art by Jess Blazejewski with their darker hues provided a moody edge to the jovial celebration scene. Set atop with Pottery Barn’s ‘Joshua’ dinnerware, West Elm’s brushed gold flatware, and Crate and Barrel’s ‘Camille’ glassware and textured linen napkins. The Silk and Willow dove runner blowing elegantly in the breeze, anchored with brass candlesticks and the most humble of floral centerpieces nestled in a hand-etched brass vessel. Olive branches chosen for their natural beauty and ability to make a statement all on their own, a symbol of peace centered within a celebration of joy. Sprinkled with all-white blooms, and few pops of golden yellow, allowing the paintings to be the true heart of the spotlight. The Heritage at Home cake with its minimalistic, artistic, and textured design provided a playful ambience for the vivacious wedding party, along with the handcrafted blueberry lemon cocktails. Hidden away within the treasure that is the Willowdale Estate, surrounded by elegant stone walls and ivy covered trellises, the wooden table and cross-back chairs all delivered the intimate cottage-like experience I imagined for such a wedding, where you would savor this special moment and create memories with only the very closest family and friends. The door to the secret garden, a custom invitation suite by Becca Joas, with her willowy hand-lettered calligraphy providing the key to this heavenly bliss. Wrapped up in a translucent vellum envelope, giving you just a taste of the exquisite experience that is to come.

Our bride in the Alexandra Grecco ‘Aurelia’ gown, looking ever so graceful in fine layers of ivory silk and delicate hand-beaded neckline, giving way to the unexpected open back of the gown. Selected for its understated elegance, then made complete with the hair and makeup design of Jenny Luu. My very favorite touch is the pop of red on her lips, as it is unanticipated, fresh, and bold. Complimented by our maid of honor, effortless in a Katherine Bignon two-piece gown, weaving in the pale blue into this bespoke fine art wedding inspiration. Our handsome gentlemen donned in The Black Tux’s ‘The Redding Outfit,’ purposefully chosen for its lighter hue, adding an element of fresh air to the occasion.

This ethereal setting, captured by Annmarie Swift Photography, is near and dear to my heart and by far my all-time favorite wedding design to date. Filled with ingenuity, simplicity, and raw artistic elements, each and every detail was intentional to the very core. A testament that true inspiration can come from anywhere, transform into something magical, and create the most charming of weddings.

Photography: Annmarie Swift Photography | Design + Styling: Esme Isolde | Floral Design: Esme Isolde | Wedding Dress: Alexandra Grecco | Cake: Heritage at Home | Hair + Makeup: Jenny Luu | Calligraphy: Becca Joas | Groom's Attire: The Black Tux | Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux | Venue: Willowdale Estate | Chairs: Peterson Party Center | Dinnerware: Pottery Barn | Flatware: West Elm | Maid of Honor Gown: Katherine Bignon | Models: Maggie Inc | Napkins + Glassware: Crate & Barrel | Oil Paintings: Jess Blazejewski | Ribbons: Frou Frou Chic | Ring Box: The Mrs Box | Table Linens: Silk & Willow

What’s Black, White and Chic All Over? This Wedding Inspiration Shoot

If ever there was a color palette that evoked instant glamour, it would be black and white. And this Willowdale Estate inspiration shoot from Annmarie Swift Photography and Always Yours Events is oozing with glamour, elegance and sophistication. From the Amanda Day Rose Paperie invites to the Maid of Honor’s chic jumpsuit, the monochromatic details of this shoot prove that black and white will never go out of style. See it all in The Vault!


From Always Yours Events… When Annmarie Swift and I dreamt up this styled inspiration shoot, our goal was to create a fine art design both “classic and charming” within an intimate, romantic space! Willowdale Estate’s black and white private dining room filled with a plethora of gorgeous natural light was an absolute perfect fit for this design, and it’s decor really provided us with so much inspiration. To create a softened, romantic look we incorporated a lovely dove gray shade into the classic black and white color palette and tied in accents of gold. The custom fine art invitation suite by Amanda Day Rose set the tone, from the deckled edges to hand drawn sketch of the Willowdale Estate to the soft gray envelopes sealed with a white heirloom wax seal. For the tablescape, I wanted to again create a design that was utterly charming and intimate, and so we set one large guest table down the center of the room with matte white embossed linens and stone washed Louis chairs from Be Our Guest. Each place setting was set with the loveliest details such as custom gray linen napkins tied with soft white hand dyed silk ribbons, deckled edge menus and escort cards calligraphed with gorgeous brush script by Becca Joas and matte gold tapered candlesticks.

An abundance of gorgeous florals in shades of white, cream and barely blush by Poppies transformed the dining room into such an enchanting space! Rory Weinberg created statement arrangements composed within matte black pedestal bowls with overflowing greenery and blooms, again combining classic with charming. Delicate smilax vines were lightly strewn through the dining room’s chandelier, and a smilax and white clematis garland was draped over bride and groom’s chairs.
 
The bridal party attire was hands down a favorite detail. Our stunning bride wore a Lis Simon peplum gown with a breathtaking soft and ethereal tulle skirt from Your Dream Bridal, along with elegant pumps with chic white bows by Bella Belle Shoes. And our beautiful maid of honor added a little sass in a black v-neck jumpsuit. Statement garden bouquets of soft white blooms and spring textures gathered with lovely ribbons by Ruffled Lane completed the look oh so perfectly.
 
What I truly loved most about this fine art design was that it was a timeless look that could work beautifully any space, whether it be an intimate private dining room to a sailcloth tent on a private estate. This inspiration shoot and vendor team was an absolute dream, and this design will forever be an AYE favorite!

Photography: Annmarie Swift Photography | Floral Design: Poppies Floral Design | Wedding Dress: Lis Simon | Stationery: Amanda Day Rose | Bride's Shoes: Bella Belle | Makeup: Claudia Moriel | Calligraphy: Becca Joas | Groomsmen Attire: Hugo Boss | Venue: Willowdale Estate | Bridal Boutique: Your Dream Bridal | Bridesmaid Jumpsuit: Rent The Runway | Event Planning, Event Design + Styling: Always Yours Events | Hairstyling: Maricruz Polito | Hand Dyed Silk Ribbons: Ruffled Lane | Models: Maggie Inc | Rentals: Be Our Guest

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A Rustic Summer Wedding Complete with a Frozen Lemonade Stand

When the Groom is one of the masterminds behind Dels Frozen Lemonade, New England’s favorite summer sip, you know the wedding is going to be full of fun, summer vibes. And this Massachusetts wedding so is. With a frozen lemonade cart, lawn games and music from Boston Common Band, this Willowdale Estate wedding is simply perfect. See it all from KL Imagery and Frame & Anchor in The Vault!

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From Willowdale EstateDell’s Frozen Lemonade is *the* summer drink in New England, and when one of the owners (Matt) married his incredibly chic bride (Whitney) they just had to have the most classic, beautiful summer celebration complete with a frozen lemonade cart, lawn games mixed with effortlessly with gorgeous formal elements.

From The Bride…My inspiration was elegant and rustic romance! ‘Elegance’ and ‘Rustic’ may seem like a strange juxtaposition, but I think it really sums up the feel behind our Wedding Day. Willowdale Estate with it’s tent, mansion, garden, and the surrounding grounds was a perfect location for this. We are both laid back and love the outdoors and wanted that reflected, as well as to provide a beautiful reception and great party that did not sacrifice the details. We had tufted couches paired with vintage seating, antique gold lanterns alongside geometric glass terrariums with moss and white and blush flowers, and white antler place card holders with gold mercury glass candles. Guests could sip on Del’s lemonade or strawberry rhubarb champagne while playing cornhole or snacking on mini lobster rolls. It really showed both sides of us!

We met in a very unique way (Whitney lived in Minnesota and Matt lived in Massachusetts but we met on a bus in Australia. Whitney got the last seat available on the bus which happened to be next to Matt. The bus broke down and we were stuck together for hours before getting to our destination…we’ve been together ever since!) We wanted our wedding day to also be uniquely “us” as well and it was those personalized touches really made the day special for us. Both of Matt’s parents are from Rhode Island so it has a special place in our hearts. Matt is owner of the Del’s Lemonade in Cumberland, RI so we had a cart serving the frozen lemonade to guests as they arrived. To showcase our love of the outdoors, moss and flowers were a theme throughout the indoors and outdoors. Our first look was on the bridge by the river running though the Willowdale Estate property. Matt enjoys hunting and fishing so antler accents were shown throughout the decor, and small antler tines were incorporated into the groomsmen’s boutonnieres. We had a sophisticated s’mores station (Whitney’s favorite treat since childhood!), and Minnesota and Massachusetts shaped cookies were given to our guests as they departed. Whitney’s mother, a talented cook, created a signature cocktail using Strawberries and Rhubarb from farms in Minnesota, which Willowdale bartenders mixed and served throughout the evening. Near the end of the evening, we served french fries and grilled cheeses from Willowdale Catering – I think our guests are still talking about them! It was the perfect snack after dancing the night away!

The Boston Common Band was amazing and made the whole day, from the beginning of the ceremony to the end of the evening, stress-free as far as music was concerned. Not only was there a DJ for the ceremony music and the full band and DJ for the reception – they also covered the cocktail hour by playing jazz music on the piano inside the mansion. They made everyone dance and had some pretty amazing moves of their own.

One of my favorite moments of the day was our first dance. Unbeknownst to us, the wedding party pocketed some of the flower petals we used during our recession down the aisle after the ceremony, and showered us with them during our first dance. Our song was “This Magic Moment” by the Drifters….and it certainly was!

Our Nephew was our ring bearer but was still too young to walk. We had the flower girl pull him down in a vintage wagon found (along with other great antiques like our victorian chair) at the Wrentham Country Store. One of my favorite gifts that was also showcased on our wedding cake table was the custom hand embroidered linen from the Etsy shop StrawberryAndIvy (Whitney’s MOH) She also designed our card box made from a vintage wooden microscope box. Dogwood Floral made absolutely beautiful and romantic flower arrangements and table scapes. She took time to listen to what I wanted, created a sample to ensure we were on the same page, and delivered above and beyond on the day of the wedding.

I also can’t say enough about our Videographer, Evan, from Frame and Anchor. From the first time we spoke to after the video was edited and sent to us, he was so informative, approachable, professional, and made us feel comfortable and involved in the process.

We took on some DIY projects too! The seating chart and other signage was created using frames, moss, and printed material. In order to create an “indoor” lounge area feel outside, we brought in furniture, a coffee table, and customized pillows to arrange under the bistro lights near the reception area. We spray painted tiny clothes pins gold and attached packets of petals to our ceremony programs for the petal toss recession. We also created packages for the kids that would be in attendance at the dinner (coloring books, etc). Because we are from different states and had family and friends coming from near and far, it was also important to us to create a sincere thank you note for everyone. We created these with the help of minted.com and slid them under the place cards. We also created a flip-flop display by the dance floor so guests could dance in comfort. The most time consuming but rewarding DIY project was creating the favors. They were cookies shaped like Massachusetts and Minnesota and decorated in icing with a small heart where our hometowns are located. They were packaged with a heart cookie in-between them and given to our guests as they departed.

Photography: Kelly Lorenz Imagery | Cinematography: Frame & Anchor | Wedding Dress: Amsale | Cake: Eat Cake! | Bride's Shoes: Caparros | Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew | Catering: Willowdale Estate | Hair + Makeup: Blusing Brides | Band: Boston Common Band | Favors: Mother of the Bride | Groom's Attire: Men's Wearhouse | Transportation: McGinn Bus | Venue: Willowdale Estate | Beverage Services: Del's Lemonade | Bride's Earrings: Glitz & Love | Cake Topper: Better Off Wed | Card Box: StrawberryAndIvy | Custom Letters: Bride + Groom | Custom Matchbooks: The Knot Wedding Shop | Escort Cards: Bride | Floral Design + Lantern Decor: Dogwood Floral Design | Flower Girl Dress: CANDY GIRL DRESS | Getting Ready Custom Shirt: PrettyPersonalGifts | Place Cards: Devin Brown

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Chic, Vintage Massachusetts Wedding

Beautiful to the very core, this chic wedding at the Willowdale Estate has just the perfect amount of vintage flair to make it not only lovely but interesting. With florals that will make you melt from Les Fleurs and images so pretty you can’t believe your eyes from Ramblefree Photo Co., this wedding defines stunning. See even more in the VAULT.

From Ramblefree Photo CoBrian and Christie’s sophisticated New England wedding took place on a balmy, stormy day in late August, but the couple and their guests didn’t let the rain spoil anything for them! Both the ceremony and reception took place at the beautiful Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA – a stately stone mansion tucked away in a forest. Christie looked stunning in bridal separates from Watters and WToo topped with a glamorous beaded capelet from BHLDN. The bridesmaids complemented the simple and chic color palette with mismatched but coordinating nude gowns. Brian and his groomsmen were handsome in classic Vera Wang tuxes.

Because of the impending rain, the couple was wed in a traditional ceremony under Willowdale’s gracious tent with a view of the stone courtyard. While guests enjoyed cocktail hour, Brian and Christie, undeterred by the approaching storms, braved the outdoors and wandered Willowdale’s grounds and forests to get some natural couples portraits. Luckily, the rain held off until almost the exact moment when they went back inside for the start of the reception!

The talented Les Fleurs created the lush bouquets and ceremony and reception decor. The floral design incorporated abundant soft pastels, corals, and textural greenery such as ivy. Christie and Les Fleurs decided to take advantage of the summer harvest and incorporate summer fruits like peaches and pears into the centerpieces. They were a wonderfully unexpected and beautiful touch. Each guest also received a peach at their place setting.

Guests dined on delicious food from Willowdale and danced into the night with the bride and groom while rain pounded on the tent roof above.

Photography: Ramblefree Photo Co. | Floral Design: Les Fleurs | Cake: Konditor Meister | Stationery: Gus & Ruby Letterpress | Catering: Willowdale Estate | DJ: Entertainment Concepts | Groom's Attire: Vera Wang | Venue: Willowdale Estate | Hair Accessories: BHLDN | Wedding Corset: Watters | Wedding Skirt: Watters

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Abby Capalbo

Design, Styling, Parties
Blush + Metallic Wedding Inspiration Shoot at Willowdale Estate

Rustic, romantic and filled with lush florals and breathtaking details, this inspiration shoot is seriously my everything.  From the stunning locale known as Willowdale Estate to the beauty stylings of Swoone Beauty to the fabulous blooms from One Sweet Day In May. (I mentioned they were lush, right?)  Head to The Vault for every blush meets metallic moment captured brilliantly by Annmarie Swift Photography.

Colors
Settings
Event Venue
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Rustic

From Annmarie Swift Photography… Lush flowers, delicate lace, pops of matte gold, romantic calligraphy, and just a hint of rustic were all inspiration for this shoot! With beautiful floral details like scrawling letters to hang on the back of the bride and groom’s chair to our open air floral escort card frame to the natural garland spilling over the farm table, we knew that romance would be abundant!

The bride was dressed in a simple lace gown, hair pulled back in an effortlessly intricate braid. The invitation suite was subtle and beautiful with sweet calligraphy and touches of watercolor to match the cake display. Combined with a variety of stunning centerpieces and classic ivory place settings, the satin gold finish of the flatware and ombre glassware brought the perfect balance of sophistication to life in the lush courtyard!

With a focus on stunning florals and the natural beauty of the venue, our shoot served as inspiration for couples with a love of natural elegance and understated details.

Head to The Vault for even more wedding inspiration!

Photography: Annmarie Swift Photography | Event Planning: Heather Dawn Events | Floral Design: One Sweet Day in May | Cakes: Nicole Starr Photography | Invitations: Bella Carta Boutique | Hair & Makeup: Karla Patricia | Calligraphy: Sincerely Amy Designs | Estate: Willowdale Estate

Bright + Cheery New England Spring Wedding

June means wedding season, and wedding season means peonies (which just so happen to be my very favorite flower). So it’s no surprise that I love this wedding with the bride’s bouquet of fluffy white peonies and the buttery yellow and soft blush color scheme that plays up The Commons 1854’s French-inspired ballroom. Add in a sweet couple and photographs by Ruth Eileen Photography, and you have everything needed for a beautiful wedding. See it all here.

From the Bride… When I met Jonathan, I knew he was the other part of me, my perfect counterpart and that our wedding would reflect the romantic part of us we had discovered in one another. While we love modern art and technology we have a certain timelessness that shapes who we are as a couple. We both stand strong on our spiritual beliefs and trust in a love that is pure, holy and dignified. When we started planning our wedding, we knew the look and feel would reflect these virtues that we live our life by as well. We wanted to pick colors that were bright and simple, resembling the redemption that we felt on our wedding day.

Pastel yellow floor length bridesmaid dresses, Chantilly lace gown, fluffy white peonies, baby’s breath, bow ties and blush accents were added to our wedding palette with such ease. Both our church ceremony and reception locations were modeled after designs from the 1800’s and we LOVED that it represents our home in New England that is full of history, culture and class. There were white high arches, wooden pews and stainless glass in the church I grew up in that created the reverence we wanted for a worship service.

The Commons 1854 was designed after a French era with the ballroom including crystal chandeliers, sleek wooden floors, gold and white crown molding- we loved the clean and classic look it provided. Guests were stunned by the structure of the building and more than satisfied with their decadent menu. Tall skinny glass vases of baby’s breath looked perfect in the beautiful ballroom with scripture verses we created for each table, reflecting our love for God. Jonathan not only designed the table cards, but the seating chart and all the wedding invitations as well (he is a graphic designer). We had fun working together to pick out the content, the wording and the color schemes of all the print work. It turned out better than we imagined and we were grateful that we had our hands in every detail in the end. We had so much fun and everyone danced the night away! We enjoyed a lot of Spanish music and crazy dancing! The pictures reflect the pure joy, love, and complete bliss we felt that day.

Photography: Ruth Eileen Photography | Event Design: Mount Harvest | Floral Design: Wedding Flowers by Annette | Wedding Dress: Allure Bridal | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bill Levkoff | Makeup: Alice Upton | Hair: The Salon On Haven | DJ: DJ Paul Brogna - Mass Rhythm | Venue: The Topsfield Commons 1854

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Rustic Elegance at Willowdale Estate

New England is filled to the gills with venues that radiate rustic charm, there’s no doubt about that. But one of my absolute faves, which happens to be a hop, skip and jump away—hands down, Willowdale Estate. So today’s gem from Erin McGinn is quite a treat. From the Bride’s gorgeous woven bun to the burgundy dotted blooms from Dogwood Floral Design, this stunning gallery will surely put a little pep in your Monday step.

Colors
Styles
Rustic

From the beautiful Bride…I had always envisioned getting married on the water, so when Andrew and I got engaged I assumed we’d get married at a beach destination down the Cape or in Newport or Maine. We came across Willowdale Estate on The Knot (I had never heard of it before) but since it was on the way to a couple other venues we were interested in, we figured it was worth a shot. When we got there we were so impressed – it had just the right balance of rustic charm and elegance. The grounds and garden courtyard are gorgeous, and the estate itself with its craftsman style is just so unique and so New England. Plus my dad grew up in Newburyport right down the road, and every year my extended family goes there for a big family reunion – so that area certainly has special meaning for my family. It’s hard to explain but Willowdale just felt very “us.” While I needed a little convincing to get over my beachside vision, but Andrew knew instantly this was the perfect place for us to get married – and now I whole-heartedly agree.

Our theme for the wedding is “Rustic Romance” – essentially rustic touches (like kraft paper, burlap, white pumpkins) with romantic colors and textures (lots of lace, ivory, soft peach, blush and greenery). In terms of inspiration, I got most of my ideas from Pinterest and Style Me Pretty. I also have about 30 wedding magazines. My mom was a huge help with all of the DIY projects – she is a retired art teacher and did all the calligraphy on the invitations, escort cards, table numbers, and chalkboard signage. I’m big on details so little things like designing a wedding logo with our initials, stamping it on all of our gift/welcome bag hangtags, and using the same font on all of our printed materials/signage is one of my favorite small touches that I think tied everything together.

My favorite part of our wedding day was the ceremony. It was held in Willowdale Estate’s outdoor courtyard, with the stone exterior of the estate as the backdrop. We were incredibly fortunate with the weather – it was a gorgeous 80 degree late September day, the sun was shining, the flowers were still in bloom – Indian Summer could not have hit at a more perfect time! Leading up to the ceremony I thought I would be a ball of nerves (so many eyes looking at us, what if I tripped?!) but seeing all of our family and friends, all in one place and celebrating us – it made me the happiest I’ve ever been. We designed the the ceremony to be short, sweet, and personal – and laughed the entire time.

The reception was just as I envisioned it would be – a warm autumn evening beneath a beautiful sperry cloth tent adorned with long farm tables and lit by strings of twinkle lights – and the best dance party I’ve ever been to.

Willowdale Estate will always hold a special place in my heart. It is such a magical, quaint, and unique place to get married. We would not have changed a thing about our day.

Photography: Erin McGinn | Floral Design: Dogwood Floral Design | Wedding Dress: Romona Keveza | Wedding Dress: Cristina's Bridal | Cake: Frederick's Pastries | Invitations: Elli | Reception Venue: Willowdale Estate | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids Dresses: JLM Couture, Inc | Makeup: Dawna Kraft | Hair: Tracey Castrichini | Lighting: Ryan Designs, LLC | Favors: Whoopie Wagon | Limo: Michael's Limo | Transportation: McGinn Bus | Bride's Earrings: M. Flynn | Music: Sweet Tooth And The Sugar Babies | Photobooth: ShutterBooth

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Rustic Autumn Wedding At The Willowdale Estate

Any wedding at the Willowdale Estate is going to be full of rustic, New England beauty. But Becky and Sam’s wedding fulfilled every expectation tenfold.  It’s also pretty fail-safe when your other vendors are people like florist Michele Bernard and the Wedding Paper Divas. The couple from A Guy + A Girl Photography also worked their magic, so make sure to take in all of  the autumnal loveliness here.

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From A Guy and a Girl PhotographyFor a chilly October day, it was as cozy as could be within the Willowdale Estate. Becky + Sam’s wedding was a very special celebration, not only for the happy couple but for both of their families as well; many of them traveling from not only New England but as far away as Russia. Becky + Sam braved the chilly air to walk around the estate for a few pictures. They snuggled in the forest, surrounded by extra tall pines and smooched under umbrellas in the field. Their reception was one of the wildest dance parties of 2013.

Photography: a guy + a girl photography | Videography: I Do Films | Floral Design: Michele Bernard | Wedding Gown: Monique Lhuillier | Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas | Wedding Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids Dresses: Amsale | Makeup: Michelle Mcgrath | Hair: Jessie Heroux | Lighting: Illumination Designs | Band: Kahootz | Band: International String Trio | Grooms Attire: John Varvatos | Venue: Willowdale Estate | Chuppah: Kolbo | Dessert: Topsfield Bakeshop | Floor: Peterson Party Center

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Fun-Loving Backyard Wedding

We love fun couples! Just take a look at this bride who aptly describes her backyard wedding as a “New England backyard cookout crossed with a Downton Abbey-style tea party.” You can see tell how all the little touches perfectly play up their personalities, vintage princess cut dresses, faux moustaches and all! Their friends at Vitae Weddings even traveled all the way from California to capture the event.

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From the Bride… Like a lot of couples that get engaged, one of us didn’t really know what was going on (me), and one of us was so focused on the proposal that he didn’t actually think about the wedding (Jesse). When we started talking about the wedding, the very first thing we discussed was our mutual (and long-held independent) desire to have a backyard wedding. I don’t remember the exact conversation but it went something like this: “I’ve always wanted a backyard wedding.” “Me too!” -End of conversation. Luckily, most of our planning was just as easy. One thing Jesse really wanted was to throw a really great party-and have a kick-ass band. I wasn’t sold on the whole wedding band thing, but I dutifully followed Jesse to these small private showcases with 3-4 other couples. All I can say is that it’s really weird to watch a sweat-drenched front man belt out “Mustang Sally” to an audience of six. I had always envisioned a barefoot bluegrass band, but Jesse was set on having a horn section. We ended up finding a local funk band: Big Ol’ Dirty Bucket that had the right not-cheesy-to-horn ratio that worked for both of us. I’m glad Jesse convinced me.

The only other really difficult part was our photographers. We had a short list of people we knew locally whose style we liked. As professional photographers ourselves, there was a pretty high bar. In a short time we exhausted the list, whether they were booked, or there were contract issues. We asked for recommendations from other friends who had gotten married recently, and exhausted the second list. We discussed not hiring a photographer-there’s going to be enough photographers there right? I don’t remember exactly how the conversation came up, but Jesse was talking with a friend he knew from school in California. She mentioned she was starting to shoot weddings. Well we booked Vitae Weddings shortly thereafter. It seemed crazy to fly our photographers from California when we know the New England area has an abundance of talent, but it really worked out great. The photos speak for themselves. Callie and Stacie did an amazing job of capturing the fun of the day from the very start, Callie documenting Jesse’s groomsmen throwing him in the Atlantic Ocean before getting dressed, and Stacie coming with me and my bridesmaids to our hair appointment, which was not nearly as entertaining, I’m sure! They stuck with us the whole day, from waking up to walking down the aisle of course, and also some amazing shots of partying and dancing. My dad even said to me later, “Those two girls were the hardest working people in the room!” We were so happy when we saw the photos – they really managed to capture the fun and the feeling of the whole day, as well as the incredible happiness we both felt.

On our wedding day, we really tried to relax and enjoy the day, as many friends had wisely advised us. It turns out we did just enough planning to do just that. The event took place in Jesse’s mom’s backyard… Well actually it stretched across three yards, luckily the neighbors were obliging and we held the ceremony in one neighbor’s yard, with a beautiful garden as a backdrop.

Being in the photography/wedding business we were able to gather around us a lot of friends who work in the industry. The food and event planning was put together by Chive Events in Beverly, MA. They throw gorgeous, locally sourced events that we had attended in the past, and knew they would be perfect. We told them we wanted a traditional New England backyard cookout crossed with a Downton Abbey style tea party! And they ran with it. For a time Jesse actually wanted a cookout. He was convinced we could get a bunch of hotdogs and hamburgers and set a few friends up on a big grill. That’s probably the only thing I put my foot down on. Our flowers were by Foret Design Studio in Somerville, MA. They also totally got the vibe. I gave them a loose color palette, and basically said to do whatever they thought was best. They did not disappoint! Our friend T.J. from Cape Ann Brewery poured a specially made-for-us beer, and Bennett from Downriver Ice Cream made us our own specially flavored ice cream (and also provided his large collection of bowties for the groom and his groomsmen). I love to bake, and had originally planned on baking enough pies for all of our guests in lieu of a cake, but Jesse convinced me to abandon that idea about a week before our big day. Thankfully, Petsi Pies in Somerville makes the loveliest pies, even on short notice. 

Photography: Vitae Weddings | Coordination: Chive Events | Floral Design: Foret Design Studio | Wedding Dress: Vows | Invitations: James Wienberg | Rings: Vince Hawley | Bridesmaids Dresses: Nordstrom | Bridesmaids Dresses: ModCloth | Bridesmaids Dresses: J.Crew | Catering: Chive Events | Hair: Hale Koa phineas Estate | Band: Big Ol' Dirty Bucket Band | Grooms Attire: Indochino | Tent: Sperry Tents | Beer: Cape Ann Brewing Co. | Bridal Shoes: ModCloth | Dessert: Downriver Ice Cream | Dessert: Petsi Pies | Groom's Shoes: Hale Koa phineas Estate | Spirits: Ryan And Wood Distilleries

Rustic New England Wedding

Ease and effortlessness are achieved only after a great deal of effort. Which is why when we come across a wedding as beautiful and considered as this, we take a moment to appreciate the finer details, like bridesmaids bouquets of succulents perfectly hued to the pink and grey color scheme. The wife/husband duo from Grazier Photography agree, and were lucky enough to be there to capture the event.

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From Grazier Photography… Our favorite weddings are the ones where the couple gets a standing ovation when they exit the ceremony. Portia and Matt’s wedding was dreamy. We fell in love with these two long before their wedding day, and their celebration just cinched the deal. Portia added thoughtful and beautiful design elements at every turn – always imbued with meaning, natural beauty, and a sense of truth and authenticity. Everything was lovely but not overdone, tangible, and tied together with my new favorite Italian word ‘sprezzatura’: (Miriam Webster: ‘perfect conduct or performance of something (as an artistic endeavor) without apparent effort.’ They were good looking and they dressed sharp. But more important than decor or looks, they lived in the moment, savoring each part of the day with a profound sense of joy. Their relaxed and superbly happy attitude was infectious, and really drove home to my hubbie Matt and I as we worked that THIS is why we love to photograph weddings.

 

From the bride… Matt and I wanted a wedding venue and vendors that would highlight the natural beauty of the area and show our friends and family (many of whom had never visited New England) why we love living here.  When we visited the Willowdale Estate in Bradley Palmer State Park, we knew it would be the perfect location. It was elegant while still reflecting our easy-going attitude and love of the outdoors. We felt like ourselves there and knew our guests would feel welcomed and relaxed.

We didn’t want to compete with the natural beauty of the site so we opted for décor and flowers that reflected the area such as potted herbs, topiaries, and seasonal flowers. New England Country Rentals provided gorgeous farm tables, reclaimed wooden church pews, and chalkboards for the ceremony program and seating assignments.

Our good friend was kind enough to marry us, and our parents (who each share 35+ years of marriage!), siblings and closest friends stood beside us, which made our ceremony personal and intimate. We also made sure to include our dog “Georgia” as our “flower girl” -dressed in a fantastic flower collar made by E.H. Floral.

Our dinner was served station style and featured local/seasonal produce. This gave the evening a more relaxed feel and allowed guests to spend more time on the dance floor (celebrating National Dance Day!) District 21 kept the party going all night- seeing Matt’s grandparents dancing the night away with us was one of our favorite (and most inspiring) moments of the evening.  And just in case anyone is wondering how many bridesmaids can fit into the Grazier Photobooth….. the answer is 9…. trust me!

Photography: Grazier Photography | Flowers: Emily Herzig Floral Studio | Rings: Ginsberg Jewelers | Rings: DePrisco Jewelers | Bridesmaids Dresses: Joanna August | Bridesmaids Dresses: Diane Von Furstenberg | Makeup: Dianna Quagenti | Hair: Eric Charles, Will Charles Salon | Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss | Ceremony Music: David Newsam | Transportation: Michael's Limousine And Transportation | Bride's Attire: Monique Lhuillier | Chalkboard Calligraphy: Dear Rose Studio | Cufflinks: Waxwing Jewelry | Furniture: New England Country Rentals | Music: Night Shift Entertainment | Popcorn Favors: Iowa Popcorn Company | Table Numbers: Sixpence Press | Willowdale Estate: Willowdale Estate

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Antique and Chic New England Wedding at Willowdale Estate

With the beautiful Willowdale Estate setting the scene for this equally beautiful wedding, we come right out of the gate with a whole lot of gorgeous. Sprinkle in the beautiful blooms by Joe Pye Weeds Garden, a stunning Monique Lhuillier gown and a oh-so-in-love couple, and we get a gallery from Tilley Photography that’s too good to pass up. See it all here.

From the Bride…As a little girl, I never envisioned my wedding. So upon getting engaged, there were countless nights of no sleep as I dreamt about the vision of our wedding. Would it be a summer beach wedding (the groom’s dream) or a winter city wedding (the bride’s dream)? Would it be modern and contemporary or antique and traditional? What would my dress look like? Which flowers would we have? What would our colors be? As my mind raced for what seemed like several weeks, I ultimately landed on, first, the color (a dark, earthy green + neutrals), which informed the second decision, the theme (antique), and then nicely falling into place was the third and most important decision, the venue and date (Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA on June 30, 2012).

This vision lead to weekends of antique shopping with family and close friends – trying to find green antique glass pieces (bottles, vases, bowls, glasses, fisherman balls – you name it, we found it) to create one of a kind tablescapes for each table (later to be arranged around a large glass hurricane). To further adorn the tables, we added lace accents and table runners with the most minimal of flowers and greenery to tie it all together. We used window frames for seating assignments, a birch tree lit from my favorite vacation spot at my parents lake cottage in New Hampshire lit with white christmas lights to hang tags with messages from the guests, and mason jars to put the flowers in.

The best part of all? The guests enjoyed the perfect combination of food and drink throughout the night, including my favorite Wilson Creek Winery Almond Champagne and Sokol Blosser Evolution, local New England oysters and shrimp at the raw bar, farmers market, surf and turf and mash potato bar dinner stations, petite desserts to supplement the wedding cake, all to end with Willowdale Estate’s infamous warm chocolate chip cookies served with cold milk shooters. Ending the evening, closing the dance floor with my father, my husband and I said goodbye to our closest family and friends through an arch of sparklers. As we look back, we ended up creating a simplistic yet detailed masterpiece that lead to the most perfect and best day of our lives.

Photography: Tilley Photography | Flowers: Joe Pye Weeds Garden | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Wedding Cake: Konditor Meister | Invitations: Tank Design | Wedding Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Hair And Makeup: The Makeup Artists | Calligraphy: Astrid Wendth | Band: Felix Brown Band | Ceremony Musicians: Occasional Brass | Estate: Willowdale Estate | Venue and Catering: Willowdale Estate

Sweet Garden Wedding in Topsfield

Finding a backyard venue that wasn’t actually a backyard was this couple’s goal. To mimic the beauty of the groom’s home. Once they found that, they layered in sweet fresh from the garden style flowers, a soft pretty palette and a love story that just makes you smile. Make sure to check out more images from Molly Anne Photography and a video from Hindsight Wedding Films!

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From the bride…I met my husband in January 2010, soon after we had both moved to Massachusetts in the summer 2009. Brian to attend law school, and I bought a house & moved back to my hometown after living in Connecticut for five years, attending nursing school & working my first nursing job. We later learned we had moved within weeks of each other, as fate would have it.

We met & had our first date shortly after New Years, and from the get go it was clear we were pretty much polar opposites. Life before Brian was cautious & quiet, with many Friday nights in on the couch sandwiched between my two mutts Marlow & Roo, the other loves of my life. Then Brian happened, and life really began for me. Apparently he felt the same way, for he proposed on Cinco de Mayo in 2012. Then came wedding planning.

Never a bridesmaid, I had no idea what I was doing planning a wedding! My husband, who grew up in Vermont, envisioned his wedding in his parents scenic backyard in Vermont. This didn’t coincide with my traditional mother’s belief that the bride should marry near her family’s hometown. So I had a mission: find Brian’s parent’s backyard in Massachusetts. I had looked at many venues with my mom & maid of honor, but the second I stepped foot on the grounds of Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, Ma I knew it would be perfect. This was confirmed when we were shown the backyard garden, which could accommodate a tent wedding.

After we locked down the perfect venue, things seemed to fall into place from there. I tried to go for an eclectic wedding style, which was both traditional & classic to portray me, mixed with earthy & rustic to convey my husband’s roots & personality. And of course I had to incorporate our dogs in just a bit! Our wedding day was perfect, a dream come true! It was so special to have all our favorite people (& pups) come together to celebrate our love! It brings us great joy to look at our wedding pictures & videos and remember this amazing day, the first day of a happy forever together with my soulmate & best friend.

Photography: Molly Anne Photography | Videography: Hindsight Wedding Films | Floral Design: The Corporate Daisy | Wedding Dress: La Reine Bridal | Cake: Konditor Meister | Invitations: Daisy Days | Ceremony Venue: St. Rose Of Lima, Topsfield Ma | Reception Venue: Willowdale Estate | Shoes: Marc Jacobs | Rings: Hannoush Jewelers | Bridesmaid's Dresses: J.Crew | Makeup: Kacie Corbelle | Hair: Hannah Surette | DJ: White Label DJs | Groom & Groomsmen's Suits: Jos. A. Bank | Save the dates: Minted

Intimate Willowdale Estate Mansion Wedding from Zac Wolf Photography

Intimate and downright lovely, this Willowdale Estate wedding from Zac Wolf Photography is the type of fête that will make your heart do a leap or two. And yes, you’ll grin from ear to ear because of the all the sweet details tucked in this gallery, but what will really make you swoon is just how happy this family is in each and every image. See all the happiness in action here.

From ZacKatie and Max celebrated their love at Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA. Two of the kindest people I have truly ever met. The whole day all they cared about was how everyone else was doing and if everyone else was having a good time. They remembered that I told them I never get to eat the cake… so after they cut the cake, I got hand fed a piece of their cake.

The wedding was filled with DIY details and total perfection that emphasized just how great of a venue Willowdale is for small weddings like this one. They got to bring in so many details of themselves and their son to celebrate their love together.

Photography: Zac Wolf Photography | Flowers: Whole Foods Market Preston | Wedding Dress: Allure Bridal | Wedding Cake: Konditor Meister | Reception Venue: Willowdale Estate | Makeup Artist: The Makeup Artists | Men's Attire: Vera Wang

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Willowdale Estate Wedding from Molly Anne Photography

This wedding makes me happy. Plain and simple. The colors are enough to make me smile from ear to ear – the pretty pastels, the pops of coral, the patterned dress on the maid of honor – I couldn’t love it more. But the couple at the center of it all? They really take the cake. Because their love seeps through each gorgeous image from Molly Anne Photography, and that just happens to be my favorite thing ever. See every last moment here.


From the Bride… Joe and I have always thought of our relationship as the Greatest Love Story of all time. Every single triumph and “tragedy” of our 8-year relationship has served as yet another chapter of Our Story – each chapter working harmoniously together to create the Greatest Love Story. So to answer some questions, and to give you a better idea of “Leigh and Joe”, we’d like to share with you some of the most important chapters of Our Story…

Chapter L: Love Story
The spring semester of their freshman year, is when it all began. On the first day of a mandatory Psychology class, Leigh chose a seat in the second row, next to a girlfriend (who would later be dubbed The Matchmaker). Joe sat right behind Leigh which made poking and other childish flirtatious activities way too convenient. The Matchmaker knew him and the Matchmaker knew her. This Matchmaker saw something special in the two of them, that they didn’t quite see yet. But after a brief summer break, they had no choice but to see it too. The Love Story that lay before them was unavoidable and overpowering…

Chapter B: Bentley Days
Their Love Story picked up full speed during their Bentley Days. Joe and Leigh were both Falcons – Joe at the pitcher’s mound on the baseball field and Leigh at first base on the softball field. They shared a similar friend group which made their free time effortless and fun. They kept each other focused and motivated through many late night study dates in the Bentley Library, and they encouraged each other into the professional world as their college internships became careers.

Chapter W: Willowdale
When the two first stepped onto the Willowdale Estate Grounds in Topsfield, Massachusetts, they instantly fell in love. It’s handsome, masculine features coupled with its rich history and flawless flower gardens create the magical and unique event venue that the couple had dreamed of for their wedding reception. Since booking the venue in June 2012, the couple frequently visits the Willowdale Estate for special seasonal events. Joe and Leigh are so excited to have their reception at this Estate and are even more excited to make it part of their future memories.

Notes from the Bride & Groom:
During the past year of planning and creating for the wedding, our main goal throughout everything was to share Our Story with our guests. After all, Our Story wouldn’t be complete without them. Rather than typical table numbers, we assigned each table to represent a chapter of Our Story. Therefore, instead of Table 12, we had Table W for our “Willowdale” chapter. Each chapter description was written on the back of the menu cards, giving guests a sneak peek into Our Story. For interested guests, our Guest Book (which we invited everyone to sign) contained all chapters and was laced with images from our engagement session.

In terms of style, we wanted to use elements that were meaningful and beautiful to create a romantic garden party. Our color scheme of peaches, corals, yellows, pinks and greens formed a romantic and colorful combination that directly reflected our vibrant and playful personalities. Almost all elements were handmade projects – from the various signs and favors to the menu cards and Guest Book, each element was made with love, over a bottle (or several bottles) of wine! Throughout the past year, leading up to our wedding, we poured our hearts into every single detail as our small condo became a design center and storage facility.

For our vendors, we were careful to only book vendors we formed a connection with. From our beyond fabulous photographer to our impeccable florist, we booked each one because we knew they would accurately portray us. It’s so important to maintain your personalities and ideals throughout the entire process. Because after all, you want your wedding to reflect your relationship, to preach Your Story.

Our biggest piece of advice for brides and grooms-to-be is to keep your center, don’t sweat the small stuff. Your wedding will be absolutely perfect no matter what…so enjoy the planning, sprinkle it with some laughter, and look forward to your best chapter yet!

Photography: Molly Anne Photography | Event Planning + Design: LoveLeigh Creations by Bride + Groom | Floral Design: Petalena | Wedding Dress: BHLDN | Invitations: Minted | Ceremony Venue: St. Patrick Parish | Reception Venue:: Willowdale Estate | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Necklace: J.Crew | Rings: DeScenza Diamonds | Groomsmen Suits: Jos. A. Bank | Crinkle Fans: BHLDN | Earrings: Anthropologie | Maid of Honor Dress: BHLDN

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Topsfield Wedding at Willowdale Estate from Shane Godfrey Photography

While a lot of the SMP ladies’ roots are planted firmly in New England soil, mine are not, meaning weddings like this, filled with beautiful Massachusetts foliage, are my only shot at the gorgeous colors. They are so good for my soul. Love, laughter, and a beautiful fall wedding captured by Shane Godfrey Photography are my kryptonite.

From Shane GodfreyBob and Virginia’s wedding at the Willowdale Estate in Topsfield was during the late fall which meant that we were going to get some great foliage pictures. Here in New England, it’s the most beautiful time of the year. The ceremony was at Our Lady of Grace Church in Everett, Massachusetts. They went from the church to the reception site in an amazing Rolls Royce followed by photos in the courtyard and hiking trails at the Willowdale Estate. We didn’t have to walk far to find the kind of setting we were looking for, foliage! The reception was beautifully decorated with signature table numbers, key’s for table cards, and pumpkins on all the tables(a Halloween season inspired idea). Cinnamon Margaritas were their signature drinks! [dotted] Ceremony Venue: Our Lady of Grace | Reception Venue: Willowdale Estate | Photographer: Shane Godfrey Photography | Officiant: Fr. James Barry | Floral Design: Joanne Winters | Caterer: Willowdale Estate | DJ: Vibeology

Willowdale Estate Summer Wedding Inspiration from Forevercandid Photography

Summer just happens to be my favorite season of them all. There is nothing more magical than those few months where the weather is warm, and the activities are plentiful – particularly in New England. This shoot from Forevercandid Photography at Willowdale Estate perfectly celebrates the fact we are still knee deep in all summer’s glory, and does so with style. Beautiful blooms from Table and Tulip, pretty paper from Wicked Bride, the gorgeous gown from Bella Sera Bridal and delicious desserts from The Topsfield Bakeshop and Cookie Creatives by Jennifer – I’m talking to you. It’s summer prettiness at its finest, and you can see it all right here.

Our inspiration was all about the journey of taking your own current milestone affair and adding it to the legacy of a New England landmark mansion’s festive history. The venue induced a historic and graceful vibe, such that we wanted to enhance it with the charm of the past, while honoring the beauty of the present. In the multi-garden property, at the one and only Willowdale Estate, built in 1901, the exquisite calmness, authentic age and whimsical beauty evoked our interest in creating an ambiance that would be cherished, evolving and sophisticated.

Garlands of greenery lined our tabletop down the center of our burlap runner to call attention to the center of the table in an understated way. Our use of garlands in our centerpiece is a great example of how you can exclusively use greenery and make a visual impact, without using an abundant amount of flowers. The green also made a fresh, current vibe while it helped cut down on some costly floral bills that couples would appreciate. The large angular glass terrarium-style lantern was used as our focal point, essentially framing the sheer beauty of nature. With the centerpiece being translucent, the complete visual setting created a dynamic feel to the tablescape. We incorporated mini plants into our escort cards, having potted succulents as a natural favor to take home. In order to add some additional volume to the table, we added the appeal of real pheasant feathers standing straight up out of each succulent place-card setting. This helped tie in the theme of nature to other parts of the table all while the gorgeousness of the feather’s pattern took the visual appeal to another level.

With the location’s stonework and outdoor splendor, we made sure to emphasize on the beauty of nature by including re-purposed wood, natural tree slabs, tons of plants, florals, and an emphasis on birds and feathers displayed in the ceremony, on the style of the bride, throughout the table top items, the stationery items, and reception spaces.

An additional important aspect to our theme of celebrating the now but cherishing the past, just like the ever evolving nature we witness every day, our goal was to communicate the loveliness of gifting our guests with treasures of history: and continuing on with them as of that moment onward. Their main favors to take home would enable them the opportunity to foster history’s timepieces, while combining its destiny into the guest’s very own life-journey. Those special favors were original vintage cameras, unique in size, color and shape, embarking in a new path in real time with each of the guests to cherish forevermore. We also wanted to show brides how easy it could be to use strategically placed items and props in their wedding in order to communicate a theme without needing to go overboard with decorations.

To add some pops of color, in lieu of celebrating love and marriage in the summer, we had adorned cookies of various shapes, sizes, colors and styles customized and placed on each plate of our place settings: mostly emphasizing LOVE for outlining the day. The color didn’t end there as we mix and matched glassware with hints of green and blue to saturate and compliment the earth’s natural color scheme, topped with vintage striped straws in a strong pink just to be fun and open with color. The menus were meant to show topnotch details by using letterpress card-stock, gold shimmery sparkled backings, soft naturally patterned bird’s feathers, happy summer text colors, and whimsy text. The menu piece tied in all of our looks into one which made the table complete. We felt that a little bit of sparkle would go a long way, and it did exactly that. To continue our gold metallic touch, we used gold silverware and gold rimmed dish chargers made of glass allowing guests to see the raw exposed natural wood of the dining table. As we felt that mixing natural elements with metallics would simply complement each other over and over again, we also mix and matched the color of our dining chairs to bring that eye-popping perspective to the table from any angle. To celebrate the current trends, our bride painted her toes and fingernails with the primary popping colors we used which were closer to an aqua and pinky peach color. This was an act of reminding couples that weddings can always be fun when still creating an elegant setting. To take that mix and match concept one more level without going over the top, we took two very neutral napkins and we mix and matched them at every other place-setting to continue with establishing dimension and acting as a finish to the table.

The dessert table was important that we extended our theme almost one notch higher, by positioning it in a romantic setting, which was the initial objective. Then hanging a birdcage over the table, adorning the cage in a romantic wild look, using solid slabs of wood to display our custom desserts mixed in with gold dessert stands, and adding an extra large focal point with the cake’s very thick tree stump, the dessert table was a finale. We had personalized desserts with the last name’s initialed on it and we continued to keep the variety of popping colors consistent To add to that mix and match feel we took the same blue and green glassware along with some metallic candle holders, flipped them upside down and used them as the actual holders, or stands, for some smaller wooden tree stumps we worked with. Florals, feathers, a sign celebrating love and a variety of greens made this sweet table a center-stage.

We want to encourage couples to have fun with details and give your guests something unique to remember about that special day. For this wedding theme, our vintage camera favors added that final touch to our story by inevitably adding a few extra layers of depth to the event: where guests were given unusual items to play with while at the table, the pieces were automatically conversation starters for the newly acquainted, and they even acted as a prop for guests to use in wedding pictures! We want to encourage couples to feel free to add meaningful aspects to their décor; even if only the two of you realize the symbolism, it will be another special something that you can share on this wonderful day. It can even simply be by incorporating a flower or plant that means something special to you as a couple. We also brought this aspect to life with our potted succulent escort cards, since succulents are plants that represent endurance and longevity, these were beautiful hidden meanings to be surrounded by. They are also undeniably adorable and are a great whimsical earthy-glam keepsake guests can take home. The other example of meaningful detail that we incorporated was that we had vintage looking postcards of our venue’s property made, and used those pieces as the RSVP cards from the formal invitation set, and the postcards are then intended to become keepsakes for the couple upon receipt from all the guests sending them back.

Fun right!? Enjoy your wedding planning!

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Photography: Forevercandid Photography | Venue: Willowdale Estate | Floral design: Table and Tulip | Wedding Coordination: Blue Ivy | Rentals: Peterson Party Center |Invitations, Menus + Escort Cards: Wicked Bride | Sign: Sierra Knot | Desserts: The Topsfield Bakeshop | Cookie Favors: Cookie Creatives by Jennifer | Decor props: Mad Props Boston | Wedding Dress: Bella Sera Bridal | Suit: Russo Tux Shop and Limousine | Hair: Shannon White of Lifestyles Salon | Makeup: Nancy Gorman of Makeup by Nancy | Bride’s Hair Piece: Veiled Beauty

Topsfield Massachusetts Wedding from Kara Pearson Photography

I think it goes without saying that I am tad bit obsessed with gorgeous details, but I will tell you the thing that gets me even more giddy – the way the new Mr. & Mrs. look at each other. That’s a moment I could swoon over for hours. Which is precisely what happened when I landed on these gorgeous images by Kara Pearson. This couple’s Topsfield wedding couldn’t have been cozier or move love-filled, and that – I love. See it all here.

From Kara Pearson… Lauren and Ryan were married at this great estate, Willowdale,in Topsfield, Massachusetts. The fall colors were in full bloom and the rain didn’t dampen their spirits whatsoever. Lauren wore a pair of Valentino shoes which were amazing with her dress. Ryan and Lauren did a first look where Lauren gave him a Rolex as a wedding day present. Not a bad start to the day!

They had to move their outdoor ceremony inside due to the rain. Ryan’s uncle married them. The reception was still held outside under a heated tent. Sunglasses were the guest favors which everyone rocked on the dance floor.

From the Bride… Ryan and I really wanted our wedding to be relaxed, cozy and homey – essentially an elegant dinner party, complete with dancing and all of our favorite people. The moment we stepped foot on the Willowdale Estate in Topsfield we knew it was the place. It was warm and inviting with numerous fireplaces and beautiful inside and out. Rain was forecasted for our wedding day, but we didn’t let it dampen our spirits. We moved our ceremony indoors making it much more intimate and special. We were surrounded by all the people who had been a part of our 9 year relationship, and it was truly what made the day so special.

My favorite moment of the day was our first look. Just minutes prior, I had been up in the bridal suite looking down on Ryan and the groomsmen getting photographed in the courtyard and I could see just how happy Ry looked and it made my heart beat just a little faster. I came down the stairs and out into the courtyard to see him, holding the present I had hid from him for over a year (a Rolex similar to the one my mom had purchased for my dad). I will never forget his face when he saw me in my dress for the first time and when he opened his gift – he looked like a little kid on Christmas.

The day wouldn’t have been so incredible had it not been for our insanely fabulous vendors. The Willowdale Estate and our day of coordinator Colleen Seznac were always 5 steps ahead. They didn’t lose a step when we asked to move the ceremony inside vs. under the tent. Colleen was there with small plates of appetizers for Ryan and me to make sure we got to sample everything during cocktail hour. She was there to take my bouquet before our first dance. Willowdale was just more than we could have asked for. Shelley White and her team at Bow Street Flowers put together the most beautiful bouquets and arrangements. I collected vintage silver pieces all summer long and then turned them over to Shelley to use as vases. I told her the colors I was looking to use and that I wanted the flowers to look and feel very natural, and then just let her work her magic. I was blown away. And for Kara Pearson, our photographer, there are no words. She captured our wedding day just as Ryan and I remembered it. Every moment. Every memory. She kept her eye on the weather to sneak us outside for photos in between rain showers and I’m so glad she did, as they are some of our favorite photos.

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Wedding Photography: Kara Pearson | Wedding Venue: Willowdale Estate, Topsfield, Massachusetts | Floral Design: Bow Street Flowers, Somerville | Wedding Cake: Konditor Meister, Braintree | Wedding Invitations: Swiss Cottage Designs, Brooklyn, New York | Wedding Dress: David Fielden via Lovely Bride in New York City | Wedding Rings: Greenwich Jewelers, New York City | Groom’s Rolex Watch + Bride’s Blue Topaz Bracelet: Long’s Jewelers, Natick | Bride’s Shoes: Valentino | Groom’s Attire: Armani Suit via Nordstrom | Groom’s Shoes: Cole Haan via Nordstrom Rack |  Groom’s Tie: Zegna via Bergdorf Goodman, New York City | Makeup: Jocelyn Kadra | Hair: DonaLyn Belmonte of Kenzo Salon, Stoneham

Willowdale Estate Wedding from Shannon Grant

Brides in cardigans?  They get me every time.  Every. Single. Time.  As do birdcage veils, gorgeous Watters gowns and smiles that could light up the entire state.  So, this beautiful Topsfield bride, well… I basically think she’s the greatest.  Also the greatest?  Her Willowdale Estate wedding, which is seriously bursting with romance from the wintery setting to the sweet, sweet blooms from Carroll’s Florist to a downright beauty that will leave your head spinning. See every glorious moment captured by Shannon Grant in the full gallery.

From Shannon GrantPhotographing Shannon and Chris’s modern day romance was the absolute perfect ending to the 2012 wedding season. It really could not have been any more my style and it was such a DREAM to photograph that I’m still pinching myself to remind me this is real life. Really gorgeous real life.

The details were so lovingly chosen by the couple that I had a field day photographing them! A vintage hat box from Sak’s Fifth Avenue housed Shannon’s birdcage veil, the bridesmaids’ unconventional outfits, and the dessert spreads at the end of the night were some of my favorites!    

There are some couples who are surrounded by so much love that it can steal your breath away. This whole day consisted of moments like this. From the impromptu “Bridal Boudoir” session to their son tearing up during his father’s vows and many, MANY moments in between, I found myself so caught up in their day that the time flew by. Before I knew it, they were ripping up the dance floor and I was packing up to go home.

From the Bride… The goal was for everyone around us to see and feel the love between us. I had envisioned romance and simple elegance from the beginning. It was important that the wedding completely represent us as a couple. We love to cook and entertain our family and close friends during holidays. I always put on quite a spread that leaves people talking. We wanted to give them the same feeling on our wedding day… but even more so.

I would say our vows truly represent our journey and how we feel. The roads we traveled to get to this destination have been bumpy with sharp turns and dead ends. The whole wedding itself was a representation of us: classic, vintage, elegant – full of love and fun!

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Wedding Photography: Shannon Grant | Venue: Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, Massachusetts | Floral Design: Carroll’s Florist | Wedding Cake: Konditor Meister | DJ: C-Zone | Wedding Dress: Watters via French Bridals | Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden | Bridesmaids’ Attire: Forever 21 | Groom’s Attire: Vera Wang via  Men’s Wearhouse | Hair: Shag Boston | Makeup: Meaghan O’Brien

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