Heather & Diane's snowy mountain lodge wedding

By on Feb. 22nd
Sylvester_McLean_Studio_SMC_Photography_0278111111_low-500x333

The offbeat bride: Heather, Client Manager

Her offbeat partner: Diane, Stage Manager

Date and location of wedding: The Dream Away Lodge in Becket, MA — November 11, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We wanted to get married in the Berkshires of Western MA, because the area means a lot to both of us. We chose the Dream Away Lodge for its sentimental meaning. Diane has been going there for years, and one of our first dates took place there. We wanted to have an intimate event with our closest family and friends in our favorite place. We kept everything as simple as possible and focused on the things that we were the most excited about.

Sylvester_McLean_Studio_SMC_Photography_0118111111_low-500x333

Tell us about the ceremony: We asked Diane's long-time friend Bernie, who lives in New York, to perform our ceremony, since Massachusetts allows a "one-day officiant" license. He and his husband have been married for over 25 years, and their relationship has really been an inspiration to us. Since New York had just allowed same sex marriages, they were able to be legally wed over the summer. We actually used the same ceremony (with a few changes to personalize it) that they used in their legal ceremony.

Sylvester_McLean_Studio_SMC_Photography_0139111111_low-500x333

Our biggest challenge: I think our biggest challenge was the length of our engagement. We are crazy planners, and when we got engaged, we figured out how much money it would take to do what we wanted, and how much time it would take to save it. That ended up meaning our engagement lasted two and a half years! It was totally worth it though, as we ended up being able to afford everything we wanted and more, but it was definitely a challenge in pacing ourselves and being patient.

Sylvester_McLean_Studio_SMC_Photography_0102111111_low-500x333

Sylvester_McLean_Studio_SMC_Photography_0119111111_low-500x333

My favorite moment: We planned to hold the ceremony outdoors on the "wedding rock," but as we were getting our makeup and hair done, it started to snow! By the time we headed up the mountain to the venue, it was a hailing/snowing mess. We called it in the car and decided to move the ceremony inside. At first we were feeling disappointed, but it ended up that holding the ceremony inside, with our community closely surrounding us, created such an amazing energy. Everyone was cheering, hooting, and hollering, and it would not have had the same effect in the cold outside.

Sylvester_McLean_Studio_SMC_Photography_0694111111_low-500x333

My funniest moment: There were a lot of fun and funny moments, but one that stands out is when we arrived at the Dream Away, one of the owner's dogs, Jack the Beagle, made a dash for Diane and ran right over her train! It was pretty funny. Then after the ceremony, when we were bustling the dress, we noticed a perfect paw print on the under side!

Sylvester_McLean_Studio_SMC_Photography_0071111111_low-500x333

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The Dream Away is a rather remote location, so we knew straight away that we wanted to provide transportation to and from the hotel for our guests. We looked into limo buses, but they were so expensive! Then Diane had the great idea of using a school bus! We hired two yellow school buses to drive everyone up the mountain. We were a bit nervous about how the experience would be. It turned out that everyone got a kick out of it. My dad is great at making mix tapes, and he made special wedding-themed CDs that the bus drivers played for us. Everyone got to sing-along both up and down the mountain. Diane and I even got to participate on the ride back after the reception.

Sylvester_McLean_Studio_SMC_Photography_0453111111_low-500x333

My advice for offbeat brides: Choose a venue that is as unique as you are. Not only will it make for an unforgettable wedding for your guests, but it will also cut down on costs because it's already decorated for you.

Sylvester_McLean_Studio_SMC_Photography_0677111111_low-500x333

Sylvester_McLean_Studio_SMC_Photography_0569111111_low-500x333

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? I am really glad that we focused on the things that were most important to us. For example, we are not very crafty, but definitely sentimental. So we incorporated our love for concert-going by framing pairs of our tickets and used them for table numbers. Jess from Venus in Feathers used my grandmother's wedding crown to create a custom feather hairpiece.

Sylvester_McLean_Studio_SMC_Photography_0172111111_low-500x333

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?