Maureen and Charles’s Rustic Wedding in the Berkshires
They say timing is everything, and when Maureen Weiner met Charles Cohen the week before they began their freshman year at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, theirs couldn’t have been better. “It was like we’d known each other for years,” says Charles, who works in risk management. “The start of college is a great time to be crazy in love!” Which was the case for a year and a half, until girl wanted boy but boy wanted independence. The pair split, and, says Maureen, now an interior designer, “we never crossed paths again.”
That is, until eight years later, when both had moved back to their shared hometown of New York City. They bumped into each other at a rooftop bar, and before long, “it was like college all over again,” says Maureen. Except that now, Charles was ready. Two years after their chance encounter, on a trip back to Madison, he proposed in front of the Wisconsin State Capitol. “That building will stand the test of time,” says Charles of the locale. “We can return in 20 years to the place where we started our life together.”
A year and a day later, on June 8, 2013, the couple headed to Maureen’s family’s vacation home in North Egremont, in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, to make it official.
The Stationery Suite
The couple worked with Sloane Design/Press New York to create their letterpressed invites with tear-off R.S.V.P. cards.
The Ceremony Spot
The couple exchanged vows in front of the family estate’s meditation studio, which was covered in ferns for the occasion.
Hairstylist Kate Hanley gave Maureen a cascading fishtail braid.
“We wanted something simple and modern that we could live with for years to come,” says Maureen of their handwritten ketubah, made by Stephanie Caplan.
Upon arrival, guests were offered blackberry iced teas garnished with pansies and blackberries.
The Bridal Party
Twine-tied clusters of ranunculus, brodiaea, scabiosa pods, and wild grasses graced the gents’ lapels.
The Bride’s Entrance
Surrounded by soaring trees, the same rabbi who had performed Maureen’s baby-naming and bat mitzvah ceremonies pronounced them man and wife in front of 220 loved ones.
Maureen’s twin nephews, outfitted in J.Crew, shared ring-bearer duties.
Moss-lined brass bowls holding scabiosa pods, clematis, speedwell, and ranunculus set a soft scene.
The groom posed with his parents.
The Escort Cards
Guests found their seats via paper hearts (calligraphed by Deborah Nadel) planted in beds of moss, ferns, and other greenery.
Cocktail Hour Fare
Predinner, guests nibbled on breads, nuts, and cheeses, two of which held special meaning: Pleasant Ridge Reserve, from Wisconsin, where the couple met, and Berkshire Blue, from nearby Great Barrington in Massachusetts, where the rehearsal dinner was held.
During the poolside cocktail hour, celebrants sipped the duo’s signature drink—a gin, lemon, bitters, and egg white concoction called, cheekily, The Filthy Weiner—and noshed on passed hors d’oeuvres like salt-and-pepper lamb lollipops and watermelon-feta bites.
The guests strolled downhill to a forest clearing where a tent was constructed around a tree. “We wanted everyone to feel like they were walking into a magical world,” says Maureen, who went barefoot for the laid-back reception. Peonies and wild grasses dressed up the tables, while baguettes for sharing fostered a communal atmosphere.
After a meal of heirloom vegetables, tagliatelle ragù, and branzino, the newlyweds danced to “Come Rain or Come Shine” by Ray Charles. The party burned deep into the night as a friend deejayed and old Bettie Page movies played silently on an outdoor screen. Then the pair joined their more adventurous guests for skinny-dipping in the pool—knowing that the timing was now perfect for a midnight swim.
Event Planning, Design, and Flowers: Matthew Robbins Design
Catering: Cobblestone Catering
Photography: Bryce Covey
Stationery: Sloane Design/Press New York
Calligraphy: Deborah Nadel
Music: Élan Artists
Rentals and Tent: Mahaiwe Tent
Videography: Love Is Strange
Hair: Kate Hanley
Makeup: Ildiko Juhasz
Bridesmaids’ Jewelry: Robbie Simon
Groomsmens’ and Ring Bearers’ Bow Ties: Countess Mara
Audio and Visual: Tune Street
Ketubah: Stephanie Caplan of theketubah.com