The holidays are around the corner and while it’s a busy season for everyone, it’s a particularly packed time for wedding vendors. It’s the season of hustle. We’re pushing hard to wrap up editing for our fall weddings and working to schedule out 2020.
That means considering which wedding expos to attend. Western Massachusetts and Connecticut have a few steady expos. I’m still trying to decide which one(s) I should attend. Any thoughts? Anyone have a favorite?
I’m pretty sure I’ve been to all of these before and one or two out by Boston. This year, I’m thinking of doing a booth to promote my cinematic wedding videos. Sure I’m biased, but the quality and content of my videos make for emotional, treasured keepsakes - and I want all the brides and grooms in the area to know it!
Here’s what’s coming up:
Springfield Wedding and Bridal Expo, January, the Big E, West Springfield - a Jenks Production
Annual Connecticut Bridal Expo, January, Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford, CT - by Time Together Travel
Worcester Mass Wedding & Bridal Show Expo January, DCU Center, Worcester - another Jenks Productions event
The Western New England Spring Bridal Show, March, MassMutual Center, Springfield - a CJC event
Then there’s Valley Wed in the spring at Quonquont Farm in Whately
The Boylston Room in Easthampton did one earlier this year, hope they do one again!
What can you find at a bridal expo? Well, well! Here’s what you’ll see: wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, wedding shoes, veils and jewelry, hairstyles, formalwear, wedding bands, photographers, limo services, decorations, tents, mobile restrooms, flowers and centerpieces, cakes, favors, planners, caterers, video and venues.
I’ll let you all know if I’ll be at any of the events. In the meantime, if you want to preview some fine wedding video work ;) go to my portfolio page.
A story about a bride using part of her wedding to highlight her brother's proposal to his girlfriend is all over the wedding forums right now. According to Gulf News, it was the bride's idea to tweak her bouquet toss for her brother and future sister-in-law. When it was time to toss the bouquet, the bride asked the GF to take the bouquet as the brother walked over and got on one knee.
When I first read the story's headline, I thought that it was sweet, but I doubted that I would be so generous at my own wedding. This is, after all, the couple's very special, and likely painstakingly planned and expensive, day. But after reading the story, having this romantic addition towards the end of the celebration must have been really beautiful without stealing the couple's thunder.
What do you all think? Is it ever appropriate to propose to someone at someone else's wedding?
They say the vista at GreatHorse in Hampden is about 100 miles from the deck of the mountainside private resort. But on a clear day, I bet it’s more.
GreatHorse is a newer venue on the Western Massachusetts wedding scene, having launched around 2016. Owned by the Antonacci family, GreatHorse is a posh, 25,000-square-foot country club overlooking the Connecticut River Valley. The Antonacci’s are said to have invested $45 million in renovating the former Hampden Country Club and it shows. I’m not going to get into the amenities and just stick to the Starting Gate, GreatHorse’s events venue.
Typically, when I film a wedding here, we start in the garden with a ceremony at the club’s Adirondack gazebo perched over the Valley. Then it’s onto cocktails on the property’s 3,000 square-foot, covered deck. Inside the event space is gleaming cedar underneath polished copper ceilings and Swarovski crystal chandeliers.
While the property is elite, it’s not stuffy. GreatHorse has been known to put a vodka ice luge out upon request. I’d like to add that the staff here are top-notch!
For more information, go to the GreatHorse website.
Click to watch a real wedding at The Starting Gate at GreatHorse in Hamden, MA.
Every part of the state, anywhere really, has something that makes it special and unique. Outside of Hampden County, it’s mostly rural New England out here in Western Massachusetts (think old farms and quaint villages amidst forest), so one of those special and unique-to-the-area things for me is filming weddings in apple orchards. One of my favorites to film is Quonquont Farm in Whately. Quonquont is pronounced Kwan-Kwant and is the name of a Nonotuck chief.*
The big red barn where events are held was built in the 19th century, but restored to provide modern amenities including a kitchen, heat, a/c, lights, you get the idea. The weddings look like a Pinterest page with swaths of gauzy linen draped from the rafters entwined with tiny lights that glow like fireflies.
The 140-acre working farm hosts weddings May-October and the Huffington Post named Quonquont Farm one of the 11 most beautiful places to get married in the fall. From the flagstone patio to the flower fields and the apple orchards, weddings I’ve filmed at the farm always feel intimate and full of warmth.
For more info, check out Quonquont’s website.
*P.S. Some time after his death, in 1672 Quonquont’s widow and children “sold” their land in what was North Hatfield to Springfield mogul John Pynchon. I wonder how much choice the family had in the sale, though. Three years after that sale, Pynchon, colonel of the Hampshire Regiment, sent a malitia up to the Deerfield/Northampton area to wipeout Native Americans during King Philip's War. (That move ended up costing Pynchon big, by the way. While the militia was in the north, Native Americans attacked Springfield, burning much of it to the ground.) Meanwhile, the town of Whately claims to have purchased the land from the family in 1695. So, who really knows?
Upscale and traditional are the offerings on hand for weddings at the Springfield Country Club, located in the city of West Springfield.
The 18-hole golf course on 180 acres sits below a sprawling 1920s club house with a wrap around deck.
Weddings I've filmed here have a formal, yet fun, vibe.
I like filming here because of the change in scenery. Whereas many Western Massachusetts venues offer stunning mountain-top views, Springfield Country Club is a bit more down to Earth. Instead of looking down on the trees, you're at eye level. It feels like you're immersed in nature rather than being in awe of it. Both are great!
Thought I'd show you a sparkler photo I took here. These sparkler shots have become a of a hallmark for me. Others try (usually in PhotoShop - that's not how it's done), but they can't capture the magic that I do. Other than removing a stray hair here or a blemish there, this photo hasn't been edited.
The Springfield Country Club has a new-ish owner. The club was purchased from members in 2017 by The Hannoushes, a well-known Western Massachusetts family with a host of successful, local businesses. For this venture, Camile Hannoush is taking the lead. He's upgraded the grounds, created smaller private spaces for meetings and added a posh restaurant.
For more Springfield Country Club info, check out their website here.
Click to watch a real wedding at Springfield Country Club in W. Springfield, MA. This couple had bridal prep. at Homewood Suites in Holyoke and their ceremony was at Our Lady of the Cross Church in Holyoke, MA . They also went to the Wisteriahurst Museum for a photo session.
One of the things that stands out to me about Crestview Country Club is their service, which is really saying something since I’m such a visual guy.
This place is all about saying “yes.” Yes, your reception can start whenever you’d like. Yes! Your pets can take part in the ceremony. Yes, your wedding package can be customized to the Nth degree.
I haven’t filmed a wedding at Crestview in Agawam, Massachusetts, where a pet has been present, but there’s always next wedding season!
Because Crestview is all about the customization, the weddings I’ve shot there have all been very different. I’ve filmed no-frills parties as well as weddings that would make The Great Gatsby blush.
Crestview’s Grand Ballroom has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Pioneer Valley, but for a closer look guests are invited to relax on the Veranda Terrace.
For more information, check out Crestview's website, here.
Click to watch a real wedding at Crestview Country Club.
When I first got into wedding photography and videography, outdoor weddings were rare; vendors were just figuring out how to move the show onto the grass, while brides and grooms were put off by the risk of bad weather. How far the industry has come!
I would say more than half of the wedding ceremonies I shoot are outside, with about a quarter of the receptions under the sun and, later, stars. Us vendors have gotten the hang of working with Mother Nature and have developed ways to keep the good times going even if she doesn't want to cooperate by bringing the good weather. Capitalizing on this shift, The Log Cabin in Holyoke, Massachusetts, recently added “The Upper Vista” to its event spaces.
The Upper Vista is a completely outdoor wedding venue on The Log Cabin property. It's outfitted with a luxury tent that can accomodate an entire wedding celebration complete with a dining area, bar and dance floor (if you’d like). I’ve shot weddings there before including the one where I was the videographer for Kayla and Michael's fall wedding at the Upper Vista. They worked with staff to create a posh wedding that takes full advantage of the Western Massachusetts scenery. (Check it out in my video below.)
If you have any attachment to the Pioneer Valley, it’s all but guaranteed that you’ve been to some function at The Log Cabin. I can’t even begin to count how many weddings and other celebrations I’ve attended as a guest. (If you’re looking for appetizer suggestions, the bacon-wrapped scallops are great.) Set on Mount Tom overlooking acres of trees and quintessential New England towns, The Log Cabin has a number of event spaces on site. They cater and provide bar service as well as customized decorations.
Even though I’ve been to The Log Cabin many times, there are some aspects I still haven’t experienced. Like, did you know you can have a late-night mashed potato bar at your event?
The Log Cabin is co-owned by Peter Rosskothen (he launched Boston Chicken, which later became the Boston Market rotisserie chicken franchise) and executive chef Mick Corduff. With his former business partner Larry Perreault, Rosskothen resurrected the Log Cabin in 1996 as a banquet facility. Since then, Rosskothen has added to his empire to include the Delaney House (amazing brunch!) and Log Rolling (The Log Cabin's food truck) among other hospitality and food related ventures.
For more information, check out The Log Cabin’s website.
Click to watch a wedding at The Log Cabin, Upper Vista in Holyoke, MA
This former paper mill has been renovated into a gleaming events and mixed-use building right alongside the historic Holyoke canals.
Buzzfeed recognized Mill One at Open Square as one of 15 stunning wedding venues under $3,000 nationwide. I'm a fan, too. The brick walls and high, exposed ceilings are kind of like an open canvas for your day and, in the video below, you can see just how awesome the wedding Mark and Elizabeth threw there in May turned out. I personally like the industrial look (you should see some of the lamps I have at home that were cobbled together out of random machine and assembly line parts ... but that's for another blog), especially when it's mixed with a touch of Western Massachusetts' rural, rustic charm.
One of the nicer things about Mill One, outside the space itself, is loads of information the owners provide on their website about pricing and customization.
Mill One is a leader in Holyoke's revitalization; taking a piece of the Paper City's storied past and making it fresh, new and exciting.
For more information, check out their website.
The couple in the video below were married at Skinner Memorial Chapel in Holyoke, which boasts great acoustics ... something that can be difficult to find in gothic churches. I was curious and looked up who Skinner is. Turns out, Ernest M. Skinner was a famous American pipe organ builder in the early 20th century. According to Wistariahurst, Holyoke's city history museum, Skinner moved his family to Holyoke in 1874. His sons went on to be pretty important to Holyoke, too, with the launch of their successful Skinner's Satins business and dedication to philanthropy.
Click to watch a real wedding at Mill One Open Square, Holyoke MA
It kind of sounds like a ride at Disney: the “Mountain Magic,” but it’s actually the name the folks at Wachusett Mountain Ski Area have given their signature wedding venue.
Set on the side of the state’s second highest mountain and straddling Princeton and Westminster in Worcester County, Massachusetts, Wachusett’s Mountain Magic weddings range from traditional to chill. Wedding themes include New England clambake, barbecue and brunch.
Venue options include getting married by the pond, using the mountain’s white events tent or partying in the Granite Room, which features giant windows so even if you’re inside, you don’t miss the view.
One of the perks of getting married here is that couples can take a “skyride” during the cocktail hour if they wish. The skyride is a trip up and down the mountain on a ski lift. It’s a great way to get a quiet moment with your beloved before the party begins and let the sense that the world is now your oyster sink in. Plus, it makes for cool video footage. (Check out mine below.)
Want more info? Go to Mount Wachusett’s website.
P.S. This is quite an historic mountain in Massachusetts. "Wachusett" is a Nipmuc word meaning "near the mountain." The place was a gathering location for Native Americans for centuries and includes “Redemption Rock” where treaties were signed and deals brokered.
Hi and welcome! I'm the lead videographer and owner of Western Massachusetts-based HaleChannel. I have two studios, a cinematic film production company that focuses on weddings and events as well as custom promotions and videos; and a wedding and real estate photography business. HaleChannel launched in 2011.