A Charming Fall Wedding in Western Massachusetts

This setting was perfect, especially for fall!

Bride and groom main image

Photo by Olivia Rae James

During the summer of 2011, Jill Smith and Albert Handy’s mutual friends met and started dating—and were convinced that Jill and Albert would hit it off, too. “I had no interest in romance at the time because I was so focused on my career,” Jill remembers. Several double date attempts—including one that Jill canceled at the last minute, leaving Albert as the third wheel—came and went, but their friends were undeterred. Over Labor Day weekend, Jill was at an art show in East Hampton, and her friends walked in with Albert in tow. “As soon as he started speaking, I knew I was in trouble!” Jill remembers.

The pair started dating, and three and a half years later, Albert popped the question during a trip to Virginia to see Jill’s family. They took on planning slowly, relishing in their engagement for over a year before they even booked a venue and selected a date. “We stayed at Gedney Farm in New Marlborough, and were instantly charmed by the relaxed elegance and attention to detail," Jill says of the venue they did end up selecting. They loved the pastoral setting (including an on-site garden full of herbs, fruits, and vegetables), and got to planning their October 2, 2017, wedding in Massachusetts. They kept it relaxed, skipping a formal color palette in favor of pops of sunset orange. A close friend officiated, the groom’s band teacher led the jazz band, and the guest list was a reflection of the pair’s love for intimate gatherings—capping out at just 35 people!

Photographed by Olivia Rae James, this fall wedding celebration was totally charming. Keep reading for more!

Barn venue
Photo by Olivia Rae James

That slow progress from engagement to wedding wasn’t all by choice, though. “It took us most of that year and a half to find the perfect venue,” says Jill. But once they saw Gedney Farm, the decision was made.

Bride laughing
Photo by Olivia Rae James
Bride solo shot
Photo by Olivia Rae James

The only thing more beautiful than the bride’s Anna Maier gown? Her smile! “All of their dresses are custom-made in their Midtown atelier, from a muslin fitting to the final dress,” the bride explains. “I got to work with Charles, the designer, for most of my fittings, which was amazing!” Jill’s gown was a strapless fluted column gown, inspired by Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy’s simple frock.

Bride solo shot looking down
Photo by Olivia Rae James
Bride solo closeup
Photo by Olivia Rae James

The bride added a simple white bloom to her chic up-do.

Flower girls
Photo by Olivia Rae James

All of the women in the wedding party —including the flower girls —wore navy. “I had my bridesmaids each choose their own dress, resulting in a range of deep blue tones,” Jill says. The flower girls, in navy lace dresses, actually had to walk down the aisle twice. “During their first trip, they forgot to toss the petals!” Jill laughs. The second time around, though, the girls did a fantastic job.

Bride with bouquet
Photo by Olivia Rae James

Jill walked down the aisle alone, carrying a bouquet of blush and white spray roses and silver dollar eucalyptus.

Bride and groom at altar
Photo by Olivia Rae James
Bride and groom recessional
Photo by Olivia Rae James
Bride and groom walking home
Photo by Olivia Rae James

Albert’s childhood friend flew in from Seattle to officiate. The couple wrote their vows together, including a reading from 1 John 4:18 that says “Perfect love casteth out fear.” “Albert and I attended a benefit in 2014, and one of the honorees referenced this verse in his speech,” says Jill. “As he spoke, it hit me that that’s exactly what Albert was for me.”

Bride and groom kissing
Photo by Olivia Rae James

The groom wore a custom navy blue tuxedo, complete with a black shawl collar.

Floral Arrangement
Photo by Olivia Rae James

Jill adored the oversized arrangement on the escort card table. Peach garden roses and orange ranunculus stood out amongst white hydrangeas and seeded eucalyptus.

Reception venue
Photo by Olivia Rae James

Round tables were topped with low arrangements of dahlias, garden roses, ranunculus, forsythia, and jasmine vine. “I love how timeless white and green arrangements are at weddings, but I wanted the flowers to feel a little more romantic and seasonal, so we added hints of orange tones,” Jill explains.

Wedding reception tables
Photo by Olivia Rae James

Taper candles and wooden chivari chairs added warmth to the space, while the whitewashed barn walls gave the event a crisp, countryside feeling.

Bride and groom laughing at reception
Photo by Olivia Rae James
Bride and groom at reception black and white
Photo by Olivia Rae James

The farm-to-table menu had a little bit of everything, from spiced butternut squash bisque to kalbi Korean short ribs and jerk chicken. Adds Jill, “I’ve heard that people rarely remember the food at weddings, and we didn’t want that to be the case at ours!”

Bride and groom dancing
Photo by Olivia Rae James

Albert and Jill spun through the barn to “In a Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane, then a DJ played ‘90s and early 2000s hip-hop, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Prince, and Sade.

Wedding cake
Photo by Olivia Rae James
Bride and groom cutting cake
Photo by Olivia Rae James

The three-tiered wedding cake featured layers of chocolate cake and chocolate buttercream, topped with vanilla buttercream, plums, and pears.

Dancing at reception
Photo by Olivia Rae James

“Our officiant was more versatile than we expected,” says Jill. “He started with an incredibly moving homily, played a saxophone solo during the reception, and then did his own rendition of the Wobble at the after party!”

Albert and Jill made a point to make their wedding their own. “There’s more than one way to make your vision a reality, sometimes it just takes a little creative thinking. Stick to what you want, and don’t allow anyone else to sell you— figuratively or literally—on what they want you to have,” says Jill. We’ll toast to that!

Wedding Team

Venue, Catering & Cake: Gedney Farm

Bride's Dress: Anna Maier

Bride's Shoes: Pelle Moda

Hair: Katie Brignolo of The Spa at Litchfield Hills

Makeup: Lindsey Birkins

Groom's Attire: La Rukico Custom Tailor

Floral Design: Daisy Stone Studio

Paper Products: Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang, The Paperberry

Entertainment: Rosamund Trio, DJ Scottie

Rentals: Gillooly & Co. Design

Favors: Ioka Valley Farm

Photography: Olivia Rae James

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