A Classic, Vintage-Inspired Wedding at Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, Massachusetts

                    Edith Butterworth (29 and a civil engineer) and Zachary Schiller (30 and a pharmaceutical researcher) planned an early spring we

Edith Butterworth (29 and a civil engineer) and Zachary Schiller (30 and a pharmaceutical researcher) planned an early spring wedding with a subtle vintage-meets-rustic twist and a color palette of emerald green and soft blue hues. The Willowdale Estate was the perfect setting for the affair with its inviting atmosphere and elegant, historic interiors. “I knew I wanted a vintage, classic, slightly rustic look for my wedding and knew Willowdale’s Arts and Crafts style mansion was the perfect backdrop for what I envisioned,” says Edith. The celebration started with a ceremony in the conservatory. The rich wood-paneled walls and large windows opening out onto acres of snow-dusted forest providing a stunning rustic scene for the couple’s “I do’s.” A handcrafted birch chuppah draped in greenery and Zachary’s grandfather’s tallit framed the couple as they exchanged traditional Catholic vows and performed the seven wedding blessings, a Jewish wedding ceremony tradition. “One of the compliments we received from many of our friends and family members was how personal it was and how much it reflected Zachary and I as a couple,” says Edit. A reception in the conservatory followed, where tables were dressed with white and burlap linens, bundles of classic white blooms and pops of emerald green accents. For a personalized feel, Edith and Zachary incorporated pottery from Edith’s mother’s collection into the centerpieces, placed signs Edith’s sister made on each of the tables and displayed vintage photos of their family members on their wedding days. Edith’s sister even brought traditional Italian wedding confetti, flavored almond candies, all the way from Rome for guests to enjoy throughout the evening. After dinner and dessert, it was time for the newlyweds to show off their dancing skills. The pair hit the floor and impressed guests with their moves set to the sound of Ben Fold’s Five’s “The Luckiest,” as performed by their live band Business Time. “Zach and I and my parents had taken dance lessons and it was so much fun to be able to show off what we had learned,” says Edith. Her favorite part of the reception? “Eating wedding cake with Zachary,” says says. “As an avid baker, choosing the cake was a tough process for me. Ultimately, we decided on three single-tier cakes, each in a different flavor. They were all delicious!”

For Edith’s bouquet, Karla Cassidy Designs created a romantic arrangement of soft cream, ivory, gray, pale pink and green blooms. Garden roses, ranunculuses, sweet peas and stock flowers gave the bundle a romantic, classic feel, while veronicas, succulents and dusty miller brought an element of texture to the bouquet.
Edith looked to the wedding’s color palette for inspiration when it came to choosing her bridal party’s attire. She chose a deep shade of emerald green and then allowed the three girls to choose their own dress style. “I knew it wouldn’t be warm in early March, so I gave the girls aqua pashminas to wear outside for pictures,” says Edith. “I also gave the girls aquamarine earrings to match their pashminas, plus it’s the birthstone for March, the month of the wedding and my birthday.”
Edith wanted simple and classic when it came to her wedding day look. She spotted her Nicole Miller gown at Vows Bridal Outlet and was instantly taken by its elegant sheath style, cap sleeves, v-shaped neckline and gathered detailing at the bodice, which lent the dress a vintage-glam vibe. “I wanted my accessories to match the crystal embellishment on my dress,” says Edith. “My shoes were ivory satin flats with crystals on the toes. I did not want to wear a veil, since our look was more casual, so I had a hairpiece custom designed,” says Edith. “For jewelry, with my hairpiece and the detail on my dress, I decided I only needed a simple pair of diamond and pear drop earrings. I also wore a silver cuff bracelet, which had belonged to my grandmother.”
Edith and Zachary carried their vintage, classic theme throughout all of their paper details, from the invitations to the programs and menu cards, to create a cohesive feel throughout the day. Each of the stationery elements featured the couple’s emerald and aqua color palette, as whimsical illustrated floral details. “We customized and coordinated our own save-the-dates, invitations, menus, programs and seating cards on Minted.com to match our wedding colors,” says Edith.
The day began with an interfaith ceremony in the Willowdale Estate’s conservatory. The wood-paneled walls brought a warm, cozy feel to the space, while bright skylights and windows looking out onto the snow-dusted property gave guests a sense of being in the great outdoors. “It was beautiful at dusk on a wintry evening,” says Edith.
Coming from different religious backgrounds, Edith and Zachary decided to write their own ceremony, including elements from both their Catholic and Jewish faiths. “We combine both our traditions and had our ceremony co-officiated by my parish priest and a rabbi,” says Edith. “We wrote our own ceremony using traditional Catholic vows and bible readings, along with the Jewish seven wedding blessings and exchange of rings.” The pair stood under a birch chuppah draped in eucalyptus, pussy willows and Zachary’s father’s, grandfather’s and great-grandfather’s tallits and the final blessing was said by the priest and rabbi together, alternating between English and Hebrew.
As an avid baker, choosing a cake was no easy feat for Edith — it had to be just right. “I am very picky and wanted the cake to be especially delicious,” says Edith. “We had three different flavors of cake and they were all delicious.” The cakes were decorated with textured buttercream frosting, succulents and a distinct cake topper, two of which belonged to Zachary’s parents and grandparents. To tie into the vintage theme, the cakes were displayed atop unique vintage cake plates found by Edith’s mother.
Subtle personal details were woven throughout the reception, giving the classic decor a customized feel. Green pots from Edith’s mother’s pottery collection were used to display bunches of fresh white blooms and the couple treated guests to assorted Italian confetti, flavored almond candies, which Edith’s sister brought from Rome specially for the occasion.
In addition to table numbers, Edith and Zachary named each of the tables after a place of special meaning to add a personalized element to the decor.
Following the ceremony, the Willowdale Estate conservatory was transitioned for the reception. Tables were brought in and dressed with white, burlap and emerald green linens, bunches of fresh white blooms and flickering candlelight, creating the perfect ambient, vintage-inspired scene. “I have always loved historic homes, buildings and architecture,” says Edith. “I loved Willowdale and knew it would be the perfect warm, cozy venue for an early spring wedding. I knew I wanted a vintage, classic, slightly rustic look for my wedding and Willowdale’s Arts and Crafts style mansion was the perfect backdrop for what I envisioned.”