A Whimsical, Formal Wedding at Castle Hill at Crane Estate in Ipswich, Massachusetts

Inspired by the season and Crane Estate’s old-world grandeur, Robin Chalfin (43 and a psychotherapist and a teacher) and Krista Kranyak (42 and a restaurateur) pulled off an elegant, formal fete that perfectly expressed their passion for celebrating life’s little gifts. While the couple initially envisioned at a rustic affair in a woodland setting or a historic barn, they fell head over heels for Castle Hill at Crane Estate within minutes of stepping foot on the Ipswich, Massachusetts, property. “We loved the incredible natural beauty of the seaside land preserve and the breathtaking grandeur of the rolling lawn and castle on the estate,” Robin says. “We have an unconventional love story, with a long winding road toward marriage. And as a same-sex couple and a multiracial family, we loved the idea of writing our own fairy tale.” The day unfolded with an interfaith ceremony on the lawn, where Robin and Krista shared their connection to the natural world and Jewish tradition. Close friends officiated, and the couple asked close friends and family members to read poetry and an excerpt from the legal decision to legalize same-sex marriage. In addition to exchanging vows, the couple included Robin’s children, Ella and Aria, in the ceremony. Together, they performed a family rite, in which Krista placed pear gold necklaces on each of them, symbolizing her new commitment as a parent and their bond as a family. Cocktail hour followed in the ballroom, where guests warmed up with decadent demitasse cups of squash soup with poached lobster and a spread of seasonal eats. “We had planned to have our cocktail hour outdoors on the great lawn, but with the unseasonably cold temperatures brought on by hurricane Joaquin, we moved the cocktail hour to the ballroom,” Robin says. The reception took place in the gallery, the ideal backdrop for Krista and Robin’s vision for a grand-yet-intimate feast overlooking Crane Estate’s expansive grounds. Flickering candlelight, varied centerpieces bearing lush greenery, mercury-glass accents and sleek silver linens struck the perfect balance of country charm and old-world glamour. “The floating candles helped to elevate the presentation and give it a formal more elegant look. It was a great advantage to be able to use real candles that gave the entire room a warm glow,” Robin says. Krista’s passion for cooking played out during dinner, where a farm-to-table feast delighted even the most discerning palates. After indulging in a slice of cake (chocolate-hazelnut, carrot or lemon-raspberry), the newlyweds and their guests headed straight to the dance floor. Robin and her maid of honor surprised everyone with a flash mob to “Everybody Dance Now,” which set the tone for a fun, high-energy evening. A tip from Robin: “At crucial times, both of us had to let go of expectations and also embrace ideas the other had that we didn’t initially welcome. Through this process, we developed an even deeper appreciation for each other’s talents and strengths and had a wedding that we loved all the more. We could not have imagined it alone—it was a true collaboration.” —Libby MacCarthy