An Inviting Autumn Welcome Dinner in the Berkshires at Seven Hills Inn
Kendall Trautman is a woman who knows what she wants. On a “Sunday Funday” outing with girlfriends, the group found themselves at a local bar known for football and live music. “After a few rounds of dancing, I needed refreshment and knew just how I intended to get one,” she says. “I walked right up to Darnell at the bar and said, ‘So, you’re going to buy me a drink!’ And after that, it was history.” Darnell Kuykendall, who had been watching the Patriots game with friends, admitted that he’d noticed Kendall long before she approached him. Years later, the pair traveled to the Berkshires and attended a curated, interactive dinner where Darnell proposed to his beloved with her grandmother’s heirloom ring.
When planning their big day, the bride and groom wanted to engulf their close friends and family with love in their favorite place. “Our favorite thing about the Berkshires is that each time you go, you discover something new,” describes the bride. “Throughout our travels, it was in the Berkshires that our love truly bloomed.” Highlighting their locale through the intimate rehearsal dinner was a particular area of interest for the couple.
“We wanted all of our guests to take the day to enjoy all the activities/our favorite places we had previously shared with them during the day, then pop in say hello, grab a drink and an app (or grab an after-dinner digestif and dessert) so we could welcome them to the area,” Kendall shares of their welcome event. They settled on a “Gather and Graze” theme for the dinner, focusing their decor on the venue’s natural beauty. “We wanted to showcase the ‘bounty of the season’ that is the fall in the Berkshires by having plentiful tablescapes of food.”
Guests poured into the Seven Hills Inn upon arrival to the Berkshires, eager to greet the nearly-newlyweds and get the party started. The coy patio displayed bold, vibrant colors reflecting the autumn leaves. Small-and-low floral centerpieces allowed for flowing conversation (and beverages) across the table, while the small votives provided a delicate touch to each table. Linens and candles alike featured artful designs of flowers and leaves, mirroring the natural aesthetic of the event. “My favorite personalization of the event was the cocktail napkins with our beloved dog, Tyrion,” explains Darnell.
As for Kendall’s favorite detail of the welcome dinner, “I loved wearing my mother’s wedding dress. With the help of an amazing tailor, I transformed the gown into a contemporary piece,” Kendall beams. “It was the perfect dress to wear and honor her during the weekend, and I plan on wearing it every year on our anniversary as a memento of our wedding.”
When it comes to wedding advice, the newlyweds are quite poignant. “The best advice I was given regarding the wedding weekend was to practice traveling between groups and conversations together so that you actually spend time with each other and your guests,” Kendall explains. The pair gives a more playful answer as far as keeping a happy marriage is concerned. “Do chores naked and you’ll never hate doing chores!” they laugh. “But in all seriousness, for your wedding, the best advice we received was to build in moments that allow you to take in the small moments and joy of the season. Our favorite was during our ceremony: instead of taking a moment to acknowledge all the people who we’ve lost or that couldn’t come, we chose to turn and look at all the people who could be there and soak in their spirit and look at the culmination of the ceremony.”