The Perfect Summer Wedding Reception at The Commons 1854

Colleen and Michael had the perfect weather on their wedding day at The Commons 1854 in Topsfield, MA.  Their Wedding Ceremony was at their church in Bradford,MA and the reception followed with formal wedding photos at the historic Gould Barn on location at The Commons 1854.

Their wedding moments were captured by the fabulous wedding photographer Gaby McCarthy who knew the brides classic vision and acquired every special moment.

The wedding photos continued inside to the ballroom where the bridal party lined up on the balcony for one of the Commons 1854's signature wedding photos.

When the bridal party had finished their photos, they joined the cocktail hour to enjoy the brides signature drink "Red Berry Sangria".  The signature cocktail was unique in that it was made with white wine, fresh berry puree, organic peaches and strawberries.  The master bartenders at the Commons 1854 allowed the fruit to soak in the wine for 2 days prior to the wedding.  The sangria paired so well with the brides summer wedding cuisine. 

Finally, the bride and groom had some time alone for the first time since being pronounces husband and wife on their wedding day.  We all know your wedding day is so busy and there are many guests to talk to and wedding reception formalities to complete.  Our planners at the Commons 1854 make sure that the bride and groom get a rest all the while enjoying their great food and beverages that they have hand selected in the wedding planning process.   Now for the fun part...

Colleen and Michael were introduced for the first time as husband and wife into the grand ballroom at the Commons 1854; their wedding reception site.  This picture is worth 1000 words and perfectly describes the feel of the event and the fun that the bride and groom were experiencing.

The Details
A Replica house was handmade and used as the gift box, it was set just inside as guests entered the cocktail hour through the garden terrace.

The Garden Terrace Cocktail hour at The Commons 1854

We love Rod iron tables adorned with lanterns with this Summer Wedding Theme

The Favors- So cute and original
Votive holders mimicked a chalk board, they were filled with a piece of chalk and a match book with the
couples name and date 

The sunset shined through the 9 large window at the Commons 1854 onto this beautiful bride and groom during their first dance as husband and wife.  It was a moment that their wedding guests will never forget!

Finally, the twilight photo! The guests enjoyed their woopie pie station as the bride and groom stood on the Common with their wedding venue in the background.  This was in fact the perfect summer wedding reception.

Blog by Johanna Esposito
Boston Wedding Consultants
The Commons 1854 

Ally & Matt's Summer Wedding

Ally & Matt had their wedding reception and ceremony here at the beginning of July!

Perfect lighting, perfect kiss!

Their outdoor garden ceremony was beautiful - complete with classic navy blue and yellow accents!
Chairs for the ceremony, delicately decorated with baby's breath and navy ribbon.
Is it over yet?
Ally's grandfather officiated the wedding...a memory they will cherish forever.
You may kiss your bride!

Their reception wouldn't have been complete without the live music from Boston Common Band -  everyone danced all night long!

Ally & Matt boogie on the dance floor!
And what would a wedding be without someone doing the worm over an invisible jump rope??

But, the highlight of the wedding reception was THE HORAH!

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the Jewish tradition, The Horah is the chair dance!  Ally, Matt, and a few others were raised up...the excitement & energy could have been felt all throughout the New England!

Ally, Matt, and the supportive groomsmen!
The ring bearer!  What a cutie!

Ally's mother...and her first Horah experience!  Think she liked it??
Ally's father...and his first Horah experience!  He definitely liked it!

 The incredible photography was done by Benoit & McCarthy Photography

Here are more photos below for you to enjoy!

Stunning bride, inside and out!
A beautiful portrait taken in the Bridal Suite
Look at that train!
Mother & daughter before the ceremony

Beautiful shot in front of the Parson Capen House

Goofy groomsmen!
The entire bridal party...gorgeous in navy blue and gray!
A moment alone after dinner, captured by the photographer!
We wish you many, many blissful years of marriage, Ally & Matt!

The Commons 1854 is Boston's North Shore Premier Wedding Venue

Candy Bar!

Ever thought about having a Candy Bar at your wedding reception?  Well, you should!  At The Commons 1854, many young couples have had deliciously elegant Candy Bars.  By the end of the night, your family and friends will want nothing more than to fill a "Mr. and Mrs." bag of sweet treats to take for the car ride home!

Candy station featuring button candies, jelly beans, and M&Ms,
with plastic bags for guests to fill to the brim and take home!

Make it personal with these candies:
  • M&Ms with your new last name!
  • Heart-shaped lollipops
  • Monogrammed chocolate bars

Or transport your guests to an Old Fashioned Penny Candy Store with some of these:
  • Mary Janes
  • Caramel Creams
  • Boston Baked Beans
  • Rock Candy
  • Atomic Fireballs
  • Bit-O-Honey
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Salt Water Taffy

Candy Bars are sweet and decadent  - personalize it, color coordinate it, make it fun!
White and gold winter themed candy bar!

The opportunities are endless for your wedding reception.

...and your guests will be on a sugar high well into the after-party!

Beautiful candy station displayed in the rotunda for guests to take
as they leave the wedding reception!

Blog posted by Jennifer LeBel of The Commons 1854

A Rustic Chic Wedding has been the trend among many brides these days.  Rustic Chic Weddings can include anything from lace-wrapped mason jars as wedding reception centerpieces to hand-painted vintage wooden signs for your ceremony.

The Commons 1854 is the perfect place for your Rustic Chic Wedding.  Located just north of historic Boston, The Commons 1854 is in the heart of Topsfield, Massachusetts.  With burlap, lace, and turquoise as your country chic color-scheme, your guests will feel as though they're no longer in Massachusetts!

Ideas for your Rustic Chic Wedding Ceremony & Reception:
  • Turquoise painted vases filled with baby's breath as centerpieces for the reception
  • Display your signature cocktails on chalkboards
  • Mason Jars for guests' drinks during cocktail hour
  • Mini planter boxes w/ stamped table number as centerpieces for the reception
  • Cowboy boots!
  • Lace-wrapped mason jars filled with sunflowers as centerpieces
  • Wooden signs lining the aisle of the ceremony "from this day forward", "for better or worse", "'til death do us part"
  • Tie place cards to horseshoes or just simply display the name cards in sliced wooden logs
  • Shock your guests by showing up to your ceremony in a vintage Rolls Royce

Happy Planning!

Blog posted by Jennifer LeBel of The Commons 1854

Formal Wedding Photo Etiquette and Checklist

Formal Wedding Photography Etiquette in Boston
and on the North Shore of Boston- The Commons 1854 in historic
Topsfield, MA

All vendors hired play such an integral role in your wedding day.  Here at the Topsfield Commons 1854, when we execute your wedding day timeline, we use the following comprehensive checklist.   Below is a guideline for the photography for a wedding reception established and published by The ABC.

Brides Wedding Portrait Etiquette

If the bride chooses to have a formal portrait taken, she should do it when her wedding dress is ready. In addition, she should have her hair styled and her makeup done in the same manner that she plans to have it done for the wedding; she should also wear the same accessories she’ll wear on the wedding day.

Traditionally, a bride’s formal portrait was taken to provide her with a wedding picture to send, along with the wedding announcement, to the newspapers. Today, formal portraits are commonly taken on the wedding day, and the best photos processed rapidly so that it can be released to the newspapers; however, the bride giving the groom her formal portrait, as a wedding gift, is still considered a romantic notion. In addition, taking a formal portrait before the wedding is also a good way for the bride to do a test run of the hairstyle and makeup she wishes to have on the day of the wedding.

We use the following checklist to help clients decide what photos they
wish to have taken.


Formal photos of the

_____ Bride alone, in her wedding dress

_____ Groom alone

_____ Bride and groom together

_____ Bride with her parents

_____ Bride with the maid or matron of honor

_____ Groom with the best man

_____ Couple with the bridesmaids and maid or matron of honor

_____ Couple with the best man, groomsmen, and ushers

_____ Couple with the groom’s parents

_____ Couple with the bride’s parents

_____ Couple with the children in the wedding party

_____ Couple with the entire wedding party

Candid photos of the

_____ Bride leaving the house

_____ Guests arriving at the ceremony site

_____ Bride’s family getting out of their car

_____ Ushers escorting close relatives to their seats

_____ Groom’s parents being seated

_____ Bride’s parents being seated

_____ Wedding party members in the processional

_____ Bride and her escort

_____ Exchange of vows

_____ Special moments, such as lighting a unity candle or breaking a glass

_____ Children in the wedding party

_____ Couple walking during the recessional

_____ Wedding party, with the ceremony site in the background

Candid photos of the Wedding Reception

_____ Couple being showered with toss items like bubbles

_____ Couple getting into their car

_____ Couple sitting in the back seat of their car

_____ Couple arriving at the reception site

_____ Couple greeting guests

_____ Couple mingling with guests

_____ Couple at the head or sweetheart table

_____ Couple dancing the first dance

_____ Bride and her father dancing

_____ Groom and his mother dancing

_____ Couple cutting the wedding cake

_____ Couple feeding each other a piece of the cake

_____ Family and guests dancing

_____ Couple making toasts

_____ Couple saying farewell to their parents

_____ Bride tossing the bouquet

_____ Groom tossing the garter

_____ Couple leaving the reception site in their getaway car

_____ Any other special moments the couple has determined in advance with the photographer

Blog Posted by Johanna Eve of The Topsfield Commons 1854 and Boston Wedding Consultants 






Here at The Commons 1854, we see a host of the most amazing photographers that present us with truly incredible work.  Thus, this thought inspired today's blog to be really light and cheery and made me want to simply post some of the most thoughtful and creative photographs that we have seen throughout the years here at The Commons.  Of course, these few are just a miniscule amount that have touched us, but just a few we would like to highlight.  Each photograph is different, and really highlights what each professional has to offer in terms of their creative sense.  Happy browsing !! 

Add some fun "extras" !

We love to see people add really fun stuff to their weddings to really make them unique, and "their own."  Here at The Commons 1854, we see a lot of these amazing ideas that really help to enchant the evening.  Some people go the traditional route, through the introduction of unusual cuisine or goody stations that feature the bride's favorite cupcake, or the groom's favorite pastry.  Others feature it during cocktail hour.  We most recently had a bride donate her recipe to our chefs, so that her menu could feature her signature appetizer, a buffalo chicken quesadilla, made bite size in a crisp puffed pastry dough.  However, food is somewhat the most common theme in terms of "spicing up the night."  Why not use media instead?  Let us tell you what we are thinking....

First off, let us talk about using entertainment.  Most recently, we had an amazing wedding that really exemplified both the bride and groom's dedication to their heritage through something fun that the bride hid up her sleeve.  The bride, who was wedding her long time love from Uganda, decided to bring a piece of her husbands culture to life.  She surprised him with native dancers, dressed in all the traditional garb, that were simply amazing.  They danced and chimed in unison, and brought such a surprise to the onlooking guests.  You could tell by the gasps and the awe in the room that this was a brilliant, fun and really different idea.  Not only did the guests get to know her groom a little more, but they also learned about his personal background and got a glimpse at what is held closest to their hearts, and how they will start and fulfill their marriage.  Others as well choose to go with the "theme" of the evening.  Last year, we found it so amazing that one bride and groom chose to have Victorian Carolers standing at the entrance to welcome guests to the seasoned winter wedding.  All of these unique ideas really will have your guests remembering the individuality of your wedding for years to come. 

So, we have cultural dancers and carolers that tops off our "extras" list.  They were simply amazing.  However, instead of viewing the spectacle first hand, why not save it for later.  Confused?  What we mean is this.  Make your guests live entertainment in themselves and install a photo booth!  We have one custom made for The Commons 1854 by our most recommended DJ's from Move it Music DJ and Lighting Co., and it is seriously a hit every time.  The bride and groom can customize a backdrop for all the photos to be printed on, and then leave it up to your guests to create pictures that you can look back on for years to come.  It is SUCH a great idea.  Let's face it, the photographers are amazing but simply cannot capture every single great photo of the night.  A photo booth allows your guests to be themselves, dress up in boa's and tiaras with crazy glasses and let loose.  The bride and groom can be adorned in hats and masks, that look hysterical when thrown over a tuxedo and a wedding dress.  The best part?  The photo's print out for you right there, so request that all your guests get copies and leave them for you :)  That way, you can see you guests in their finest hour, having a bawl at your wedding.  Sometimes, these natural smiles and laughs can surpass formal photos by FAR.  

There are so many more unique ideas out there...These are simply a couple.  Go ahead and have your groomsmen perform magic tricks, like a couple of ours did recently, or take some salsa lessons and salsa for your first dance.  The point is, even if your in love with the classic "Black Tie" theme, and want your wedding to stay traditional, it can never be seen as out of bounds to offer entertainment that your guests will love.  Our blog preaches about creating individuality and a setting that will create the best memories possible, and these are certainly a couple ways to achieve just that!

Happy planning! 

Five Star, White Gloved Service.  Professionalism with a smile and a sense of humor.  Smiles for your big Day.  Sheer excitement that is shown only through respect and hard work.  Perfection at what they do.  Making events flawless through teamwork that is admirable.  Following direction.  Executing courses with a breeze, and still having time to mingle.  

Paints a pretty elaborate image of being out at a beautiful establishment, being waited on hand and foot, with no issues... at least I would say.  But no, these are not just random descriptors of the wait staff at the Ritz .  These words are meant to paint a picture of just what our in house catering staff here at The Commons 1854 has to offer.  Indeed, we hold them true.  Maintaining a five star rating is not easy, and when all is said and done, commending those that help to achieve this success is what we are all about.  

From the moment our guests walk in...well, let's face it, they don't walk in by themselves.  We designate two of our freshest faces :) to stand guard at the doors, awaiting our beloved guests arrivals.  When they arrive, our greeters welcome them with open arms,  ushering them in with kind remarks and taking their jackets if necessary.  These two are dedicated to standing there until every guest has been greeted and taken in to our venue and helped to settle in.  They help to usher our guests in to our cocktail hour, which takes place in our gorgeous rotunda and foire.  Our staff stand ready with glasses of Malbec already poured, or a crisp Pino Grigio.  They offer champagne or a signature drink that can be chosen by the bride.  Just walking in in this manner can be comparable to walking in to a 5 star luxury hotel.

From then on, the night is left in our hands.  During the remainder of cocktail hour, our staff is dedicated to immersing our guests in the wonderful horderve's that we offer.  Why not try a beautiful sea scallop, wrapped in hickory smoked bacon and delicately placed on a skewer with your Washington Apple martini?  We make drinking with one hand and eating with the other look easy.  And if your the Bride and Groom?  Or the Bridal Party?  Well then you have one, even two, dedicated servers at your beck and call.  We like to ensure our bride and groom with expert wait staff that can certainly ascertain anything that they may need during this period of time.  We don't want you to worry about having to ask someone for a drink, we want to already have it there for you.  Have mango and brie tarlets (so yummy!) on the ready, and korean beef skewers constantly next to your side with this exceptional service.  Our staff always thinks one moment ahead, and it is this thought process that separates us from the rest.  

At dinner, the teamwork is further exemplified and simply blows people out of the water for lack of a better expression.  The staff emerges like an army, bursting through closed doors, bearing baskets filled with fresh baked bread.  Try a cranberry roll, or a classic French baguette.  Immediately after, the staff reads your mind and places down a beautifully presented salad, all chosen by the bride and groom.  It could be our wonderful "October Salad," that is served with a mixed greens, candied walnuts, dried blueberries, crumbled goat cheese and is topped with our signature apple cider vinagrette.  It could be our classic ceasar, topped with fresh shaved parmigian reggiano, homemade croutons and delicately placed in a little cup, formed out of parm cheese that is meant to be eaten and enjoyed.  We offer you wine with dinner, a classic red or white choice.  We insist on maintaining a cleanliness like you would like in your own home, so we are constantly removing old glassware, plates, even freshening up your knife with a new one for dinner. (And this is just the starters...we like to keep tricks up our sleeve.)  We do this without being so overbearing that your wondering if we will ever just leave you alone for a nice meal, which trust me, we have all shared those thoughts at one point or another.  

When dinner arrives, it is stunning.  The staff flawlessly carry your gourmet dinner straight from the kitchen to your table.  They kindly remove the lid, only when your at your seat (and if your not they will seriously wait for you to come back to remove it, because why would you want a cold meal!), allowing the aroma to envelop and waft right towards your taste buds.  Now, it is your turn to savor the moment.

For the rest of the night our guests need not worry because everything they need is right there.  Our servers will fill your water while your out dancing, so when you get back parched and overheating, you won't be dying and trying to flag down the first soul you see.  We like to practice these little things, things we like to call silent service, because they truly show how we train to anticipate our guests needs, and appease them without making them ask.  And honestly, if you don't believe me?  Then take a peek at a few excerpts from reviews that have critically acclaimed The Commons 1854 and their staff as being #1!!!!

"It was the personal attention bestowed on each and every one of us that positively blew me away."
"Where do I even begin with the wait staff?  I feel like I just met a group of my best friends...I went in knowing that everyone would be very pleasant, but now I can't imagine our reception without them!" 
"You truly treated each and every person as if they were a guest at your home and took care of everything.  I am so happy with the way the night ran.  From the bar manager keeping us up to date on the alcohol to the room being cleared in record time.  Simply the BEST wait and service staff at a venue.  You met my expectation and then exceeded them by double." 
"With all the special care your staff gave us and our family, we all felt like the night was an awesome fairytale.  Thanks again for such a magical evening." 
"The interaction that my husband and I had with each of you on the team was outstanding.  Our guests repeatedly expressed their admiration for the level of service, the quality of the team, the attention to detail and the overall effort made to ensure that this special night was a success." 

And this is just the icing on the cake as far as reviews.  Check us out on Yelp, Wedding Wire, The Knot, Google Reviews, and much more to see just how fabulous we are.  And Hey, it seriously isn't bragging, boasting, being totally egocentric if we know its true. Right?!

Winter Weddings :)

 Not everyone can understand, but if your a New Englander, you can.  Winter can be one of the most gruesome, harsh things to get through without something to look forward to.  Most people look at it, or I say most people because it's how I feel :), as a couple months that you kind of just have to grin and bear.   However, I may change my tune just a bit when it comes to having a winter wedding.  I know the concept sounds a little scary, with all the snow and minus thirty temperatures.  But really?  It could be simply amazing.

Look at how the bride and groom look in the first picture.  As they hold hands, they are illuminated by the delicate snow and the glistening trees.  Her dress seems to shine and shimmer without any added sparkle.  His black tux makes him stand out against the backdrop in an intense yet simple way.  
The whole scene is just breathtaking.  Imagine taking your wedding photos underneath the tree scape, or in front of the gorgeous Topsfield Commons all lit up with Christmas lights.  I think it would be amazing to combine the holidays and a wedding.  The things that you could decorate with are endless, everyone is always in a superb holiday cheer, and a wedding gives you one more thing to anticipate and celebrate...two  things that people actually love to do during winter!

Sparkle and Shine with Firefly Lighting

Stunning. Magical. An iridescent landscape that can be highlighted like a castle.

These are just some of the descriptors I can give that seem to instantly jump off the tongue as soon as FireFly Lighting Co. takes the stage in the center of The Commons 1854.  Look at this amazing picture, popping with blues and turquoise, and centered with an amazingly velvety pink that seems to create an iconic center for this beautiful bride and groom.  The band seems to be draped in a reddish hue, making the uniformity of their black garb seem ultra sophisticated.  It really does look magical.  Imagine then, to be able to customize a color that would make your porcelain skin shine, or ivory gown glisten among a pale sunshine background.  Honestly, the great thing is that you don't even have to imagine these scenarios.  At The Commons 1854, we promote the use of FireFly Lighting to make these images of beauty come alive for the best day of your life.  How does this happen? Lets talk.

Firefly Lighting is a professional lighting company, exclusive to The Commons, that specializes in the use of sophisticated uplighting to bring drama and flow to private events here at this historic venue.   The company provides uplights for every corner of the ballroom, balcony and even downstairs in the rotunda to emphasize the color schemes of the bride's choice.  Don't worry--they aren't gaudy and huge.  They are elegant, black, rectangle shaped lights that can be perfectly fit near the gorgeous towering pillars of the ballroom, and the light they emit is just beautiful.  Choose a beautiful pale yellow for the fall, to accentuate the harvest theme with flowers of a ivory and purple hue.  Choose a glamorous red, to highlight the red sashes on your bridesmaid's dresses and the perfect red rose petals at your feet for your Christmas wedding.  Make your night glitzy and glam with a magenta hue or vibrant purple, and have unreal photos for years to come.  Seriously, the point is, they make a huge difference in the way that not only you will perceive your night, but all of your guests as well.  Instead of just a dance in the ballroom, it can be a dance in a fairytale wedding all colored in greens and pinks.  It can be simply spectacular.

Beyond the fact that uplighting creates these breathtaking moments with luminous hues, we have a technician that can control these hues at the touch of a dial.  Why stick with just one color all night when you can have ten?  For women, more choices can never be a bad thing, and for a groom?  Just go with it.  Change the color with the music.  When everyone is dancing, intensify the night with a bright green, and then slow it down to a sultry gray or shimmering white as you slow dance for the first time.  The options are really endless for uplighting, and it is truly one option that you do not want to overlook when finalizing those late minute details with your wedding planner.  Hand tailor a lighting package that suits you and your fiance's needs today, and make your wedding as perfect as possible!

Let Us Tailor You Some Tapas! :)

If your in the mood to satisfy those wedding taste buds and create a dramatic, delicious centerpiece at the same time, then having a signature, custom tailored tapas table is the way to do it.  Here at the Commons, the Executive Chef has compiled a set of unique "Tapas Tables" that the bride can choose from to serve her guests on her most special wedding day.  All of the tapas are freshly made on site by superbly trained chefs and are constructed using all of the finest ingredients, even topped with fresh basil and parsley grown fresh in our own garden that is adjacent to this historic venue.  Trust us, guests are always gasping as they are ushered in the front door, not expecting to see a lovely array of bits and pieces standing bright and center.  
Handmade mozzarella is garnished with fresh shaved prosciutto
and sun dried tomatoes.
The combination of the vinegar and salt flavors are too tasty. 
A mouth watering homemade arrancini,  or an Italian style rice ball,
that is layered with a savory Pecorino Romano risotto and is drizzled
with our house made marinara.

                A wonderful fall combination.
               Perfectly ripened Granny Smith
                 (Above) Apples compliment a soft, mild cheese
               and are served with candied walnuts
                for that added sugary crunch.
And of course, a picture of an eclectic Mediterranean
tapas arrangement. 

These hand cut honeydew and cantaloupe melons are wrapped in the finest imported
Italian prosciutto's, drizzled with a balsamic glaze and are paired with our Peking Duck.
We do ours just a little different, and stuff a paper thin scallion crepe with pan
 seared duck breast cooked in its own fat, add  julienned carrots and scallions, and top the sushi
style rolls with a hoisen sauce.
They are amazing!

Shots?  These are so yummy!  It's a delightful warm asparagus soup shooter,  served with a crunchy
 battered asparagus piece right on top.  Sip it, Dip it, or Shoot it.  However you prefer! 
A rich and savory balsamic glazed meatball, topped with Gorgonzola cheese, caramelized fig and
 finished with a bit of micro-celery for some added zest. 

A perfect stuffed pepper, made with our signature
stuffing that absolutely melts in your mouth.

               First off, what a centerpiece.  Second, they are a gorgeous garden fresh Caprese style salad,
adorned with garden fresh tomatoes, basil, and a delicate balsamic reduction. 

A beautifully presented pan-seared sea scallop, topped with gently crisped pancetta and adorned with
 baby pea shoots for a delightful crunch.  All of which is served on a delicate tasting spoon for easy eating.

These are just a few of the hundreds of tapas that we can create to make your wedding day unforgettable.  We are more than accommodating to vegetarian and nut free requests. Please consult Kristi, Johanna or Maura today to talk about some of our amazing custom tapas stations that we can create for you.  As a bride, make your wedding day even more unique with foods that display your taste and personality!  

-Melissa Wood
The Commons 1854 

Natural Sunshine and the Perfect Wedding Venue

Samantha and Danny's Spring Wedding Reception at the Commons 1854 was the perfect day.  Her colors and theme was filled with natural yellows and greens which was the perfect match for her wedding venue and the perfect late spring day.  Her wedding day was full of sunshine as her wedding party enjoyed a post ceremony wedding cake martini (Samantha's signature drink)
in the outdoor garden terrace at the Commons 1854.

The tall Maple trees at the Reception formal photo site provide a soft filtration of sunlight.  This ensured Samantha and Danny the ideal formal photos for their wedding.
The cake which was displayed in the grand ballroom at the Commons 1854 was the ideal accent to Samantha and Danny's motif.   The natural sunlight shining in through the large leaded glass windows matched the yellow rose petals on the cake table.   
The brides accents- Natural bees honey and menu card adorned the place setting at Samantha and Danny's Wedding Reception. 

The bride and grooms Ballroom.  The moment they entered the ballroom for their reception, Samantha and Danny's faces glowed.  They had sunset yellow uplighting by Firefly Event Lighting which started glowing as the sun went down. 

It was the perfect day for the perfect couple.  Photos taken by Leise Jones

Its the Little things that Go a Long way !

  The Commons 1854. Topsfield, Massachusetts
Spice your night up with a beautiful cappuccino that could make your heart sing just as much as the cupcakes you’ll be pairing with it…..

------------------------------------------------------------------------Of course, there is a lot more to it than just picking a couple things to make your wedding extraordinary. There is of course the planning, and the shopping, and the planning, and more planning.  It can be stressful, it can be tedious, and sometimes, if you are that far in, the details can honestly be quite dreadful.  However, don’t stress it.  Sometimes, the most memorable events to your wedding can be the small stuff.  

I think it’s a wide consensus of most bride’s that we see here at The Commons 1854 that they just want their wedding to be unique, completely individualized, and amazing.  That is why for today’s blog, I chose to feature weddings that haven’t really followed the traditional suit during the late night hours.  Whether it be forgoing a cake and doing personalized ice cream cupcakes, saying “no-way” to coffee and instead choosing custom-heart shaped cappuccinos, or featuring a late night snack, such as a our amazing hand-cut shoestring french-fries topped with a parmesan truffle topping and burger sliders, these brides have shown their resistance to keeping to conformity, and instead have shown a part of themselves on a day that is supposed to be all for themselves. 

A huge trend that has appeared with our brides is the lack of a traditional wedding cake. Now sure, wedding cakes are illustrious centerpieces to what we coincide with a traditional wedding.  However why not mix it up?  We have seen some awesome alternatives, our favorite being one bride’s choice of an ice cream cupcake.  They were so cute and yummy!  Another bride chose to do individual black raspberry, truffle, red velvet, and chocolate cupcakes tiered as if they were a wedding cake, and invited their guests to join them in thecutting” process.  It was adorable! Others go the route of using handmade Italian pastries, such as the ones shown in the picture, that go just perfectly  with delicately laced heart shaped cookies, and the delicious espressos that I will next discuss.
So, we have the cupcakes.  Now, how to make the coffee service different?  Nix it all together and try our gourmet Black Tie Espresso.  Black Tie prides itself on serving the finest espresso this side of Italy, and indeed, it holds true.  Adorned with all the bells and whistles, Black Tie uses only the superior machinery as well, that can ensure satisfaction on this most special day.  Brides have absolutely loved this option instead of a traditional coffee service.  What entails is this.  Guests are invited to the espresso table, at their convenience of course, and their surprise waits.  Not only are traditional cappuccinos made to order, which are quite exceptional considering the coffee is legitimately ground in front of you, but they can be personalized with flavorings such as anisette, vanilla, even white chocolate raspberry.  One can make it a latte’ or even just a straight up espresso without hesitation.  Yet, the most amazing part is the latte’ art.  We are proud to say that Frank Martino Jr., one of the few licensed Master Baristas in the U.S, runs this company and likewise stands tableside to execute this master art.  Brides are thoroughly impressed with this skill, drawing hearts that seem to perfectly compliment the delectable gourmet espresso underneath.  It’s truly a great way to customize the end of your night without blowing your budget!  
Ahh, and last but not least comes the food.  While espresso and chocolates have always, and will always, have such a warm place in my heart, nothing can compare to a late night snack…and here, we do them exceptionally well.  Brides and grooms alike have found our hand-cut, truffle and Parmigiano reggiano laced French fries, paired with a savory burger slider, a must-have on the late night list.

  Just as the night is getting hot and the dancing is getting crazy, it is inevitable that you’ll find yourself and your guests growing a little bit hungry.  These snacks will cure that sensation in an instant! Not only are they super delicious and perfect size, they come in cute little take out boxes! The truffle fries will keep you coming back for more, with their delicate crunch and cheesy aftertaste and the sliders will give you that love for a burger just like the first time you had one.  They are the perfect conclusion to an amazing evening and give you that teeny little hint of some late night love!

Your Own Personal Space- To the Bride

It is of the utmost imortance to have your own personal space as a bride.  With all the jitters than can naturally happen on your wedding day, our Bridal Suite at the Commons 1854 is the perfect location to relax prior to your ceremony.  Not only can it give you some simple peace of mind and clarity, it's a place in which you can also share with your bridesmaids and closest friends (Ladies of course :).   A Champagne toast with your bridesmaids in the last moments before your wedding ceremony will create an unforgettable moment in time between friends and a memory that will carry with you a lifetime.   And not to mention this extremely important fact?  Every bride wants to look stunning all our Bridal Suite can serve as a key place to which you can retreat to to touch up your make up and fix your hair, just to make sure those pictures come out flawless all night.  After all, every woman loves their own space to get ready.  Why not make sure you have that and some to make even your "shiniest" moments look like radiance! 

Wedding Music

Music is a very important and integral portion of your wedding ceremony and Reception. When considering the music for your wedding, be sure to create an overall consistent theme for the music. If you have live entertainment for the ceremony cocktail hour then a band is certainly appropriate for your reception. Be sure to create an overall “playlist” from the moment the guests enter the venue to the moment they leave. For example, hire your music vendor to begin the music 30 minutes prior to your ceremony. The first guest who arrives should hear the prelude or interlude. If your ceremony is at a venue such as The Commons 1854, personalize your processional and recessional music such as a classical and instrumental version of your favorite song or that same version of your grandparents wedding song. Ceremony music is often left as an afterthought when it should be planned during the start of the music planning process to carry through a consistency and help to make lasting memories through the music. The cocktail hour music should also be well thought out. The music should not be too loud but serve background music to your guest’s conversation. If you hire a live singer, he or she should stand away from the entrance to the cocktail hour and slowly make their way toward the guests, this makes a more dramatic effect. The Reception music is a personal choice but leave the mixing or general song selection to the professionals. The last thing you will want is to clear the dance floor with music that your guests cannot or do not want to dance to.   Check out out preffered music entertaniment vendors for more information.  C-Zone Music; Move It Music; Nu Image DJ.

Happy Planning!  Johanna Pechilis- General Manager/ABC Consultant- The Commons 1854

The top 6 wedding colors of 2012 and 2013

The top 6 Top Wedding colors for 2012-2013 

The Commons 1854 is the perfect palette to suit your dream colors at your wedding reception.  Below are the hottest color trends.

And The Color Of The Year Is...
***(1) It looks like the kind folks from the Pantone Color Institute are responsible for this one....Tangerine Tango & Pink. Pantone declares tangerine tango as a "bright and encouraging color" and as such, is a perfect combo for your spring or summer wedding. However, tangerine alone can certainly be a bit overwhelming used on its own, so it could use a little sumpin-sumpin' to calm it down a little. Enter hot pink. Now I know you're saying hot can that be calming? There's something about pink that despite the shade adds a softness to whatever it touches. Can't you just picture your bridesmaid's bouquets in all roses of tangerine and pink with maybe a little yellow thrown in for fun?
***Your Wedding Decor Is In The Pink
***(2) Blush Pink & Pewter Gray. Now I'll admit to being a pink fan from way back, but this pink is not the pink you would be pairing with the Tangerine Tango hotness mentioned above. This is the softest of pinks, think the faint blush of a baby's cheek. Paired with grey, which is on a high it hasn't seen in years, it's a gorgeous and elegant color combination. Throw in a little bling with some diamond mesh wrapped votives or mercury glass vases and you have a stunning look that will create an audible intake of breath when guests first lay eyes on your reception venue, I promise! Grey IS the new black!
***Vintage Wedding With Your Grandmother's Blue Willow China
***(3) Blue Willow & White. At a loss for what else to call this color and very hesitant to tag it with a handle like Royal Blue which sounds like it belongs in a nautical themed wedding, I'll call it Blue Willow like the famous china of the same name. Of course, Pantone would call it Sodalite Blue, another on their list of hot colors for 2012, but hey, what do they know, right? You'd think they were color experts or something! The great part about this shade of blue is that it's flattering to just about everyone, so your bridesmaids will love you for it! Ditto your groomsmen, since men are famous for their love of blue. Not to mention with the emphasis on vintage still in full swing, despite Huffington Post's misguided assertion that vintage is dead, you can use readily available pieces of blue & white china for centerpieces and decor. Throw in a little red if it's a military wedding or sunny yellow which looks fabulous with blue & white and you have an amazing color palette.
***The NonColor Color...White
***(4) White On White - The beauty of white for a wedding is absolutely unparalleled. When you think of white, most people think of a stark color, but white can be so much more. How about cream, ivory, buff, eggshell, vanilla, magnolia, ecru, beige...the list of beautiful whites goes on and on, including an off-white called Starfish tagged as a hot color for 2012 by Pantone. Mixing different shades of white in your wedding decor can look incredible together if you're careful about the undertones of the whites you are using. Some whites have a bluish undertone, giving them a cool look, others have a brown undertone which tends to warm them up a bit. The fun part about using white on white is you can play with texture to really make the differences in the whites stand out. An example would be using a stark white tablecloth for your reception tables with a beautiful khaki (also a form of white!) damask runner and a cluster of milk glasses vases as the centerpiece filled with peonies, roses, and dahlias all in different shades of white and cream. Even versatile burlap which comes in ivory and natural can add interesting texture to your tables and centerpieces.
***Be My Valentine!
(5) Red & Pink - OK, I'll admit this is a stretch, even for a dyed-in-the wool pink lover like myself, but I have seen some truly amazing combinations of red and pink that were simply stunning. With this combo, you need to be careful about the color red and pink you choose. Hot pink and red...not so much...pale pink and red... ahh, yes, gorgeous! You really need to underplay the use of this palette to avoid it looking a little Valentine-y, but if you don't morph into overkill, it can turn out looking elegant instead of cheesy. For a classic look, pull in some silver touches like mercury glass with your centerpieces. Put your bridesmaids in blush pink short dresses with red rose or peony bouquets and have groomsmen wear pale grey suits with pink ties and hints of red handkerchiefs poking out of their bread pocket. Your friends will call you crazy until they see the effect all together at your wedding, then they'll call you innovative and daring!
***I'll Have A Margarita, Please!
***(6) Sweet Lilac & Margarita- I'll admit these were stripped straight from the Pantone Hot Color Chart, but can you imagine this dynamic color duo? In 2011, pewter and eggplant, grey and plum, purple and silver were done to death. This is such a fresh and light approach to the heavy handed purples we saw last year with the fun zing of a soft lime added to the mix. With the innovative things florists are now doing with shades of green in bouquets including green hydrangeas and Bells Of Ireland, your bridesmaids could wear dresses in lavender tones and look incredible. Lilac, like blue, is a color that looks great on just about everyone, whether of fair or dark complexion and can be paired with either gold or silver.

***Top colors from and DIYweddingplanner

Fall Wedding Reception at The Commons 1854

Bride and Groom: Jaclyn and Fernando Garcia
Fernando and Jaclyn met in 2005 while attending Bentley University.   Jaclyn and Fernando envisioned their wedding to be in an elegant and Romantic setting that could provide five star cuisine. The historic Ballroom with its grandiose windows was the perfect setting for their wedding reception.                 
Guests dined on poached lobster tail and filet mignon, while hand-rolled sushi was created by authentic Japanese sushi chefs.  Everyone enjoyed a late night snack featuring Black Angus sliders, truffle parmesan fries and Fried dough.   

The Arrival:
Jaclyn and Fernando arrived in style escorted in a vintage Rolls Royce provided by Black Tie Limousine.


The Perfect Venue:
The Reception was held at The Commons 1854, a historical venue that specializes in weddings.
Jaclyn and Fernando loved the idea of having the venue all to themselves for the day.


The Brides Bouquet:
This lush, classical bouquet incorporates a blended palette of soft pastels.   A luxurious mix of hydrangea, calla lilies, and Dutch Candy Bianca roses radiates warmth and romance. A vintage brooch of Swarovski crystals from Pricilla of Boston accents the bouquet. 


Wedding Attire:

The Bride wore a custom -made gown designed by Stephen Yearick, the cathedral length vale was adorned with Swarovski crystals scattered throughout. After the ceremony, the vale was replaced with a Swarovski crystal headpiece from Priscilla of Boston. The Groom wore a Joseph Abboud tuxedo paired with a black silk dupioni tie and white silk pocket scarf.

Escort Table:
The hand calligraphy escort table cards were secured by Swarovski crystal holders atop custom designed linens.   

Signature Martinis:
Guests were greeted at the door with the couples favorite signature blended martini’s, some of which were garnished with petite granny smith apples served on silver trays.

Seafood Raw Bar:

Fresh delicious seafood bar consisted of the finest seafood brought in from the Boston fish pier. Shrimp, lobster, king crab claws and oysters overflowed on heaps of crushed ice.  An ice bar just steps away was filled with Ice Cold grey goose Vodka where guests enjoyed   oyster shooters. 

Authentic Colombian hors d’oeuvres:
Aprepas with avocado crème and shaved Jicawa salad was served in mini martini glasses a tribute to Fernando’s Colombian heritage.

Chefs created a color pleasing palate with exotic fruits placed on the stationary food display. As the evening progressed, guests dined on poached lobster tail and filet mignon, while hand -rolled sushi was created by authentic Japanese sushi chefs.  Everyone enjoyed a late night snack featuring Black Angus sliders, truffle parmesan fries and Fried dough.    

FireFly Event Lighting:
The crystal candles reflected the lighting that was created by FireFly Event Lighting . The lighting captured the mood of the evening creating a magical romantic feeling. The architectural pillars in the ballroom took on new meaning each time the light changed. 


The bride's elegant centerpieces were designed with all white phalaenopsis orchids (named for their resemblance to tropical moths). These fragile orchids, flown in from Thailand, cascaded from crystal vases with embossed basket weave design and were surrounded with three Swarovski crystal candle holders. Wedding Flowers by Annette envisioned the brides dream and created these exquisite floral centerpieces. 


Jaclyn and Fernando posed for a gorgeous photo in front of the indoor water fall.  Firefly event lighting provided saturated rich hues of color to enhance this breathtaking photograph.   

Wedding Cake:
A five tired fondant hexagon cake was designed to reflect the warm tones of the ballroom, consisting of handmade sugar orchids which were brushed with a 14 karat gold trim to match the elegant favors at each place setting.   The third tier was shaded in a warm cream tone and boasted the couples Initials.

Live Saxophone and jazz duo played throughout the cocktail hour. Entertainment was provided by the Boston Band “Night Shift” The first dance sung by Night Shift was a Love that will last from Renee Olstead.   The Guests didn’t sit down from that moment on.

To conclude a perfect evening, male guests enjoyed hand rolled cigars and scotch outside on the patio. For the woman, Favors were placed at each setting consisting of Slatkin candles, personalized matches adorned with bow toppers with crystals from Papyrus.  Handmade purse holders from Colombia with the damask motif matching the invitations were provided by the Grooms Mother.







Bridesmaid  Dress:
Priscilla of Boston

Espresso & Cappuccino:

Event Lighting: 

Night ShiftEntertainment

Cigar Rollers:
Old Cuban Cigar Factory


Table Linens:

Limo and Rolls Royce:

Grooms Attire:

Ice Carvings:
Fitzy Snowman

First Look

First Look or First Sight
Many of our brides at The Commons 1854 feel as though the most important moment of their wedding day and maybe their lives thus far is when her groom will see her for the first time.  Many of our couples are opting out of the traditional first look at the beginning of the aisle and are deciding to do a “first look”. 

In the past, in many cultures a bride was the property of her father and her future and husband was arranged without her authority.  The matrimony of a visually unappealing woman was often arranged with a man from another municipality.  The bride and groom would have never met or seen each other.  The fear was that when the groom first saw his future wife for the first time on the day of the wedding, he may change his mind and leave the bride at the altar. This is why It became bad luck for the groom to see the bride on the day of the wedding prior to the ceremony.

The Common’s 1854 preferred photographer’s thoughts…
Roland Silva (one of The Commons 1854 preferred photographer’s) thoughts…

“Times have changed..... No longer is it bad luck seeing the bride before the wedding, as far as I have seen very little is different.  What is different is that instead of the bride and groom seeing each other for the first time from 500 feet or more.

They have a special moment that can be either private or shared with the company of family and friends.  I suggest a special gift or a card right after the first time they see each other, and if it’s with family and friends then I suggest 5 minutes alone.

It is truly a magical moment.....

I once had a bride’s mother that was very much against the brides wish to do a first meeting then the formals before the ceremony so she could really enjoy her cocktail hour and reception without interruption or stress.

The bride’s mother looked at me and said, "you know that special look, the one when they see each other for the first time, you have seen that, right ?", I replied " yes it’s called nervousness, anxiety, deer in the headlight look at being in front of so many people and sometimes even squinting to see so far away".  There is nothing private or intimate about seeing someone from 500 feet or more in front of hundreds of people.

Formals/Photographs before the ceremony:

 I always recommend if possible doing the photographs before the ceremony for a multitude of reasons. First you can enjoy your cocktail hour with your family and friends, and its burning time that you are paying for and getting to enjoy very little.  Second, if something happens

like someone is late or does not show up, you have the backup of the cocktail hour in reserve, and we all know nothing ever goes wrong at a wedding and no one shows up late.  It also allows for weather considerations, running late getting ready (hair dressers, makeup etc) and

acts as a buffer to ease stress on everyone, the bride, families, vendors and the reception hall.  It also adds one more element of flexibility of choosing an alternate location for formals and allows formals also at the reception site.  So if you wanted to stop by the beach first

then the time can be appropriated without time constraints from the reception sites.  The reception sites main goal is to give the best possible experience and food.  This means if something goes wrong earlier in the day, then the kitchen can do its job and not worry about each course coming out too early or late or food being over cooked. Preparing a multicourse meal for a multitude is a daunting task, so being on time is critical so they can produce amazing culinary treats.”

Thank you Roland!

Vladi from The Perfect Image (one of The Commons 1854 preferred photographer’s) thoughts…

“We always capture the expression on the groom's face as he sees his beautiful bride for the first time, be it down the aisle or down the stairs.  As she approaches we capture her smile as she approaches the man she will be marrying very soon. I feel privileged to have been a part of hundreds of such special moments. Capturing those special loving looks with my camera can produce a timeless image to be enjoyed for generations.  But imagine if you could see a thousand such moments with the actual sound of the wedding day, the first words exchanged, the music playing... that is why everyone must have a video.

I believe doing formal photographs prior to the ceremony is a great idea.  The bride and groom tend to be more relaxed, happy to be getting married soon.  The photographer is not quite as rushed and will have the time to take romantic and creative photographs of the couple.  Plus, they will be able to enjoy their cocktail hour with friends and family”.
Thank you Vladi!

Gaby McCarthy of Benoit and McCarthy Photography (one of The Commons 1854 preferred photographer’s) thoughts…
"We love doing the formal photos before the ceremony! That way the bride and groom can enjoy the cocktail party and we have time to photograph all the fun details. Doing a first look is fun. Capturing the look on the grooms face when the bride walks up to him and he is turned the opposite way is just great."

Thank you Gaby!
At The Common’s 1854, we advise our brides and grooms to decide on their first look based upon what is best for their style, culture and personalities. This will ensure they are happy with their decision. We embrace tradition and trends to help create the style of event that is best for each bride and groom’s special day.