Before ever getting married many couples raise their first ‘fur baby’ and we aren’t surprised when our clients invite their pups to play a role on the wedding day. If you are planning to have a “Dog of Honor”, “Best Dog”, or even have your pup as the flower dog or ring bearer- here are some photos and tips that will help keep you and your pet relaxed on the wedding day.


TIP 1 – Have a dedicated attendant or pet-sitter to help bring your pet to and from the ceremony. There are lots of sights, sounds, and smells that could distract your dog from the task at hand and a helper will ensure that you are not stressed about the safety of your pet while you are saying I DO!


flower dog with rose collar at a willowdale estate wedding ceremony - Read more tips about having your dog at your wedding at


TIP 2- Have a plan for where your pet will stay after the ceremony and pictures are over. Unless you are taking your dog on the honeymoon it is most likely a good idea to get your family dog back to a doggie day care, or kennel after you snap a few pictures.


A formal look for this greyhound wearing a blue bowtie at a Spring Willowdale Estate Wedding - Read more tips about having your dog at your wedding at Bride & Groom with dog at a Willowdale Estate Wedding - Read more tips about having your dog at your wedding at


TIP 3- Keep it simple! If your pet is anxious and unpredictable in strange settings it may be best to just include them in photos instead of parading your pet down the aisle. Even the most friendly and well behaved pets can get overwhelmed by large crowds.



Top: Geneve Rege

Bottom Left: Shannon Grant

Bottom Right: Grazier Photography


REAL WEDDING: Jessica & Edward

On a beautiful spring day last May, photographer, Lisa Rigby, captured the magical moments of Jessica & Edward’s wedding day perfectly. The photo below captures the fairy tale romance of the couple and was taken on a footbridge next to the Ipswich River and adjacent to the Willowdale property.

Bride with long veil & groom in gray suit have their first look outside on a beautiful spring day at Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA

Jessica had a beautiful white lace sweetheart trumpet wedding dress with a rhinestone belt and a traditional tulle veil. The image below displays the dress hanging in the doorway of the library and outdoor pergola where you can see all the intricate details beautifully.

Beautiful white sweetheart trumpet wedding dress with rhinestone belt on display at Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA

Floral displays designed by Flower by Petros of Ipswich, composed of pink & white roses, carnations and baby’s breath covered the archway shaped arbor used in their ceremony and were used as centerpieces for the rustic wine barrel decor and reception tables.

Outdoor wedding ceremony with floral rose arbor design & rustic wine barrel decor with bistro lights  at Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA    Rustic wine barrel with floral rose centerpieces  at Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA

During cocktail hour inside the estate, guests were offered a variety of appetizers to choose from including a raw bar station and passed prosciutto wrapped melon bites with a balsamic glaze.

Oyster raw bar for wedding cocktail hour at Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA

Wedding cocktail hour appetizer prosciutto wrapped melon with balsamic glaze  at Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA

Jessica & Edward enjoyed dinner at their sweetheart table underneath our Sperry Tent which is surrounded by our whimsical butterfly garden courtyard filled with tulips and a variety of other vibrant flowers.

Outdoor wedding reception sweetheart table in garden courtyard at Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA

All the bright and colorful elements of this wedding serve as great spring-spiration for any couple! If you loved the pictures make sure you check out the wedding day video from Hindsight Wedding Films:

Jessica + Edward Short Feature from Hindsight Wedding Films on Vimeo.



Bradley Palmer commissioned his 1901 mansion “Willow Dale” as a summer home where he could enjoy his favorite pastime as an avid equestrian. At some point in the 1920’s Bradley Palmer renovated the south wing of the house to be used for entertaining guests. He added a formal Dining Room that was in close proximity to the kitchen and pantry.
1920 tile dining room - historic Willowdale Estate - Topsfield Massachusetts - photo:
He had many important visitors (including William Howard Taft and the Prince of Wales) and needed large rooms to meet and entertain in.
virgil aeneid quote leaded glass window - historic willowdale estate topsfield ma weddings events venue: Fireplace Detail King Queen Delft Tile - historic willowdale estate topsfield ma weddings events venue: photo:
The dining room provides the perfect space for weddings and events today and some of the most unique and historic features in the home are perfectly preserved.
pastel wedding cakes vintage cake stand colorful modern wedding - historic willowdale estate topsfield ma events venue: photo:
Today, we still welcome guests into the home for a variety of events throughout the year including weddings, corporate events, meetings, holiday parties, and showers!
meeting conference space in a historic estate topsfield ma weddings events photo:
If you liked these photos of our Dining Room check out our complete venue guide for more information about Corporate and Social Events at Willowdale Estate, or visit us during one of our public events!


Shane Godfrey –

A Guy + A Girl Photography –

Shannon Grant Photography –

Ned Jackson Photography –


Centerpiece Ideas

If you’re planning a celebration one detail that makes any table more festive is a centerpiece for your guest and cocktail tables. The most traditional centerpiece has been flowers but there are many ways to mix up that tradition to make your centerpieces stand out. Here are four ideas we hope will inspire you. Our favorite trends for mixing up your centerpiece include the use lanterns with real candles, the addition of seasonal elements like gourds or herbs, and details like white milk glass containers, classic books with pretty covers, or colored glass jars! For more tips and inspiration visit Willowdale Estate on Pinterest!
A wedding centerpiece with lanterns and candles with ribbons a diy willowdale estate wedding A cocktail table centerpiece with white pumpkin, candle, and bud vase with herbs at a Willowdale Estate Wedding- Topsfield, MA A trio of yellow flowers in milk vases with gray chevron runner for a baby shower at Willowdale Estate - Topsfield, MA Centerpiece idea- a single flower in blue colored glass jar with classic novel book stack at a Willowdale Estate Wedding- Topsfield, MA

photos from top left to bottom right: Joyelle West Photography, Erin McGinn Photography, Zev Fisher Photography, Molly Anne Photography


Choosing Your Boutonniere Style

Boutonniere’s are a great way to add character to your wedding wardrobe. A groom’s boutonniere is worn on his left lapel – closest to his heart and usually ties in with the overall theme of your wedding. We love to see unique styles like the wheat boutonniere featured below adding a rustic twist to any attire and is simple, earthy and elegant. Alternatively, yellow billy button flowers have a circular shape and create a balanced pop of color against a dark suit or tux when matched with a tie. For an extra special touch, incorporating a photo charm is a great memorial to a loved one that can’t be present on your wedding day. And you can’t go wrong with a classic flower such as a rose or carnation in a pastel hue for a more traditional and classic look!

A rustic wheat wedding boutonniere at Willowdale Estate - Topsfield Massachusetts -
A groom in a gray suit with a yellow craspedia boutonniere at a Willowdale Estate wedding- Topsfield Massachusetts - WillowdaleEstate.comA groom in a black tux with a cala lily boutonniere including a photo charm memorial at Willowdale Estate wedding- Topsfield Massachusetts -

A pink rose wedding boutonniere on a groom with a gray suit at Willowdale Estate - Topsfield Massachusetts -

Photos: Shane Godfrey Photography, Happy Zebra Photography, Zev Fisher Photography, Krista Photography