When they say that your wedding day is one of the best days of your life, it’s true. You prepare months and/or years for one day, and before you know it, it’s over. Being surrounded by your closest friends and family for an intimate, raw and real moment is a feeling you can’t explain until you experience it. Then, it’s followed by hours of laughs, dancing, good food and unforgettable memories. It’s a pretty incredible experience, especially when you have your best friend and partner right by your side throughout it all.
Fortunately for me, I got married last September, pre-pandemic. There were minimal obstacles, stress and bumps along the way. I would honestly plan it all over again, if I could, because of how much fun I had doing it.
Unfortunately for many brides-to-be who planned to get married this spring, summer or fall, they were forced to have their wedding plans changed. Many couples have rescheduled to later in the year or to 2021. Some have decided to just get hitched and skip the $40,000 wedding bill. Others are doing a combination of both.
I’ve had conversations with a handful of brides and grooms who are making these difficult wedding decisions, and I find myself in awe of the couples who have decided to keep their wedding date and get hitched anyways. Therefore, I’ve decided to start a new “spotlight” series on these incredible couples, because love is NOT cancelled.
To kick off this series, I wanted to reflect on my own wedding weekend, hoping to give brides and grooms-to-be some insight and ideas for their upcoming day. I also loved every single one of my vendors, so there’s some shameless shout outs to them along the way.
How did you and your partner meeting. Tell me your story:
Tom and I met in the Fall of 2009 at SUNY Oneonta where he was a Freshman and I was a Sophomore. I was good friends with some of the baseball players and Tom had just joined the team. One night at a party we were introduced… and he immediately forgot my name. He did recover smoothly because the rest is history after that. We dated throughout college, did long-distance, lived separately and eventually settled down after eight years and bought a house together.
I was under the impression that a proposal would not happen in my immediate future because we had just bought a house. Therefore, I decided that I would instead put my efforts in persuading him that we needed a cat to make our house a “home”. My persuasion skills did not fail me, because we ended up adopting our kitten Chester that Spring.
Two months later, after a date night, I would walk up our basement stairs and be greeted by Chester who was wearing a collar that read “Will You Marry Papa?” (what Tom calls himself to Chester). One year later and after 10 years of dating, we got married in Altamont, NY surrounded by our most favorite people, supporters, family members, and friends.
What was the experience you were going for on your wedding day?
Having the ceremony personal and intimate was very important to us. We went with smaller wedding parties and had my childhood best friend, a person who knew Tom and I since our inception, marry us.
We also knew that we wanted to get married outside and have an outside area for our guests to enjoy during the wedding reception. The Appel Inn had each of these elements, including a secluded outside ceremony spot with old church pews and an arbor, an outdoor bar area located on a wrap-around porch, a large lawn area for cornhole and an insanely beautiful indoor venue for dancing and dinner.
Since we were getting married in September, we wanted our colors to compliment the Fall greenery and foliage that would be surrounding us at our ceremony. We also wanted to keep our wedding simple yet elegant, letting our venue speak for itself while including an abundance of floral arrangements throughout.
Ultimately, what was the most important to both of us was making sure there was going to be good food, lots of dancing, flowing drinks and that everyone was having a good time.
One element to our wedding that was decided later in the planning game revolved around our transportation situation. After we booked our hotel accommodations in downtown Albany, we realized that hotel guests had about a 30 minute bus ride back to the hotel. After a wedding, this can feel like a lifetime and the last thing we wanted was for guests to lose their steam.
We alleviated this by providing all guests soft pretzels to take with them on their trip home and coolers stocked with beverages on the bus to keep the party going. Needless to say, minimal steam was lost during these rides.
What wedding vendors did you use? Was there anything special about them?
The Appel Inn (Altamont, NY) – Wedding Venue
This is where we received the majority of our compliments! Also, the owners are so wonderful to work with and Laurie is amazing at what she does.
Elegant Touch and Catering(Altamont, NY) – Caterer
Everything was so delicious, the staff was remarkable and the way they arranged each station was exactly what we envisioned. We also LOVED the whiskey barrels incorporated into our bar set-up.
Zachary’s Pastry Shoppe (Rensselaer, NY) – Bakery
We go to Zachary’s for all of our cake and cupcake needs. Everything they make is always so delicious! They made us carrot cake, white, chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes with a small cake to cut. Needless to say, they did not disappoint.
Chatham Flowers (Chatham, NY)- Florist
Not only are Kathleen and Frank family friends, but Kathleen is truly a miracle worker who brought my vision to life while exceeding it above and beyond. I have never had so many compliments on flowers and it’s all owed to her and her staff.
Stacey Bean (Kinderhook, NY) – Hair Stylist
Stacey and I grew up in the same town and she is a well-known hairstylist within our area and in East Greenbush. She took each girl’s vision of how they wanted their hair and executed it effortlessly. I couldn’t have been more in love with how my hair turned out.
True North Bridal Studio (Chatham, NY) – Bridal Shop
I was introduced to True North by my sister-in-law, who bought her dress there. True North is really a gem in our town and the minute I walked into the shop I knew I was in the right place. Alyssa is patient, kind, encouraging and so incredibly helpful – I couldn’t have asked for a better person to work with when it came to finding ‘my dress’. Not to mention, all of the dresses, veils, and accessories are stunning, and the bridal shop is so warm, inviting and fun.
Happy Days Again DJ Service (Greenwich, NY) – DJ
We chose our DJ, Mike, because he is a family friend, Tom’s colleague and did an awesome job at my brother’s wedding. Mike always brings the party and we always had a packed dance floor!
Jessie Casey (Troy, NY) – Photographer
Jessie Casey photographed my brother’s wedding, in which the photos were breathtaking. She was one of the first vendors I knew I had to have and she now shoots all the important life events for our good group of friends. We couldn’t have asked for a more talented photographer and her work really speaks for itself.
What are some fun details from the wedding?
Our dancefloor was the place to be! Some of the highlights include:
My Aunt unknowingly at the time breaking her wrist. Her favorite song, ‘Play That Funky Music White Boy’ came on and she took a tumble. She didn’t realize it was broken until the next day and danced throughout the entire night.
Toms’ entire family dancing to ‘Celtic Symphony’ by The Wolfe Tones. Little did all the other guests know that this dance was made up by his Aunt one night after having too many drinks. Needless to say, my family is still talking about how cool it was.
‘Empire State of Mind’ by Jay Z came on and someone broke out all of these handmade paper Tom heads on sticks, that my bridesmaids had made for my bachelorette party. The entire room was filled with Tom’s face!
We missed (but there are pictures!) our guests dancing to ‘Paradise By The Dashboard Light’ by Meat Loaf. The guys were on one side of the dancefloor while the girls were on the other and they were each singing their respective parts.
We started and ended our day with ‘September’ by Earth Wind and Fire… after all, it was the twenty-first night of September!
Any advice to future couples about the whole “getting married” thing?
Getting married is not the end of fun – if anything it makes things MORE fun!
Stay true to what you and your partner want and envision for your wedding day. It’s easy to forget that this day is a celebration of the two of you, especially if you listen to other people’s opinions and chatter.
Also, the day FLIES by so enjoy every minute of it. I’d recommend that if you do a big celebration, take the time at some point at your wedding to step aside with your partner to soak in all of the love and celebration that is taking place in the room with all of the people who are surrounding you. Afterall, they are here to celebrate YOU!