Surrounded by nature and all the beauty it has to offer, this upstate New York wedding is beaming with tall trees and lots of love. Susan and Jeff wanted their special day to feel peaceful, yet fun, so having a ceremony near the water followed by a firepit after party seemed more than appropriate. Photographer Khaki Bedford was there to capture it every nature-y step of the way!
From the bride and groom, Susan and Jeff: From the outset, we knew we wanted to be surrounded by nature – green, trees, sky, sun, and water if possible. Graceful and at peace, present in the moment. We also wanted guests to make a weekend out of their trip. So being within easy driving distance of activities was important. Everything upstate feels so “country” to a city dweller. That style made sense and fit with our nature plan. We came up with key words that we wanted to incorporate: dance party, meaningful ceremony, nature-y, sustainable, community and creative.
We wanted to have a bucolic epic wedding, with an outdoor ceremony, party in a barn, and firepit after party with DJs. We got lucky and the first venue we visited was exactly what we wanted! I’m an event planner in the corporate world (no weddings under my belt) so I was concerned that it would feel too much like “work”. There were moments, but generally my organizational skills were helpful, and also, when we had a gazillion lists of to-dos, I didn’t feel overwhelmed because I knew how to tackle them and in which order to have the most efficient plan.
There were several DIY projects that made the ceremony and reception really special and meaningful to us. For the ceremony, I (the groom) collected felled tree branches in the woods right next to the ceremony site, and used the material to build our chuppah (along with some donated fabric and my and the bride’s father’s talit). We made a small sign that simple said “LOVE” which hung behind us at the reception. It was made from a salvaged door, nails, and yarn. Also, we created our own table numbers from pieces of wood, black chalkboard spraypaint, light dust of gold glitter on the edges (with Elmer’s glue), and chalkboard painted numbers. I am a stamper, so I did all sorts of cool decorations on the envelopes like embossed hearts, stamped poems, and washi tape on the envelopes.
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? Start early! We began within weeks of getting engaged, which was a full year before our date. Despite steady work, and sticking to a plan, we were so busy for the 2 months leading up, that all of our free time was devoted to it. We used spreadsheets for everything, so sharing and updating was a breeze for the guest list, addresses, RSVPs, kids numbers, gifts, thank you cards sent, etc. (We used A Practical Wedding.com spreadsheets as starters.)
Processional: “Air,” J.S. Bach from Suite No. 3 in D
Bride’s Entrance: “Song for My Father,” Horace Silver
Recessional: “The Sweetest Thing,” U2
First Dance: “Exactly Like You,” Nina Simone
Wedding Location: Hurley, NY / Photographer: Khaki Bedford / Second Shooter: Jonica Moore / Wedding Venue: Twin Lakes Lodge / Florist: The Green Cottage / Cake: Maxine’s Catering / DJ, Sound System, Lighting: Superior Sounds DJ / Hair & Makeup: Jen Donovan / Nails: Veleta Vancza / Invitations: Go Go Snap / Officiant: Lucy Child / Dress: Vera Wang for David’s Bridal
Khaki Bedford is based in Brooklyn but available for travel worldwide.