For our first issue, we introduced you to Philly couple Cait and Phil, who had a somewhat unexpected place in mind for their wedding celebrations – away from the hustle and bustle and yet still in New York. It was the Hudson Valley region of the Empire State where they said their “I do's” in front of their loved ones. While they admit their messing day was quite a lot of hard work, it was all worth it and as evident in these photos, the pair ended up having a day that perfectly represented them.
Wedding date: August 27th 2016
Wedding location: The Kaaterskill, Catskill, New York
Number of guests: 150
Bridal Party: Seven bridesmaids, six groomsmen and one best man
Ceremony time: 5:15pm - 5:45pm
Reception time: 7pm - 10:30pm
Tell us how you met...
When I was 17 and Phill was 18, we stayed up the whole night talking.
And the proposal?
Phil proposed on one knee on the kitchen floor of our first apartment we had to ourselves together. Phill popped the question after eight years of being best friends and partners in crime. After a night of failed attempts; i.e. the ice skating rink was "too crowded" and the restaurant didn't "feel right" - the kitchen proposal was a huge surprise to me in the best way. The original ring was a family ring thrust upon him a couple of days prior unbeknown to me, which we then custom designed together.
Where exactly was your ceremony held and why did you choose this location?
Our ceremony was held outside on the grounds of The Kaaterskill, under the arch that Phill had constructed for our ceremony, and with the Catskill mountain range as a backdrop.We chose the Hudson Valley region in New York State because of its' gorgeous natural mountainous landscape, as well as the cool towns with great places to explore. We settled on The Kaaterskill for our venue in large part because we had the entire grounds to ourselves for the weekend-the whole inn and farmhouse, barn, and pond house, winding trails to explore, and a menagerie of animals (alpacas, llamas, potbellied pigs, horses, mini horses, the list goes on). We were able to create our wedding weekend from top to bottom.
How did you find this location?
We had been visiting the Hudson Valley area for the past few years together, usually for long weekends. Phill and I live in a city, but both love being up in the mountains and exploring nature. This area was always special to us and we feel has the best of both worlds for us: beautiful nature and cool artsy towns.
Where did the majority of your guests stay?
We did our homework on local accommodations/our guests' wants and needs and investigated the different option in the area. We threw all of our finds up on our wedding website and had guests demarcate where they were staying on their RSVPs. The majority of our guests stayed in the block of bookings that we arranged for them at Hunter Ski Mountain's hotel - Kaatskill Mountain Club.
Did you have any itineraries planned for your guests before or after the wedding?
Yes, we compiled our local guidebook of activities to do, including places to hike, eat, drink, shop, etc. and uploaded it onto our wedding website, as well as printed it out for our welcome bags. Our wedding was about 3 hours away from where Phill, myself, and some of our friends are residing in Philadelphia, and about two hours away for the majority of our family and friends in the New Jersey/NYC areas. Despite it not being so far, this was an area that much of our family and friends had never spent time in. We thought it was nice that it was close enough to still have the majority of our family and friends be able to make it easily for our celebration, and whoever wanted to make an adventurous long weekend out of it had the information to do so! Another bonus was that our main guest hotel was within a ski resort area, so our guests had gondola (ski lift) rides to the top of a mountain with amazing views of the area, trails to explore when they got to the top, the east coast's highest and longest ziplines, and different activities available to them on-site at their lodgings.
What advise would you give others looking at marrying in the Hudson Valley area?
Do a lot of "deep diving" research on vendors- online, by word-of-mouth, by interviewing as many as you can, etc. Since The Hudson Valley has more recently become more popular for weddings (because it is gorgeous), prices have certainly gone up for all that weddings entail. Also this area is not far from New York City, which is great as far as having access to many high quality professionals, however this also drives up the pricing! You can pool from a large area of vendors though - Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, really wherever!
And what advice would you give to couples planning a destination wedding in particular?
If your "budget" can swing it, work with an event planner who you really gel with and whose taste seems on point from start to finish. This can minimize trips to the area your wedding is taking place, help to keep you on "budget", streamline vendor communication, etc. We hired a planner for day-of-coordination, which was definitely essential for our needs.
Is there are favourite moment from your wedding day?
The ceremony was so delicately and naturally opulent and it was the happiest moment of both of our lives. Taking our "first look" photos at Kaaterskill Falls was also a lot of fun (& a giant adventure of pre-ceremony hiking!), seeing one another dressed for our wedding was a moment we'll never forget. Also, dancing the night away at our reception was a blast. Hard to choose one!
Is there anything you would have done differently in hindsight?
Phill and I worked very hard to keep our day "our" day. It was so important to us for our guests to feel comfortable, honoured, and have a blast; however we also wanted the details to really authentically reflect us as these two individuals forming us as a couple. There is nothing we would have done differently although we definitely did not take the easy road. It paid off though!
Photography: Lauren Fair Photography
Ceremony and reception: The Kaaterskill
Wedding Rings: Harry Merrill & Son Jewellers
Bride’s gown: Carol Hannah
Bride’s shoes: ASOS
Bride’s accessories: Antique Style Tiara made by Agnes Hart UK (via Etsy)
Bride’s veil: Mignonne Handmade (via Etsy)
Hair and Makeup artist: Brittany, Lily and Ashley from True Beauty Marks
Grooms suit, shirt and tie: J. Crew Ludlow
Grooms shoes and belt: Allen Edmonds
Grooms socks: The Tie Bar
Groomsmen’s suits: Pronto Uomo Premium
Event planner: Kate Arel - A Charmed Affair
Celebrant: Reverend Stuart B. Chernoff
Cinematographer: Willow Tree Films
Flowers: Dennis Nutley - The Green Cottage
Entertainment: James Mulry
Transport: Coxsackie Transport
Cake: Hudson Valley Dessert Company
Catering: Wandering Dago
Stationery: GoGoSnap (via Etsy)
Furniture hire: North Country Vintage and Total Events