A Lake George Ceremony
Tell us your love story!
Michelle and I were introduced through a mutual acquaintance and we chatted for a while before officially dating. Our first date was at a coffee shop and our second date was the night before my birthday. Michelle gifted me a vintage “Sorry” game, my favorite board game, which was incredibly thoughtful and meant she was listening to the little things we talked about. We played Sorry that night and have been having fun together ever since.
What about the proposal?
Michelle and I dated for about 5 years before getting engaged and we had talked about it a lot- what marriage meant and if it was for us. We already had a house, two pups and shared dreams and although we didn’t feel like it was something we needed to solidify our relationship, when we thought about defining our family it included that commitment. Reflecting now, it definitely has deepened our bond in many ways. Michelle proposed on one knee at one of our favorite spots, Grafton Lake. We often go there to walk the pups on trails and spend time on the water. It was simple but romantic and perfectly us.
When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?
Neither one of us can pinpoint a specific moment, but feel learning more about each other and loving one another was all the small moments- the weekend getaways, the many concerts, game nights, the late night chats, the long walks combined. Love and deciding on forever, for us, wasn’t some grand gesture or some sudden realization, it was an accumulation of moments, conscious choices and conversations that allowed our relationship to grow. We took our relationship slow and steady and are very grateful for the solid foundation we’ve build, we feel it will allow us to walk through anything life brings us together as a team.
Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?
We aren’t the traditional ballroom kind of women, we wanted to honor certain traditions but dreamed of a space that reflected us and our values. We also really wanted the laid back camp-style wedding weekend sans the bunkbed feel. We love bodies of water and the peace they bring us and the adventure we (including the pups) find in nature and being outdoors, so that was the driver in planning our wedding weekend. Within ten minute of standing on Wiawaka Holiday House’s grounds, we knew. Wiawaka sits on one of the country’s most beautiful lakes, Lake George, and has Adirondack style lodging for guests but boasts Victorian style houses as well. It has gardens, labyrinth, a beautiful dock and more - everything you’d want for a weekend getaway. Additionally, Wiawaka was created by and for women, it is the longest operating retreat center for women in the US and has a great history in the woman’s labor movement with ties to Troy, NY, where we live. As feminists, there was no better place to celebrate our love.
What surprised you during planning? What was easy, what was difficult?
The willingness of our knot crew and how much they cared about our weekend was not only surprising but also overwhelming. I had amazing sounding boards for all the projects we took on. We did a lot of things DIY - we made decorations like sandwich board signs, pendant banners, photo booth props, all knot crew neckwear, and more. We also did a lot of the logistical work like securing and coordinating vendors, designing the ceremony, making the programs and wedding weekend booklets, table top menus, and more. It was hard, maybe we took on too much, but the support and help from our knot crew and family, and especially my DIY queens, was something we feel extremely grateful and blessed to have had. Planning our wedding was not the easiest project I’ve managed but it was the most rewarding.
Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?
Wedding planning at our scale, where you bring in every little thing, takes a lot of coordination and fine details to execute. It was stressful at times and we learned a lot about communicating with others and our expectations. Honestly, I wish I took into account more details and set more time aside to run through the details with vendors.
Any advice for couples planning weddings now? Anything you would have done differently or anything you’d like to add?
Trust your instincts, what you want as a couple, and be unapologetically you. There are a few instances where we didn’t trust our gut on a decision and I wish we had. However, in the end, your guests won’t know what the table scape was supposed to look like or if the layout was wrong, everyone will be so high on your love and celebrating, including you, that it won’t matter. Also, maybe more practical advice, I would’ve hired a videographer. I wish I could see the day from a different lens, especially the ceremony.
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
The ceremony, absolutely. We put our hearts into designing what we wanted and I believe it showed, many guests commented that they’ve never been to a more unique, authentic and/or heartfelt wedding. We intentionally threw all the norms out, I remember asking my bridesmaid/best friend’s father, who is a judge and preceded over the ceremony, what was necessary by law and we built it from there. We opened the ceremony with Justice Kennedy’s final paragraph of the majority opinion on the supreme court’s marriage equality ruling. We did this because we fight for equality, as women and as a same sex couple and it was important for us to honor the struggle for equality. From that, my niece sang Rachel Platten’s “Better Place” which turned out to be the most beautiful processional imaginable. My uncle, and a mentor to Michelle, provided us with the most personal wedding address, bringing in how we’ve grown together, as individuals and how well we complement each other.
We decided on the unity ritual of handfasting and our knot crew all participated in it- they each took turns wrapping the fabric around our hands and tying it, binding Michelle and I together. Our recessional was “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” by Natalie Cole in which we led our knot crew and guests through our relationship timeline installation to the dock where cocktail hour was. At that point I surprised Michelle with a vintage boat ride on Lake George, which in my eyes finished the ceremony for us with a moment for ourselves. The sun was shining though the Adirondack Mountains onto the lake and all our favorite people in the world were in the background cheering us on. We truly couldn’t imagine a more fitting ceremony and still feel in awe when we think about it.
- Photography By Keira Lemonis Photography
- Venue By Wiawaka House
- Event Styling & Planning By Mary Elise Reese Event Design
- Makeup By Erin Ford Make Up Artistry
- DJ By DJ Trumastr / Say “I Tru”
- Emily's Gown By Vera Wang
- Ceremony Catering By Classic Crust Mobile Catering
- Reception Catering By Slidin' Dirty Restaurant and Food Truck
- Cupcakes By Couture Confections
- Wood Bar By Adirondack Upcycled