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Surprise Wedding at Blue Hill Farm

With all the details that go into planning a wedding, we can’t imagine pulling together a day this beautiful in just 4 months. But that’s not the only remarkable thing this couple did, they also managed to keep it a secret! These guests were in for quite a treat when they arrived at New York’s Blue Hill Farm. With stunning florals from Rountree Flowers and Erik Ekroth capturing every lovely detail, we are in love with this surprise affair!

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From the Bride … Surprise! When our small group of friends and family arrived in the silo area of Blue Hill at Stone Barns on September 26, 2014 to celebrate our engagement over an intimate dinner (and wine, lots of wine), however, they had no idea that in less than 30 minutes, they would bear witness to the most memorable moment of our lives: the moment we said “I do!” Our experience shows that you really can plan a dream wedding in 3 months … while moving across the country, starting a new full time job, and keeping it all a big secret!

Ever since Dave planned our first “mystery date” we have taken every opportunity to surprise each other with fun dates ranging from special dinners, to baseball games, to road trips out to the lavender fields in Long Island. We’ve had so much fun surprising each other (and getting surprised!), that it was only fitting to turn the tables and work together to surprise our friends and family. Further, by keeping it a surprise, Dave and I could make our special day entirely our own, not worrying about the well-meaning friends and family members who many times want to insert their own opinions into the planning process.

Only my mother and father knew! They both did a great job of keeping mum and, to be honest, I never could have pulled off such a magical wedding without everything my mom did to help. She even had a few surprises for us up her sleeve in terms of décor, but stayed very true to keeping everything in line with what we had envisioned. The wedding was a surprise to everyone else, even my brother, my closest girlfriends, and Dave’s family and friends.

While Dave and my father welcomed our guests, I “hid” upstairs in the HayLoft bridal suite, which had a little window from which to see everyone getting off the shuttle. Somehow Dave managed to play it cool (it was my exceptionally emotional father about whom we worried the most!), saying hellos and making introductions before leading everyone outside. A surprise to us, my mom worked with a calligrapher in North Carolina to design a special font for our big day, using that design to create chalkboards welcoming our guests and letting them know what was about to take place! Looking back, they really made the wedding. Beyond letting guests know what was coming, the font and style set the mood for the evening – rustic and laidback, but at the same time adding a level of detail that demonstrated that, despite being a surprise and taking place only 4 months after getting engaged, our wedding was by no means thrown together as an afterthought.

Photography: Erik Ekroth | Floral Design: Rountree Flowers | Wedding Dress: Olia Zavozina | Ceremony Venue: Blue Hill At Stone Barns | Reception Venue: Blue Hill At Stone Barns | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Boots: Frye Boots | Hair / Makeup: Margie Bresciani | Music: Venus Ensembles | Programs: Paper Source | Wooden "Surprise" Signs: Sawmill Creations

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Rustic, Elegant Wedding at Blue Hill At Stone Barns

Love stories like this one always get me. High school sweethearts, partners in crime tying the knot in such a stylish way might just be my achilles heel. And when such a duo ties the knot at a place like Blue Hill At Stone Barns with Erik Ekroth behind the lens, Matthew Robbins working his design magic, Daughter Of Design making sure everything went off without a hitch and Valerie Barnes capturing everything on film – it just doesn’t get better. See more here.


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From The Bride…Getting married at Blue Hill at Stones Barns was a dream. I’ll never forget the day Steve and I took a tour of the property on a sunny September day. We were blown away by the beauty and expansiveness the property; the courtyard was a gorgeous place for an outdoor ceremony, and the high ceilings and stonewalls of the Hay Loft dining room was incomparable to any other place we’d been. We found Blue Hill held the perfect balance of elegance and rustic charm, and was an idyllic backdrop for the autumn wedding we envisioned. And then we heard about the food. Every single person who we spoke to that has eaten at Blue Hill would rave, “That was the best meal of my life.” (We now agree with that sentiment!) Anyone that knows us knows we really love to eat, so this sealed the deal. Blue Hill was perfect!

Steve and I grew up in New Jersey together and began dating in high school at the young ages of 16 and 17. We went to different colleges, and found that while the long distance between Pittsburgh and Connecticut was hard, it ended up strengthening our relationship. Although we dated since we were young, much to our family and friend’s confusion, we did not rush to the altar! We took our time, followed our own hearts and did what made sense for us. The timing of Steve’s proposal felt just felt right. He planned a romantic day at my family’s country house in Connecticut. We cooked dinner together, and sat down afterwards to have a glass of my favorite dessert wine. With Romeo (our dog) sitting nearby Steve told me, “Romeo has been wanting me to ask you something for a long time.” With that he took out the ring and proposed. I was shocked and elated, and apparently, so was Romeo because he began sprinting around the backyard! It was beautiful and memorable, and so US.

The outpouring of love and support is what we remember most from our wedding day. People from so many aspects of our lives gathered together in a fairy tale setting to celebrate our long love, and we felt like the luckiest people in the world. Matthew Robbins Design did an incredible job creating the atmosphere we dreamed of; we loved the vibrant autumn palate that embraced the season without bringing in the typical browns and oranges associated with the fall. We loved the lantern pathways, copper tones, and all the details down to the single stem of blue delphinium that lay on each napkin. The overall warmth and lushness of the design encapsulated our love so well. We will always treasure our wedding day, and are so grateful there are photos and a video to relive the experience whenever we want!

From Valerie BarnesBecause the history of the Barber family at Blue Hill at Stone Barns dates back three generations, I thought shooting some good old fashioned film for Jessica and Steve’s wedding would perfectly capture the spirit of the place and enhance their film. Film gives a texture and look that video can never provide (although they keep trying!). Since Jessica’s aesthetic and mine meshed perfectly, she resoundingly applauded this idea. You will recognize the film by the scenes that show black bars on the top and bottom of the frame.

Photography: Erik Ekroth | Cinematography: Valerie Barnes | Cake: Blue Hill At Stone Barns | Invitations: Regas Design Studio | Makeup: Saible Monique Malamud | Hair: Siobhan Benson | Band: Ernest Mills Band | Venue: Blue Hill At Stone Barns | Bridal Gown: Monique Llullier | Day Of Planning: Daughter Of Design | Design & Floral: Matthew Robbins

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Blue Hill at Stone Barns Wedding from W Studios New York

Blue Hill at Stone Barns happens to host some of my favorite fêtes. With the perfect mix of farm and chic, the venue has a blend of charm and elegance that is unmatched. And the couples that flock to its gorgeous space? They always seem to be effortlessly stylish.Well, this duo, falls oh-so-comfortably into that category. Their wedding (complete with meaningful and beautiful florals from Colony Florist) was a perfect reflection of their stylish ways, and thanks to W Studios New York you can see every last bit right here.

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From the Bride… We met 7 years ago in San Francisco. At the time I was working for a media company and Viva was working at a start-up. We were great friends, but the timing wasn’t right. We always kept in touch and last year Viva moved out to Greenwich and proposed. Now we run our start-up Powhow together.

Blue Hill was an obvious choice for us. It was a place that we could go to and enjoy walks or dinner after our wedding day. We didn’t want to get married in a hotel room or a place that we would never go back to. The setting is also so beautiful and the food is amazing. Every dish was farm fresh! We wanted to do something special for our friends and family. For them to savor every bite and have happy hearts and happy bellies! They also did an amazing job doing a wine pairing for each of the dishes.

Also, the staff at Blue Hill is amazing. They helped us at every stage of the planning and made everything very simple. On the day of the event, we felt so taken care of and the staff was extremely professional. They helped us create the perfect casual, but elegant evening.

Our florist was Callie Craumer of Colony Florist in Greenwich, CT. Viva used to send me flowers from Callie when we were dating so it just made sense that she would do our flowers. She’s also the author of “The Art of Giving Flowers” so she helped us pick flowers that would tell a story. I love the freesia boutonnieres that she created for the groomsmen. Every time I smell freesia I think of my husband on our wedding day.

Wedding Photography: W Studios New York | Floral Design: Callie Craumer of Colony Florist | Wedding Venue + Catering: Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, New York | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang | Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Groom’s Attire: Ralph Lauren | Hair: Alexandre Choudry of Frederic Fekkai, Greenwich CT | Makeup: Frederic Fekkai, Greenwich CT | Bridesmaids’ Dress: J Crew | Flower Girl Dress: Jacadi | Band: The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn

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Blue Hill at Stone Barns Wedding from Studio Foto

Pay close attention brides-to-be because this wedding is filled with so many wonderful touches, touches that you’re guaranteed to want to infuse into your day like a rock collection guest book, personalized rubber stamps that addressed all the envelopes and then doubled as a wedding favor, and lots of black and white photos of the couple’s parents and grandparents on their wedding days to honor the tradition of marriage. I’m in love with the entire sentiment of this wedding and the images by Studio Foto are beyond gorgeous. See it all right here!

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From the Bride… It all started on the playground of Coleytown Elementary School in 1982. My first memories are of Nathan in third grade running in the school halls and my mom (a teacher) yelling at him to slow down! We were always around each other but never had talked long enough to really gotten to know each other … insert a pause of 20 something years… Our romance began at Compo Beach (the rocky side) in the summer of 2010 when a trip to the beach turned into eight hours of sharing. Almost immediately, we realized the connection we had and how much we had in common. Our friends were all shaking their heads seeing two friends that they had never pictured together but realizing how much sense it all made. Then 11 months later on Memorial Day 2011, Nathan proposed on the playground of Coleytown Middle School under the window that had once been my mom’s classroom.

I had always knew I wanted to have us do our photos before the ceremony, but that’s really more because of wanting to get them “out of the way” and feel less rushed during the party. I didn’t know it was going to feel as intimate and special to have just the two of us have a moment together instead of seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony. I loved having that time alone together before the wedding. It eased my nerves, and it also carved out a special time together that we would never had shared together if we hadn’t done first look photos. My surprise for Nathan was that I had taken his suit jacket and had a monogram of our initials and the date set in a heart sewn into the inside lapel. When we saw each other dressed, he was able to show me his excitement over the monogram surprise.

In having a wedding of with 62 guests, it was very important to me that all of our guests feel the intimacy of the moment. There were many traditional “obstacles:” we were raised in different religions, my parents are divorced and my mom is deceased, etc. We had selected a very small wedding party of two bridesmaids and two groomsmen. However, we were able to take these obstacles and embrace them wholeheartedly. The connection started with the fact that our shared best friend, Kate, was not only a bridesmaid, but her father was our officiant. We have both known Jim since we were 15 years old. Jim’s business, Ceremonies without Boundaries, is just that. Jim was able to combine my Jewish faith, Nathan’s Christian faith and our shared interest in Native American spirituality and customize a ceremony highlighting beautiful traditions from all. When faced with how I would walk down the aisle (a big consideration when you are a child of divorce, have a close step-parent and have lost your mom), I had my dad walk me down the aisle and had my step-father wait at the first row. When we reached him, I hooked my arm into his and when Jim asked, “Who gives this bride?” I had both my dads say, “We do.” We used a piece of my mother’s wedding veil to wrap our hands in the “blessing of the hands.”

We had a custom rubber stamp made for each couple invited to the wedding with their name and address. That stamp was then used for the Save the Date, the wedding invite, the place card for your table and the guest gift. It was a personal touch that wound up not only being unique but cost-effective! We had black and white photos from all the generations before us on their wedding days set up in Lucite frames around the place card table to honor our families and the tradition of marriage. Parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. It was very meaningful to have them displayed and was very cool to see the styles based on the generations. Instead of a traditional guest book, we had a box of rocks and asked our guests to write us inspiration, advice, etc. on the rocks. They are now displayed in a bowl on our coffee table and it’s fun to be able to go through them anytime. It is a sculptural way to enjoy your guestbook!

Wedding Photography: Paul + Krystal of  Studio Foto / Wedding Venue: Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York / Floral + Event Design: Hatch Creative Studio / Officiant: Rev. Jim Francek of Ceremonies Without Boundaries / Wedding Cinematography: Jeremy White of T.Fairfax Films / Catering + Wedding Cake: Blue Hill at Stone Barns / Wedding Invitations: Marcella Kovac of The Bananaland / Music: Karlus Trapp Trio of John Ragusa Music / Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier “Calista” via The Plumed Serpent Bridal / Bride’s Veil: Sara Gabriel “Mackenzie” + Custom Lace via The Plumed Serpent Bridal / Bride’s Shoes: Nina via Zappos / Bride’s Shoe Clips: Sofisticata / Bride’s Jewelry: Family Heirlooms / Hair: Meskerem West of Niko Niko Salon / Makeup: Joanne Salerno of Elixir Spa / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale via The Plumed Serpent Bridal / Groom’s Attire: Gucci via Jeffrey / Groomsmen’s Attire: J.Crew / Rings: Lily Hackman of Liso Jewelry

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Blue Hill at Stone Barns Wedding by Sara Wight Photography

Just when I thought it wasn’t possible for me to love Blue Hill at Stone Barns any more than I already do, along comes this darling affair captured by Sara Wight Photography to send my heart into serious overdrive.  The vibrant color palette, dazzling lace Birnbaum & Bullock gown and breathtaking garden setting is the epitome of everything I ADORE about this sweet Hudson Valley venue – charming, enchanting and simply breathtaking.  Click here for more.

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From the Bride… Pierre and I met in a restaurant, so I suppose it was only fitting that we marry at one as well. It’s incredible to think how far we have come since then, and I think our wedding summed up our relationship perfectly. Pierre now works as a pastry chef, and I now work at the James Beard Foundation, so it goes without saying that food has always played a major role in our lives. When we first drove up to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, we both knew immediately that this was where we wanted to get married. Situated in the heart of the Hudson Valley, Blue Hill is a truly special place unlike any I’ve seen before. Chickens scamper about the property (and they’re not shy), and flourishing fields of fruits and vegetables surround an inviting stone farmhouse that houses the restaurant.

Once we were able to settle on a date in early September, the rest of the planning fell into place beautifully. Since our wedding would be the first time our families would meet (Pierre’s entire family lives in France), we knew we wanted to keep the wedding intimate so that everyone would be able to get to know each other. Our ceremony took place in a small, stone-walled garden overlooking the farmland. Rachelle Garniez and her quartet played a lovely accordion-and-acoustic guitar rendition of “Storybook Love” from the Princess Bride (one of my all-time favorite movies), and one of my dearest friends sang “What a Wonderful World” during the ceremony. Afterwards, we enjoyed cocktails and canapés as the sun set, and we then sat down to a five-course meal made with ingredients fresh from the farm. Pierre made our wedding cake himself, and although he was somewhat reluctant to bear the added stress of assembling the cake only minutes before our ceremony began, in the end it was the perfect ending to our evening, dancing the night away to “La Vie en Rose.”

Photography: Sara Wight of Sara Wight Photography / Wedding Venue: Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York / Floral Design: Sandy Clothier Flowers / Wedding Invitations: Bella Figura / Wedding Programs: Wedding Paper Divas / Band: Rachelle Garniez Quartet via John Ragusa Music / Officiant: Paul Sittenfeld, A Family Friend / Wedding Dress, Veil + Lariat Necklace: Birnbaum & Bullock / Hair + Makeup: Kerry-Lou Brehm / Earrings: Nadri / Shoes: BHLDN / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew / Groom’s Suit + Tie: Hugo Boss / Groomsmen’s Suits: Zara

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