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Romantic Finger Lakes Wedding

Take a show-stopping Vera Wang and add in a whopping dash of elegance + romance and what you have is a Finger Lakes affair that takes pretty to the extreme.  It’s the perfect combo of a breathtaking backdrop like the Aurora Inn, lush blooms from Foley Florist and a whole lot of magical moments captured by Clark Walker Studio.  Check out the full gallery of beautiful moments and the amazing film below. 

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From the Bride… Mike and I met in the summer of 2005 at his work event. He worked with my older sister and she dragged me to a work going away party for their good friend. The guys had already begun the celebration at their golf outing so, with a bit of liquid courage; Mike shook my hand and asked me for my number. I politely declined. We ran into each other one more time at a holiday party but it wasn’t until February of 2006 that he decided to make a serious effort and asked my sister for my number. Admiring his persistence, I agreed. It was the best decision I have ever made. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I had blown him off. We went to dinner at an amazing Thai restaurant that was superseded only by the conversation. I could have stayed up talking all night and we have gone on to have many of those nights.

Fast forward six years, Mike was living in San Francisco after business school and I was living in DC finishing up my graduate research. Mike flew into DC to celebrate our dating anniversary. We planned a quiet and romantic trip to Charlottesville, Virginia, a two and half hour drive from the city. I was the driver, which wasn’t typical for us but Mike said he was tired from jetlag. He was our navigator and I questioned our route maybe only once or twice along the way since I had a friend tell me directions before I left. Mike was able to reassure me we weren’t lost and things were going well for his surprise up until he lost cell phone service and therefore his GPS. He was frantically in technology problem solving mode when I asked him “Have you heard of the Inn at Little Washington?” Secretly panicked, Mike calmly answered “No, why?” “I just saw a sign that says it is the next right. I heard it is a really beautiful and romantic spot, we should plan a trip there sometime,” I naively shared as the right hand turn came up. He shouted, “Turn right!” It wasn’t until that moment that I realized we were going to the Inn at Little Washington. I was truly surprised and so excited. Mike proposed privately in our suite. It was so heartfelt and romantic. We celebrated with champagne and dinner at the restaurant. The best part was that we didn’t have cell phone service so, we spent 24 hours blissfully engaged, enjoying each other and those once in a lifetime emotions. The next morning we held hands while walking around a peaceful farm, enjoyed breakfast and headed to Charlottesville, as a newly engaged couple.

After over a year of planning and anxious excitement, we celebrated our marriage with our family and friends on a perfectly sunny and 78 degrees day in August of 2013. We could not have asked for better weather, which was so important since our reception was outdoors. We decided to get married in the Finger Lakes Region near both of our hometowns. We looked at many venues in the area but once we saw the Aurora Inn, we fell in love. It is the type of place Mike and I look for when we want to escape for a romantic weekend together. We couldn’t imagine a better venue to reflect who we are as a couple. The Aurora Inn was the perfect setting to celebrate one of the best moments of our lives with those we love. It is an intimate and charming inn, full of history and character, with an incredible chef and restaurant on site. Can it get any better? Yes! The Aurora Inn is located in tiny, quaint town called Aurora and looks out over the gorgeous Cayuga Lake.

When it came to wedding planning Mike was happy to let me pick what I loved. There were a few things he really wanted to be a part of like picking out the groomsmen attire, food selection and music, otherwise, he helped me make decisions when I couldn’t choose. I began by picking our color palette of ivory, light pink, light peach and gold, which went perfectly with the pleated ivory lakeside tent for the reception. I kept the theme of soft romance in mind throughout the planning process. I lined our aisle with an ivory runner with a lace edging to keep things soft (the carpet was pinkish-red!) and topped it with tall baby’s breath arrangements. Our reception tables were layered with airy tulle, votive candles, baby’s breath and small floral arrangement. The fabric of my dress and the bridesmaids dresses all had softness to them.

From the start of wedding planning there were a few special touches I knew I wanted to incorporate. The first, having a homemade cookie table. My mom made thousands of cookies for each of my sisters’ weddings and this was a tradition we intended to continue at mine. We made a variety of sweets and put them on display with our wedding cake. As I walked down the aisle, I wanted to make sure I had all the important women in my life near me so, I had a pin from my mom, Mike’s mom and both of my grandmothers adhered to my bouquet. It was important to Mike and I that we honor our family members that could not be present. We did this in two ways, a photo display of our loved ones and in lieu of favors we made a donation to American Cancer Society.

Our wedding day, like so many couples will tell you, went by way too fast! However, we enjoyed every single moment. We spent the morning apart from each other while we each got ready with members from our bridal party so, the very first time we saw each other was when I was walking down the aisle. I was anxious since there were a few hiccups before the ceremony but as soon as I saw Mike, I felt calm. My stroll down the aisle with my dad was every bit as wonderful and emotional as I imagined it to be. Neither Mike nor I were nervous at the altar. Everything felt right. I remember being acutely present and trying to take in every aspect of such a special day. We both agree that our favorite moment of the day was when we exchanged our personalized vows. It was such a raw and heartfelt moment. After the ceremony, we celebrated by dining al fresco with our guests as the sun set over Cayuga Lake. We spent the rest of the evening with our loved ones eating sweets, dancing and enjoying the fire pit. We finished the evening with sparkler and released a wish lantern into the starlit sky. It truly was the best day.

Our day would not have happened without the love and support of our families, closest friends and the expertise of the best vendors in the area. We were lucky to have Heather Davidson from the Inns of Aurora as our wedding coordinator. She happily guided us through the planning process and was instrumental in making our reception spectacular. Not only is she on top of everything but also is genuinely excited about your day! Holly from A-List Artistry pampered all of us ladies in the bridal suite. She is very professional, has a great personality and every single lady loved their makeup that day. That is not an easy accomplishment! Finally, the Clark + Walker team captured our day perfectly. The photos bring us back to all of those moments that flew by so fast. The trailer that Josh created had us laughing, crying, smiling and reminiscing in just three minutes. We are so grateful that such talented individuals captured the most magical day of our lives!

Floral Design: Foley Florist | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang | Make Up: A-List Artistry | DJ: Black Tie Entertainment | Photography & Cinematography: Clark Walker Studio | Venue: Aurora Inn

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Finger Lakes Barn Wedding from Alexandra Meseke Photography

As a wedding blogger, every so often I come across a wedding that I absolutely must spend time with. I flip through the images one at a time and give each one a nice good look. I ooh and aah over and over again. Today’s wedding is just such a wedding. Alexandra Meseke Photography’s images of the day make it seem like such a beautiful, romantic, intimate affair, and I’m ridiculously grateful for the bride and groom allowing us a peek into their sweet day.

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From the stunning bride… Sean and I were engaged in the Finger Lakes of New York in 2011 on my first trip to the area. Sean had been on previous wine tasting trips, and brought me back to propose knowing that I would fall in love with the beautiful gorges, rustic farms, and vineyards lining the glacial lakes. He was right. He proposed on a hike at Watkins Glenn State Park and I’ll never forget the beauty of it all. As fate would have it we celebrated with dinner at Suzanne’s Fine Dining in Lodi and learned of a majestic barn on the property. After an evening tour by the owner, we knew it was the spot for our wedding. Two years later we came back with 50 of our closest friends and family for what I can only describe as a magical long weekend including a good old fashioned 4th of July BBQ lakeside, a guided gorge hike of our engagement spot, wine tasting, rehearsal dinner and a magical wedding day.

We wanted the entire weekend to feel like an intimate vacation with friends and family. The Inn On Columbia in Ithaca, NY served as a perfect basecamp for us. Rob, (an architect) and Madeline (a dream in the kitchen) have renovated a handful of properties into a mid-century oasis. Sean and I spent the entire week in a romantic gazebo turned honeymoon suite. We had a few days to prepare for our guests arrival and spent time collecting local treats for the welcome bags, including handmade chocolate bars by Luciennes chocolates, and customized splits of wines from Swedish Hill winery. The Finger Lakes is known for it’s great antiquing, so we did some local rummage shopping for old materials to use for hand painted signs, spending an entire unforgettable day out at the barn painting signs and excitedly anticipating the week to come. For our rehearsal dinner, Sean found Serendipity Catering Company through farm dinners they had been hosting in the area. As soon as we met with them we knew it was the right fit, and they introduced us to Silver Queen Farms where we hosted our event. Stephanie and her team helped us concept a menu for a whole hog roast, and created wild flower and burlap table decorations to complete our rustic theme. Alexandra Meseke was our official photographer of the rehearsal dinner and wedding day events. Not only did the pictures turn out beautifully, but Alexandra and her photographer husband Michael were a total joy to work with and instantly became a part of our extended family.

Bob and Suzanne at Suzannes Fine Dining were instrumental in bringing together our wedding day. They handled everything from setting up our ceremony site including a chuppah they already had on the property, to cocktail hour with h’ors deurves and drinks on the deck, dinner in the farmhouse dining room, and our party in the barn – including our very own bar in the horse stables (where my friend Annie Rocchio) helped us create a home-made photobooth, complete with a hand-strung wildflower backdrop created from our leftover rehearsal dinner flowers. My good friend and stylist, Morgan Blaul, handled my hair and makeup, and hair for the bridesmaids. Sean made the cork table-card stands using leftover wine corks we brought from home. Arenas Florist in Rochester helped us create our floral arrangements and decorations for the wedding, sourcing local wildflowers and keeping to our neutral color palette. Jennifer at Barb at Ceremonies and Events helped us create our timeline for the wedding day and ensured that everything ran smoothly the day of, and Astrograss from Brooklyn, New York provided live Bluegrass entertainment from the ceremony all the way through the barn shin-dig. As a way to give back to the area that gave us so much, we donated a portion of our wedding gifts to a local not-for-profit called Ithaca Children’s Garden, teaching kids the value of gardening and land preservation.

All in all, we were really lucky to have met so many wonderful people on this journey and to have a new place we can call home.

Photography: Alexandra Meseke Photography | Event Planning: Ceremonies and Event Planning of the Finger Lakes | Flowers: Arenas | Wedding Dress: Le-Ann Belter | Bridesmaids Dresses: BHLDN | Band: Astrograss | Groom's Shoes: Ted Baker | Groom's Suit: J. Lindeberg | Bridal Accessories: The Left Bank, Chicago | Groom's Tie: Paul Smith | Hair/Make-Up: Morgan Blaul | Rehearsal Dinner Catering: Serendipity Catering | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Silver Queen Farm | Wedding Catering: Suzanne's Fine Dining | Wedding Party Hotel: The Inn on Columbia Ithaca | Wedding Venue: Suzanne's Fine Dining | Welcome Bag Goodies: Luciennes Chocolate's

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Finger Lakes Barn Wedding from Elizabeth Duncan Events + Nessa K Photography

There’s just something so refreshing about this wedding… something that kind of grabs ahold of your heart and never lets go.  It’s the simple sophistication of a breathtaking Finger Lakes backdrop paired perfectly with the planning expertise of Elizabeth Duncan Events and a bundle of beautiful blooms from Stacy K Floral.  It’s a mesmerizing rustic meets romantic vibe joining forces with an amazing red barn and a tented reception that will, put simply, blow your mind.  And it’s image after image of pure lovely as captured by Nessa K Photography.  See them all in the full gallery.

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From Elizabeth Duncan EventsThe banner over the dance floor read “Magic Surrounds,” and from beginning to end, K.C. and Aaron’s wedding was just that – magical.

K.C. and Aaron started dating in high school in Northern Virginia and over their twelve-year relationship they spent many summers at Aaron’s family lake house in Branchport, New York. K.C. also has family roots in the Finger Lakes area. The sentiment of so many memories together and undeniable beauty of the surroundings coupled with the opportunity to provide their guests with a true escape led K.C. and Aaron to their wedding celebration on Keuka Lake.

K.C. wanted to create a wedding environment for her guests that highlighted the beauty and meaningfulness of the area with a natural romance and vintage touches woven together in a sophisticated and refined look. What was created was just that and more – a relaxed and rustic lakeside escape and revival of the “modern ruins” of the historic barns on the family property.

From seasonal fruit jams made by K.C. in the welcome gifts to the farm-to-table menu paired with locally-grown and produced wines to textured floral arrangements featuring local, seasonal elements such as dahlias, thistle, blackberries, grasses and vines, K.C. and Aaron imbued their wedding celebration with as many details as possible that were homemade and highlighted the bounty of the region. K.C. also created her own custom font and hand lettered much of the printed materials and signage at the wedding.

One of the barns on the property had served as storage over the years and became the source for many creative ideas. Old washbasins became coolers for wine at the bars, beautiful fireplace mantles became the anchors for a cozy lounge by the dance floor, jam jars became the vases for the centerpieces, old farm tables were used for some of the bars and food displays, and wine crates, baskets, plates and platters added additional rustic touches.

From the perfect blue sky to the sentimental waterfront ceremony to the gracious hospitality to the sparkling send off, K.C. and Aaron’s wedding truly was filled with magic.

Wedding Photography: Nessa K Photography | Wedding Venue: Private Residence, Branchport, New York (Keuka Lake, Finger Lakes) | Event Planning: Elizabeth Duncan Events | Floral Design: Stacy K Floral | Catering: PURE Event Catering | Invitations: Minted | Linens: Table Toppers | Wedding Dress: Lazaro | Groom’s Attire: Custom | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Hair: Ismail of George’s at The Four Seasons, Washington, DC | Makeup: Robyn Fazio | Tent + Rentals: Hank Parker’s | DJ: CNY Select DJs | Valet: Premier Parking Services  | Restroom Trailer: Crescent Moon

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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