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An English Garden Party Was the Inspiration Behind This Couple’s Fall Wedding in Carmel, New York

 New York, Real Weddings, Upstate New York  Comments Off on An English Garden Party Was the Inspiration Behind This Couple’s Fall Wedding in Carmel, New York
Dec 312015

Katharine Sullivan and Seth Dawes met in August of 2012 when their mutual friends invited each of them to join them for a weeklong vacation in Costa Rica. "There were other guests invited, but long story shot, they couldn't make it. Luckily, we got along from the beginning," Katharine says. As she explains, neither was looking for a relationship, but after a week-long double date in paradise, it was hard to deny something had sparked between them. "Seth declared his feelings for me in the middle of a Costa Rican discotech. It was so not how I thought I'd meet the love of my life, but it was so much better," she says. Just as their relationship had started in a somewhat unconventional way, so did their proposal. "I told Seth I wanted to marry him in January 2013, but he said he really wanted to propose the old-fashioned way," Katharine says. While on vacation in Greece in June 2013, Seth popped the question at the Theatre of Epidavros — the most well persevered ancient theatre in Greece, and a place that his bride-to-be, a freelance theatre producer, entirely appreciated.

The pair decided on a fall wedding at the Boathouse at the Sedgewood Club in Carmel, New York. "We had been traumatized by so many New York City wedding venues, so we deiced to look just outside the city in the Hudson Valley area, which reminds Seth of his home in England," Katharine says. The pair found their gorgeous venue overlooking the lake and knew it was where they would celebrate with friends and family. But their one hang-up was finding a place to host their ceremony. When one of Katharine's work associates offered up their backyard (at a gorgeous home nestled right in Carmel!), the couple jumped at the chance to say I do outdoors. "It really worked out perfectly!" the bride says. With the help of Jeanne Stark of Hudson Valley Ceremonies, the couple threw an upscale English garden party-inspired celebration on September 27, 2014. Keep reading to see all of the photos of their beautiful day, as captured by Dave Robbins Photography.

Katharine knew she wanted a wedding dress with lace and sleeves, so when she saw her beautiful Inbal Dror gown, she knew she'd wear it down the aisle. "I didn't even really care about trying on other designers or dresses, but I did for good measure," she says. "When I finally got a hold of that dress, I knew I was done." She loved how the understated silhouette looked both classic and sexy, but was still entirely comfortable.

The bride admits that choosing her bridesmaids' dresses was a team effort. "I've never been super traditional, so I wasn't keen on having my best friends line up in the same dress," Katharine says. "I wanted them to look like themselves on the wedding day and also wanted them to have a dress they could wear again." The four 'maids and the bride created a joint Pinterest board and began sharing ideas of neutral-toned gowns they loved. The end result was a coordinated look that felt anything but matchy-matchy.

Seth put plenty of thought into his big day look, too. "I had a custom made three-piece suit and white shirt created by Martin Greenfield Clothiers, the same tailor of American presidents!" he says. "I wanted my groomsmen to wear something similar, so each wore a three-piece dark gray suit with light blue shirts." As gifts, Seth gave his attendants the same Ralph Lauren tie he wore and silver tie clips from The Tie Bar.

Katharine wanted a bouquet that was big, incorporated plenty of color, and had a bit of a wild touch. The end result was a mix of garden roses, astilbe, zinnias, and greenery. For her bridesmaids, Katharine decided that each should carry a single King Protea. "Their dresses were so glamorous and detailed, so I liked the look of just a single stem," she says.

The couple's flower girl and ring bearer, Nova and Aedan, started the ceremony on a hilarious note. The adorable young attendants, who just so happen to be best friends, walked down the aisle first, with Nova sprinkling white flower petals and Aedan carrying a sign reading "here comes the bride." "Aedan was holding the ring box in one hand and decided he should put it in his pocket for safe keeping," Katharine remembers. "When he did that, he dropped the sign and Nova turned around to scold him, but he immediately picked up his sign and ran towards her with a devious smile. It was a really sweet and funny moment."

The bride walked down the aisle arm-in-arm with both her mother and father and met Seth beneath an archway dotted with English garden roses. There, the couple exchanged personalized vows and concluded the ceremony with their twist on a tree-planting ritual.

The party then moved to the Boathouse at the Sedgewood Club, where long tables where dressed with white and burlap tablecloths. Each table was then topped with a greenery runner and arrangements of mixed flowers. In an effort to minimize paper waste from their day, Katharine and Seth displayed dinner menus on mini easels that guests could all read. "We're vegetarians, so we didn't want any meat at the wedding," Katharine says. "We chose a really solid, veggie-heavy menu that was locally-based. Our guests didn't seem to mind, and everyone enjoyed pumpkin fettuccini with sage butter, local New York trout, and cheddar polenta."

Dessert was as delicious as it was meaningful. The couple sliced into a two-tiered vanilla cake that was filled with a surprise for their guests. "Inside was a six-layer rainbow cake. We called it our 'marriage equality cake,'" Katharine says. "Our LGBTQ friends loved it and, as an added bonus, the kids went crazy for it. What kid doesn't love rainbows?" The bride and groom also served gluten free cupcakes and seasonal pies.

Katharine and Seth, who honeymooned in Iceland, advise other couples to really think about what they want from their wedding day. "Think about what you want your ceremony to be and think of each element and what it will signify for you as a couple and for your marriage," the bride says. "Don't do something just because it's traditional, unless it has meaning for you both. Also, listen to your mother. You don't have to agree or include all of her ideas, but listen to her."

Ceremony Venue: Private Residence || Reception Venue: The Boathouse at the Sedgewood Club || Wedding Planner: Jeanne Stark of Hudson Valley Ceremonies || Officiant: Anna Marquardt || Bride's Wedding Dress: Inbal Dror, purchased at Mark Ingram Atelier || Bride's Veil: Jennifer Leigh || Jewelry: Greenwich Jewelers || Shoes: Vince Camuto || Hair & Makeup: La Voila Beauty || Groom's Attire: Martin Greenfield Clothiers || Engagement Ring: Single Stone || Flowers: A Night in Bloom || Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas || Music: Hank Lane || Catering: Harvest Real Food Catering || Cake: Maxine's Catering & Bittersweet Bakery || Rentals: Events Unlimited Party Rentals || Videographer: McKenzie Miller Films || Photographer: Dave Robbins Photography

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Can't get enough of Katharine and Seth's beautiful wedding? Then see more from their day in their real wedding video, below!

Jul 022015

Love lush gardens, manicured lawns and gorgeous green details? Care to channel your inner Downton Abbey style at your wedding? Surprisingly, New York City brides don't need to travel very far to have a stunning garden-style wedding. From local botanical gardens and Riverdale parks to farm-to-table haylofts and Rockefeller-style estates up the Hudson, these striking green spaces are perfect ways for the city couple to escape the urban jungle when they say "I do."

Brooklyn Botanic Garden (Above)
Venue versatility is the name of the game at the 52-acre Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Couples can chose to have their ceremony at the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, the Italian-style Osborne Garden, or the Cranford Rose Garden before moving on to celebrate in either the Palm House (that hosts 275 guests seated), or the Atrium (that hosts 130 guests seated). The Patina Restaurant Group exclusively manages catering throughout the BBG, but couples must also pay a site fee to the Garden itself, which is partially donated to its preservation. Read real brides' reviews here!

Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa
Buttermilk Falls is a private retreat, located just 75 miles from New York City. It's the perfect fit for the bride and groom who love the warmth of a rustic-chic destination wedding. While couples can marry outdoors on the open grounds, The Barn at Buttermilk, a warm, inviting space, is versatile enough to be transformed into the epitome of country elegance. Buttermilk boasts 18 guest rooms, including 4 carriage houses, that can comfortably sleep 50 guests, as well as a state-of-the-art spa and enclosed pool perfect for pampering the bridal party. While Buttermilk weddings can easily accommodate up to 200 guests, many past brides have held intimate celebrations of about 50 guests, opting to use catering by the hotel's in-house restaurant, Henry's. Read real brides' reviews here!

NYC Garden Venues Wave Hill

Photo: Courtesy of Wave Hill

Wave Hill
Wave Hill is a lush, green estate in the Bronx's Riverdale neighborhood, with 28 acres of romantic gardens, historic structures and striking views of the Hudson and New Jersey Palisades. A terrific choice for NYC couples who crave a gardenside celebration without leaving the confines of NYC, Wave Hill is located just 30 minutes from Midtown, and is easily accessible for guests traveling from Westchester, Connecticut and northern New Jersey. Weddings only take place in the evenings after the grounds close, so every event remains intimate, from the ceremony beneath the pergola to the first dance in the historic Armor House to beautiful portraits in the secluded Aquatic Garden. Farm-to-table cuisine is provided through exclusive caterer Great Performances, which utilizes its own Katchkie Farm in Columbia Country New York for nearly all the culinary elements of your event. Read real brides' reviews here!

See more: Still Need to Find Your Dress? Look Through NYC's Top Bridal Salons

Blue Hill at Stone Barns
For 13 years, Blue Hill has cultivated a reputation for refined farm-to-table cuisine, generous hospitality and elegant design at both its New York City restaurant and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the Rockefeller barn turned Westchester locale. The Pocantico Hills agro-restaurant includes two separate dining spaces: a 14-seat dining room (with a reservation calendar that rivals the chicest city spots), and the elegant HayLoft space, which hosts weddings up to 260 guests. The HayLoft is, to put it lightly, the elite of elite for foodie couple nuptials. No epicurean detail is overlooked at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, making the meal celebration unto itself. For couples craving a bit of the Blue Hill experience outside of NYC and Westchester, it's now launched On the Road, bringing the company's storied cuisine, staff, style and expertise to weddings outside the greater New York City area. Read real brides' reviews here!

Locusts on Hudson

Photo: Courtesy of Double Happiness Creations

Locusts on Hudson
The very latest by hotelier Andre Balazs, Locusts on Hudson is a Neo-Baroque style manor sitting on 76 acres of meadow, farm, beach and beauty about an hour and a half from Manhattan in New York's Hudson Valley. Balaz bought the property in 2004 to create a working farm that would allow him to bring local, fresh to table cuisine to The Standard Grill in NYC, but in restoring the 1941 home, he couldn't help but add the Midas touch found in his other world-famous hotels. Couples who choose to wed here are required to buy out the 11 stately guest rooms (each complete with massive floor to ceiling windows, claw-footed tubs and wood burning fireplaces), but it will cost a pretty penny of $30K above the $30K site fee (there are nearby B&Bs to house the balance of your 250 person guest count). Those who can afford the experience will savor the majestic property, standout cuisine and stunning views that made the property special in it's social heyday amongst the Astors, Roosevelts and other famous families.

New York Botanical Gardens
New York City brides have long loved the so-close-but-so-far feeling of the New York Botanical Gardens — its storied grounds and palatial Palm Court conservatory offer a worlds-away feeling, but with a city-centric level of service. Now that esteemed restaurateur Stephen Starr (of Buddakan, Morimoto and Caffe Storico fame) has acquired catering, that feeling has been elevated even more. Starr serves guests in multiple reception locations, including the grand-scale Garden Terrace — a classic ballroom with hand-painted murals and oversized arched windows overlooking the arboretum — for seated dinner parties of up to 350 people. More intimate weddings of up to 100 guests are seated in the newly-renovated Stone Mill, the city's first LEEDS certified event space, with reclaimed wood details at the bank of the Bronx River. Ceremonies can take place at multiple locations around the garden, with site fees varying by location. Read real brides' reviews here!

Glenmere Mansion
With 150 acres of rolling lawns, sweeping views, formal gardens and magnificent mansions as your muse, Glenmere Mansion can conjure up many unique wedding experiences. The former industrial titan's estate turned posh boutique hotel has hosted tented weddings for 400 on the Meadow, and also been used as a private country estate for a more hushed-over wedding weekend. No matter the celebration size, the common denominator here is luxe — the self-proclaimed "classic 19-suite playpen" has been lovingly remodeled for today's most discerning clientele with a full service spa, turkish baths and helicopter landing pad for guests. Glenmere is just a 50 mile hop, skip and a (Catskill) jump from Manhattan.

Want more New York City venues? Browse our New York City Venues page to find tons of amazing spaces for your big day!

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