Finger Lakes

Ally+Jon : Finger Lakes Wedding Photos

What are your wedding colors and/or themes?
I would actually say that I steered away from picking a specific color(s) as a theme throughout the wedding! I wanted everything to feel organic, so instead leaned toward a palette of neutral colors that included lots of white and green. Since our wedding took place in a very special place (where we met, at Syracuse University) we also included pops of orange throughout. It was important to me to keep Jon in mind in the design process, so a lot of what I put together ended up leaning more toward a masculine look. My orchid bouquet was about as feminine as it got! As far as attire, to compliment our neutral palette I pulled in my love for navy and black; the guys wore black tuxes – Jon in a navy jacket, and the girls chose their own dresses – half in navy and half in black.

What is your inspiration when planning your wedding?
I really wanted our wedding to feel low-key yet luxe, so for both the ceremony and reception, I focused on drawing inspiration from the landscape that surrounded each location. Since our ceremony was at the chapel on campus, I kept the design simple. It was already really special for many of our guests to be back on campus and didn’t want the ceremony decor to overpower those sentiments; so from a floral perspective, I focused solely on the chuppah.

Our reception was on Owasco Lake, one of upstate New York’s Finger Lakes. What we loved about our venue was the authenticity of the space – very raw with exposed ceilings but charming with huge windows that covered the walls of the room looking out to the waterfront. Since the views were already so naturally beautiful, I kept the tables/place settings simple, with a touch of elegance.

When our friends and family walked into the room I wanted them to look around and feel like the decor was different… so I actually moved away from traditional floral arrangements on tables. Instead, our tables featured hurricane candle holders that varied in height and were reflective with a mirror-like vibe that created the effect of multiple flames. They took a long time to source but after seeing them in the room, they looked so unique! I’m still obsessed with them. To go with the candles, we had statement pieces on select tables throughout the room – tall leafy arrangements to tie in the greenery outside by the water. The last piece to our tablescape was incorporating my love for magnolia trees, with a magnolia garland on our extra long bridal party table in the center of the room!

Continuing to focus on statement pieces, I spent a lot of time designing the dance floor area which truly became a centerpiece to the decor. One of the items I rented was a stark white dance floor which really popped in the space. The stage was decorated with various boxwoods, and the final touch was the green leaves hanging behind the band. The venue wouldn’t allow us to hang anything from the ceiling, so instead I “pipe and draped” and my florist was able to hang the leaves from there.

Did you incorporate any fun themes/motifs or design elements?
Of course! Being that the wedding was in Syracuse, we carried the theme of a watercolor orange we had designed for our save the date throughout the wedding. I loved that it became our “logo” without the use of our names or initials. It was fun to incorporate it into the stamps for our invitations, pieces within our welcome bag, the cocktail stir sticks, the wax seal on each menu card, etc!

Did you include any special traditions, old or new?
Our entire ceremony was really special. I am Greek and Jon is Jewish – very different but each rooted with beautiful traditions. Our officiant was my aunt, so we really created our ceremony from scratch. While it was a huge undertaking, we were able to make it our own, truly celebrating both cultures. We had a ketubah and Jon broke a glass at the end of the ceremony; we also did the Stefana, a Greek crowning ceremony. My favorite part though was our chuppah. Naturally, chuppahs are pretty large and make a visual statement in wedding ceremonies. We covered our chuppah in olive branches (which originated in Greece), as a way to blend both of our cultures and show our friends/family how excited we are to celebrate what makes both of them so unique. We also shared our own vows which was obviously really special for Jon and I but also our guests as well.

Something new was definitely our first dance. We signed up for dance lessons to learn some steps, plus do something fun together… and we ended up walking out with a choreographed dance! It was fun since our first dance song was “You May Be Right” by Billy Joel. It was so refreshing to do something different that wasn’t really apart of our original plan, we literally signed up for the classes just a few weeks before our wedding. Ultimately we thought it would be a little more memorable for our friends and family to get some laughs out of it then stare at us slow dance, right?!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
With a pretty large guest list it was important to us to make our wedding feel intimate and personal! Some of our highlights include:
– An authentic gyro station during cocktail hour. Not something you typically see! It was actually Jon’s idea because Greek food is his favorite but it was obviously a really nice touch for me!
– On Saturday morning before the wedding Jon hosted a campus tour for any of our friends and family who wanted to join. I was super jealous I couldn’t be the tour guide!
– It was important to us to have comfort food that was upscale but not too fussy. We wanted dishes on the menu that we love and know our guests do too. Things like brussel sprouts with pancetta and salt potatoes (local to Syracuse!). The meal came out family style so it kept dinner engaging and not as formal. A big favorite was
the almond-encrusted chicken with honey bourbon sauce!
– The dessert table was also a big reflection on us, or really me! I absolutely love to bake so I was really involved with the bakery we chose in creating fun treats like blueberry bourbon donuts and mini s’mores bites with toasted marshmallows!
– Our after party (back on campus at one of our favorite bars) was also a huge hit. We served late night snacks from our go-to places when we were in school. We also had fun spirited swag… I made mini foam fingers with our wedding date and custom “krazy straws” in the outline of our wedding orange/logo. We also had beaded necklaces and glow sticks. We even made a replica of a lifeguard chair (all ‘Cuse alumni know why!) with a life preserver with our name/wedding date on it.

Last but not least – paper! To keep things personal, everything that was letterpressed (not digitally printed) for our wedding was hand printed by me. After taking a calligraphy class a few years ago I knew I wanted to design some of our paper pieces for the wedding. I ended up taking a letterpress class so I was able to hand print each of the pieces in our invitation suite, as well as the menu card and donation card on each plate… in lieu of a traditional favor, we made donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and The National Multiple Sclerosis Society; near and dear to the hearts of both our immediate families.

Dress Designer: Vera Wang
Dress Shop: Vera Wang in NYC
Hair: Danielle Leubner; Makeup: Gina Scammell
Flowers: Stacy K Floral
Cake: The Sweet Praxis
Catering: H&J Hospitality
Entertainment: Shine Band
I was a very hands on bride, taking on the role of planner and designer myself. Along the way, I consulted with Kate from LovewellWeddings who was a huge resource in answering any questions I had. I bounced almost everything I planned/designed off of her; she helped in providing her “two cents” from her expertise in the industry. I also hired Kate to set up all of my non-floral decorations the day of the wedding. Last but not least, I hired Heather Davidson for “day-of” coordination to ensure seamless transitions throughout the entire day – a huge help since our ceremony and reception were in different locations.

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