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Destination I Do
Friday, May 6, 2016

A Classically Chic Cornell Wedding

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Vanessa Joy Photography

Angela and James were together for over ten years before getting engaged. So, needless to say, there were countless options when it came to choosing a special place to tie the knot. After some soul searching and taking their family and friends’ locations into account, the pair chose to say “I do” at their alma mater – Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. “We got engaged about six months before James finished his Ph.D.,” says the bride. “At the time, we had no idea where we were headed next. We wanted to have our ceremony somewhere special to us, and with our friends and family spread out all over the world, any place would probably be a ‘destination’ for them. So, we decided to return to the place where we first met!

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“We met while attending Cornell University during our undergraduate years; after which we also stayed in Ithaca for our Master’s degrees,” says Angela. “We have a lot of fond memories full of late nights and good times there! We discussed various meaningful places from throughout our ten-year relationship, but we decided going back to where it all began would be the perfect place.” Picking a location for their wedding when they had no idea where they would be living for the majority of the planning process had to be a stressful experience for the couple.

“The only issue with our choice of location turned out to be that we ended up moving to the complete opposite coast!” says the bride. “So we had to make a few cross-country trips to iron out all the wedding details.” Another important decision that resulted from the couple moving across the country was their hiring of a wedding planner. “Our wedding planner was absolutely the best investment we made throughout the whole process (besides our phenomenal photographer)!” says the bride. “After moving to the West Coast, we realized we desperately needed help to do some of the legwork over on the East Coast for us. Not only was she way more familiar with the process, Angie is also a fellow Cornell alumus! Having guidance from someone with experience helped make our long distance planning much easier.”

While the travel logistics were more complicated than the couple anticipated, they were sure to keep their guests well informed. “Our guests were traveling from all over the world: [I] have family in Asia, Europe and Canada, plus we both had friends in every corner of the United States,” says Angela. “Since Cornell is a bit far from any one particular major city, we had to give them information about all the closest airports, driving directions, timeline and hotel information very early on in the planning process so that everyone could plan their trip accordingly.” 

Come W-Day, the couple had no doubts that they made the right destination wedding decision. “[The process was] hectic, but definitely worth the stressful hours of planning,” says the couple. “When we were on campus for the wedding weekend, we both kept saying how it felt amazingly surreal to have all our family and friends together at Cornell – we never could have imagined that ten years ago when we first started going out!”

Hosting their wedding away from a big city had both pros and cons on the couple’s wedding budget. “We probably spent more money on this destination than if we stayed closer to a larger city; travel expenses and accommodations for the vendors was the main price increase. But, then again, we might have had to pay more for the venue if we decided to have our wedding elsewhere.”

Looking back, the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to Angela and James’ destination wedding at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. They have some smart words of advice for other couples currently planning a wedding away. “Never underestimate the usefulness of a wedding planner; we didn’t think we’d need one and it was the best decision we made! [Also,] plan ahead because everything takes longer than you’d expect. Go a few days early to settle-in before things get crazy. Most of all, no matter what, enjoy your special day!” 

Vendors: Photographer: Vanessa Joy Photography, Wedding Planner: Angela Yu Bae with Angi & Co, Ceremony/Reception Site: Sage Chapel/Carrier Grand Ballroom at the Statler Hotel (Cornell University in Ithaca, NY), Videographer: Clark+Walker Studio, Florist: Michaleen’s, Stationery: Paper Delights, Cake: Ithaca Bakery, Hair & Makeup: VickyC5, Reception Music: Silver Arrow Band, A Cappella Performance: Cayuga’s Waiters, Photobooth & Uplighting: Black Tie Entertainment, Escort Card Calligrapher: Dana Yu, Bridesmaids/Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: J.Crew/Men’s Wearhouse, Gown Designer: Monique Lhuillier, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Suitsupply

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