A Sentimental Lake George WeddingWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Tracey Buyce Photography
After getting engaged, Amanda and Sean never doubted their desire to host a destination wedding in Lake George, New York. In fact, the bride had made up her mind years and years earlier. “I spent my summers growing up on the Lake and spent countless hours at my grandparents’ home,” says Amanda. “As a little girl I watched as brides docked at our family home to make the short walk across the street to the beautiful Grace Memorial Chapel and had always imagined myself getting married there.”
The New York City couple continued making memories at Lake George, New York. “As adults, Sean and I spent time on Lake George together and made our own connection to what is a truly magical and romantic place. We felt it was the perfect setting to get married that was close to our hearts and reflected who we were as a couple. Lake George is a special place where we feel most at ease and most like ourselves and we wanted to share [the lake] with our family and friends.”
When it came time to spread the news of their decision, the couple’s family and friends couldn’t have been more supportive. “They were delighted,” recalls the bride. “Our families know how special Lake George is to us and thought it was perfectly fitting. Our friends were equally supportive; those who had been to Lake George couldn’t wait to go back and those who had not been were thrilled to discover a new place. It was a huge hit and many guests have already scheduled their own trips back to Lake George and The Sagamore because they loved it so much.”
It was a breeze for the couple to decide their destination and venue, but how was the planning process? “It was exciting and slightly stressful at times, but we shared a similar vision and had the support and help of our family and friends, so overall it was a great experience,” says Amanda. “The best resources were friends who had been married (I took bits and pieces of advice from different friends from all walks of life), bridal magazines (cannot get enough of them) and the amazing vendors we worked with.” The couple didn’t initially hire a wedding planner, but after discovering the in’s and out’s of planning a wedding, they changed their minds.
“We decided to get a wedding planner a little later in the game than most because with each additional decision and expense we realized that this would money well spent and it definitely was. When it comes to wedding planning there are so many things to think and worry about…we were so lucky and thankful to have an amazing wedding planner and many family and friends who helped the day run like a well-oiled machine.”
After hiring a wedding planner, the couple had a specific approach to working with their vendors. “Nothing is as good as good-old human interaction when planning the day of your dreams,” says the bride. “It allows you to communicate more effectively and to get to know the amazing people that will be a part of your big day. It allows them to get to know you and what you are looking for.” For example, the bride had a hair and makeup trial several months before the wedding and this allowed her the confidence to make a last-minute change come W-Day.
Amanda has simple advice for how to make planning your destination wedding as stress-free as possible. “I think the key to a successful destination wedding is meticulous planning – not my forte – or just being flexible, open-minded and creative. There are always going to be unexpected surprises (both good and bad) when planning a special event, especially those away from the comforts of home, but a good attitude can go miles and miles.”
Come W-Day, the couple got the Lake George wedding of their dreams, which included saying “I do” in the beautiful Grace Memorial Chapel and hosting a personalized reception at The Sagamore Resort. One of the more unique details of the day were the guest favors. “We made our wedding favors, which were maple syrup made in the woods just behind the chapel where we got married,” explains the bride. “We literally helped to gather the maple syrup in the early spring before the wedding and then designed the jugs to add a personal touch.”
While the couple ultimately ended up spending about the same as if they had stayed in NYC, there are no regrets. As the bride said, “I don’t think you can put a price on the perfect atmosphere.” To help other couples also planning the destination wedding of their dreams, Amanda has some final words of advice.
“Do what most feels like the best version of ‘you’ and go with your gut. Don’t second guess yourself or agonize over details because there are a million different permutations of every decision that can drive you crazy and make you lose sight of the big picture and what you are celebrating. [Also,] decide what your priorities are with your partner and focus on those things. When you get the big things right, it’s easier to let the little things just fall into place. We approached our wedding planning with the goal of making it the best party we and our guests had ever been to and, for us, that was the perfect recipe for success.”
Vendors: Photographer: Tracey Buyce Photography, Wedding Planner: Christine Wheat Special Events Firm, Ceremony/Reception Site: Grace Memorial Chapel/The Sagamore Resort, Florist: Surroundings Floral Studio, Stationery: Kensington Paper, Cake: The Sagamore Resort, Hair & Makeup: Make Me Fabulous, Gown Designer: Temperley London, Groom’s Clothing Designer: MySuit, Bridesmaids’ Clothing Designer: Lela Rose, Band: New York Players, Videographer: Al Woodard Films, Tent/Lighting/Chairs: Clifton Park
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