Homespun Upstate New York wedding
Katie Rose + Jay knew they wanted their 350-guest wedding to take place at the house they’d built a year before. It was totally vacant land that they transformed together + were excited to finally share with guests. It wasn’t just a wedding, it was a celebration of life. Jay tells it, It was important for the wedding to feel grounded in our lives, our home and our land and to be a celebration of not just our union but the wonder of life itself. I was finishing 9 months of grueling cancer treatment and there was good news around that while Katie Rose was also 5-months pregnant with our first child! These very facts lent an air of celebration and praise for the life that was saved and the life that was soon to come into our world. It was the summer solstice and a day filled to the brim with light. (You can read Jay’s story here).
So much to celebrate. Thanks to AhmetZe for these shots!
One of the groom’s fave moments…
Katie Rose and I were both on the island in the middle of our pond, surrounded by our community and family in a semi-circle of love, the sound of June insects in the air, dogs splashing at the water’s edge, an occasional jangle of the two massive black Percheron horses shuffling their harness.
How sweet is this?!
It turns out, these two have a super talented crew: Their friend Abe performed his song, Before The Autumn Rains, from an album Jay (who is a musician himself) produced. Jay’s sister and friend performed ‘Til Death Do Us Part, by Kasey Chambers during the ceremony, and other friends performed the old hymn I’ll Fly Away, while leading guests from the pond where the ceremony was up to the house.
K + J love having potlucks and gathering friends so they figured a potluck would make much more sense for their wedding meal. Everyone was welcome to participate and it helped them save on the event (their wedding was about $28k). They created a Google doc that explained that if people felt inspired they could bring a dish—no pressure—and make note of what they’d bring. About half the guests participated and it ended up being just the right amount to go around.
Guests were able to camp on the property or stay with friends + family in the area.
The biggest hurdle was managing the uncertainty around my treatments and related outcomes. There was a good chance we would have had to reschedule depending on when certain surgeries needed to happen but it all worked out. I hope no one has to face this exact hurdle but uncertainty seems like it will always be there to some degree. My advice would be to expect things to evolve organically during the event to some degree and don’t try to visualize or plan every detail. Just create a fertile canvas and include the holy trinity (food, booze, music), work to ensure your guests are comfortable (neither cold nor hot, not being pestered by bugs, easy access to bathrooms, etc) and just let it all unfurl. People want to have fun, they want to celebrate you and generally guests will figure out a way to do that no matter what.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Jay + Katie Rose! And congrats on your newest addition too.
Photographer: AhmetZe / Second Photographers: Jess Ze & Mel Barlow / Videographer: Anna Davis Films / Venue & Planning: Bride & Groom / Day of Coordination: Kathy Johnson / Hair & Makeup: Agata Helena / Florist: Bride’s Sister Anna Hillegass, The Foundry Home Goods / Invitations: Kate Diago / Baker: Renee Baumann / Lamb & Cheese Potluck: Groom’s Sister’s Farm Bonnie View / Pizza: Skinny Pines / Officiant: James Murray / Shaman: Nadiya Nottingham / Bands: Roosevelt Dime & Emefe / Zoo: Two by Two Zoo / Sculptor: Jeremy Wolff / Rentals: Party Time Rentals / Bride’s Dress: Theia from Lovely Bride in NYC / Accessories: Lovely Bride / Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Rings: Page Sargisson / Groom’s Suit: J. Crew customized by By A Thin Thread / Shoes: Wolverine