Though Drew and I both grew up in and around Saratoga Springs, we didn’t meet until 2018. We met the way most modern-day relationships do -- on the internet. We chatted for a few days before he convinced me to let him take me to dinner. I was hesitant. I even thought of ways to get out of the date, but thankfully decided to go. We found out later that we’d both attended summer camp at Gavin Park, and even received our First Communion on the same day, at the same church, in the same class.
I was living in Connecticut at the time, while Drew still lived in Saratoga. Late in 2018, he and Chewy, his dog, moved in with me, and in March of 2019, Drew proposed in front of the Snoqualmie Waterfalls in Washington.
We both knew we wanted an outdoor, fall wedding. We wanted to make travel as easy as possible for the people we loved most. We decided on Lake Placid -- not only because of its breathtaking views and close proximity to our families, but also because it is the city in which the USA Hockey team led our country to victory over the then Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Drew is an avid hockey lover and player, and played many tournaments in Lake Placid as a child. It only felt right to get married there.
We chose the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort on Main Street for our ceremony and reception. They’re a family-owned business, and from the start, they made us feel like part of that family. It was a bonus that they were directly across the street from the Herb Brooks Arena, where the US won in 1980. They got our sense of humor and were welcoming to our laid-back ideas for our wedding.
We decided on a date: Oct. 3rd of 2020. Peak leaf weekend. We wanted as much time to plan as possible, especially living four hours away in Connecticut. In January of 2020, I was offered a job in Nashville, Tennessee, and suddenly we went from a four-hour drive to being 15-hours away.
Ten days after we arrived in Nashville, COVID shut the city down. We were both out of work, low on cash, and 15 hours from our families. We thought, “Well, we have until October. We’ll ride it out.” The months went by, and things didn’t seem to be getting any better. We called the Golden Arrow early in the summer to discuss our options. They were incredible. They allowed us to downsize in accordance with the state law at the time, and whatever money we had already given them would be used, and the rest we would get back. It was at that moment that we confirmed that we had chosen the right venue. They were caring, compassionate, and addressed all of our fears.
We narrowed our guest list from 150 to 30 people. We called all of our vendors to readjust our numbers, and each of them accommodated us with grace and compassion. We signed COVID contracts. We kept up with state and federal guidelines and mandates. In a world of uncertainty, kindness and love shone through. Our moms took care of all of our local needs in Saratoga and the surrounding areas while we remained in Nashville. They sent us photos of flowers, table decorations, and FaceTimed us in with vendors so we could choose what we wanted to go with our theme. The groomsmen ordered their suits online. No contact? No problem.
We kept it really simple -- a fall wedding with rustic accents. We had lanterns placed at each table with small wooden table numbers and used our favorite TV shows to add in our personal touch for decor. Our cupcakes for dessert would range from apple pie flavored to chocolate chip cookie dough, and were made by a high school friend. All of our vendors were local businesses whom we knew personally, or knew through friends. We let Mirror Lake on peak leaf weekend speak for itself. It certainly didn’t need any help from us to be beautiful.
Two COVID tests, a 15-hour drive, and a two-week quarantine later, we suited up and put our masks on. Our day came, and it was perfect. Our DJ, Lee Kyler, offered to record our wedding on Zoom, and many of the remaining 120 people who we were unable to invite were able to join us virtually. Our moms lit a unity candle as part of our ceremony, to symbolize the coming together of two families. On top of the boathouse, overlooking Mirror Lake, we became husband and wife. Do I care to plan a wedding during a pandemic again? No. But I wouldn’t change a thing. The intimacy of our ceremony only exemplified what the day was truly about: marrying my best friend and celebrating love.
Wedding Date October 3, 2020
Location Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort
Photographer Adam Frehm of LoveBuzz Photography
Stationery Suite Zola.com
Wedding Gown Something Bleu
Bridesmaids' Dresses Saratoga Elegance - Yana LaPage
Groomsmen Attire GenerationTux
Hair & Makeup Katherine Elizabeth Salon
Rings My wedding set was Drew's great-grandmother's. Drew's best friend made his wedding ring!
Jewelry Custom and handmade by TrueWarriorJewlery
Flowers Samantha Nass Floral Designs
Event Decorator My mom, my MIL, and my girlfriends!
Caterer Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort
Cake Baked by Jordan (Jordan Cleavland)
DJ or Band Lee Kyler, LakePlacidDJ
Honeymoon Destination Europe
Special Touches... We spent an hour by ourselves with our photographer before the ceremony and had so much fun. It eased our nerves for the day and we laughed the whole time. It was perfect. Drew wore a pin inside his jacket with a photo of his childhood best friend, Connor, who passed away at 14. We Zoomed our wedding ceremony so our loved ones could watch -- even cousins in Thailand (It was 4 am there)! Our rings -- my set was Drew's great grandmothers (1941) and Drew's was handmade by his friend, Justin
Advice to Pass Along... Take time for just you and your spouse to have a few private moments throughout the course of the day. It goes by fast. Spend the money on the photographer. It's worth every penny. Remember the reason for the day and center everything around the love you have for your partner.