When looking for a place to host their summer nuptials, New Yorkers Taryn Brandes and Guss Firestein immediately fell in love with a rustic-elegant setting that wasn’t too far from home, yet still provided the opportunity to have a destination wedding weekend with family and friends. “Having a weekend instead of an evening allowed us to get to spend real quality time with all of our guests,” shares the bride of the multi-day celebration at a venue featuring an upscale summer-camp feel and accommodations for their loved ones.
On the evening of their wedding day, 300 attendees enjoyed selections of iced tea, lemonade, and fruit-infused water before finding their seats atop white benches or wooden vineyard chairs with ivory cushions. “I wanted a ‘natural beauty’ look for the ceremony since we were getting married out on a mountain top in Hudson Valley,” tells Taryn of the décor. Carrying a bouquet of peonies, roses, sweet pea blossoms, and campanula blooms tied together with cascading ribbon, the bride was a vision of beauty in her strapless trumpet gown as she made her way down the aisle to meet her beloved.
In keeping with Jewish tradition, the ceremony took place beneath a chuppah, which was embellished with ivory, blush, and lavender florals that also filled baskets placed at the base of the structure. Choosing to incorporate traditional customs and familial aspects into the service – such as being wrapped in the bride’s grandfather’s tallit for a blessing – Taryn and Guss made sure to also incorporate modern elements that honored their love story. They exchanged personal vows and live musicians performed instrumental versions of their favorite tunes, including “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles, “Going to California” by Led Zeppelin, and “Love Will Keep Us Alive” by the Eagles.
Though the ceremony color scheme was light and romantic, “I wanted there to be a transition in the vibe from outdoorsy to ‘black tie’ when people walked into the reception,” explains the bride of the luxurious décor that filled the barn. The palette changed from soft whites and blushes for the alfresco vow exchange to deep plums with accents of ebony and gold for the evening festivities in order to create a modern interpretation of country-estate style with the opulence and luxury of a European alfresco dining experience. Twinkling string lights, glamorous crystal chandeliers, and garlands of greenery were suspended from wood beams overhead. Guests found their seats for the sit-down dinner service at long rectangular tables strewn with purple linens and decorated with low centerpieces in tones of aubergine, pink, and ivory, as well as candlelight and bold gold-rimmed black dinnerware showcasing a plum floral motif.
The bride and her mother worked in a collaborative effort with the design team and their family’s beloved event planner to organize the exquisite fête. The groom also held a special role, focusing on the food, alcohol, and music for the entire weekend – even helping to create a specialty watermelon cocktail and coordinating a soundtrack that would best fit their guest list. “We wanted to incorporate music that would cater to the various generations in attendance while also ensuring everyone would be out on the dance floor throughout the celebration,” confirms Guss. His efforts did not go unappreciated, as revelry continued into the early hours of the morning.
The memorable weekend was ultimately about celebrating their love; however, Taryn and Guss felt as though the magic of the event was having the opportunity to spend so much time with family and friends. “I think what people most enjoyed was the beautiful setting and the togetherness it provided to be able to share great activities and each other’s company all weekend,” says the groom. “Everyone was able to bond and it made the weekend feel that much more intimate and special.” Both agree they wouldn’t change a single thing about their destination wedding. “The highlight was the amount of love we felt all weekend – we just could not feel any luckier,” muses the bride. “It was the best weekend of my life!”