Posted by Christine Wheat on September 02, 2016
Planner: Christine Wheat
Wedding: July 20, 2013
Region: Paul Smiths, NY
Photo Credit: Tracey Buyce Photography
London meets Lake Placid for an amazing affair!
We were brought on as the planner of this weekend affair after the reception was moved from an onsite reception hall to the middle of a national preserve. We had a great time planning with the client from afar. Our Bride & Groom lived in London and the mother of the groom was right in Westchester NY – which of course led to some creative planning techniques…Skype wasn’t always on our side.
When Mary was in town we went to work on tastings, design meetings, and lots of logistics.
We did many walk throughs of the event space, winter spring and summer.
Venues like this require multiple site tours in order to iron out logistical kinks – Sometimes that means a great imagination!
Our main challenge was getting guests and vendors in and out of this remote location as seamlessly and safely as possible.
We worked with 100+ vendors over 12 months. Working in such a remote location, with no running water ment a month long tent build including a large space for catering preparations, two separate built-in bathroom trailers and a bridal suite for the on-site make-up crew.
Marrying the rustic, natural ambiance of the Adirondacks with a black-tie, formal and elegant affair was something that was very important to Mary & Drew. Through the extensive efforts of the Renaissance team, we worked together to bring stationary, catering and decor together.
Our bride was an artist, and with such talent she drew many pieces for us to use throughout the wedding weekend. The sign below shows a celebration tent used on the reception card and onsite direction signage.
The couple embossed a leather luggage tag with a canoe and the geographic coordinates for their save the date.
Several Adirondack motifs embellished the invitation suite and weekend event stationary. The envelope was lined with birch tree paper and a stag garnished the invitation; which became a reoccurring theme throughout the event.
Mary and Drew understood that guests would be traveling from all over the world to a location not easily accessible by train or plane. We worked with guests to book all of the airport pick ups, weekend travel and accommodations needs.
Once guests arrived, they were given amazing welcome box filled with personalized local goodies - The famous Mirror Lake Inn granola, a hand-painted Adirondack towel, Advil and Melatonin for travelers, bug spray, Saratoga water, Lake Placid Chocolatier truffles, welcome booklet with a map of the area, hand-drawn by Mary, a schedule of events, weekend transportation and fun things to do in the Lake Placid.
The big day snuck right up on us. Live trees were loaded in, tables were set, and TONS of details were arranged by Renaissance Floral Design. Coupled with the extensive set-up were regular security sweeps by the Secret Service, which meant everyone had to leave the tent, putting a hold on production.
Meanwhile, Mary and her hens were slipping into the gorgeous gowns that she designed!
Mary & Drew were married at St. John in the Wilderness church, a small stone church in Paul Smith’s, New York. The couple assumed English ceremony traditions and Mary’s family walked her down the aisle. Keeping in line with the English flair, guests sang and participated in all facets of the ceremony.
As Mary and Drew exited the ceremony, guests showered them with petals before they climbed into Drew’s vintage jeep adorned with an adorable “Just Married,” sign.
One of the biggest challenges that we faced with this event was transportation for all guests. Shuttle busses could not fit up the road and all vehicles had to travel in the same direction. Guests were shuttled in on the medium buses, invited into a cocktail tent at the base of the hill. To make things more challenging, there was no cell phone service in this area. Our driver’s had to bring satellite phones in order to communicate with each other, and trust me, communication is key to the success of any event!
Once guests reached the top of the hill they were invited to find their escort card in a large grass and moss installation designed by David Michael Schmidt of Renaissance Floral Designs before enjoying more cocktails on the wrap-around veranda. This cocktail space would later turn into the after-party location.
From the cocktail hour space, guests were welcomed into the tent for the reception. Farm tables were lined with small vintage glasses of wild flowers, the inside of the tent was also decorated with live, full-sized trees. The tables were labeled after wilderness animals such as black bear, peregrine falcon, and chipmunk. Charming wicker chandeliers even lit up the tent.
Because there were a lot of children at the wedding we made children’s boxes with fun activities and games and placed them on their chairs.
With everyone in the tent, the real magic started, guests enjoyed an evening of toasts, dinner, dancing and of course a delicious cake by Debbie Coye. The bride got really creative and designed a surprise PHISH motif for the top tier! (and of course the inside was tie dye)
Our eight person team coupled with the efforts of almost 100 other vendors made this event possible. Over six days everyone worked almost around the clock to produce this event and it truly was one for the books.
“I want to tell you that the wedding was fabulous! Everyone had a great time! Drew and Mary are so happy!”
- Mother of the Groom
Today’s Takeaway: When you have an untraditional venue such as this, a barn or a field – you’re going to need an extensive team of vendors to start from scratch. Coordination of vendor and logistics – making sure everyone was on the same page – was one of the biggest facets of our planning process, and was vital to the success of this event.