Destination weddings are a dream for us.
We arrived the day before to photograph the rehearsal dinner and meet the family in Taughannock Falls State Park just outside Ithaca, NY. As Southern Californians we appreciate a majestic drive, so we decided to fly into Newark, NJ and drive to Upstate NY through the rolling hills and fall scenery we simply don’t get at home. We LOVE fall on the East Coast.
The evening was beautiful and right away we learned this is one of the most welcoming families we have ever come across. Being there for the rehearsal really gave us a glimpse of the amazing group we were going to be spending the weekend with and we were really looking forward to it.
One of the best things about destination weddings like this, other than the amazing location of course, is that we get to spend so much time with everyone. We usually spend time with our couples and really get to know them, but getting to know the whole family just makes it that much better. Staying at the same property with the whole wedding just makes everyone feel that much closer.
After spending most of the evening in the yellow barn suite back at La Tourelle we headed up to our room to be ready for the big day ahead.
The unforgettable drinks were provided by Ithaca Beer Co., including some of the best Root Beer I have ever tasted, and the delicious rehearsal dinner was catered by Ithaca Bakery. We heard the bakery made a killer breakfast, so the next morning we ventured into Ithaca to fuel ourselves the day ahead. Ithaca is a great little town that to us looks like it is straight from a movie set in Hollywood, but this is the real thing!
We headed back to La Tourelle to start capturing Kait and Jay’s big day. We walked up to their rooms for some getting ready photos and of course caught some pictures of Guinness (their cat) while she was hanging out with Kait and the girls getting ready.
As soon as the bride and groom we both prepared, we wandered over to the serene little lake on the immaculate property for their First Look. It truly was a scene straight off a postcard with a swing hanging from the tree adjacent to the private pond and, as photographers, we knew it would be the perfect place for a private moment like the first look.
As family and friends gathered it was time for the wedding to begin. A highlight for us, other than the gorgeous views and the romantic ceremony obviously, was that the music was provided by Cayuga’s Waiters. They are an all male a cappella group started at Cornell University in 1949 and the provided the perfect fun ambiance for this day.
As the evening progressed we headed into the reception to celebrate the official joining of these two families.
With a coffee bar featuring coffee from all the great roasters around the Finger Lakes, beautiful gourmet cupcakes from Wegmans Bakery, and a loving family, Emma and I were both in a very happy place.
Having the whole evening DJ’d by one of the groomsmen was a truly memorable experience. He also provided the music for the rehearsal dinner (albeit acoustically) so we knew he was a special talent and exactly why Kait and Jay chose to have him be such a big part of their day. Someone that knows these families so well, adds such an extra layer to the music of the day and really sets the mood for this special occasion.
After all the dinner and dancing, sadly, even the best days come to an end. Not to be forgotten, the weather was absolutely amazing and I would LOVE to have fall days like this at home. We kept hearing how the weather was just perfect for this area, but I think they just didn’t want the visiting Southern California wedding photographers in on the secret of how special this area really is.
The Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York is a place that will stay in my memory for a LONG time. As the alumni of either Cornell or Ithaca College could probably share with you, this area is full of history, beautiful buildings, gorgeous vistas and landscapes, and amazing people. We would be SO excited to return to this area to photograph another wedding, but in the meantime we will just have to relive this weekend through the our photos and the memories that are paired up with them.
Thank you to both of these amazing families and, of course, Kaitlin and Jason for trusting us with photographing their weekend and letting us in on the secret of this amazing place.
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Rehearsal Dinner Location: Taughannock Falls State Park
Rehearsal Dinner Food: Ithaca Bakery
Rehearsal Dinner Drinks: Ithaca Beer Co.
Wedding Location: La Tourelle
Ceremony Music: Cayuga’s Waiters
Reception Catering: La Tourelle Catering
DJ: Aaron Staniulis
Hair & Makeup: Panayota “Penny” Efthymiou
Bridal Gown & Bridesmaids Dresses: Julie Allen’s Bridal