March 26th, 2016
Saratoga Springs, New York
Carter and Jo play on competing teams in the Prospect Park Women’s Softball League during summer and love to travel to tropical locations in winter. They live in New York where Carter works for a “trendy start-up” that lets her bring their dog Austin to work. Jo is an industrial designer who builds custom chandeliers for a living. She also builds cardboard costumes for fun and can also bring their very lucky dog Austin to work. Jo adds that Carter “is a social media addict with a prolific Instagram presence featuring mostly pictures of Brooklyn sunsets, Austin, and our rabbit Pico.”
The couple planned their wedding in only six months, which they admit, in retrospect, was a little insane. Once Carter & Jo knew they wanted to get married at the Mansion Inn they were faced with two options: Plan a small wedding in early spring or wait two years. They opted for fast and small. Say the brides, “One huge advantage to having a smaller wedding is that you can feasibly do a lot of DIY elements. And you can spring for fancy components that give the whole event a more luxurious feel.”
Jo kept a multi-sheeted excel document to organize and compare vendors and micromanage their planning. Says Jo, “We wanted a wild bring-the-outdoors-in kind of feel with a ridiculous amount of greenery and big white peonies. This would have cost us more than anything else in the entire wedding had we gone with a florist. We were crazy enough to do it ourselves.”
They ordered 7 varieties of eucalyptus, made crepe paper flowers by hand and supplemented with some real blooms. Say the brides, “We needed 200 paper peonies and each flower took an hour and a half. It took two months to make them.” Jo says that reading wedding blogs helped them accomplish their DIY goals, including adding mismatched mercury glass vases, votives, and repurposed bottles. Despite their careful planning, their eucalyptus “missed its flight” and almost didn’t make it to the wedding. With the help of family and friends the brides were still able to pull off their dream aesthetic. “It took seven hours with a small army of helpers, but we got every stem into place and all the tables set in time to go to our rehearsal dinner. It was exhausting, exhilarating, and absolutely beautiful. All told, we made something like 28 large arrangements, 100 mini ones, 2 chandelier garlands, and 2 mantle garlands. And really, aside from a few moments of me trying to figure out how to teach flower arranging on the fly, it was actually really nice to have so many family members arrive early and help out.”
The brides opted to get ready together. They took photos outside on the brisk and bright day. When they met with their photographer, Rob Spring, the brides were open about what they were looking for in their photos. “We had a silly hipster-y posed photo from pinterest and Rob took one look and said, “Furniture in the woods?” which turned out to be exactly right. The Inn let us drag a settee out into the backyard and we posed everyone against it.”
The couple wrote their ceremony themselves and had a friend officiate. Their parents read blessings and as for Jo and Carter’s vows—which they wrote together—they read them back and forth in a flow of promises.
Jo’s brother Ethan performed a duet with their pianist during cocktail hour, and the brides “laughed and stumbled” through a first dance beneath the chandelier in the foyer. The brides also gush about the comfort-food based menu the Mansion created for them, including chicken pot pies and braised short ribs over parmesan polenta, followed by an assortment of ice cream sandwiches, strawberry shortcake and chocolate mousses.
Because most of the guests were staying at the inn, the brides and their loved ones danced and partied late into the night, even after the venue staff left for the evening. Say the brides, “Being able to stay at the venue and have everything in one space also gave us the unique opportunity not to have to travel anywhere.” When Jo and Carter did finally retreat to their room after the wedding the staff had set up flower arrangements around the space and lit a crackling fire. “We were exhausted, but that moment of finally being alone together in such a beautiful space was magical.”