One venue option often overlooked by brides and other party planners are museums. Art museums, history museums, cultural museums…they’re the perfect alternative for couples looking for an indoor ceremony, but opting out of a traditional chapel OR for the party that’s looking for a little bit of “built in” ambiance. Today’s wedding was held at the Saratoga Springs, NY unique wedding venue National Museum of Dance and was positively paramount in securing such gorgeous photographs from Guilderland, NY based wedding photographer Matt Ramos Photography. Take a look…
Can you give us an overview of the event? We started off the afternoon with a very private “first look” in the beautiful Saratoga Springs State Park (NY). We stayed in the park for a few hours for pictures with each other, along with our families and bridal party. Later, we had a very intimate ceremony inside the National Museum of Dance (which is also inside the State Park), where we were surrounded by candles and baby’s breath. A close friend of ours officiated the wedding for us, which was wonderful. After we were pronounced husband and wife, our guests were escorted outside into a tent in the courtyard of the Museum for the reception. While the guests began their mingling and eating, the DJ set off the night with old crooner classics. We were announced into the tent and had our first dance to “That’s How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding. The Father of the Bride gave his toast, and then Meghan and her Dad danced to “My Girl” by The Temptations. The Best Man then gave his toast, and then Jeff and his Mother danced to “In My Life” by The Beatles. And, after all of that, the only thing left to do was celebrate and dance the night away with good friends and family. At the end of the night, our guests sent us off with confetti poppers shooting all around us. We waved goodnight and were whisked off to our honeymoon suite.
Was there a specific theme or style? For the ceremony: intimate and romantic. Candles and baby’s breath. For the reception: stylish and fun. All white decor with large displays of lush greenery — inspired by Miami.
What inspired the theme or style? The one (and only) wedding detail that Meghan has dreamt about since she was a little girl was that her wedding would be at night and drenched in candle light. Jeff loved the idea as well, so we carried that detail into the ceremony by getting married at 8pm and then having candles literally everywhere and turning the lights down very low. It was beautiful and romantic, and the perfect way to say “I do” to each other. For the reception, we wanted a decor style that felt sleek but at the same time relaxed. We thought that the all-white Miami vibe would best create that type of atmosphere for us and our guests. Having it in a tent on a warm spring night really helped solidify that feeling, because we could remove the tent’s wall panels and have it feel very “warm and breezy.”
What were your playful twists that made your event unique? There were a few: 1) At the reception, we surrounded the dance floor with white lounge furniture. When guests needed a break from dancing but still wanted to stay a part of that energy, the lounge furniture allowed them to do that. Guests could sit comfortably and socialize with one another. We wanted people to feel relaxed while they celebrated with us. People still tell us how much they loved the lounge furniture. 2) Later on in the night when it was time to really start having fun on the dance floor, we had all the lighting in the tent change to red. It really helped set the mood that it was time to party. 3) We had a photo booth with a lot of fun / funny props. Giving the guests an opportunity to “play dress up” and take funny pictures really helps set the mood that we just want everyone to have a good time and make some great memories together. 4) We had a specialty cocktail, which was a mojito. We felt it went perfectly with that “Miami vibe” we were trying to create in the tent. Guests could select either an original mojito, a pineapple mango mojito or a watermelon mojito. They were a huge hit — everyone was walking around with one — and even now friends of ours will tell us they are craving one. 5) Since we were getting married at the National Museum of Dance and because we wanted everyone to dance the night away, we had a line on the RSVP cards that said “Can’t wait to dance to _______” so that guests could play a part in selecting the songs that would be played during the night. We got a lot of great suggestions.
Did you DIY any of the details? Yes, the bride designed all of the stationary (save the dates, wedding invitations, ceremony cards, all signage at the reception, etc). The bride loves design and was very excited to be able to do this for the wedding.
What are the honeymoon plans? We honeymooned in Anguilla at the Viceroy, which we loved. We both love to travel and when we do we always wear ourselves out trying to see as much as possible. Knowing that about ourselves and knowing that we wanted our honeymoon to be as relaxing as possible, we picked an island that would force us to unwind and that wouldn’t be too long of a flight from NY. Anguilla is a quiet little island with beautiful beaches and great food. It was really wonderful and just what we needed. We didn’t want to leave!
What was the most memorable moment? There were two. The first and foremost was when we exchanged our vows, which we wrote ourselves. We were very focused on each other and what we were saying. The room was perfect with the candlelight surrounding us. The person officiating the wedding is a good friend of ours, so it made it extra special. It was the perfect beginning of our lives together. The second memorable moment was our confetti send off at the end of the night. We had to hide off to the side while everyone was set up down the sides of the foyer. Then we ran through the middle and confetti was flying all over the place, and everyone was laughing. It was a lot of fun and a great way to say goodnight to everyone. It was a perfecting ending to the atmosphere we were trying to create.
Tell us about the food and dessert: In our experience, one of the best parts of a wedding reception is the cocktail hour. Everyone is relaxed and mingling and grabbing a bite of this or that, while sipping on a delicious beverage. So we decided we would make our entire reception one big cocktail hour, and we did not serve a sit down meal. We had hors d’oeuvres being passed the whole night, along with stations set up around the tent. A few of the items being served were: mini cuban sandwiches, Thai chicken and cashew spring rolls, seafood ceviche served in martini glasses, mini tomato soup sips served with a mini grilled cheese wedge, italian spiced pulled pork served atop a grilled square of polenta, mini flatbreads served with braised short rib / red onion and gorgonzola, marinated grilled vegetables and mushrooms, rosemary scented cured olives, fresh mozzarella/tomato/basil salad, assorted Italian meats and cheeses, stuffed cherry peppers, small plates of tortellini with garlic, small plates of rigatoni alla vodka, roasted beets and balsamic figs served over arugula, breaded eggplant and tomato salad, and more! We wanted desert to go along with that flow as well so we had cupcakes instead of cake. That way guests could “grab and mingle.” There were four different flavors: vanilla cake with coconut pastry cream filling and coconut buttercream frosting (which we called Crazy for Coconut), vanilla cake with vanilla pastry cream and vanilla buttercream frosting (which we called Va-Va-Vanilla), vanilla cake with lemon curd filling and lemon buttercream frosting (which we called Lemon Drop) and vanilla cake with key lime pie filling and mint buttercream frosting (which we called The Mojito). We also had a dessert station set up with things like mini creme brulee, chocolate truffles, mini eclairs, cream puffs and mini fruit tarts . All food in the tent was bite size (or very close to it) so that everyone could mingle while they ate. Since the reception was going until 1am, we also had a large coffee and cordials bar set up with the desserts.
What kind of energy did your entertainment give? Our DJ was fantastic. He kept the partying going all night with an upbeat energy, which is exactly what we wanted. He didn’t try to “steal the spotlight” in any sort of way. He kept the focus on playing great music, for all generations to be able to dance to.
Tell us about your wedding gown, and what your wedding party wore: The wedding gown was Cymbeline Paris, made entirely of french lace. I knew I wanted a lace gown because to me it just screams timeless romance. It was a strapless mermaid silhouette, with cascading lace ruffles. I knew going into it that I wanted a mermaid style, because I wanted a very feminine feeling to the gown. I kept my dress a secret from everyone (yes, even my mother) until the wedding day. Our wedding party was very small, just a Matron of Honor (the bride’s cousin) and a Best Man (the groom’s brother). The bride wanted the Matron of Honor to be able to select her own dress, and the only stipulation was that the dress be black and also that it be something she would easily be able to wear again. She selected a t-length dress from David’s Bridal, and it worked perfectly.
Tell us how you met! It was June 2005. We were both at a mutual friend’s party that neither of us wanted to be at. Meghan knew the friend from college and Jeff knew the friend from high school. We met while playing a card game together with some other people at the party, and Jeff continued to make small talk with Meghan throughout the night. Meghan thought Jeff seemed nice enough, but wasn’t really looking to get involved with anyone at that time and so didn’t think of it as anything more than friendly conversation. We never exchanged information and went separately on our way at the end of the night. A week or so later, Meghan received a friend request from Jeff on Facebook but she didn’t recognize or remember him. Meghan looked through Jeff’s pictures and eventually realized it was the guy from the party the other night. From the pictures, Jeff looked like a lot of fun so Meghan ended up inviting Jeff to a party she was throwing. We really ended up hitting it off at the party and the rest is history!
Now for the proposal…details! It was December 2009 and we decided to spend Christmas in Maui, just the two of us. Meghan had read about going to see the sunrise at Haleakala National Park, and the general advice was that it should be done on the first morning of your trip when you are not yet adjusted to the time difference and can more easily get up at 3am to make the drive there. So that’s what we did. We got to the top of the mountain while it was still pitch black out (and very cold) and just sat and waited for the sun to show itself. Jeff had planned to propose at sunrise, however there were about 30 other people there and he knew Meghan would want it to be a private moment. We watched a beautiful sunrise together, and then Jeff began his hunt for a new spot to ask the big question. We were walking around Kalahaku Overlook, which looks down over these amazing craters and views of the ocean, and there was no one else around. Jeff got down on one knee and asked Meghan to marry him… and she said yes. Big props to Jeff on getting the ring through airport security without Meghan having any idea the ring even existed… Meghan usually doesn’t miss a beat!