An Outdoor Fall Wedding in the Hudson Valley

Real Weddings

Heather and Dylan hiked to their favorite gorge in Highland, New York, where they ate and swam and slept in the sunshine. As Heather soaked up the sun, "I felt a shadow on me and opened my eyes to see Dylan down on one knee," she recalls. He proposed with a sapphire, which he hand-selected and had set in a custom band. "Of course, I said yes," Heather says.

When it came time to plan their October nuptials, the couple looked no further than The Garrison, a 300-acre venue whose crown jewel is an archway of tangled vines set beneath the Hudson Valley. "As soon as we saw it we knew that is where we wanted to say our vows," Heather says.

Rustic Outdoor Wedding Ideas

Photos: Dreamlove Wedding Photography

"We were really looking for the perfect blend between natural elements and traditional elements, with a lot of whim and fancy thrown in," Heather says of the wedding, which became more than a mix of nature and tradition—it became a true expression of the couple's tastes. "Dylan tends to lean toward traditional, while I lean more toward a romantic, vintage, rustic vibe," Heather explains.

To complement the couple's color palette of jewel-tones and birch brown, bridesmaids donned floor-length ruby-red convertible dresses from The Dessy Group. Heather wore a custom creation by the designer behind Guillermo Couture. The three-layer sheath of silk, georgette and English point d'esprit was emblazoned by a beaded starburst that began at the waist and fell to the bride's feet. "It felt like I was wearing a cloud, it was so light and airy," the bride recalls.

The bride carried not one, but two bouquets. The first, a soft mix of all white flowers, echoed the ceremony's serene setting—the second, the bride said, "was more about my fun side," and included deep-red Dahlias and burgundy Scabiosa.

The groom—who, like his three groomsmen, sported a classic black and white bow tie tuxedo—wore two boutonnieres to match his bride. After the ceremony, Dylan shed his succulent adornment for a black Calla lily flanked by a fiddlehead fern.

The couple's flower girl and ring bearer—who is also their son—toddled down a Dahlia-lined aisle carrying a birch basket and moss-covered pillow. "They both took their jobs very seriously," Heather says. But "Ellie stole the crowd's heart. She dropped one petal at a time until the very end, when she dumped tons right before the altar."

Heather's father walked her down the aisle, where she met Dylan beneath their beloved arch. Its vines were adorned with white Dendrobium orchids for the occasion. "The look was at once elegant, uplifting and fresh, while not competing with the incredible views of The Hudson River Valley," Heather says. The couple incorporated a Native American wine ritual and Irish blessing into their ceremony. "It was an Omni-faith ceremony that included everyone's participation," Heather explains.

Guests were greeted inside The Garrison's reception space by a massive masterpiece made by Matthew David Celebrations. The faux wall—complete with built-in shelves, internal spotlights and jewels on display—held escort cards and lines from love songs scrolled in calligraphy. "As guests removed their table seating cards, a heart emerged, formed by the love song cards," Heather says.

The couple, with the help of Matthew David Celebrations, brought the outside inside with centerpieces Heather calls "nature collages." The collages were a collection of matte chrome candlesticks inspired by birch and jewel-toned blooms that included deep-red Dahlias, black Calla lilies and scarlet Scabiosa. Oat-colored linens covered the tables and fell to the floor.

Dylan's father "created table numbers out of slices of white birch branches," which the couple tied between arrangements with fantail willow twigs, Heather says.

After enjoying a meal made of short ribs, roasted potatoes and glazed asparagus, guests devoured a four-tier white butter cream cake and dived into a vintage-inspired photo booth. "Our photographers had a little remote control picture taker, along with fake mustaches, so that everyone could shoot silly pictures of themselves," Heather says.

The bride's favorite memory? Her new father-in-law's toast, which ended with a spirited rendition of Forever Young by Bob Dylan. "Number one most memorable moment was when everyone lifted their candles and sang to us," Heather recalls. "Dylan's dad planned for all of the guests to sing together and had a printed lyrics at every place setting. All of the sudden, guests started grabbing the votives right off the tables and raising them in the air like they were at a rock concert. So emotional. There was so much love in that room it was ridiculous!"

—Jillian Kramer

Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Garrison || Event and Floral Design: Matthew David Celebrations || Stationery: Michael Zac Design Group || Rentals: Matthew David Celebrations || Favors: Green River Ambrosia || Caterer: The Garrison || Cake Design: The Pastry Garden || Ceremony and Reception Music: Nite-Time || Gown: Guillermo Couture || Shoes: BHLDN || Formalwear: Men's Wearhouse || Bridesmaids: The Dessy Group || Transportation: Hudson Valley Charter Service || Photography: Dreamlove Wedding Photography

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