When Leslie Sickels and Ray Carannante first met in 2007, his coworkers were convinced that she was flirting with him. "We met in an elevator at a health conference," says Leslie. "Ray was grumbling about his tie, so I told him how nice he looked." Her kindness made an impression — Ray spent the rest of the conference trying to get her attention, and finally made a connection with her. Though she was returning to Ohio, the pair stayed in touch, and a romance blossomed when Leslie moved to New York a few months later.
Four years later, Ray popped the question a few weeks before Christmas, and the pair spent the next year and a half planning their June 22nd, 2013 wedding. They left the city behind in favor of The Emerson, and treated 115 guests to a romantic outdoor celebration, choosing Levi Stolove to put it all on film.
Inviting guests to join them in Mt. Tremper, New York, was an easy decision for Ray and Leslie. Every year for her birthday, the couple visits nearby Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, so the Upstate New York area has always held a special place in their heart. "It's such a beautiful region," says Leslie. "We wanted to share that with our family and friends."
When Ray proposed to Leslie in December of 2011, he did so with a ring tied to an ornament for their first Christmas tree together. The ring is an eternity band from the 1940s that the couple had spotted during an antiquing trip. "Ray bought it on my late father's birthday," says Leslie. "It made it even more special to have my father involved in some way."
Leslie's peep-toe flats, embellished with beaded flowers and leaves, were an eBay score.
"I bought the first dress I tried on at the first bridal store we visited," says Leslie. "I spotted it as soon as we walked in, and immediately fell in love!" Before she tried on the English net dress, embellished with delicate lace, Leslie noticed that the dress didn't have a price tag, so she asked the associate to check. "When she asked the manager for the price on the Emerson dress by WToo, we all started to cry," says Leslie. "What were the odds that my dream dress and our venue would have the same name?"
The bride paired her gown with romantic side-swept curls and her great-grandmother's pearl necklace, which she wore as a bracelet for the ceremony. Leslie carried a bouquet of peonies, ranunculus, anemones, and gerbera daisies. Her mother had a garter made from the sleeves of one of Leslie's dad's favorite shirts so that his arms would be around her as she walked down the aisle.
The bridesmaids wore blush empire waist dresses of delicate English net. Their bouquets, made of peonies, roses, and stock flowers, were finished with vintage pins. Leslie had vintage earrings turned into bracelets for each of her 'maids to wear down the aisle. She had every vintage detail taken care of!
Ray wore a custom three-piece suit in a light gray-blue hue. The lining and back of his vest featured a bright pink and purple print, which was on display during the reception. A blush rose boutonniere, wrapped with twine, was pinned to his lapel.
Muted pastel tones kept the couple's wedding day soft and romantic.
Instead of traditional rows of seating, chairs were arranged in a circle in the Emerson's pavilion. "We were quite literally surrounded by love and support," says Leslie. The bride walked down the aisle with her mother to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. During the ceremony, Ray's father played guitar as Leslie's bridesmaid sang "We Walk the Same Line" by Everything but the Girl.
Cocktail hour took place on a deck overlooking the creek, where guests enjoyed vegan and vegetarian hors d'oeuvres like grilled cheese with tomato bisque and vegetable spring rolls. "The menu was inspired by all the cuisines we love to sample in Brooklyn," says Leslie.
Round tables were arranged in the pavilion for an open-air reception. Tables were topped with lace runners hand-sewn by Leslie's grandmother. Blush centerpieces in a collection of glass bottles that Ray's late grandfather had collected.
"We used photos of our rescue pup, Lulu, for the table numbers," says Leslie. "We couldn't bring her to the wedding, but wanted her to be a part of it." Bottles were filled with blush and ivory peonies, daisies, stock flowers, and anemones. Dinner included eggplant rollatini, sesame-crusted tofu, and pineapple fried rice. "The Emerson was so great at working with us to put together a vegan- and vegetarian-friendly menu," says Leslie. "It was all delicious!"
Leslie created a book of photos of herself and Ray for their guests to sign as the guest book. What a great way to use all those fun couple shots!
Ray and Leslie served his-and-hers signature cocktails. His? A classic mint julep. Hers? Refreshing blueberry vodka and lemonade.
Instead of a wedding cake, Leslie and Ray served cake cups in engraved rocks glasses, which also doubled as the favors. They offered two vegan options (Boston cream pie and vanilla with cream and blueberry filling) and two non-vegan ones (red velvet cake and chocolate cake with peanut butter filling).
Leslie and Ray shared their first dance to "The Way I Am" by Ingrid Michaelson. She danced with her mother to "American Pie," then Ray and his mom danced to "Dust in the Wind." "Midway through, the song changed to 'Sherry Baby' and he and his mom picked up the pace," says Leslie. "It was a fun little surprise."
The newlyweds jetted off to St. Maarten for a week-long honeymoon on the beach, then returned home to move from Brooklyn to their new home in a New Jersey suburb. "Being married has been so wonderful," says Leslie. "Don't let the wedding planning process make you lose sight of why you're doing it."
Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Emerson || Coordinator: Marcilene Smith of The Emerson || Bride's Wedding Dress: Wtoo || Shoes: Vera Wang Lavender Label || Hair: Miss Kitty's Hair Salon - (845) 688-7066 || Makeup: Brielle Oliastro || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Wtoo || Bridesmaids' Gifts: Jennifer Jones Jewelry || Groom's Suit: BookATailor.com || Wedding Bands: Bride - Designers' Circle Jewelers, Groom - VK Designs || Florist: Elderberry Design & Flowers || Invitations: A La Carte Paperie || Programs: 3EggsDesign || Menus: Reply By Design Studio || Guest Book: Shutterfly || Music: DJ Sean Marquand of 74 Events || Catering: The Emerson || Cake Cups: Bee's Knees Baking Co. || Photography: Levi Stolove Photography