5 Tips from This Sophisticated, Modern Ball in Beacon, New York

Gay Marriage, Real Weddings

Sometimes, your friends know best. Just ask Geo Karapetyan and Jay Serpe, who were set up by Geo's best friend from Columbia (a high school friend of Jay's!) during the summer of 2009. "We saw each other four nights in a row during the first week of knowing each other," says Geo. Three and a half years later, days after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, Jay surprised Geo with a trip to Paris, a night at the opera, and a proposal on the steps of the Palais Garnier opera house.

Though Jay and Geo met and fell in love in New York City, they got out of town for their wedding last May. "We wanted a space that was modern, but had a natural feel," says Geo. The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls — a hotel 60 miles north of Manhattan with exposed brick, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a waterfall view — was just the place.

Here are some of our favorite ideas from this handsome celebration, planned by BrownHot Events and photographed by Hudson River Photographer.

Have a nonnegotiable
"We each picked one dream item," says Geo. "I wanted an incredible photographer, and Jay needed an outstanding band. The memories were worth the splurge."

Update traditions
In a twist on Jewish rituals, both grooms broke glasses after their vows.

Make finding your seat fun
Lion and tiger escort card holders, decoupaged with vintage wallpaper, were a nod to the grooms' alma maters, Columbia and Princeton.

Remember furry friends
The couple's pup, Cooper, couldn't attend the festivities, but he was there in spirit. The signature bourbon and St. Germain cocktail was named in his honor.

Plan a surprise
After Geo danced with his mother to "Because You Loved Me," Jay took the floor with his mom to dance to "I Could Have Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady. But two minutes in, the music changed and they broke into a choreographed dance to Pharrell's "Happy" and were joined by Jay's sisters — and eventually all the guests!

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