Most brides have a moment during the wedding when they find themselves suddenly overcome with emotion—and for Chelsey Alston, the sobbing started with the first chords of “You & Me” by Dave Matthews Band. “I totally lost it,” says Chelsey, who married her longtime love, Alyssa Ferrucci, last summer in upstate New York. “When that song first came out in 2009, Alyssa and I used to dance to it all the time, alone at home. Our relationship was still very much a secret. I never thought then that someday we’d be able to be dancing, in front of everyone we know, at our wedding.”
But that’s exactly what they found themselves doing on a rainy afternoon at the Wm. H. Buckley Farm in June of last year. The location, just outside Saratoga Springs, New York, is also deeply connected to the couple’s first-dance selection, or what they refer to as “our song.” Chelsey and Alyssa, who met in 2008 as sorority sisters at New Jersey’s Rider University, make the pilgrimage to Saratoga Springs almost every summer to see Dave Matthews Band perform. (Chelsey was convinced Alyssa would propose there too, but she did it at home in Hoboken, New Jersey.) “It’s a sentimental trip that we love taking, and through those visits, we’ve fallen in love with the town’s charm,” says Chelsey.
Keep reading to see more of their special summer celebration in Saratoga Springs, as captured by Towards the Moon.
Chelsey owns Hudson Paperie, a stationery store in Hoboken, New Jersey, so paper goods were at the top of the brides’ priority list. To set the mood for the day, they highlighted their venue’s natural landscape with an illustrated map yet added an unexpectedly modern touch with the main invitation, which was made with engraved acrylic.
The two chose different dress styles: Alyssa’s was allover lace, while Chelsey’s was pure-white crepe and lace. Each added sentimental family heirlooms, with Chelsey rocking a veil her sister made and Alyssa wearing her late grandmother’s ring.
Both Chelsey and Alyssa carried statement pink bouquets made with roses, protea, astilbe, and eucalyptus.
The couple was surrounded by 155 loved ones, including their 17-person wedding party. Alyssa had four bridesmen and ’maids, and Chelsey had nine attendants—all dressed in shades of dusty rose.
Chelsey’s stepfather built a triangular altar for the ceremony, and both Chelsey and Alyssa say it was their favorite design element of the day. Though the event was originally supposed to take place outside, everything had to be moved inside the barn thanks to a downpour on the big day.
Chelsey’s niece and “Mini-Me,” Penelope Tidwell, was the flower girl.
Chelsey walked down the aisle with her mother and oldest sister, Elijiah, while Alyssa walked in with her father. As a surprise, Chelsey asked her cousin to sing “Can’t Help Falling In Love” with a guitarist—but didn’t tell Alyssa. She says, “With the craziness of the rain changing all of our plans, Alyssa didn’t even realize until after! It was gorgeous.”
Alyssa’s cousin Larry presided over a ceremony that included an excerpt (complete with homemade signs!) from Shel Silverstein’s The Missing Piece; a unity candle lighting and breaking of the glass to honor the brides’ religious backgrounds; and a tearful reading, by Alyssa’s best friend Dan, from Justice Anthony Kennedy’s closing opinion on the legalization of same-sex marriage.
After their first kiss, the newlyweds exited to “Same Love” by Macklemore played on the guitar.
After looking at venues in Brooklyn, Alyssa and Chelsey found Wm. H. Buckley Farm online. They first visited on a gloomy fall day but saw plenty of possibilities in the family-owned property, and they booked it for the following June.
After drinks and bites under a covered area outside, a tequila-fueled dance party followed inside the barn, which had been reset for dinner during cocktail hour.
Alyssa and Chelsey made sure everyone documented their big day in a special way with a VW bus photo booth!
To add a touch of elegance to the otherwise rustic setting, tables were draped with white linens and decorated with wildflowers in vessels of all shapes and sizes. Twinkly lights were also hung up above from the barn’s exposed beams.
During dinner, a video (made by Alyssa's mom) played photos of Alyssa and Chelsey from childhood to the present. “It was such a nice way to look back on memories with family that had passed on and weren't able to be with us, as well as take a walk through memory lane of our relationship,” Chelsey says.
As mentioned, the couple’s first dance was a highlight of the night!
Afterward, the newlyweds cut into a champagne-flavored, rainbow-colored cake before a late-night bonfire and s’mores. It was a marathon soirée nearly a decade in the making. “I’ve wanted to spend my life with Chelsey pretty much since we met,” Alyssa says. “I’ll never forget the moment I saw her walking down the aisle towards me. It was so worth the wait.”
Venue: Wm. H. Buckley Farm
Wedding Planner: Wendy Lawrence
Chelsey's Dress: Lovers Society
Alyssa's Dress: Tara Lauren
Engagement Rings & Wedding Bands: Kennedy’s Kreations
Bridesman Attire: The Black Tux
Stationery: Hudson Paperie
Floral Design: Samantha Nass Floral Design
Rentals: Rain or Shine Tent Company
Cake: Oh Goodness Cakes
Ceremony and Reception Music: Silver Arrow Band
Photo Booth: Snapshots Photo Bus and Booths
Videography and Photography: Towards the Moon
This story originally appeared in the February/March 2019 issue of Brides, on stands starting December 18.