When Josh Ezrick and Estan Esparza first met, it was no surprise that they liked each other. After all, their friend had been trying to introduce them for months! “Our friend had been trying to set us up, and it just wasn’t happening,” says Estan. But one fateful Sunday in May of 2010, Estan and said friend visited Josh’s neighborhood, Cobble Hill. “He was nearby at a bar, so we went to meet him," he remembers. "I was immediately smitten, and asked Josh out a few hours later.” After six months of dating, the pair moved in together, formally kicking off their love story.
In December of 2015, Estan woke to hear Josh playing “their song” (“I Know Places” by Lykke Li) and bringing him coffee in bed. “Josh asked me to look at the new tag he’d purchased for our dog, Winnie,” Estan remembers. The tag said “Will you marry other Daddy?”, and instead of a ring, Josh presented Estan with tickets to Cartagena. “We celebrated our engagement with a five-day trip to Colombia,” Josh says.
The pair was in no hurry to wed, and spent more than a year and a half planning their September 3, 2017 wedding. “We spent months searching for the perfect venue,” says Josh. “We wanted something that wasn’t too formal, but was also upscale and inviting.” His parents suggested the Deer Mountain Inn, a property in Tannersville, New York that he had frequented with his family through the years. “They’d recently changed ownership and upgraded the property, and we loved it,” says Estan. The landscaped grounds and cozy setting had an elegant feel that was perfect against the mountain setting, and the venue just felt right for their intimate wedding.
“Being gay, we had the opportunity to really rewrite the rules and plan a wedding that was different and unique to us,” says Estan. “We gave everything careful consideration and focused on the flow of the event—we wanted to create a comfortable atmosphere for our guests, and used music and lighting as subtle cues instead of disruptive announcements.” The result was a natural and effortless evening, in both atmosphere and design.
Take a peek into Estan and Josh’s simple, intimate wedding with these photos by Golden Hour Studios.
Bucking tradition from the get-go, Josh and Estan chose to get ready together the morning of their wedding. Deer Mountain Inn’s collected, rustic ambiance is giving us major English manor vibes, and was the perfect masculine backdrop. And check out that GROOMS magazine!
Both men started the day in Paul Smith tuxedo jackets. Josh’s was a navy jacket with black piping, while Estan’s was gray with small polka dots. Each wore an air plant boutonniere. Josh’s had red floral accents and Estan’s had purple, chosen to match their respective pocket squares.
While they’d hoped the storm would pass, the grooms made the most of the rainy weather as they explored the grounds with their dog, Winnie, in tow.
Estan and Josh know how to start a party! “We actually had cocktail hour before the ceremony so we could welcome and interact with our guests,” Estan says. “When it was time to get married, the Bossa Nova band stopped playing and our song came on, signaling to our guests that it was time for the ceremony to begin.”
Instead of the open-air ceremony they’d planned for, Josh and Estan ended up exchanging vows inside the Inn. “It ended up being the best possible outcome. Everyone was squeezed into the space, standing closely around us, which encouraged audience participation,” Josh remembers. “People were laughing, crying, and reacting to the ceremony with shouts and whistles!” The grooms’ friend, Jess, performed the ceremony and told their love story. “It was our favorite part of the day because we could really feel the love and support around us.”
The grooms both changed their tuxedo jackets for the reception. Josh changed into a black jacquard medallion jacket from Thom Brown for Black Fleece by Brooks Brothers, enhancing the textured fabric with a rose pin. Estan swapped his polka dots for a dark navy and black diamond jacquard jacket by Paul Smith, and also donned a rose pin.
They made their way from the inn to the sailcloth tent that was pitched on the grounds, where their loved ones were waiting to celebrate.
Table assignments were displayed on a simple wooden easel at the entrance to the tent.
Long, bare farm tables were topped with ivory runners, branches of rosemary, and textured pillar candles in a soft white hue.
The family-style dinner included housemade sourdough bread with garden herb oil, roasted cauliflower with mustard breadcrumbs, and peach crumble with fresh cream. The inn’s sommelier helped the grooms create a full cocktail menu to pair with their meal, and imported some of their favorite wines and beers (including Shiner Ruby Redbird) to personalize the celebration.
Before the hora began, the grooms shared their first dance to Amy Winehouse’s cover of “No Greater Love.”
The grooms worked closely with their lighting designer to determine the feeling for every moment throughout the day. “John from BearFly Designs was on-site all day, adjusting the lighting from bright as guests entered the tent to dim and focused during dinner to a club vibe as the night progressed,” Estan says.
Estan worked closely with the DJ to create the perfect set-list that would keep everyone on the dance floor all night. As the grooms were lifted high above their loved ones, the most important details were immediately apparent to them. “Four things matter most,” says Estan. “Good food, good music, a good photographer, and a good partner. The rest will work itself out! And don’t forget to be a guest at your own wedding so you can enjoy every moment.”
Wedding Coordinator: Every Little Details
Venue: Deer Mountain Inn
Wedding Bands: KLS Jewelers
Floral Design: Kerns Nursery
Paper Products: Sesame Letterpress
Catering: Deer Mountain Inn
Ceremony Music: Adriano Santos, Maucha Adnet and Company
Reception Music: DJ Deja
Rentals: Events Unlimited
Lighting: BearFly Designs
Bathroom Trailers: Premier Executive Trailers
Transportation: Coxsackie Transport
Videography: Alba Adventures
Photography: Golden Hour Studios