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Alisa and Barrett
Alisa Richter, a PR account director, and Barrett Sheridan, a strategy consultant met through a mutual friend who was visiting them in New York City. The couple's first encounter was at the Lower East Side's La Caverna, a dance bar decorated like a cave—complete with Styrofoam stalactites.
After eight years of dating, Barrett had planned to surprise Alisa with a proposal, during a vacation to Tulum, Mexico. His initial scheme was to keep to the theme of stalactites and caverns, and propose in a cenote (a water-filled cave) as a witty reminder of where they first met. But due to a series of unplanned events, Barrett had to rethink things, and he ended up proposing on a secluded beach, with views of nearby ruins.
With only seven months of planning, Alisa and Barrett exchanged vows on October 3rd, 2015, in front of 150 guests at the private estate Shakespeare-on-the-Hudson in upstate New York. Though the weather for their weekend was looking unpredictable (thanks to the looming threat of Hurricane Joaquin) the couple got lucky as rain held off, and guests were able to travel to the destination wedding. With the help of event planner Brita Olsen, Alisa and Barrett had a colorful celebration full of laugher, dancing, games and eclectic, vintage details. And that mutual friend? He officiated.
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The Stationery Suite
"We wanted something a little offbeat, something fun. We were inspired by the Hudson Valley, old movies, the outdoors, camping, and geometric prints," says Alisa of the invitations created by Tor Kologlu.
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Guests were given custom Catskill totes from Maptote, filled with water, trail mix, gummies, and hangover aids. Included in the bag was a card created by Barrett's graphic designer sister inspired by one of the pair's engagement photos, with a schedule of events on the back.
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"We both love the fall and have done countless upstate getaway weekends, so we knew we wanted an outdoor wedding, amid changing leaves and sweater weather," Barrett says. The couple fell in love with Shakespeare-on-the-Hudson, a private residence in Catskill, New York, that sits directly on the Hudson River with picturesque views.
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"I wanted something that looked a little wild and undone—like a bouquet you might find at the farmer's market," says Alisa. Swell Botanics used blushing bride protea, eucalyptus, garden roses, carnations, hydrangea, and astrantia to create just that.
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Alisa wore a Sarah Seven gown, which happened to be the first dress she tried on. "I actually discovered Sarah Seven about six years ago on Etsy. When she opened a showroom in New York City, it seemed like a no-brainer! I love vintage dresses from the 50s and 60s, and she draws from those eras without being too literal," says the bride. To complete her simple, yet elegant look, Alisa donned a floral headpiece by Swell Botanics and gold Nicholas Kirkwood sling-back heels.
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"I was so nervous for our first look, but as soon as I saw Barrett, I felt instantly relaxed!" Alisa recalls, "We took photos by the pool, which is on the property behind the house. It has this raw, deconstructed brick wall that made for a beautiful backdrop."
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"Matching bridesmaid dresses have always felt too traditional to me," says Alisa, "and besides, I LOVE color! I equate it with joy and celebration, so I just couldn't imagine dressing everyone in beige. I really wanted my girlfriends to feel comfortable and beautiful in their dresses, so I let everyone choose their own." To maintain consistency, the group decided on longer dresses in jewel tones and floral prints, which complimented the natural scenery. The bridesmaids chose dresses from Donna Morgan, ASOS, Eliza J, Aqua, and Nicole Miller.
Barrett's groomsmen wore suits in various shades of gray, along with custom knit ties from Thursday Finest.
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"My mom and dad walked me down the aisle, which was perfect because I forced them to tell me jokes so I wouldn't start crying when the music started," the bride says. The walk was steep and slippery (due to rain that had fallen moments before the ceremony started) but Alisa managed to meet Barrett at the chuppah down by the Hudson River. During the recessions, guests tossed wildflower seeds as the newlyweds walked to "Just Like Heaven" by The Cure, one of their favorite bands.
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Another big part of their ceremony was the couple's Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Penny, who acted as the flower girl and walked down the aisle with Alisa's maid of honor. From day one, it was agreed that Penny would be an essential part of the wedding.
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The Cocktail Hour
Guests enjoyed cocktails on the balcony of the estate, overlooking the water. Signature drinks were offered, including Barrett's pick, a twist on the classic Manhattan, and Alisa's drink, the Penninsky (named after their dog, Penny). Event planner Brita Olsen also organized a variety of lawn games for guests to enjoy, including cornhole, a giant Jenga set, and horseshoes.
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Alisa and Barrett both agree that their first dance was the most memorable part of their night. What started out as a dance to "Ho Hey" by The Lumineers was suddenly interrupted as the band's power cut, causing the couple to improvise. "We stood awkwardly for a moment, when Alisa suggested we do the "Macarena", which we did to the best of our ability. I had to follow Alisa's lead, as the crowd started to clap with encouragement," recalls Barrett. Finally the power returned, and the newlyweds were able to continue dancing to their chosen song.
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The Party Continues
Their live band, Eturnity, kept the energy high with crowd favorites like "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina & The Waves and "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen.
Another entertaining highlight was a handmade fox piñata from Whack Pinatas. "We're not very formal or traditional people—we definitely have a silly streak!" says Alisa, "Lots of laughter, a killer dance party, and snacks is our idea of perfection—we're kids at heart!"
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As a fun challenge, Alisa and Barrett asked guests to bring silly props for their Smilebooth photo booth, in which the winner would receive a special prize. "The contest was a huge hit, we were absolutely blown away by our guests' entries!" It was a friend who brought a 6-foot tall No.2 pencil that ended up winning the award.
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A colorful "I Was Told There'd Be Cake" backdrop created by KT Smail, inspired by one of Alisa's favorite books by Sloane Crosley "I Was Told There'd Be Cake" anchored the dessert table. Billy's Bakery created a vanilla buttercream cake, and since Barrett dislikes cake, mini pies from Pie Corps were also on offer.
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"It was so beautiful to look around and see all of our guests holding sparklers, their faces all aglow," says the bride of their departure.
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Photography, Tonhya Kae Photography
Location, Shakespeare on the Hudson
Event planning, Brita Olsen Creative
Catering, Purslane Catering
Flowers, Swell Botanics
Videography, Evergreen Weddings
Stationery, Tor Kologlu
Calligraphy, Ink Revival
Illustrations, KT Smail
Cake, Billy's Bakery
Pies, Pie Corps
Rentals and Lighting, Events Unlimited
Bride's gown, Sarah Seven
Bride's shoes, Nicholas Kirkwood
Hair, Michael Braun
Makeup, Alyce Shomer
Bridesmaids' dresses, Donna Morgan; ASOS; Eliza J; Aqua; Nicole Miller
Groom's suit and tie, SuitSupply
Groom's accessories, Allen Edmonds (shoes); Breitling Wakmann (watch)
Groomsmen's Ties, Thursday Finest
Piñata, Whack Piñatas
Photo booth, Smilebooth
Tablecloths, St. Frank
Welcome Totes, Maptote