A Camp-Themed Wedding in Montauk, New York
Five years ago, Danielle Kaplan and Cliff Ulrich met at a mutual friend's gathering in Manhattan. They immediately hit it off, but were finishing their undergraduate studies at separate universities. Given their unmistakable spark and connection, the pair decided to have a long-distance relationship—taking turns visiting each other until graduation. "We effortlessly became best friends and fell in love," says Danielle.
After college, they moved to Manhattan's West Village together. Danielle (who works as an energy analyst) and Cliff (who works as a product innovation manager) loved walking the city streets, trying new restaurants, and talking about absolutely everything. Then, in the fall of 2016, Cliff popped the question at sunset on the couple's rooftop—a location he knew they'd frequently revisit—while Forever Photography captured the moment. "I excitedly said yes, and we went out to eat paella and drink red wine at a neighborhood restaurant," remembers Danielle. "Then we went for ice cream at our favorite shop, Van Leeuwen."
And so, on July 8, 2017, Danielle and Cliff got married after a 10-month engagement. One hundred and sixty guests attended the camp-themed celebration, which the couple aptly named "Camp Ulrich" as a take on their soon-to-be-shared last name and a way of letting their guests know they would be attending a laid-back weekend. The wedding, which took place at the Montauk Yacht Club in Montauk, New York, featured a moss green and white color palette and plenty of camp-inspired touches. And to end the night on a sweet note, ice cream from the shop they celebrated their engagement in was served.
The Stationery Suite
Fourteen-Forty designed the couple's stationery with an earthy color palette reminiscent of Danielle’s childhood sleepaway camp. The suite contained an invitation, a map, and a response card. Many elements boasted the "Camp Ulrich" logo also created by Fourteen-Forty. Only a few invitations were actually printed as keepsakes. The rest were digitized and delivered via Greenvelope as not to waste paper and preserve the environment.
The map, which was included in the welcome bags, highlighted some of the couple's go-to spots in the area, the hotels guests were staying at, and the weekend's locations.
The Welcome Bags
In their welcome bags, Danielle and Cliff included customized Camp Ulrich hats to set the tone for a laid-back weekend. "I'm almost always in a baseball cap during the summer, so you could also say they were an incorporation of my summer style," says the bride.
When exploring venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn, the couple continuously came up short. They eventually decided to escape the city and wed at the Montauk Yacht Club. "While we enjoy living in Manhattan, we love to escape the city on the weekends and be in nature," says Danielle. "We chose this location because it had the feeling of a nostalgic summer vacation, yet was easily accessible to most of our guests coming from the tri-state area."
A custom flag marked the venue and let guests know they were in the right spot.
The Big-Day Attire
Danielle wore the "Bleu" wedding dress by Monique Lhuillier. "When I found this dress online, I knew it was the one for me immediately. I loved the unique color and the classic cut," she says. The bride accessorized with Gianvito Rossi shoes borrowed from her mother-in-law, diamond studs and a diamond tennis bracelet by Richline Group, and a cameo ring and charm bracelet from her late paternal grandmother. Designs by Ahn created her bouquet with a mix of garden roses, ranunculus, lisianthus, sweet pea, and seasonal greenery.
With the help of his coworker and a designer at Harry Winston, Cliff created Danielle's yellow gold ring with a vintage-yet-modern aesthetic. The same coworker, Moss Makhoulian, designed the wedding bands. "Their wavy shape is symbolic of the way that the path of life, filled with ups and downs, is not always straight," says the bride.
Danielle got ready with her sisters and sisters-in-law, who picked their own white dresses for the big day. "I chose to have everyone in white for its simple beauty, and because I preferred to share the spotlight with my sisters and moms," she says.
The Flower Firls
Danielle's niece, Mika, and cousin, Eliana, both three years old, served as flower girls. "They spent months talking and getting excited about their big role. Even months later, they still love to speak about when they were flower girls," says Danielle. The little ladies wore bohemian dresses from Etsy, which allowed them to feel comfortable and fit into the beachy surroundings—"although they would not have complained about tutus!" adds the bride.
A Furry Ring Bearer
The couple's four-year-old miniature dachshund, Huckleberry, wore a "Gatsby" outfit from Tail Trends. "We couldn't imagine our wedding without him, and immediately knew he had to be our ring bearer!" says Danielle, adding that her brother-in-law walked Huck down the aisle.
Green-and-gold plaid yarmulkes from Elle's Studio matched the wedding's color scheme.
The Ceremony Site
The ceremony took place on a private beach at the Montauk Yacht Club. A runner from Rent Patina was flanked with white benches (from Party Rental LTD) and brown benches (also from Rent Patina). Keeping in line with the camp vibe, event planner and designer Jove Meyer recommended bench seating in the half round, in the style of a campfire setting.
A whitewashed cedar chuppah anchored the ceremony site, and it was adorned with an asymmetrical gathering of hydrangeas, roses, orchids, peonies, lisianthus, and seasonal greenery from Designs by Ahn. Danielle's mom painted the silk tapestry atop the chuppah.
At 6:30 p.m., Danielle's parents walked her down the aisle to "Girl from the North Country" by Bob Dylan. "I grew up on classic rock, and I felt this song was beautiful and timeless," she says. The couple shared their vows privately (which was Cliff's favorite part of the day), while their guests learned the lyrics to a one-line Hebrew prayer that they sang together. Danielle's close friends from Israel read the traditional seven blessings in Hebrew, while Cliff's aunts read the English translations.
"Our Rabbi was a past congregant at the temple that my family belongs to, so having known me from childhood strengthened her connection to us," says the bride. "She sat with us several times before the wedding and created a ceremony that was exceptionally personalized and thoughtful." A particularly special moment involved the symbolic breaking of the glass. Cliff feared the glass wouldn't break on the sand, so he smashed it on a bench instead, making for a dramatic finish to the ceremony.
Afterward, the couple recessed up the aisle to "Born in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen. Since they tied the knot four days after Independence Day, the song felt seasonally appropriate, and it also coordinated with the classic rock processional song.
After saying "I do," Danielle and Cliff went back to their room to share time alone together. "With so much excitement all around us, this moment allowed us to press pause and take it all in," says Danielle.
Cliff also enjoyed the downtime with his new wife. "We were so content to have a moment to relax after having just gone through this magical ceremony together. We also really appreciated the plate of delicious food waiting for us, thanks to Jove!" he says.
Guests gathered on a stone patio near the ceremony site for cocktail hour. Passed hors d'oeuvres included fish and chips, flounder ceviche, and yellowfin tuna tartare on wonton chips. Additionally, Danielle and Cliff had a handful of food stations with Asian cuisine, like sushi and crispy duck buns, as a nod to their honeymoon destination. A vintage cooler from Rent Patina held self-serve beers for guests. In terms of entertainment, cocktail hour featured silhouette cutting artist Hou-Tien Cheng and music by Baby Soda Jazz Band. "They fit into the surroundings seamlessly and added timeless class and charm to the evening!" says Danielle of the band.
The escort cards, created by Designs by Ahn, consisted of arrows displayed on a circular target board. "This was another unique way for us to beautifully infuse our wedding with camp. Our guests really enjoyed this one!" says Danielle.
The reception took place at the club's Farmhouse Ballroom, where the overall vision was to bring the outside in. "Nature plays a large part in people's memories about camp," Jove says. "The space is all white and we knew we had to green it up!" Designs by Ahn decorated the space with greenery hung from the beams, moss table runners, and other elements that maintained the white and green color scheme. On the tables were three different centerpieces, tall candlesticks, and glass bottle vases. A dinner menu atop of a green napkin sat at each place setting and displayed the entrees: Chilean sea bass, bone-in rib-eye, and ricotta ravioli.
The Head Table
Cliff, Danielle, and their closest friends sat at a wooden table in the center of the room. "It reminded me of a camp dining hall," says the bride. "By choosing to sit with our friends rather than alone, we had intimate conversations that likely wouldn't have otherwise happened." Surrounding the long table was a handful of circular tables, where the couple placed groups of people who knew each other.
Marcus Conrad Poston made a neon "C+D" sign for the reception. The green coloring fit with the event's color palette. "I felt that C+D in a heart reminded me of carved initials on a tree—summer love, camp style," says Danielle. "After the wedding we brought our neon sign home and hung it over our bed. It adds a nice color pop to our otherwise neutral-toned bedroom, and is a constant reminder of the fun we had at our Camp Ulrich Wedding!"
A Sweet Treat
After dinner, guests enjoyed milk and cookies from Tate's Bake Shop. "Milk and cookies felt like a quintessential after-dinner camp treat to me. Tate's Bake Shop cookies are made in the Hamptons, so it was also a way for us to incorporate a local confection," says Danielle.
Guest signed a book from RedBerryGuestBooks; the cover had a wood finish, the couple's initials, and a carving of Long Island.
Nine Cakes designed a five-tiered sweet treat based on the couple's wedding logo by Fourteen-Forty. Hand-painted trees covered two of the tiers, a green-and-gold marble design adorned two others, and the bottom layer displayed gold drippings. Flavors included almond with apricot peach preserves and vanilla buttercream, chocolate layered with peanut butter buttercream, and Funfetti layered with vanilla buttercream. "The Sweetest Thing" by U2 played in the background while the newlyweds cut the confection.
The First Dance
Danielle and Cliff danced to "The Way You Look Tonight" by Frank Sinatra. Before the wedding, the pair took dance lessons from Dariusz Horvath Krol. "It was a really fun bonding experience, and we felt proud at our wedding to surprise our guests that we had learned to dance and didn't totally mess up the choreography," says Danielle. "Cliff was insistent on spinning me around in the air like in Dirty Dancing and it cracked up all our guests."
Danielle and Cliff gave guests enameled steel mugs—a camping classic—as favors. "They felt nostalgic to me and an ode to the way things used to be made and done. They incorporated our logo and camp colors and also served as perfect camp-themed table décor during dinner," explains Danielle.
The Photo Booth
During the reception Danielle changed into a Self Portrait dress, and like the rest of the guests, hopped into the We Love Photobooths photobooth, where she was joined by her husband, and a taxidermied bear in the baseball cap of the evening adding to the snapshots. The wooden backdrop was dressed with greenery like the rest of the event space.
Photography and videography, Amber Gress Photography
Location and catering, Montauk Yacht Club
Event planning, Jove Meyer Events
Flowers and calligraphy, Designs by Ahn
Officiant, Shoshana Mitrani Knapp
Cake, Nine Cakes
Bride's gown, Monique Lhuillier
Hair and makeup, Warren Tricomi
Flowergirls' dresses, Etsy
Groom's suit, Ermenegildo Zegna
Lighting, Matt Murphy Event Lighting
Yarmulkes, Elle's Studio
Cornhole boards, Skip's Garage
Neon sign, Marcus Conrad Poston
Silhouette cutting artist, Hou-Tien Cheng
Ice cream cart, Van Leeuwen