This Couple's Refined Wedding in Upstate New York Featured Camp-Inspired Touches
They probably should have met sooner. Tory Ciminelli and Sean Dimmer both grew up and studied in Buffalo, New York, and had many acquaintances in common. Somehow, though, they didn't know each other until they were in their 20s. "To this day, we'll ask, 'Wait, you know this friend, too?'" Sean says. But it wasn't until 2010 that he walked into the Buffalo bar where Tory worked. They chatted a bit, and when Sean returned the next weekend, Tory closed the bar early, and the pair hung out until sunrise.
Their instant relationship quickly grew serious, so when Tory brought up plans to move to New York City a year later, Sean offered to go with him. He also began joining Tory's family on their annual trip to the Adirondack Mountains, where they rent a cabin on Big Moose Lake. The couple had joked about who should be the one to propose, and five years in, Sean decided to make the move on one of those vacations. He planned to pop the question at a gazebo on the lake, but when Tory wanted to stop at a swing set along the way, he decided to "just wing it." The casual approach worked: "We usually make a big deal out of things, but I loved that he was chill about this," Tory says.
Knowing they wanted a "destination, but not by plane," in a picturesque location, the pair decided to wed in Lake Placid, New York. It was convenient to both Buffalo and New York City, and near their engagement spot. And the luxurious Whiteface Lodge was perfect for an upscale gathering. "We liked the idea of a formal wedding in a rustic setting," Sean says. To balance the styles, they chose a natural palette but worked black, white, and high gloss into the décor. They also requested formal attire. Sean, a communications director and freelance designer, created many visual elements, from their logo to the speckled camp-style mugs sent with the save-the-dates to the embroidered patches that adorned the welcome bags.
The wedding weekend kicked off with a family dinner at a barbecue joint on Thursday, followed by a welcome party the next night for all 135 guests. They rented the Lake Placid Club Boat House and hired the David Higgins Band (which they had seen several times before) to keep everyone dancing. The evening was such fun that "many people said it could have been the wedding itself," Sean says. But the celebration was just ramping up. On Saturday, Champagne-stocked buses transported guests to a site on the lake, half a mile from the lodge, for the ceremony and cocktails, then back for dinner. Later, dancing to '90s hits put the perfect capper on the wedding. The couple decided to skip the more traditional slow numbers; instead, they passed out glow sticks and encouraged guests onto their feet. This was party time.
"The mug was one of the most important elements to me, because it would be the first impression for guests," Sean says. "That's really where all my designing started." Once he'd perfected the mug, he began dreaming up other creative ideas, including the save the date notebook (the first in the series of five).
In addition to designing all the stationery for the event, Sean created a series of five notebooks for guests, including the one embossed with "you're invited," above. He was inspired by Tory's dad, an avid kayaker who's always journaling. "I liked the idea of giving tactile keepsakes," Sean adds. The couple's wedding logo, which combines each of their first initials and "916," for their wedding date, was an important design element throughout the weekend.
Welcome to Lake Placid
Sew One On
Embroidered patches designed by Sean featured the couple's logo and wedding date. In the end, 25 big-day elements displayed the logo.
Black Tie Formal
Bella, the couple's "Morkie" (Maltese-Yorkie mix), made an appearance for photos. "She knows she's the center of attention," Sean says.
The boutonnières, created by Bows + Arrows, used blushing bride protea and gomphrena. Tory's bowtie (top) was by Saint Laurent while Sean's wore one by Lanvin.
A Well-Dressed Crew
Three brothers and eight "flower girls"—a mix of sisters-in-law and friends, wearing gowns they chose themselves—formed the wedding party.
The Youngest Guest
Sean's three-year-old niece, Olive, was the only child at the wedding and was given a special seat in the front row. Here, she holds a ceremony program.
The Ceremony Spot
The nuptials took place in front of a stunning floral arch created by Bows + Arrows. "I had such a vision of flowers against the lake," Tory says. "I cried when I saw the site."
The marriage was officiated by a dear friend. This was when Tory's favorite moment of the day took place. He says it was when he was "Standing lakeside at the ceremony, surrounded by the people who mean the most to us. The scenery, flowers, and weather were just what I had always dreamed of!"
Let the Music Play
During cocktail hour, a musician played under an on-palette umbrella. The processional song was "Come Away With Me," originally by Norah Jones.
Cocktails on the Dock
Guests enjoyed drinks by the lake on the unseasonably warm fall evening.
Tory and Sean mingled with guests outside before dinner. "Everyone was supposed to go sit, but they didn't," Tory says. "But we wanted our day to flow naturally, rather than having it be regimented."
Find Your Seat
A seven-foot-high seating chart caught the attention of the guests before dinner.
Going for Gold
Gilded place settings—including chargers, found by planner Karina Lopez of KC You There, that resembled the wedding logo—lent a sophisticated air to the reception tables. "We wanted the table settings to feel more formal, because the rest of the room looked like a log cabin," Sean says. A mix of local blooms and elegant flowers, like lisianthus from Japan, suited the style of the day.
One of Sean's most memorable moments: listening with his groom while his two brothers and new brother-in-law gave their speeches. "I was like, 'Everyone's staring at us, and I can't stop crying and laughing. How long is this 20 minutes?'" he says.
Dancing with Mom
All the Sweets
The dessert table by B Sweet Designs featured a three-tiered cake and a variety of childhood-favorite treats, including caramel popcorn, white chocolate-covered Oreos, and rock candy (a nod to Sean's love of novelty sweets). The two angled floral arrangements were designed to flank the cake, and glitter and gold-leaf details added extra elegance.
To add extra elegance, the two-dozen desserts were dressed up with a variety of decorations, including gold leaf, sugar roses, metallic sprinkles, and chocolate drizzle. From top to bottom: a glazed cake doughnut, a white chocolate-covered Oreo, a sugar cookie featuring the couple's logo, and white chocolate dipped pretzel rods.
To play off the vintage vibe of the space, old-fashioned pieces—like this scale, which held tuxedo-clad almond cake pops—were incorporated into the décor.
Thank You Notes
The notebook series ended by sharing the couple's gratitude with guests. "It's so delightful to me when I'm in someone's house and I see they're writing a grocery list in one of these," Sean says.
Location and catering, Whiteface Lodge
Event coordination and design, KC You There
Flowers, Bows + Arrows
Photography, Apryl Ann Photography
Cinematography, Love & You Studios
Officiant, Judy Losecco
Seating chart, dessert backdrop, and table numbers, Rust Belt Love
Calligraphy, A Fabulous Fete
Dessert table, B Sweet Designs
Tory's attire, Saint Laurent tuxedo, shirt, and bow tie
Makeup, Amanda Rodriguez of Urban Decay Cosmetics
Photo booth, Mirmir
Cocktail napkins and matchboxes, ForYourParty.com
Wooden signs and easels, Sweet Carolina Collective
Faux-flower crown (for their niece), Crowns by Christy