This Couple Threw a Rustic Wedding in Upstate New York
Eric Monnet (left) and Eryc Perez de Tagle met on OKCupid in July of 2014. After exchanging a few messages, the men found out they lived about ten minutes away from each other, so they chose a spot in their Brooklyn neighborhood for a first date. The connection was instant, but they weren't "official" until a few months later.
One year into their relationship, Eric (who works in advertising) and Eryc (a photographer) planned a road trip to the South of France to see Eric's family and some friends back home. At the end of their travels, they'd attend Eric's friend's wedding. Eric hatched an elaborate scheme to propose, but right before the plan revealed itself, he scrapped it for an in-the-moment twist as they walked to the car at the end of the reception. With a clear view of the Milky Way overhead, Eric proposed. Eryc loves watching shows about the universe and science, and Eric took seeing his love witnessing the constellation while popping the question.
Two years later, on September 30, 2017, they shared an equally poignant moment as they got tied the knot at Handsome Hollow in Long Eddy, New York. Nearly 90 guests traveled from all over the world, and at the request of the grooms, wore neutral colors as a way of unifying them (and the mostly navy, gray, white, and green décor). The sentiment flowed and the crowd danced the night away.
Their Modern Invitations
A friend who owns the boutique graphic design company Of Good Stock create the couple's bilingual invitations, a nod to Eric's French roots. They were letterpressed in blue and gray and tucked into a Kraft paper envelope. The logo at the top of the event card and back flap of the envelope showcased a double E monogram.
The Upstate Location
Eryc wanted a modern, cool vibe in the city, but Eric was set on a barn venue. So Eryc googled "Upstate NY Barn Wedding Venues" and Handsome Hollow was among the results. From the photos he saw it was everything they wanted, so he emailed the owner, drove up to see it one Sunday, and fell in love with it. The 200-year-old barn had been dismantled in Albany and moved to the property, where it was outfitted with a caterer's kitchen, gorgeous bathrooms, and a mezzanine. In addition, the old farm house on site, seen here, meant the couple could stay at the venue with their wedding party and significant others for the weekend.
Getting Ready Together
The grooms got ready together for their wedding, which had a dress code of "neutral colored cocktail attire."
While shopping for their outfits, Eryc wanted Eric to choose his look first. "We couldn't find anything that stood out and ended up popping into the Tommy Hilfiger store on Fifth Avenue and there was a plaid suit. Eric was surprised I liked it but I think it worked so well. Since we were there, all of his accessories down to the shoes were Tommy."Eryc too wore a suit by the designer—selecting a deep purple number he spotted on the sale rack. Instead of a collared shirt, he chose a Michael Kors turtleneck. "Like Eric's plaid suit, I didn't think anyone would wear it and I thought I'd stand out," Eryc explains. "I wanted Eric and I to look dapper and sophisticated, but of course make a statement since it was all eyes on us."
The Wedding Party
Two Little Ladies
Eryc's niece and the daughter of his best friend sprinkled white rose petals at the ceremony.Eric walked down the aisle with his three sisters, and Eryc entered with his mother. Both men's processional was set to an instrumental version of "All the Lovers" by one of Eric's favorite musicians, Kylie Minogue.
It was rainy and cold and the original plan called for the ceremony to take place in a clearing in the woods, but there was no way it was happening. The grooms ended up moving the ceremony to the mezzanine of the barn (where no other ceremony had taken place before) and arranged the chairs in the round. "It ended up being so intimate," says Eryc. "I suggest to anyone getting married now to have the ceremony in the round."
The service itself was just as special. "A few months before our wedding I attended my best man's wedding in Europe," Eric explains. "During dinner his new mother-in-law made a beautiful speech about the couple, about her new son-in-law, and about life in general. I broke down in tears while hugging her afterwards because I knew I wouldn't have that speech at our wedding because my mom had passed away. I explained this to my sister Sophie and forgot about it. Fast forward to our ceremony." Eric's friend Nicolas officiated and used his bilingual skills to make sure the French speakers knew what was going on. In lieu of readings, there were six speeches: three from Eryc's side and three from Eric's who spoke about how they met the couple, how they remembered them back then, and how they saw them currently as a couple. Then came the announcement that there was one more speech: Eric's mom's.
"I saw my sister Sophie standing up and I understood what was coming," Eric says. "She explained to the audience that my Mom left us a lot of notes and about life and being married. My sister had combined the best extracts from all these notes and created the speech my Mom would have given, had she been alive. She delivered it in French for my Dad to understand, and Nicolas was translating live. It was a moment that will stay with us forever. It took us by surprise and couldn't have been more meaningful to me. She was already with us in spirit, but this really felt like she was actually with us."
A Special Musical Performance
Eryc's father has always loved singing and performing in the church choir. "He has a beautiful baritone voice. I'm very proud of him," says the groom, who asked him to sing at the wedding. He even taught himself to play the ukulele for the occasion. He found this song called "Till There Was You" from the musical The Music Man. "Him singing wasn't a surprise to us, but I will tell you that our guests did not expect just how fantastic his performance was. He knocked it out of the park, as I knew he would," Eryc adds.
Their vows were the perfect balance between serious and lighthearted. Eryc teased his husband-to-be about his love of a certain pop star, saying, "I promise to celebrate with you if Kylie Minogue were to get nominated for a Grammy. And cry with you when she loses to Beyoncé."
Cue the Confetti
Loved ones showered the newlyweds with rose petals as they kissed. The grooms then recessed to an acoustic version of Madonna's "True Blue."
Escort Cards and Favors
Eryc wrote out each guest's name on a tag and tied them to Kraft paper boxes using twine. Inside each package was a handful of dragées.
After cocktail hour on the patio where everyone enjoyed a cheese and charcuterie spread, the group moved in to the main part of the barn for the reception.The couple loved the idea of having long tables for dinner, which began with a family-style salad, then a bone marrow appetizer with onion jam. The entrée course of duck breast with spätzle, sour plums, and crème fraiche was individually plated.
Simple Yet Stylish
From the beginning, simplicity was the goal for the table decorations. Eucalyptus garlands ran down the center of each table and on to the floor.
The Place Settings
Menus that matched the invitation were tucked into striped napkins folded neatly at each seat.
Instant pictures captured the fun of the night and were pinned to chicken wire.
Sweets for Days
Smoked maple crème brûlée, cider-poached peaches, gin rhubarb cake with black currant compote, strawberry shortcake, buttermilk biscuits, whipped crème fraiche, apple cake, whiskey shortbread, and raspberry pie tarts with honey glaze filled the dessert table.
A Heartfelt Surprise
Eric's sister got a hold of every guest's email address and wrote them requesting they bring pictures of the grooms. She made a scrapbook during dinner—adding in letters the guests had written, too—and presented it at the end of the night. "I was so overwhelmed with gratitude," Eryc says of this teary moment. "It was so thoughtful."
Kylie got one more mention during the best man's toast, which also touched on his friendship with Eric over the years. Then Eric's boss gave a speech, and Amanda (Eryc's maid of honor) spoke about their relationship and how it's been for her watching him grow into adulthood and his marriage to Eric. After that, the couple thanked everyone for coming, told everyone to introduce themselves to one another because it was a great group of people, and added another joke or two and gratitude for family before wrapping up and kicking off the dancing portion of the night.
Time to Dance
Though the grooms skipped a proper first dance, the DJ played a lot of disco, pop, and of course, Kylie Minogue, which kept everyone on the dance floor under the sparkling disco ball that had been hung as a surprise for Eric.
Photography, Wilde Scout Photo Co.
Location, Handsome Hollow
Catering, North Branch Inn
Flowers, Earthgirl Flowers
Stationery, Of Good Stock
Cake, Provence en Boite
Music, Lucas Walters
Eric's suit and accessories and Eryc's suit and pocket square, Tommy Hilfiger
Eryc's turtleneck, Michael Kors
Eryc's shoes, YSL
Maid of honor's jumpsuit, Wai Ming
Transportation, First Student Charter Bus Rentals