A Candlelit Winter Wedding at a Cozy Greenhouse in Upstate New York
Stephanie Colendich and Taurean Jacobs' wedding was 13 years in the making: The couple first crossed paths in high school, when one of her best guy friends introduced her to his brother. They remained friends for a few months before they started dating officially in 2006. Flash-forward 12 years, when Taurean hitched a plan to propose to his future wife at Untermeyer Gardens, a park in Yonkers, New York. "It's been one of our favorite places to visit since moving to New York from California in 2010," explains Stephanie. "I always said I didn't want the proposal to happen in a public place with people watching, so he made sure it was early in the morning, with coffee from our favorite place—and he proposed right next to a waterfall underneath The Temple of Love."
Together, the couple agreed on a wedding upstate, and they quickly found Audrey's Farmhouse, a bucolic property in Wallkill, New York. The rustic venue, complete with barn and greenhouse spaces, afforded the duo the opportunity to bring their cozy, wintry wedding vision to life. The final result needed to involve plenty of seasonal greens and candlelight, says the bride, to create the "magical greenhouse wedding" of their dreams. Another (hopeful) requirement? Snow. "I wanted it to snow so badly on our big day," shares Stephanie. She didn't get those flakes—but a steady rainfall resulted in a rainbow, which stretched across the sky just before the ceremony started. "Sometimes the weather you thought you might not want for your wedding ends up making it special and something to remember," the bride reflects now.
Even more special, says the bride, was their celebration's incredible sense of community. "This was the first time my family met Taurean's, and everyone got along so well and made their own memories," Stephanie shares. "This is one of the things that we wish we could recreate again—having all those people together again in one place. Because we have family in New York and California it has to be a big occasion to bring everyone together, so we really treasured this time with them so much."
Welcome to Wallkill
"I wanted to get married in a greenhouse in the winter," says Stephanie on why she and Taurean chose Audrey's Farmhouse to host their celebration. "We also loved that when we booked Audrey's, we were booking not only the venue space, but also rooms for our guests, so they could stay on-site."
The duo planned a weekend of festivities as opposed to "just one night," explains the bride. "The venue really went above and beyond to make us all feel welcome. We had drinks by the fire pit, freshly baked cookies, and an amazing breakfast served each day in the farmhouse and greenhouse—and the staff and owners were the best."
A Room of Her Own
Stephanie got ready in her room at Audrey's, where she slipped on her wedding dress by Noel & Jean by Katie May; she actually found the crepe fitted number, complete with a romantic off-the-shoulder neckline, online and ordered it immediately. "I tried it on with my mom and sister at their home in California before we actually went shopping and I loved it so much," she says. "They loved it too, but I still wanted to go to a bridal store and try on dresses for the experience." So, the group headed to the BHLDN atelier in Palo Alto for an afternoon of fun—but Stephanie remained steadfast with her original choice.
She completed her look with a veil that was borrowed from a friend ("We call it the traveling veil, as she lent it to two other co-workers and friends before lending it to me!" says the bride) and a slew of jewelry pieces, including a sapphire-and-diamond ring from her mother.
A Touch of Blush
Her round bouquet, composed of white stock, ranunculus, blush roses, and sweet peas, was classic in design and romantic in composition. Verde Flowers put the arrangement together—and handled the rest of the event's floral décor.
A sudden rainstorm forced Stephanie and Taurean's first look inside the farmhouse. Nerves gave the bride pause before she rounded the corner to meet her groom: "I stood at the base of the stairs for two minutes, thinking, 'Wait! I'm too nervous!'" she reflects. "I have been with him for 13 years—so I don't know why I felt those nerves—but there were just so many emotions built up."
The bride felt at ease once she saw Taurean, handsome in his black velvet suit from The Black Tux. As for the groom? He felt those moments of anticipation acutely, too. "This was the most nerve-wracking part for me, so once we saw each other I was so excited for the rest of the day—and couldn't wait to celebrate with my family, my new family, and our friends," he says, noting that he was "in awe" of his future wife. "I loved that her dress was form-fitting and simple, yet elegant."
Stephanie's two bridesmaids—she's pictured here with one of them, her sister—wore black floor-length velvet dresses with open necklines and loose sleeves; their ensembles coordinated with the groom's textured jacket. "I knew it would flatter both of their bodies and it's a dress I would love to have worn," says the bride of her choice.
Here We Go
The bride's father escorted her into the ceremony space—the venue's barn—and down the aisle to meet her groom.
Meet Me Under the Arch
A floral arch, covered in smilax greens and blush pink Sahara roses, defined the altar; candles were suspended from the structure "to look like they were floating in the greens," says Stephanie.
This I Promise You
Pastor Stephen Francis oversaw the duo's nonreligious ceremony, during which the couple exchanged vows they wrote themselves. Ahead of the service, the bride and groom decided on a matching format—they'd both share four sentences—so their promises would align in length, and then wrote them separately on card stock to be saved as keepsakes after the wedding. Their bridesmaids and groomsmen read John Legend's song "Conversations in the Dark" before they were pronounced husband and wife: "It had just come out and we both felt like it was a song we could relate to and really liked," explains the bride.
Just married, the couple recessed back up the aisle and headed outdoors for a portrait session, while their loved ones moved on to the cocktail hour—and sipped on their choice of three batch cocktails, which included Audrey's takes on an old fashioned, vodka gimlet, and paloma.
Stephanie and Taurean spent some precious time alone before rejoining the celebrants. "After the ceremony we went outside and took a few photos; it wasn't raining, so it was nice take them outdoors, with just us," says the bride. "We then went to the farmhouse and had a small cheese plate and Champagne for a few minutes and then joined the second half of the cocktail hour!"
The bride actually got the idea for the reception's cloche seating card display—which she created herself, along with the event's signage, menus, welcome bags, and part of the invitations—from a Martha Stewart Weddings Instagram post. "I wanted all the cloches to be different and searched all over the Internet to find the ones I wanted," she says. "People thought I was crazy for collecting all of these cloches—and I was creating more work for myself—but it was something I couldn't let go of. I now have a ton of them at my house if anyone needs any!"
Of all of the celebration's décor, Stephanie was most enthralled with the reception's aesthetic. "I wanted the doors to open to the green house and people to be in awe—and we were!" she says. Long tables were arranged in a square formation, creating a communal setting.
Dinner by Candlelight
Candles—as opposed to florals—dominated the design. "A combination of pillar, taper, and floating candles were used to create a dramatic, warm effect," she says. A series of cedar greens, white peppercorn berries, and the heads of blush pink roses were added for texture. Place settings, provided by the venue, were kept simple and topped with a menu card the bride made herself.
During the meal—the highlights of which included a kale salad with Mandarin zest, hickory-smoked bone-in short rib, and au gratin potatoes, catered entirely by Audrey's—the newlyweds sat at a sweetheart table, which afforded them a view of each and every guest. Greenery hung over their station, as did plenty of candles; smilax vines were also added to the tabletop for a cohesive touch.
Post-dinner and a round of dancing, guests were invited outside to roast s'mores over the fire pit. Later in the evening, the couple also cut into their three weddings cakes, courtesy of Everything Lulu—one cake, in particular, however, stood out from all the rest. "I wanted to do something really special for Taurean to honor his mother, who passed away a few years ago," explains Stephanie of the "starlight" confection, a two-layer white cake with fudge frosting ("The frosting is the most challenging part to get right!"). "When I first met him, he talked about this cake his mother used to make him all the time. I secretly contacted Taurean's uncle, his mother's brother, and asked if he would be able to make it for us for the wedding, as he knew how! Taurean was so surprised—and it really was the only cake I would have wanted for us."
Taurean, a music aficionado, played a key part in selecting their DJ's set. "He loves all different kinds of genres, and actually introduced me to some of my favorite songs, so I wanted to make sure he chose," explains the bride. They did, however, settle on their first dance song—Louis Armstrong's "When We Are Dancin' I Get Ideas"—together. "Taurean played this song for me so many years ago and we both said that when we got married, it would be our song," says Stephanie. "We also were able to find a vintage record with the song on it at an antique shop."
Photography, Jessie Casey
Venue and Catering, Audrey's Farmhouse
Day-of Coordination, Audra Jones of The Day of Company
Flowers, Verde Flowers
Officiant, Pastor Stephen Francis
Bride's Gown, Noel and Jean by Katie May
Veil, Marchesa Notte
Shoes, Badgley Mishka Jewel
Groom's Attire, The Black Tux
Engagement Ring, Natalie Marie
Music, Domenic Trocino
Cake, Everything Lulu
Favors, Cold Hallow Cider Mill