July 26, 2010

Michelle + Alastair: A Casual Wedding in Ithaca, NY


Last month I was in Ithaca, NY for the wedding of Michelle and Alastair (you may remember their engagement session at 30th Street Station). Though they live in San Francisco, and had their engagement session in Philadelphia, their romance began about 15 years ago at Cornell. Years pulled them apart and brought them together again but they finally ended up tying the knot on a rainy day in June among 93 adults, 7 children, and 10 babies. There were vows, a wedding gown, rings, and toasts but this celebration was gloriously low key, just as Michelle and Alastair wanted it. Read on for creative jewelry, little ones everywhere, BBQ, board games, and outdoorsy fun.

We started the day with Michelle’s family and the girls in Trumansburg at a house the family had rented. Michelle had some of the most thoughtful details…

The bridesmaid’s gifts were the most creative I’ve ever seen. Each bridesmaid got a necklace with a pendant of a map where she and Michelle first met. Michelle’s only jewelry was a similar necklace with a map of Ithaca, where she and Alastair first met. I love this!

The rings were made of recycled wood – granadilla, to be exact. This is the same wood that clarinets are made of. Al’s ring was lined with blue spruce and Michelle’s was lined with purple heartwood.

The ladies wore cocktail length, v-neck black dresses. The flowers in vibrant pinks, yellows, reds, and white were from the garden of Alastair’s mother.

Love Michelle! Love her!

For someone who usually has it tied up, Michelle let her hair down (literally) for her big day. She looked lovely.

If rain on a wedding day is good luck, Michelle and Alastair should have played the lottery that day. Moments before the ceremony was to begin at Cayuga Nature Center the fun really began with buckets upon buckets of rain. Very quick shuffling and the ceremony was moved from the field to the tent.

The ceremony was awesome. Alastair had the crowd in stitches as he walked in to the Star Wars “Imperial March”. Michelle to Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister”. Readings were equally amusing – the wedding speech from The Princess Bride and snippets from Robert Fulghum’s “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten”.

This was raised when the officiant asked if anyone knew any reason why these two should not be joined:

There was good eatin’ by all. Dinosaur BBQ, a New York institution, catered the event with cornbread, grilled veggies, shrimp, beans and rice, and, of course, barbecue. Guests were able to help themselves to BBQ ponchos (“You know if you need one”), wine, Coca Cola from the bottle, punch, and assorted beer. Check out the huge Dinosaur BBQ smoker that was brought on site.

Dessert was served up as two ice cream cakes, one with a camera for Michelle (a huge shutterbug) and another with a pig for Alastair (really likes his BBQ).

The rain finally passed and everyone was able to spread out and enjoy the paths and scenery. There was a live falcon, peacock, and red tailed fox to check out. And Michelle and Alastair brought plenty of games and cards for guests to enjoy picnic-style.

Despite the wet start, the rest of the evening was gorgeous. I was able to get some shots of Michelle and Al against the spectacular natural backdrop of the venue.

They danced their first dance to Nina Simone’s “Feelin’ Good” and invited their parents up halfway through.

the rest of the evening was spent mingling with the friends and family that came in from all over the country. It was a perfect summery family wedding.

Michelle & Al, thanks so much and all the best!

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me
And I’m feeling good
~ Nina Simone, “Feelin’ Good”

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