Andrew & Scott's Wedding in the Catskills: The Reception
Following our ceremony, we hosted a cocktail hour in the garden of The North Branch Inn, complete with drinks, oysters and a massive charcuterie board that I still dream about.
Our signature drinks were created by our venue’s amazing bar manager, and referenced our two of our favorite queer love stories from last year. The “Call Me By Your Name” was actually inspired by one of our venue visits up to North Branch — on our site tour, our wedding co-ordinator, Stacey, offered us an insanely juicy peach (get it?) from the peach tree growing in their garden. We immediately asked if they had enough to use in our cocktails.
All of the food at our reception was local from New York state, with the exception of the oysters, which were from our chef’s home state of Maine. We are total lushes and shoveled tons of these guys in our mouths garnished with caviar, crème fraîche, blueberry compote and miso paste.
Our friends could also chill the fire pit as the autumn evening set in.
When we first discussed wedding planning, one thing Scott and I agreed on was that we didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg on decor. I always get a little stressed out seeing the amount of waste that goes into decorating tables at weddings, so we decided to only use simple, reclaimed objects that wouldn’t break the bank and would fit in perfectly with our flea-market-chic aesthetic. With Scott being an avid reader and me being a published author, we chose books as our centerpiece. Purchased from the dollar bin at The Strand we were also able to donate them back afterwards to keep them in circulation. The antique bottles, candle holders and dried flowers all came from Etsy.
Because we were pretty good at reining in the budget of our wedding, the one thing we let ourselves splurge on was the food. On our first visit to The North Branch Inn, we were immediately taken with the location and venue, but the thing that sealed the deal was eating at their restaurant. They take tremendous pride in their food and rightfully so. Our chef, Erik Kinealy-Hill, curated an incredible six-course meal with all local ingredients. And as if we weren’t feeling fancy enough, Erik left the next morning to go be Rihanna’s private chef on her yacht for a month!
In between courses our guests could knock out a round of bowling in the alley, which dates back to the 1800s.
Of course, no wedding is complete without your friends lightly dragging you in a speech, and Scott’s best friend Olivia Nuzzi and my two best pals Benj Pasek and Jake Wilson did not disappoint.
If you’ve ever seen one of my summer videos, you know I’m obsessed with sparklers, so you know I had some on hand to celebrate.
After dinner, we cleared out the tables and made room for dancing. When we were making a list of music for our DJ to play, we quickly realized that the list of songs we absolutely DIDN’T want played (I’m looking at you, Black Eyed Peas) was getting longer than our actual wishlist. I’m so Type-A that I ended up just teaching myself how to create a DJ mix using the app Pacemaker so “The Macarena” wouldn’t accidentally slip into our playlist. It also allowed me to blend some hilarious tracks. In case you were wondering, “Bodak Yellow” and Olivia Newton-John’s “Let’s Get Physical” have the exact same beats per minute and can be played directly on top of each other!
When you have Ryan Steele on the dance floor, you sometimes end up in a death drop. Pretty sure this was taken when RuPaul’s “Call Me Mother” came on.
There’s a lot of pressure for your wedding to be “the perfect day,” and even though Scott said we didn’t ever want to be stressed out by the process, we couldn’t help but feel pressured to curate an amazing weekend for our friends. Was it perfect? Of course not! But looking back, we wouldn’t have changed a thing. In the end, the main takeaway from our guests was that our wedding was “SO us,” and I think that’s the greatest compliment you can get when making a grand gesture as a couple. I’m so lucky to have a mate that rolled with the punches and made me feel taken care of every step of the way. And sometimes, even when it rains on your wedding day, it’s just because there’s a rainbow waiting to make a guest appearance.