Ahh! GUYS, I cannot stop thinking about Alyssa and Ryan’s long-awaited wedding day at Red Maple Vineyard. Let me tell you, it was well worth the wait- it could not have been more beautiful! It was truly the perfect day – from the weather (sunny and high 70/low 80’s which is unheard of for August in NY) to the dance floor, to the vows, to the food, to the beer canoe and the firepit and everything in between. I continuously say this year that my COVID couples are not allowed to have bad weather or any stress on their wedding days – they’ve endured enough!! And I can confidently say that these two had the PERFECT day.
We started out the morning at Homewood Suites in Poughkeepsie, NY, where Alyssa and her bridesmaids got ready together (as well as Ryan and his groomsmen)! Sydney and I completed the detail shots at the hotel before heading over to Red Maple Vineyard and they couldn’t have been more beautiful! From Alyssa’s silvery glitter heels, to their classic invitation suite, to her engagement ring (which was Ryan’s grandmothers), every detail was a treat to photograph. Alyssa chose to get hair and makeup done at the hotel, and then leave the dress (and the champagne photos!) for Red Maple Vineyard. When we arrived, we popped champagne in the herb garden – which resulted in the most genuine moment with Alyssa and her bridesmaids. The champagne popped unexpectedly and everyone died laughing after screaming of surprise! I’d say that was the best start to the day!
After those cute photos, the girls all got dressed in the bridal suite while the guys arrived. Sydney took a few last minute getting ready photos of Ryan with his parents in front of the wine barrels at the venue, while we got Alyssa ready upstairs in her beautiful dress. Alyssa chose to finish her getting ready shots and get into her dress at Red Maple Vineyard because she wanted her photos to capture the essence of the venue and everything they have there. She specifically wanted her dress pictures in front of the stained glass windows that were taken (If I remember correctly) from the grandmother’s home of the owner’s of Red Maple Vineyard. This was a very special request from Alyssa – at first, I was skeptical because it’s a bit dark up there, but in the end, they turned out absolutely gorgeous and I can confidently say no one has prep photos that look that uniquely awesome!
And now, if we’re being honest, Alyssa’s dress deserves its own blog post. She stepped out in an absolutely stunning Hayley Paige gown and Jimmy Choo glitter heels (which she later traded for Kate Spade Keds for dancing!) – the twirl, the detail, all of it was just breathtaking! She even had a dress sketch of her dress signed by Hayley Paige herself!
Once the jewelry was on, the shoes were in place, and every detail was perfect, it was time to see her dad. Alyssa’s and he shared a very emotional, and absolutely beautiful first look. There were definitely tears of joy shed (and every other emotion that a dad feels right before he gives his daughter away on her wedding day).
Right after that, in the secret garden, we did the first look with Ryan and Alyssa – which just so happens to be where Scott and I did our first look! This was purely ADORABLE and I just kept thinking “Wow, I can’t believe this day is finally here!”. After they shared hugs, kisses, twirled around a bit, and maybe even shed a few happy tears, I then took Ryan and Alyssa to as many places on the property as we could get to for their portraits. We started in the secret garden and then headed into the vineyards. After that, we took a golf cart over to the properties 300-year-old white oak tree and took a swing on Red Maple’s signature swing before ending the portraits in the herb garden. It is SO HARD to pick a favorite location at this venue (I literally made our photographer for my wedding day go to like 8 spots LOL!) Every single photo was literally PERFECCCCCT.
Once we wrapped up their first round of portraits, it was time to add in the bridal party! We took all the bridal party portraits across the street from the main building of the venue and the lighting was AMAZING. Did I mention that all my couples seem to have the best and most fun people in their bridal party? I mean it really is insane the people I get to work with! The girls wore a beautiful dusty blue while the guys were in a classic grey suit and I am OBSESSSEDDDD with how their wedding party photos turned out!
After that, we rounded out the portrait section of the day with family formals. These were truly BEAUTIFUL, and we took them all in the herb garden!! Once these were done, the only thing left was for these two to GET MARRIED! The ceremony took place on the infamous hilltop where Alyssa and Ryan shared personal vows that made everyone tear up. After they danced their way down the aisle, we grabbed a few golden hour portraits on the hill, and then walked down to their absolutely perfect cocktail hour. And those golden hour portraits? I LITERALLY cannot get over how stunning the light was shining through Alyssa’s dress and veil – again, I could do a whole post about her dress alone!
Guests enjoyed a unique cocktail hour with lawn games, a raw bar (yum!), and pizza stations (every wedding needs a little pizza!) and I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a million times more – Red Maple Vineyard is absolutely amazing from tip-to-tail, but their unbelievable farm to table menu really takes this place over the top.
After that, the reception kicked off with a bang! Beautiful toasts, amazing and emotional dances, and a jam packed dance floor all night made this a reception I’ll never forget, but possibly my favorite part of the night was when the donut truck pulled up. Talk about a midnight snack! Alyssa and Ryan were stoked on another level for this donut truck, and once I experienced it, I could see why! They had mini donuts with flavors such as Captain Crunch and Maple and Bacon, and sent everyone off with a little gift box of donuts! I mean, C’MON! The night concluded with an after-party around the fire pit that I just had to get in on (cause, DUH) and I truly couldn’t have written the script for a better wedding day.
This blog post is long enough, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t share a little bit of their love story too.
Alyssa and Ryan are the sweetest couple that met in middle school, in 8th grade. They were both in the same advanced science class, which happened first period in high school, before the middle school day started. They were also in the same history class. There was one day that Alyssa didn’t have time to do her history homework the night before so she was thinking of people who were in her class, and Ryan was one of them. During that spare time she went up to him to ask for the homework and that was actually the first time they ever spoke! Luckily he was nice enough to give her the homework!
They were engaged on September 11, 2018. They had planned on going to California for a while and thought, what’s a better time than to celebrate their ten-year anniversary? While in Napa, they planned on going to several wineries, and they all looked beautiful, but Domaine Carneros looked like something out of a movie. And to think- Alyssa said she didn’t want to go because it was out of the way.
While in the car on the way there, Ryan kept saying, “I hope someones is there to take a picture.” Alyssa is thinking, “yeah, it’s really pretty, I want a picture.” As they pull up to the winery, it’s gorgeous, even better than the pictures, and of course, there wasn’t a soul around. So Ryan asks their Uber driver if it wouldn’t be too much trouble to take a picture. As Ryan is giving the driver the phone Alyssa is putting her things to the side, walking up the few steps, and trying to find the center. She sees Ryan bend down, thinking he’s tying his shoe or something (turns out the ring was in his sock all day, now that makes sense…), and when he stands she put her arm out for him to come next to her…why wasn’t he coming to stand next to her? As she turns towards him she notices a little black box in his hands and immediately takes a step back in SHOCK! Next thing she knows, he’s on his knee saying “Will you marry me?” Cue the ugly crying!
Luckily she was wearing sunglasses because she began to bawl her eyes out and couldn’t even speak. She couldn’t even get out the word “yes” so she just nodded her head up and down with excitement! Their Uber driver managed to get the most beautiful pictures AND a video of the moment. What followed was even more ugly crying, several FaceTime calls, and two and a half hours of a champagne tasting with a beautiful view of the vineyards. Talk about perfection.
We even incorporated a bottle of champagne from this vineyard into their engagement session (Pssst: You can find their beautiful engagement shoot here: https://imlauraleeblog.com/cold-spring-ny-engagement-session-nj-photographer/
Needless to say, it was a long road getting here, and I couldn’t imagine a more perfect day for these two. Alyssa and Ryan, it was truly an honor to be a part of your big day! I will forever remember the way Alyssa’s dress twirled, how happy you were reading your vows, how much fun the dance floor was, how delicious the donut truck was, and how special every detail turned out to be. I’m so lucky that I got to be your photographer. I love you guys! Cheers to many more decades of happiness together!!
CEREMONY VENUE: Red Maple Vineyard
RECEPTION VENUE: Red Maple Vineyard
COORDINATOR: Red Maple Vineyard
PHOTOGRAPHER: Laura Lee Photography
FLORIST: Planned Perfectly HV
CAKE ARTIST: Red Maple Vineyard
BAND/DJ: A Perfect Blend Entertainment
HAIR & MAKE-UP ARTIST: Salon 52
BRIDAL GOWN: Kleinfeld