Our wedding: Lori and Stephen
Ceremony and reception: Canfield Casino, Saratoga Springs
There were no table numbers to direct guests to their seats at Lori Isabella-Rhoades’ and Stephen Rhoades’ wedding reception. Instead, there were mountains.
The newlyweds, who aspire to climb all 46 Adirondack high peaks, named each of the dining tables at their celebration after a summit they’ve reached. There was a Mount Marcy table, a Cascade Mountain table and many more, each decorated with a picture of the couple on the corresponding peak.
Held at Saratoga Springs’ Canfield Casino on Sept. 14, 2013, their wedding was infused with Adirondack-style touches.
The idea for the theme sprang from the way the Rotterdam couple’s relationship began and their ensuing time spent together, said Lori, who works for the state Department of Health.
She started dating Stephen, a home theater consultant for Best Buy, in 2010, after the two went with mutual friends to Log Bay Day — an annual boat party — on Lake George.
The following year, the couple decided to forego the party in favor of a hike up Cascade and Porter mountains in the Adirondacks.
“It was rainy and sleeting at the top of the mountains in July, but we had so much fun, and after that, we got hooked on the high peaks,” Lori recalled, noting that they have now climbed 23 of them together.
During their travels, the couple collected picture frames with an Adirondack theme to hold the summit shots that decorated their reception tables. They also purchased embroidered patches that depict each peak and used them in their table arrangements.
In lieu of place cards, they had a photo of Algonquin Peak blown up to poster size and superimposed the table assignments on it.
The wedding cake was frosted to look like it was made of birch logs accented with a scattering of pinecones.
Colors from nature were used for the bridesmaids’ dresses — sage green with a rich brown sash. The table treatments at the reception matched: green cloths with brown napkins.
Flash from the past
Wedding photos were taken in the great outdoors, in Congress Park, where there just so happened to be a Civil War encampment going on.
“They had a whole camp set up at the top of the hill in Congress Park. They had horses, they had tents, they had fires; people were all dressed up. It was so cool, and it sounds so dorky, but I’ve always loved that stuff,” Lori admitted.
The encampment provided great material for the wedding photo shoot. One costumed duo and their horses posed with the newlyweds.
Many of the formal wedding photos were taken before the wedding, a practice Lori and Stephen’s photographer, Jeff Foley, told them is becoming more popular.
They opted for a “first look” — a photo shoot of the two seeing each other in their formal wedding attire for the first time, before the walk down the aisle. The couple decided to go that route so they would have more time to spend with their guests.
“It definitely cut down on the craziness,” Lori said.
The bride was walked down the aisle by her brother, Vincent, who filled in for their father, who died 10 years ago.
“It was very meaningful to me,” Lori said.
The entire day exceeded the couple’s expectations.
“It was incredible,” Lori said. “People did not stop raving about how gorgeous and how different it was.”
The only problem was, it came to an end much too quickly.
“All I wanted to do is dance, and I knew time was going to fly by,” Lori said. “I couldn’t even imagine it would fly by as fast as it did.”