Planning An Adirondack Themed Wedding

My son lives in Connecticut. My nieces and friends live in Boston and New York City. My daughter lives in Charlotte, NC. A new client couple lives in Washington DC. What do all of them have in common? They all want(ed) an "Adirondack Wedding."  

adirondack theme wedding table setting

What is "Adirondack Style?"

Well, I can tell you what it is not. It is not napkins embossed with loons, or moose shaped place cards. It is not bark candles and burlap table runners. Nor is it red and black plaid ties or drinking glasses made from canning jars. 

The best way I can explain this is to talk about a friend I had. All she ever wanted was an Adirondack style house. She lived in a lovely old farmhouse. She bought moose dishes and table lamps. She put up loon wall paper and had a pine cone motif in her bathrooms. She added loon decoys, old skis, and black bear figurines galore. Yet, time and time again she lamented that she just couldn't get the feeling. She had gone in the wrong direction the entire time. If she had embraced the true identity of her home and developed the heritage and history of the old farm she could have felt restful and been satisfied each time she walked in the door. And believe it or not, farms are very much in the Adirondack style.

Take a clue from the Lumberjacks

In the heart of the Adirondacks, Tupper Lake once grew as a lumbering town. Men came to work in the woods. They lived in rough camps, ate hearty meals, and spent their days outside. They were tough, adaptable, hard working, and were known to enjoy a drink or two on their infrequent trips to town. The lumbering days have dwindled but the characteristics of these Adirondack residents remain. 

 Bear Brook Logging Camp located upstream from the Bog River (c. 1915). Image - Jon Kopp collection.

Bear Brook Logging Camp located upstream from the Bog River (c. 1915). Image - Jon Kopp collection.

To plan and execute an Adirondack wedding, we always try to remember that a wedding is about you - your people, your family, your heritage, and your unique story. To also embrace life the way its residents do is the key to having an Adirondack wedding. The Adirondack life in pure form is about living simply with nature. It is abundant with natural beauty and needs to add very little to make it spectacular.

Why do you want an Adirondack Wedding?

With social media and the current Pinterest craze it is easy to be drawn into the latest fads. One of the most critical things we do as wedding and event designers it to get at the heart of you as a couple. "Why do you want an Adirondack wedding" may seem like an easy question at first.  Answers range from "It's beautiful in the woods," and "I am an outdoor person and life in the Adirondacks is all about nature," to more simplistic responses such as "I just love loons" or "My friend had an Adirondack theme and it was so gorgeous."

 Brittany and Dustin - color sort activity, Perennia consult.

Brittany and Dustin - color sort activity, Perennia consult.

The real reason should be deeper than those sentiments if your wedding is going to be an authentic celebration of you as a couple. Perhaps your childhood highlights involved spending time camping at Fish Creek or Rollins Pond, or learning to ski at Big Tupper. Maybe your grandfather had a hunting camp that he would take you to or an annual fishing trip that was special in your life.  If you are a hiker, biker, camper, gardener, or spent time with people that taught you about life in the wilderness then perhaps an Adirondack wedding IS for you. Make your wedding about the passions that stir you and you will make memories that last a lifetime.

Location, location, location

So you have decided that you want an Adirondack Wedding. Assuming that you will travel or that you already live here, it is important to choose the proper setting. Luckily, Mother Nature has provided a multitude of ponds, lakes, rivers, fields, or even backyards to choose from. Many couples choose a lovely outdoor spot for their ceremony and then gather nearby in a shelter of some sort for the reception festivities. (Adirondack weather has its own set of charms and hazards.) These shelters can range from park gazebos, tents, barns, and camps, to restaurants, golf clubs, and resorts. Area wedding planners (ooh, that's us) can help with this aspect. This is one of the most important steps and once your venues are booked, the rest can fall into place. 

 Bridget & Dan in marital bliss at Big Tupper Ski Area. Image courtesy of (c) Jaclyn Schmitz Photography.

Bridget & Dan in marital bliss at Big Tupper Ski Area. Image courtesy of (c) Jaclyn Schmitz Photography.

In the Great Camp style 

Back in the day, rich railroad and oil tycoons escaped to the wilderness for rest and relaxation. For their camping comfort they constructed grand and often opulent homes on the shores of our many lakes. Gardens, tennis courts, boats, bowling alleys, and even movie theaters provided activities for residents and their frequent guests. Weddings were lavish affairs conducted on the camp grounds and included all the natural flora and fauna of the area.

 Meg & Matt's Tupper Lake Woodland Wedding. Image courtesy of (c) Jeffrey Foote Photography

Meg & Matt's Tupper Lake Woodland Wedding. Image courtesy of (c) Jeffrey Foote Photography

If you are financially able to afford an Adirondack resort wedding you will be able to get a taste of this gorgeous wedding style provided by the decor of the resort. 

If not, it is possible use these ideas to create your own Adirondack wedding wherever you land. This can be done by adhering to the Adirondack principals of living which combine simplicity, elegance, nature, adaptiveness, ruggedness, delicacy, and uniqueness.  

Make your wedding about you, your love, your memories, your family and your friends. Have your ceremony outdoors or bring the outdoors in. Keep the decor natural, elegant, and simple. Each detail should tell a story about you. Enjoy the planning.  Savor each minute of the entire process and your Adirondack wedding will be a success.  

 OK... go ahead and add a moose or two. Image courtesy of (c) Jaclyn Schmitz Photography

OK... go ahead and add a moose or two. Image courtesy of (c) Jaclyn Schmitz Photography