After Emily and Chris chose to postpone their September 2020 wedding, waiting a year wasn’t easy. But, for them, it was worth it! Shares Emily, “We ended up having the traditional wedding (and party!) that we dreamed of.” Their decision to postpone hinged entirely on family—Emily and Chris are super close with their families, and they couldn’t imagine a wedding without them.
So, in addition to celebrating their marriage, Emily and Chris’s wedding became about family. “I wanted everyone to have a blast! We are coming out of an extremely difficult time, and we have barely seen some of our family. We made this a whole weekend event, beginning with an outdoor party on Friday night at a local brewery with Chris’ favorite IPAs and pizza for everyone, a classy rehearsal dinner on Saturday, an after-party on Sunday night at a Southern-themed bar, and a day-after wedding brunch on Monday. It was honestly touching to see how many people came to the wedding weekend early or stayed late to spend more time together.”
Additionally, though they’d always planned on a Saratoga Springs wedding, another new addition was a dash of southern flavor. When restrictions for New York State came into effect, these two were fortunate to take up temporary residence in Charleston. After their time there, Emily and Chris felt it had to be included in their day, so they served mint juleps as their signature drink and used the straws as escort cards.
Read all about Emily’s epic father-daughter dance, how she incorporated her grandmother’s gown into her own, and get some on-point wedding planning advice from our sweet bride below:
Tell us about your day!
“Our wedding was initially scheduled for September 6, 2020, but since we are very close with our families, we really couldn’t imagine the day with a limited guest list. Also, New York state had stringent COVID regulations at that time, and we felt strongly that it was not worth putting our families and friends at risk.
Waiting a year was difficult but worth it. We ended up having the traditional wedding (and party!) that we dreamed of. Our wedding was true to its Saratoga, New York roots; as a historic horse racing town, we played into some of those elements. It was held at the Canfield Casino in downtown Saratoga, a venue at the same park where we got engaged a couple of years ago. We also had a few nods to Southern culture—my family has a home in Charleston, South Carolina, and Chris and I took up residence there for part of the lockdown—we served mint juleps as our signature drink and used the straws as escort cards!”
wedding dress: Lea-Ann Belter Summer and veil via Something Bleu Bridal | photographer: Charlotte Jenks Lewis Photography | scroll down for full vendor list
What was your first dance song?
“Our first dance song was “Forever After All,” by Luke Combs. Chris picked it, which surprised me since I am a much bigger country music fan than he is. He had joked for a long time that he wanted the song from the Lion King, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” so I surprised him and asked our violin trio (who are some of my closest friends) to play it for us when we came back down the aisle.”
One detail you couldn’t live without?
“When I was growing up, I absolutely idolized my grandparents’ wedding and marriage. I loved going through their wedding album with them—to me, it was always this example of a real-life fairytale. I dreamed of wearing my Grandma’s dress from 1955, but she was about as small as they come, so instead, I had two of the flower appliques from her gown added to my sash. I was also very close to my other grandmother, the most patient and faithful woman in the world, so I included ribbons in my bouquet from her missile she carried down the aisle. Chris did something similar with his wedding day look and wore a pin on his lapel with an image of his grandfather.”
What was the most important aspect for you in planning your wedding?
“I wanted everyone to have a blast! We are coming out of an extremely difficult time, and we have barely seen some of our family. We made this a whole weekend event, beginning with an outdoor party on Friday night at a local brewery with Chris’ favorite IPAs and pizza for everyone, a classy rehearsal dinner on Saturday, an after-party on Sunday night at a Southern-themed bar, and a day-after wedding brunch on Monday. It was honestly touching to see how many people came to the wedding weekend early or stayed late to spend more time together. ”
What was the funniest moment of your day?
“For about six weeks before the wedding, my dad and I took dance lessons so that we could do a very silly and lighthearted rendition of “My Girl” by the Temptations. It ended with some hip swinging and clapping that had all of us laughing hard!”
What was your something old, new, borrowed, and blue?
“My dress and veil were something new (thanks to Lea-Ann Belter!), I wore my grandmother’s cameo and pearl earrings, my heels were light blue, and the appliqués and ribbons were my something old—and I suppose they were borrowed, too!”
Three words that best describe your partner:
“Chris is patient, selfless, and genuine.”
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
“We went to Maui and Oahu!”
Any tips for couples getting married?
“I’d say in most cases a lot of people may want to weigh in on elements of your wedding, and while sometimes it’s important to compromise, on the components of your wedding that you feel strongly about, stand your ground. I felt strongly about our photography and having my cousin officiate our wedding on-site at the venue.
Also, hire a wedding planner. I couldn’t imagine the weekend without our team of wedding planners. I barely experienced any stress day-of because of the behind-the-scenes magic they were delivering. “
Emily + Chris’s Saratoga Wedding Vendors
wedding dress: Lea-Ann Belter Summer and veil via Something Bleu Bridal | photographer: Charlotte Jenks Lewis Photography | planning: Katie O’Events | videography: Gavin Law Films | venue: Canfield Casino | catering: Nicole’s of Albany | florals: Olive and June Floral Co. | paper goods: The Illustrated Life | pianist for cocktail hour: Tyler Giroux | wedding cake: Cake Street Sweets | signage: Handmade Darling | furniture rental: Total Events | bridal makeup: Doria Tremante | bridal hair: Shannon Ramirez | bridal party hair: True Beauty Co. | dance lessons: Arthur Murray of Saratoga | reception music: DJ Anthony B | after party: Nashville of Saratoga
Were you a Lea-Ann Belter bride? We’d love to see your pictures and share your story! Email [email protected].
Saratoga Wedding with a Southern Twist | Emily + Chris
December 8, 2021 | Category: Lea-Ann Belter Brides | Tags: classic, pandemic, southern wedding, summer