The Look of Love!

 

My last few posts have been a bit grim.

So here’s a post filled with joy and happiness.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

Last fall my niece married her boyfriend at a beautiful place called the Treman Center in upstate NY not far from the farm where she spent most of her childhood and teen years — and where her mother still lives.

Here she is with her father, husband, mother, brother, and dog.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

My niece recently gave me access to a huge cache of their wedding photos, which I plan to feature in two separate blog posts.

Today’s theme is “The Look Of Love…”

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

The Treman Center is itself a labor of love by a wife and husband team — full of all kinds of beauty. The husband is a tremendous stone mason. The wife is a terrific host who — among her many gifts — is also an extraordinary makes-things-beautiful person.

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Beauty can be found everywhere at the Treman Center — as well as whimsy, such as this rubber ducky floating in their reflecting pool…

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My niece’s husband’s family also lives in the area, and we have loved becoming friends with them over the past six years.

DawnTimAnn

At first I did not understand why my niece and her (then) boyfriend wanted to have a fancy wedding.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

But as soon as I arrived at the Treman Center, I got it.

They wanted to create and share a weekend of love and beauty with a small tribe of their nearest and dearest.

Weddings can be a transformative event not only for the bride and groom, but also for the community of family, friends, and beloved pets whom they invite to surround them, bear witness to their vows, and celebrate with them.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

This wedding proved to be a wonderful mix of hands-on work by family and friends + catered deliciousness which wove everyone together in new ways.

A&S Wedding Cake 1

For example, the wedding cake was made by the groom’s mother.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

It featured custom-made replicas of the groom and the bride plus their beloved dog.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

All of the flower arrangements — except for the bouquets and boutonnieres of the bridal party — were grown and harvested and assembled by local family members who spent most of Friday focused on this exquisite undertaking.

A&S Wedding FlowerTeam

Here is some of their — and mother nature’s — handiwork…

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

All of the wedding favors for guests were also grown, harvested, and preserved by members of our family.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

My other sister (the bride’s aunt) is — among many other things — a terrific chef, and she took leadership of a pre-wedding pickling marathon.

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Yum!!!

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

My sisters also canned a lot of peach-raspberry jam…

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

And my sisters’ neighbors keep bees; so some guests took home jars of local honey, too.

Many friends and family members also pitched in to make pies.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

A lot of pies…

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

They were served from a Ferris Wheel Of Pie — which was something I had never seen before.

And very delicious.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

Friday night was the rehearsal dinner, and somehow the caterers were running late.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

So everyone — except the bride and groom — pitched in to set up tables, plates, glasses, silverware on the second floor of the elegantly converted barn that is the heart of the Treman Center.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

Working together like this is one of my favorite ways to spend time with other human beings — and a tried-and-true way to jumpstart a sense of shared purpose and community.

After dinner the father of the bride — who is a professional trumpeter — and I and a dear friend of the bride and groom who happens to be a great pianist (and who had driven all the way from Norfolk, VA, with his fiancee to be part of the celebration) sang jazz standards at a funky old Steinway which graces the Treman Center.

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My niece wore a beautiful and very red dress.

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She had a terrific group of friends as bridesmaids, and the spirit throughout the weekend was often quite playful.

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The groomsmen were also full of fun and creativity.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

I love this photo of the groom and his parents.

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The bride’s quietly extraordinary  younger brother (my older nephew) was part of the bridal party, and pitched in to help at every conceivable opportunity.

AriannaJasperDress

Their mother is a hardworking farmer and photographer who like many hardworking farmers — and photographers — also has a day job.

Currently she works at Cornell University’s department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design — which meant that she was able to have a gown created for her by an up-and-coming clothing designer.

ChristianneInSilverDress

One of the unexpected pleasures of this wedding was seeing friends and family members whom I usually see in shorts and swim suits — or in the case of my sister, a one-piece jumpsuit which she wears when she takes care of the chickens and sheep and gardens on her farm — wearing somewhat fancier clothing.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

Everyone cleaned up very nicely!

YoungCousinsGolfCart

My younger nephew and some of my younger cousins looked very sharp when they were given permission to drive a golf cart around the venue.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

The wedding ceremony was held in a stone courtyard which had all sorts of fruit trees growing in huge planters.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

While everyone was assembling on Saturday afternoon before the ceremony began, the pianist friend and I shared more standards while the bride’s father rocked his trumpet.

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He has toured with Wynton Marsalis, Maynard Ferguson, and Harry Connick, Jr. among others…

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I will share lots of photos from the actual wedding ceremony in my second (future) post.

Here are a few observations:

The groom is very tall.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

He has a wonderful family.

And he and my niece are very fond of each other.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

If I am remembering correctly, they originally met when he was an assistant coach for her crew team.

They both went to the same college — although they didn’t overlap as undergraduates because he is a few years older — and their romance began when they both worked on the island of Elba in the Mediterranean one summer.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

She was the cook and he was the gardener on the estate of a college professor.

She wrote a wonderful blog which documented many of her adventures on Elba — culinary and otherwise. You can click here to get a taste of her blog if you are curious…

One of the highlights of the ceremony on Saturday was the ring-bearer — their beloved dog companion named Dozer.

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The ceremony was not-too-long and very sweet — culminating, of course, with a lovely kiss.

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After this was dinner.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

And an extraordinary sunset.

A&S Wedding Sunset

The proactive and very congenial wedding photographers grabbed the bride and groom for a sunset portrait…

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

Then we all danced for several hours in varying states of abandon to a great live band.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

Dancing was interspersed with a few wedding games.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

And the cutting of the cake…

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

One of the unplanned highlights of the night was when the band started playing the song “Uptown Funk” — which my younger nephew had previously memorized to perform in a talent show at his school.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

One of the singers in the band gave my nephew a mic so that he could lead us in what became a Dionysian explosion of energy on the dance floor.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

If you got tired of dancing, there was also a wall for Polaroid photos + written thoughts…

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

And lots of bittersweet ice cream…

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

I will devote a future blog post to the wedding ceremony itself — which included its own spontaneous surprise from their beloved ringbearer, Dozer.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

Thank you to my niece and nephew-in-law for letting me blog about their wonderful wedding.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

Thank you to everyone who pitched in to help make this such a loving and delicious and memorable wedding celebration.

Beautiful Wedding at the Treman Center, Shot by Couple of Dudes

Thank you to Julian Huarte with Couple of Dudes Photography, to Mary Bloom (a longtime family friend and professional photographer), and to everyone else whose photos of the wedding I have included in this blog post.

Thank you to Nina Vansuch, Michael Ricca, and Brian Patton for recording the two-song medley (included at the beginning of this post) with me many years ago. You can click here to hear more of our music at CD Baby.

And thank YOU for reading all the way to the end of this post!

29 thoughts on “The Look of Love!

  1. What a great wedding – our daughter’s was a homemade do with everyone pitching in from the best man writing the whole ceremony to some of us making sugar paste roses and crocheting flowers for the bouquet. Your family made it everyone’s day, not just the couple’s. Every wedding I’ve been to this century or heard about has been totally individal.

    • Hurrah for homemade! I love the idea of crocheting flowers for a bouquet — which Could then last for years and years. You also summed up beautifully what I so appreciated about this event: somehow it did feel a bit like everyone’s day — not just the couple getting married. Thank you for reading and listening and commenting!

    • Yes. Many of my posts tend to be serious and a bit overwhelming. Time to balance them with something more buoyant and love-filled. Thank you for reading and listening and commenting, Cindy!

  2. Wow, Will! I don’t know where to start–this looks like the best wedding *ever*! The attention to detail, without letting things get too precious and overwrought, is really fabulous. The kind of day you wish could last forever . . . Your niece ROCKS that red dress and the dress your sister wore was amazing, too. You have a very fine family . . . .

    • Thanks for reading, listening and commenting, KerryCan! The weekend was blessedly low on drama and high on cooperation/collaboration — although there WERE moments of anxiety, such as when my older sister and I drove at the last minute to pick up the bouquets and boutonnieres for the wedding party (waiting in a walk-in refrigerator in the basement of a nearby florist’s barn) which someone had forgotten to pick up earlier in the day…

    • I agree. I am still savoring the honey and the pickles I took home after the wedding weekend was over… I also continue to savor the BLUE SKY photo from one of your recent posts. I keep coming back to it because (as I think I already commented on your site) it makes me take a big, serene breath every time I look at it… Thank you for reading and listening and commenting!

  3. How wonderful to start my Sunday with your lovely post and gorgeous photos. Thank you, Will. What a hardworking and talented family. The venue is stunning, too. I look forward to part 2. Best to you, Will.

    • Thanks, Jennie! My family does know how to buckle down and get something done when a deadline approaches…Part two will feature a poem by ee cummings which my niece and her about-to-be-husband asked me and my partner to read during the ceremony. I was reluctant to do a post about their wedding because — from one perspective — it seemed somewhat show-offy and privileged. However, from another perspective it was a weekend full of beauty and love and respect and collaboration and fun — and I certainly need to be reminded that these qualities can co-exist on planet earth along with more disrespectful and dangerous human behaviors… Also my niece is so beautiful (and the blog she wrote while cooking on Elba is so charming) that I simply wanted to kvell a bit about her and her lovely husband (who is also quite easy on the eyes).

      • I love your words here, Will. I didn’t get the sense that it was show-offy at all. While the family may be privileged, the parts that stood out were hard work, family, love, and respect for one another. Really. Yes, these qualities can not only co-exist, they often lead the way and make their mark. The privileged are often the leaders in kindness, hard work and giving. So, way to go to your family, and congratulations to your beautiful niece. 😍

    • I do not attend many weddings, but I guess a fair number of them are held in hotel ballrooms with a band or DJ — which might end up feeling a bit like something off a production line? This one did have a lot of hand-made, hand-grown elements — which I guess is by definition the opposite of a production line! Thank you for reading and listening and responding. Your blog name — The Snail Of Happiness — continues to be one of my all-time favorites!

      • My niece used to work in a big hotel where there was a wedding pretty much every Saturday… she was so shocked to discover how similar every bride and every ceremony and every reception was. The best wedding I have ever attended was on the London Eye.

  4. Your nicely paced walk down Memory Lane wove together the images and scattered mental snapshots I had in my busy head. I too question big expensive weddings as a concept. But the fruit of love and creativity in this one was a real gift to everyone! Thanks for reminding us of a special time. 💜💜💜

    • I am not someone who takes a lot of photos, but I have been very grateful to have so many lovely images of their wedding to pore over in recent weeks… Remembering their wedding has been a balm/antidote to much of the daily news. Thank you for reading and listening and commenting!

  5. Thank you for sharing this gorgeous, beauty- and joy-filled post…. what a wonderful family, and what a magnificent wedding! I’m looking forward to hearing more about Dozer, the ring bearer!

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