Jewel Tones Filled This Whimsical Woodland Wedding at Cedar Lakes Estate in Upstate New York

For New Yorkers, a perk of city life is the ease of upstate weekend getaways. Relaxation in nature is just a short jaunt away, giving them a break fro

For New Yorkers, a perk of city life is the ease of upstate weekend getaways. Relaxation in nature is just a short jaunt away, giving them a break from the urban hustle. Fittingly, the relationship between Alexandra (Alex) Caulfield (29, a nonprofit fundraiser) and John Love (36, an M&A attorney) first took root during a trip upstate. Just four months into dating, the pandemic hit and Alex decamped to her family’s home in Saratoga Springs, New York, to quarantine. A short while later, John joined her pod. During this time, he says, “I saw how welcoming her family was. When it was all said and done, Alex and I and the rest of our group spent almost 100 days together.” John admits that “the pandemic was a very sobering and dark time, but despite all the fear and uncertainty, Alex and I had a beautiful opportunity to get to know each other well and for our relationship to really blossom.” 

“I don’t think most people spend over three months straight living with their in-laws, let alone the parents of the person they are newly dating,” Alex says. “So this was incredibly unique and, fortunately, we all got along extremely well.”

Alex and John traveled north once again when it came time for them to marry. This time, they descended upon Cedar Lakes Estate in Port Jervis, New York, for their wedding on July 3, 2023. The couple loved the location’s beautiful woodland setting and laid-back vibe. “It was the only venue we visited, and I knew right away that it would be perfect,” recalls Alex. “One major plus was that it used to be a sleepaway summer camp, so there were plenty of accommodations for our guests to stay on-site and enjoy all the venue has to offer. The lake and pickleball courts were a big hit.”

With the lush Hudson Valley landscape as a backdrop, Alex and John settled on a William Morris–esque aesthetic for their event, drawing from Alex’s collegiate study of Victorian literature. “I’ve always appreciated William Morris, a pioneer of the Arts and Crafts Movement. We tried to stick to his ethos of ‘beautiful, useful things’ and incorporated a lot of prints inspired by his work,” she says.

Much like Morris’ art, the wedding weekend was packed with rich, vibrant colors. For the rehearsal dinner, the couple focused on pops of red to complement the red cheongsam Alex wore in honor of her Chinese heritage. The next day, the ceremony prioritized soft shades of blue and muted earthy green. From there, “the colors became more rich and saturated throughout the evening, culminating in our reception tablescapes of lush, bright florals dotted with pomegranates and grapes on teal linens,” says Alex. “I would describe the reception look as being evocative of works by Dutch still-life painter Rachel Ruysch.”

A prismatic selection of blue tweedia, hellebores, peonies, roses and sunflowers dec- orated tables throughout. The color palette was also prominently on display in a custom watercolor crest that appeared on many stationery items, from the invites to the cocktail napkins. It was one of Alex’s favorite details from the wedding design, as it was a personal way to tie everything together.

Despite the couple’s meticulous planning, there was one detail on the wedding day they couldn’t control: the weather. While unexpected showers could put a damper, literally, on a celebration, Alex and John embraced the downpour and “kind of said ‘f*** it’ with regard to the rain.”John notes that many of his favorite photos from the wedding day came from their time traipsing around the estate’s grounds in the drizzle. “The hem of my dress maybe got a bit muddy, but we had an absolute blast,” recalls Alex. “I think that our levity and joy really translate to our photos. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Another bonus of the rain was that Alex and John’s first look moved inside. “We ended up having a fairly big audience of our wedding party and families, which made it so sweet and fun. They all cried happy tears,” says Alex.

Alex and John still made sure to find time alone during the day. Instead of making a big deal of cutting the cake, the couple snuck away to have a private cake-cutting moment. The main one was a peach-blackberry confection with thyme Swiss-meringue buttercream and blackberry jam. “For our guests with food sensitivities, we also had a gluten- and nut-free chocolate cake with salted dark chocolate and espresso buttercream,” adds Alex.

At the end of the day, a wedding is all about the couple entering into marriage, and the intimate cake-cutting allowed Alex and John to bask in that exciting reality. They further celebrated their new journey through the song they selected for the first dance: “Coming Home,” by Leon Bridges. “We thought this would be a great first-dance song since we’ll be coming home to each other for the rest of our lives.”

Looking back on the weekend, Alex says that while she had fun throughout, “I think my favorite part was how it felt so special and wonderful to bring together our friends and extended family under one roof.” She reminds to-be-weds that “the big picture is that you’re getting married and starting the beginning of the rest of your lives together. It will be so special to be surrounded by your loved ones while celebrating your joy, and that’s what really matters.”

Row Boats in Lake at Cedar Lakes Estate
Alex’s mother is of Chinese descent, so she donned a red cheongsam, a traditional Chinese dress, for the rehearsal dinner to celebrate her heritage. Her accessories came from John’s mother. “My mother was born in Iran, and after Alex and I got engaged, she gifted Alex a bracelet made of gold that had belonged to my great-grandmother, which Alex also wore at the rehearsal dinner.”
Red Flower Arrangement for Rehearsal Dinner
Collection of Colorful Signature Cocktails
Tomato Centerpiece for Garden Rehearsal Dinner
Aerial Photo of Wood Farm Table for Rehearsal Dinner
Bride in Cheongsam Posing With Mother of the Bride
Wood Farm Table With Red Napkins for Rehearsal Dinner
There were fun activities for guests to enjoy over the course of the weekend. At the welcome dinner, they roasted marshmallows over a camp- fire. The next day, a vintage bus served as a photo booth for attendees to visit
Formal Wedding Invitation Suite With Monogram
Bride Walking Under Umbrella in Rain
Bridesmaid Bouquets With Tweedia and Anemones
Wedding Party on Dock at Lake at Cedar Lakes Estate
Ceremony Flower Arch With Blue and White Flowers
Wedding Ceremony Programs With Monogram
Bride and Groom During Ceremony Processional
Escort Card Display With Flower Rainbow
Charcuterie Grazing Table Decorated With Sunflowers
Wood Smoke for Signature Cocktail
Wedding First Dance at Cedar Lakes Estate
Vintage Bus Photo Book
Alex and John didn’t want each centerpiece to be identical, so their floral designer cre- ated eclectic groupings of flower arrangements that ran the length of the tables. The tablescapes also included fruit like pomegranates, apricots and grapes, as a nod to John’s Persian heritage.
Wedding Reception Entree
Place Settings With Clear Chargers and Teal Linens
Cake Cutting With Naked Cake Covered in Flowers
Dishware and Glassware From Reception
Naked Cake Covered in Peonies