Photos by Jordan Jankun Photography
When COVID upended their plans for an autumnal Hudson Valley wedding, a Florida couple fell in love with spring.
Taylor & Anthony
May 2, 2021
Red Maple Vineyard, West Park
With beaches and blue water, South Florida is a popular destination-wedding locale. But Poughkeepsie-born Taylor Guzman (then, Kalter), who moved to the Sunshine State when she was 5, and her native Floridian fiancé, Anthony Guzman, dreamed of a wedding in her Hudson Valley hometown. “We wanted something different. Most of our family and friends were in Florida, and they’re used to the beach vibe,” Taylor says. “Anthony had gone to Dutchess County with me for my cousin’s wedding. It was like this hidden gem in the countryside of New York that no one ever talks about.”
The couple met as undergraduates at Florida Gulf Coast University, in Fort Myers. “We were very involved in Greek life and met through mutual friends,” Anthony recalls. “The first time I hung out with Tay, it was with a girlfriend at the time. I remember she stood out to me — her charming personality and down-to-earth perspective. As fate would have it, that other relationship ended shortly after we met, and I did everything I could to get in front of Taylor.” Several years and a move to Florida’s east coast later, he proposed on the rooftop terrace of a Delray Beach hotel, followed by a surprise party with family and friends.
Having already set their sights on a Dutchess winery for the venue, the couple and their parents headed north on a scouting trip, but their intended venue was too small for the 200-plus-person guest list. On a whim, they headed across the Hudson to look at Red Maple Vineyard. “We knew right away,” Taylor says. “We loved the modern-rustic barn they were building and that they came from a catering background. You go up on a hill, and you can see the Hudson River.”
With a fall 2020 date on the books, the bride-to-be found a romantic, formfitting Martina Liana gown with floral embroidery and a dramatic train to match the vineyard’s old-world feel. In keeping with the season, she chose a palette of burnt orange and rich fall hues for the bridesmaids’ dresses, flowers, stationery, and semi-naked cake, decorated with bursts of berries. Then, COVID threw everything for a loop.
The wedding was moved to spring of 2021. Undeterred, Taylor and florist Sara Dean-Wilkins of Lavender & Leaf Designs in Wappingers Falls wove complementary shades of dusty rose, peach, and yellow into the burnt-orange decor. “The venue had these beautiful trees that had just bloomed, and they incorporated them throughout the barn,” the bride adds. Lots of greenery and sprays of pampas softened the final look.
“There’s a lovely versatility to that venue,” says planner Gina Maloney, who helped guide the last few months of pre-wedding preparations. “The gardens are so elaborate. The pavilion, where receptions are, has glass on three sides, so the outdoors really shines through.”
In keeping with pandemic restrictions, the guest list had to be halved, allowing the bride and groom to splurge on experiences. Anthony runs a craft-food tour company in Florida, so to kick off the wedding weekend, he arranged for school buses to ferry guests to Millbrook Winery and Poughkeepsie’s Plan Bee Farm Brewery, followed by a wood-fired pizza pop-up. “We really wanted something where it wasn’t one night, and it’s over,” Taylor says. “We wanted a really good time. I feel like you always remember the food and music.”
Two days later, the couple were married by the groom’s father, who got ordained at the last minute after their previous officiant fell through. “Having my father there brought a whole new spiritual meaning to our wedding,” he says. “It was very emotional.” Later, the newlyweds danced the night away to a mix of house music and Cuban American artist Celia Cruz, which got “my Cuban family dancing before the party even started,” Anthony muses.
Everything worked out, the bride says, noting how lucky they felt to have more than 100 of their nearest and dearest together — particularly after COVID derailed their original plans. “They were really ready to party,” Maloney adds with a laugh. “As weddings got pushed, people were just so happy to celebrate with family and friends. Everybody needs to love Plan B as much as they do their Plan A.”
Jordan Jankun Photography
Gina Maloney Events
Lavender & Leaf
Caterer and Cake
Red Maple Vineyard
The Prettiest Pixel
Nicole Otero, TCM Events
The Black Tux