This October wedding is stunning. Photos by Loreto Caceres Photography
When a local couple tied the knot at Castle Hotel & Spa, they leaned on Björn VW Events to deliver the royal academia vibes.
By Ann Loynd Burton and Sofia Scappatura
Katy & Mike
Though it may have seemed like pure chance to have matched on a dating app, Michael Morse and Katherine Doe Morse had been circling one another via family and friend connections for years. After a first date of tapas and a comedy show, the two eventually became official and moved in together a year-and-a-half later. Their Elmsford apartment overlooked Castle Hotel & Spa in Tarrytown, and the two joked they would stay there together one day.
After enduring both COVID and the unfortunate passing of Mike’s parents, Carol and David, the couple knew they could make it through anything. They decided to celebrate their union at that very castle they once only saw from a faraway window. “Our vision was intended to reflect aspects of our story, heritage, professions, and interests,” Doe Morse explains (she is a professional vocalist and teacher, and he is in the culinary industry). “Autumn is our favorite season, both aesthetically and for comfort, so an autumn wedding with rich fall colors fit perfectly.”
The couple also wanted to reflect their heritage (both are American with European backgrounds, but Mike is also Jewish and Katy has close Irish/Celtic ancestry) by incorporating elements like the breaking of the glass and a handfasting into the ceremony.
They enlisted planner Björn Van Wyngaardt of Westchester’s Björn VW events to help execute their dream day. “I looked at the venue as a whole and knew exactly which vendors I would collaborate with to execute the design flawlessly,” Van Wyngaardt remembers. “With a venue like Castle Hotel & Spa, I find that it’s best to look at the history and architecture of the building, so that every aspect of it works in harmony with what’s already there.”
In addition to the eclectic academia vibe, it was important that the food take center stage, including in the florals and decor with herbs and edible arrangements. Guests were able to focus on the food during a seated coursed dinner in the cathedral-esque dining hall before transitioning downstairs for dancing.
Since Katy works in classical music, every ceremonial and processional song throughout the day had very personal meaning to the couple. Katy and Mike have a particular love of European medieval arts and aesthetics (Katy particularly loves historically informed medieval music, and Mike has a love of fantasy media and literature) so she called up members of the medieval ensemble Alkemie to assist in the ceremony and dinner, and they absolutely nailed it.
The couple’s favorite part of the day was their wedding dance, for both romantic and practical reasons. “Dance may be the one performance activity that we both do with somewhat equal ability, and the act of going to dance class gave us an emotional and physical outlet leading up to the wedding,” Doe Morse says. “We still take weekly lessons at Fred Astaire Tarrytown to this day, so it’s like a tiny weekly reminder of how much fun we had dancing on our wedding day, and it requires us to maintain a regular date night.”
Both Francofiles, it was important to add subtle nods to France throughout the day, like with the classically French croquembouche wedding cake, the medieval band during dinner that played French and Occitan medieval dances and love songs, and classically French-inspired food prepared by Chef Yann Nury.
“Basically, we wanted to be king and queen for a day and give everyone a royal wedding and meal, and that mission was accomplished,” the bride adds.
Planner & Designer: Björn VW Events
Photography: Loreto Caceras Photography
Venue: Castle Hotel & Spa
Catering: Yann Nury New York
Flowers: Ivie Joy Floral Art & Events
Music & Entertainment: More Than Music
Videography: Vargas Videography
Ceremony Musicians: Alkemie Medieval Music
Grooms Tuxedo: D.Leak Bespoke Experience
Groomsman: Robbie & Co.
Bride’s Wedding Dress: Virginia’s Bridal, White Plains
Stationery: Polk Paper
Hair: Stylez By Adelia
Makeup: Minella Artistry
Wedding Cake: Frenchette
Dance Floor Wrap: Trust J Events
Lighting: Universal Lighting & Sound