A Hudson Valley Couple Went Into the Woods for Their Autumn Wedding

Photos by Abby Mortensen

High school sweethearts host an intimate, cozy wedding at a pastoral bed-and-breakfast where they once worked together.

Julia & Aaron

November 9, 2019
The Cottage in the Pines
Sparrow Bush, NY

As high school sweethearts, Julia and Aaron Kormanik had lived and worked together at the bucolic Sparrow Bush bed-and-breakfast, The Cottage in the Pines. When they got engaged there, eight years later, it only made sense to return to that special place for their fall wedding.

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“We got engaged on a bridge overlooking a pond and forest,” the bride remembers. “That ended up being the same place we did our first look on our wedding day.”

The couple envisioned a mix of woodland and bohemian romance, which planner Erin Crosby of Brooklyn’s Pickles and Pies ran with. Julia wanted everything to feel hygge (a Scandinavian term used to describe a moment or feeling that is cozy, special, or charming). “We hoped everyone would feel comfortable and welcome at our wedding in the woods,” Julia offers. “We got married on a really cold November day, in front of a large fireplace. We had baskets of blankets, hot chocolate, cider, a s’mores station, lots of candles, and fluffy pampas plumes for flowers.”

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First Look

The couple shared their first look on the same scenic bridge where they were engaged. Then, the bride and groom went into the woods, joined by their 14-person bridal party, for a magical, colorful, smoke photo op planned by Crosby. “I told her I had an ‘allergy’ to bold colors, and the winter landscape would make the wedding bland, so she came up with this to bring some fun color to our photos,” Julia adds.

She wore a personalized denim jacket adorned with her new, married name over her wedding dress, found on Pinterest from Wear Your Love. The bridal party wore a mix of gray dresses from GCGme and Lulus, while the groom and groomsmen wore navy tuxedos from The Black Tux.

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The Ceremony

The groom, Aaron, dabbles in carpentry, so he built the ceremony arch with the help of a friend (on the day of the wedding, the bride notes). Crosby added pampas grass, a rug runner, and lush fall florals to the already rustic and verdant setting.

For the ceremony itself, the couple’s friend was ordained to marry them in a secular service. “She wrote a really beautiful ceremony, which captured our love and relationship perfectly,” Julia says. “We wrote our own vows and kept the whole thing really short and sweet.”

The Food

For the couple, excellent food was a priority, so they devoted the most time to researching a caterer. Ultimately, they enlisted Hand Crafted Catering and Events in New Rochelle to serve a family-style dinner with large platters of roasted chicken, sirloin steak with salsa verde sauce, crispy potatoes, garlic confit, and rosemary dressing with seasonal roasted vegetables. “Everything was locally sourced,” the bride says, adding, “but the hit of the night was definitely the homemade apple cider donuts with dipping sauces and our late-night ramen station with to-go containers.”

The Accents

The reception stayed true to the woodland and bohemian romance vibe, with mismatched vintage china from Crosby’s inventory; copper candelabras; tall, gray candles; and moss that the planner locally foraged herself for the tables.

Each guest received a ceramic campfire mug with a wedding logo designed by a close friend. “They went well with our woodsy theme and doubled for use of our hot chocolate/cider station,” Julia says.

“I wanted to encourage guests to hang outside and enjoy the woods and scenery during cocktail hour,” she adds. “The hot chocolate and cider — spiked at the bar, of course — helped make the cold a little more bearable!”

A photo booth was a must-have for the couple, so they opted for the traveling Wanderbus, based in Slate Hill. “I had seen Wanderbus featured by a local photographer,” says Julia. “It’s super cute, went with the vintage theme, and was a really fun bonus for our guests.”

The Details

Planner and Flowers
Pickles and Pies

Abby Mortenson

Hand Crafted Catering 

Wear Your Love

The Black Tux

Alana Maria Schmidt

Amanda Munro

Workin’ The Mix Entertainment


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