Phil was a sophomore and Leah was a senior when they met at Houghton College in Houghton, New York back in 2008. They became very good friends over the following three years and it wasn’t until after Phil’s graduation in May of 2011 that things turned in a more romantic direction.
Leah was visiting friends in the area and she and Phil arranged to meet up during her time there. He then invited her on a camping trip—which turned out to be with his entire extended family up in Vermont—and as the weekend progressed, so did their feelings for one another.
“It was very strange and a surprise for both of us at first, but I think it is amazing to have a close friendship as the base of our relationship,” Leah says. They began a somewhat long-distance relationship, but after a few months, Phil decided to move to Rochester to be closer to Leah.
On their one-year anniversary of dating, Phil picked Leah up after work and took her for a ride to the scenic Letchworth State Park—a place they often frequented with their friends during their college days—and brought along a picnic of cheese, crackers, little dessert samplers, and a bottle of Leah’s favorite white wine.
After they finished eating, they went for a walk around the grounds and, while Leah was resting on a nearby bench, Phil got down on his knee and proposed. “It couldn’t have been more perfect, as I had always pictured a private, intimate setting for a proposal,” Leah gushes.
A few weeks earlier, Phil had gone to visit Leah’s parents to ask their permission to marry their daughter. They gave him Leah’s maternal grandmother’s heirloom engagement ring and band, which her mother had been planning to give her when the time was right.
From the proposal, wedding planning went quickly. Though they were still living in Rochester, but knew they wanted something downstate and “naturey”. After some online research, they found the Links at Union Vale.
“I sent my parents to check out the venue and they loved it,” Leah says. “I’m not quite sure how the theme evolved, but I knew I wanted vintage and nature-themed, but it transformed on its own into 1930s glam Hollywood style instead.”
Leah says she grew up loving and watching old movies from that era, so that had a big influence on the design aspect of things.
Her mom was a major part of the day, as she went out and found a collection of vintage items—milk-glass vases, bowls, lanterns, glass doorknobs, fabrics and other eclectic pieces—to use as table decorations. Leah’s sister also added her creative skills and made all of the cloth for the table centerpieces.
The floral arrangements were ivory, lavender, and pale pinks, with Leah’s bouquet being comprised of white baby roses and orchids. Leah’s mother then had the great idea to line up all of the bridesmaids bouquets, along with the bridal bouquet, in a shallow plate that served as the centerpiece for the head table.
When finding the perfect dress, Leah was inspired by actresses of the 1930s era like Carol Lombard, Myrna Loy, and Jean Harlow. She tried looking in boutiques, but ended up finding her dress at David’s Bridal.
The music also had a jazzy 30s vibe with what Leah described as an “old record sound”. The newlyweds even copied a few dance moves from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers for their wedding song of “Night and Day”.
“Overall everything went perfectly and believe it or not everyone that was invited attended the wedding, which we were both very happy about.”
The Links at Union Vale
Hillary Harvey Photography
Lavender & Leaf Designs
(bouquets, boutonnieres and ceremony urns)
Mahopac Flower Shop
DJ Dominic Entertainment
The Pastry Garden
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