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Kari and Tom at Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club
Kari and Tom at Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club
How did you meet? In June of 2013, my cousins organized a weekend at our family’s property in the Catskills. Tom grew up a close friend of my cousin and was invited along with many others from their Westchester friend group. We shared a connection (and a romantic meal at McDonald’s) but sparks didn’t fly until a few months later when Tom made the trek across the river to Hoboken for our first date. Within a few short hours, we were ‘official’ (when you know you know!) and have been since that day.
How did you get engaged? Tom’s birthday was coming up in, so he scheduled a night for both our families to celebrate over dinner (something we’ve done before, that isn’t out of the norm). He had my sister fly in which completely distracted me from any ‘signs’ that may have presented themselves throughout the evening. Towards the end of the meal, Tom made a speech that ended with him down on one knee. As the other restaurant goers cheered and applauded, the wait staff presented us with every dessert they offered and quickly hung up many fun bridal decorations to mark the occasion.
Savoring the milestone with our immediate family over champagne, I couldn’t imagine there was one more surprise in store. I learned that all our friends had also been in on the secret and were waiting at another bar across town to continue the celebrations!
Details of the day! My husband and I got married in mid-September when Hurricane Florence was set to hit. Luckily, the weeklong rain ended, revealing the textbook perfect sunny day. Our aesthetic was sophisticated and classic with key colors of silver and black.
Many of our details emphasized our main goal of the evening, to leave our guests with an unforgettable night! Our photobooth and LOVE marquee letters allowed guests to capture moments while our dog was tastefully incorporated through an ice sculpture and custom drink.
Our ceremony was officiated by our good friend, Steve (his fiancé was a bridesmaid!). He artfully reflected the serious and meaningful nature of our union while incorporating personal, funny anecdotes. Our mothers gave readings during the ceremony while our fathers both spoke during the reception. #TomGotKariedAway was our hashtag highlighting our first names.
Aiming for a party to remember, our band, Stolen Moments, brought the energy with a 12 person ensemble including multiple singers, horns, and more. What’s most special about this vendor, is that they played at my parent’s wedding as the band’s lead is my uncle! Not only did they provide the reception music but also a jazz duo for cocktail hour and a string trio for the ceremony highlighting songs that we hand selected.
Tom and I were very fortunate to have incredibly loving and involved grandparents growing up. As they were such a pivotal piece to our upbringing, it was important for us to honor them in some way. We felt this was best achieved through a donation to the National Alzheimer’s Foundation, in lieu of favors.
Knowing we wouldn’t want the weekend to end, we organized a brunch for the morning after at the club’s tented pool side area. Food was plenty and cocktails flowed, as guests were invited to bocce and cornhole games.
Why did you choose your venue? When fantasizing about our wedding, we wanted something elegant, modern, and sophisticated. This private country club completely achieved this vision. The grounds are meticulously groomed and offer exquisite views (especially at sunset!) and they staff an award winning culinary team that designed an extensive, gourmet menu. As my brother is a member, we’ve had the luxury of enjoying many nights there over the years making it truly feel like a second home. Discovering their outdoor rose garden ceremony space truly sealed the deal. Their attentive and organized event planners made the process effortless and we’re thrilled to continue visiting this location and reminiscing on the big day.
What was on your menu? It’s no secret that Tom and I LOVE to eat. Eagle Oaks served an extensive and varied menu including Gulf Shrimp Cocktail, Candied Sugar Plums and Brie in Phyllo, Mini Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce, Kobe Beef Cheese Burger, Peking Duck Spring Roll, Pulled Pork in Mini Southern Style Biscuit, Spinach Spanakopita, and Beef Hotdogs in Puff Pastry as the chosen passed hors d’oeuvres. A pasta station with three sauces and two types of pasta was served along with a mashed potato bar, a Chinese station and two carving tables with Roasted Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Garlic and Roasted Turkey with Cranberry Compote Sage Jus. For dinner, we began with a salad ending with a Miso Sea Bass Filet duet. Our cake was Cannoli Cream with Chocolate.
All about your gown! Growing up my mother, sister and I spent many nights watching Say Yes to the Dress imaging the day it would be our turn to visit the iconic salon. The three of us and my mother-in-law made our appointment.
I embarrassingly enough teared up when my favorite consultant, Diane, appeared to help us, I was that excited! While every dress she pulled was stunning, there was one we all knew was ‘the one’. This Enaura fit and flare gown had romantic embellishment, tasteful mesh and classic tulle. Glamorous, romantic, and timeless, I was elated that it was my turn to ‘say yes’ and left feeling like royalty.
What was your favorite moment? Our perfect day was built from so many incredible smaller moments. Though it’s hard to choose which were our favorite two stand out.
The first was our first look. After spending the morning apart with our closest friends and parents, we were united as our bridal parties watched on from the suites. The sun was beaming and the location was empty, save our videographer and photographers. His reaction was his personality embodied; sincere, over the top, and euphoric. This moment solidified that this was the man of my dreams and reminded me how lucky I am to be beginning a life with him as my partner.
The second would be my father’s speech. During our engagement, my father was diagnosed with cancer. Through an unrelenting spirit, he overcame unimaginable obstacles and was shining at the wedding. He’s well known for his speaking ability, given his large than life personality, so we always knew his FOB delivery would be flawless. True to form, he had remarkable jokes and stories. Though it was his reminder to cherish friends and family as life is uncertain that left an impression (and many grabbing for tissues!)
One detail you couldn’t live without? The relationship Tom and I share is actually extended by one more special being, our dog Larry! Though the venue does not permit four legged furry friends, our cocktail hour greeted guests with a three-foot-tall ice sculpture of our pooch. Our custom drink was fittingly The Larry Lemonade and I found an excellent Etsy artist to paint watercolor of him to go along with it.
Did anything go wrong? The morning was relaxed as we were ahead of schedule and truly enjoying the moment. Maybe too relaxed, as the rings were almost left behind at my parents’ house where I got ready! As they often does, my parents diverted the crisis and went back to pick them up.
First dance song? “I Don’t Dance” by Lee Brice. Lee Brice sings about how his spouse has changed his view on the world and made him do things he never dreamed he would. Though Tom and I had a host of similarities when we began dating, we’ve found each other learning appreciation for new activities through our relationship as well. There was a fun blatant take on the song as well that Tom and I don’t typically ballroom dance but the wedding encouraged us to get lessons (and even enjoy them!)
Any advice for future brides? Start the planning process early, preparation is key! Once details are finalized, trust that the vendors are true professionals who will work their magic. Come the day of, there’s nothing more you personally can or need to do other than savor the moments and enjoy yourself! It’s a day with all your closet friends and family to commemorate your relationship, what could be better?? I can honestly say I wasn’t stressed once the day of and believe my calm demeanor allowed others to also enjoy the magical day.
Honeymoon Location When thinking of honeymoon destinations, Hawaii always comes to mind and for good reason! Exquisite scenery, relaxed beaches, friendly locals and delicious food. We will be spending two weeks on Hawaii and Oahu with a few days in Napa Valley as well. We adore wine (as evident by the place card holders my mother so lovingly resurrected) and couldn’t think of a better location to break up on leg of our flight.