A bride and groom ascend a staircase at their Glenmere Mansion wedding.

The Making of an Elegant Glenmere Mansion Wedding for Lauren and Alex

Chester, New York
BY SHIRA SAVADA / 10 05 22
Photo by Heather Waraksa

Every wedding vendor team is created a little differently. In this series we explore how and why each couple selected the right wedding vendor team for their wedding day.

Living in Brooklyn, Lauren and Alex like to go to upstate New York for little getaways at least twice a year and explore new hotels and quaint towns. They typically venture north in the summer and fall, and on one such trip in October 2019, they got engaged. They made the most of their time away, and soaked in their newly engaged state in the weeks that followed. Come early 2020, the couple started planning their wedding weekend.

As some of their best memories together are from those out-of-town jaunts, and since both Lauren and Alex are from the Northeast, getting married in that part of the state felt right.


Wedding Venue

“We chose Glenmere Mansion for a myriad of reasons. It seemed to have it all—it’s only 50 miles from the city and its obvious beauty provided a perfect backdrop for what we had envisioned our wedding day to look like. It was important that we were able to have the entire space to ourselves for the weekend, which Glenmere makes possible. It almost felt like our guests were coming to our own private country estate for a weekend of celebrations and parties.” —Lauren, bride

From the welcome party at the pool to the barbecue on the lawn to the cocktail hour in the gardens and then the reception in the barn, there was always something to do and never far to go to get to the next event.

“Lauren and Alex knew they wanted two distinct days of events. They didn’t want to save all of the creativity for Saturday’s wedding. Having guests feel welcomed and excited for their first event was important. Friday had more whimsy with mixed linens and a little nod to LoveShackFancy, and we scaled the whimsy back a tad for Saturday’s festivities and added in a bit more romance.” —Ashley Douglass, planner/designer

A Glenmere Mansion wedding means utilizing their pristine gardens and being able to stay on-site with some of your loved ones thanks to its hotel rooms, restaurant, and spa.
Crisp white lounge furniture setup at a Glenmere Mansion wedding, on the terrace overlooking the lawn.
The cocktail hour of a Glenmere Mansion wedding, on the terrace overlooking one of the gardens.

And while Lauren is big on autumn, she couldn’t resist a summer wedding date, in part because of the venue’s breathtaking gardens. A late June wedding date meant the roses and flowers would be in bloom, and also serve as inspiration for the look of the big day.

As an added bonus, the venue’s hotel rooms accommodated 36 of the 175 guests at this Glenmere Mansion wedding, allowing them to enjoy the property even more. Hotel blocks were secured at nearby hotels for the other guests, as well as transportation to make attending the various events a breeze.


Wedding Planner & Designer

Days after booking Glenmere Mansion, the couple was referred to Ashley Douglass of Ashley Douglass Events. Lauren and Ashley met in New York City and hit it off. Ashley understood the couple’s priorities of good food, good music, and a good atmosphere, and set out to design a memorable wedding weekend working with a dream team of wedding vendors.

“Ashley has an amazing network of extremely talented vendors. I was so unfamiliar with the space, I really didn’t even know where to start. I was able to tell Ashley exactly what I was looking for and she would show me a series of options that she felt were a fit. From there, we were able to meet with vendors and discuss our vision, get a feel for them, and then come to a decision.” —Lauren, bride

A Glenmere Mansion wedding ceremony, on the lawn overlooking Glenmere Lake.
Mint and cream cocktail table setup at a Glenmere Mansion wedding, on the terrace.
A cocktail hour setup in the garden at a Glenmere Mansion wedding.
A long table set inside the barn at a Glenmere Mansion wedding reception incorporated vintage glassware, peach and white centerpieces, and knotted linen dinner napkins.
A Glenmere Mansion wedding ceremony, on the lawn overlooking Glenmere Lake.

Wedding Photographer

The first vendor Ashley focused on was the photographer. She sent a list of options to the bride and groom. Her photographer list is often her longest list of options, but in presenting so many possible photographers, she’s able to present a range of styles and investment levels, and then assess how the couple reacts before narrowing in on the best fits. Lauren went for Heather Waraksa fairly quickly. She and Alex first met Heather in person for an engagement session in New York City, where they connected over their mutual love of travel, fashion, and Brooklyn.

Heather was delighted to return for another Glenmere Mansion wedding (it's one of her favorite venues in New York), and photograph its gorgeous gardens, rolling hills, Old World architecture, and scenic views of the Hudson River Valley—not to mention, the couple’s connection and a wedding filled with pure joy, emotion, and style.

“One of Lauren’s favorite fashion moments was Bianca Jagger in her Yves Saint Laurent suit on her wedding day to Mick Jagger. She even flirted with the idea of a white suit for her wedding. She mentioned loving the photo of them escaping the paparazzi early in our conversations and that she and Alex would have a vintage Rolls-Royce at their wedding. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for a modern nod to this iconic moment.” —Heather Waraksa, photographer

A bride and groom channel Bianca and Mick Jagger while taking pictures inside a vintage Rolls-Royce during their Glenmere Mansion wedding.
An elated bride and groom walk on the lawn hand-in-hand at their Glenmere Mansion wedding.
Bridal party dressed in varied pastel shades, posing in front of garden fountain at a Glenmere Mansion wedding.

Wedding Music

Around the same time, the music conversation took place. As both photography and music are personal and subjective, Ashley tackles them early on in the wedding planning to give her clients as many options as possible (and available). The couple met with two companies who represent multiple wedding bands and acts, and together they decided on Nocturne from Hank Lane Music.

“The music was one of our favorite parts of our wedding. It was incredible. We're both huge rock ’n’ roll fans, so we had a share of classic rock, pop, with some modern day music mixed in. A little Fleetwood Mac, a little Florence + the Machine, a little Nelly. A little something for everyone.” —Lauren, bride

Newlyweds share a first dance under a lattice of greenery at their Glenmere Mansion wedding reception.
The groom on one of his guest's shoulders during the lively reception at his Glenmere Mansion wedding.

Wedding Stationer

The paper story was a big deal for Lauren, who is a creative. She loved working with Katie Fischer of Katie Fischer Design on the custom wedding stationery, which she wanted to feel vintage and romantic but also a bit whimsical. Drawings of some of the mansion’s details (like the dog statues out front, and the windows) made it extra special.

An elegant invitation suite for a Glenmere Mansion wedding was printed on hand-torn paper with delicate illustrations, vintage postage, and a wax seal.
A ceremony program for a printed on hand-torn paper, with a floral illustration and hand calligraphed accents.

Wedding Caterer & Florist & Designer

Two big moves came next, in the form of catering and floral and event design.

From the beginning, Lauren and Alex (and their parents) said food and service were both high priorities. Ashley put Laurence Craig Catering on hold, and once the couple reviewed a few of their menus, they were happy to have them cater their big day.

“Food is something that Lauren and I share a passion for, so the menu was one of the most important and one of the easiest parts of the planning.” —Alex, groom

“It's a long day, going to a ceremony, a cocktail hour, reception, and after party. We wanted to make sure our guests felt well fed to sustain through the night. Not only was there enough food, but the presentation was beautiful as well.” —Lauren, bride

To maximize the time everyone spent on the dance floor, and because Lauren and Alex aren’t huge dessert people, they skipped the wedding cake, and instead had an abundance of mini sweets (including sorbet in lipstick tubes) passed while people let loose.

Cone-shaped appetizers were passed during cocktail hour at a Glenmere Mansion wedding.
A pairing of cocktails on offer during a Glenmere Mansion wedding.
Lipstick tubes of sorbet were passed to guests during a Glenmere Mansion wedding catered by Laurence Craig Catering.

As Ashley is very involved in the design of the day, she began starting her own mood board and isolated an overall floral style that resonated with the bride and groom. Floral and design teams were considered, and the couple adored Stonekelly Events. The seasoned designers leaned into the colors of the mansion so everything felt authentic to the space, as well as A Midsummer Night’s Dream vibe for the reception, which brought the gardens inside.

To fill the large space of the barn where the reception took place, a trellis of greenery was installed overhead, with even more plants anchoring the stage. Elegant taper candles and centerpieces composed in shades of white, peach, pink, and yellow balanced it all.

“The space is very large and we wanted to bring the ceiling down to make it cozier. It’s also a great space for many ideas up above as there are weight-bearing beams.” —Ashley Douglass, planner/designer

A bride holds her bouquet of white sweet peas before her Glenmere Mansion wedding ceremony.
For a Glenmere Mansion wedding, Stonekelly Events created a ceremony arch with a base of greenery and further decorated with an array of pale pink and white flowers.
At this Glenmere Mansion wedding, the reception barn was decorated with a lattice of greenery hanging overhead, and a mix of long and round tables decorated with peach and white centerpieces.
A mix of floral centerpieces and candles adorned the tables at a Glenmere Mansion wedding reception.

Wedding Hair, Makeup, & Lighting

Lauren hired Beautini and scheduled her hair and makeup trial next. Come the big day she looked beautiful and still like herself thanks to soft makeup and a low, twisted updo with some face-framing strands. Her bridesmaids got in on the action too, with equally natural looks.

Before they booked a lighting company, a bit more time was spent fleshing out lightning needs. While many members of the vendor team were regular collaborators of Ashley’s, it was the first time she worked with LNJ Events. They share a professional theater background, and were already located near the venue, which made the new relationship and the logistics of lighting the event quite smooth.

A bride (wearing a knotted, low updo) checks her makeup in a mirror during her Glenmere Mansion wedding.
A bride and her bridesmaids stand on the stairs and pose for a group portrait at her Glenmere Mansion wedding.
The reception barn was all aglow as the sun set during a Glenmere Mansion wedding.

Wedding Vintage Car, Cigar Roller, & Late-Night Food

About two months out, the vintage car that would allow the couple to get their Bianca and Mick photo ops in was secured from Settembre Luxury Limousine Service, and a cigar roller from Martinez Cigars was hired for the reception, which segued into an after-party with more dancing and ice cream and pizza, courtesy of Bona Bona Ice Cream and Jackie’s Pizza the Pie food trucks.

Newlyweds use a rented Rolls-Royce for a photo op at their Glenmere Mansion wedding.
A cigar roller added a special touch to the reception of a Glenmere Mansion wedding.
At this Glenmere Mansion wedding, the reception barn was decorated with a lattice of greenery hanging overhead, and a mix of long and round tables decorated with peach and white centerpieces.
A Garden Wedding for Lauren and Alex
Heather Waraksa