Nestled in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid was a frequent weekend getaway for Amber and Bryan Ford, making it a perfect fit for their intimate elopement ceremony. They’d been dating for around seven years when Bryan proposed, and neither wanted a long, drawn-out engagement, so three months after the proposal, on a frosty January day, they said their vows in front of 11 loved ones in a lodge overlooking the lake.
“Initially, there was the convenience factor of not having to arrange a grand ceremony for hundreds of people in such a small window of time,” says Bryan. “More importantly to us, we’ve always tried to march to the beat of our own drum. This just felt comfortable to us; more personalized, more our style.”
Bryan’s brother, Adam, officiated the ceremony. “Anyone who knows him will agree that he is a wildcard, so nobody really knew what to expect,” says Bryan. “To our excitement and surprise, he was flat out amazing—although I don’t think he’d ever been more nervous about anything in his life.”
Cocktail hour included an elaborate charcuterie board and specialty drink playfully named “The Last Word,” which guests sipped while Bryan and Amber had their first dance. The three-course menu embraced the “Adirondack ambiance” the couple was going for: a first course option of pan-seared sea scallops or a seasonal salad; the second of pan-seared halibut, venison loin, or steak tenderloin; and the third, a small, two-tiered, maple rosemary cake with fresh blackberries, frosted to look like the bark of a birch tree.
For entertainment, the couple played a game with baby photos à la Cards Against Humanity (each placed a photo of the other on a board next to playful prompts such as “Some Things Never Change”), which they say was “sufficiently embarrassing.” To cap off the coziness of the whole experience, everyone roasted marshmallows in the fireplace for s’mores.
In hindsight, says Amber, the best part about having an intimate ceremony was being able to feel in-the-moment. “Our wedding was stress-free and we didn’t have to worry about what everyone else was doing—if the guests would be on time, if everyone was having a good time. Also, we were able to spend so much time with everyone—together and individually—that I think everyone was able to have their own special role in our wedding day, and they could feel how special it was to us that they were there.”
Nuts & Bolts
Bryan’s first impression: “Damn, that is one attractive human being… That impression still holds.”
Amber’s first impression: “He might be cute if he wasn’t such a sassy, sarcastic asshole. Also still holds.”
Relationship timeline: Dated around seven years → Engaged August 2018 → Held Justice of Peace Ceremony November 2018 → Married January 2019 → Honeymooned July 2019
Proposal story: Says Bryan: “We were on vacation in Maui. We’d done the Road to Hana that afternoon, a day-long sightseeing trip across the island. Upon returning to the hotel, Amber wanted to take a nap, I wanted to take a walk… Eventually Amber conceded. We found a private hammock on a hill overlooking the sun setting over the ocean. In true Amber fashion, she went feet-to-face in the hammock and begged for a foot rub—classic. Following a few minutes of riffing, I looked at Amber and said, ‘I love you so much. You’re my absolute best friend.’ Amber smiled and said, ‘Love you too. Best friends for life.’ I responded, ‘For life? I was thinking the same thing.”’ Then he pulled the ring from his pocket.
Vows: They each read a poem, a personal statement, and their promises to one another, which Bryan calls light-hearted and off-beat “for fear of things getting too sappy.”
Biggest splurge: $7,000 on wedding rings custom designed and created by Aaron Ruff of Brooklyn-based Digby & Iona
What they did with the money saved: Put it toward upgrades to their house and their honeymoon to the Seychelles Islands.
The Fine Print
- Venue: Lake Placid Lodge
- She wore: Dress by Alexandra Grecco from Lovely Bride in Rochester
- He wore: Custom-made three-piece suit designed by Vince DiGiorgio of ONE Custom Clothier in Rochester
- Wedding bands: Digby & Iona
- Menu: Eden Elkaslasy of Lake Placid Lodge
- Cake: Rene Elkaslasy of Enuf Chocolates
- Photography & Videography: Birds of Passage Co.
- Hair & Makeup: Vignette & Vogue
- Flowers: Lake Placid Flower and Gift