Outdoorsy “I Do's”

The Farm at Pond Lily, Elizaville



Jax Ferguson & Matthew Zummo

October 17, 2015

“We went to the same high school [a few years apart], but we didn’t start dating until much later,” remembers Jax, who came home for Thanksgiving one year to find Matt hanging out with her friends. From there, things moved quickly, and, by May 2010, Jax had sold her home in Indiana and moved to Brooklyn to be with Matt. Two years later, when Jax was accepted to business school in California, Matt moved across the country to be with her. By 2014, they were back in New York City, where Matt was working as a high school teacher in the South Bronx. 

While Jax was in DC for work, Matt planned an elaborate Francophile proposal, transforming the apartment into a Parisian bistro with lobster and Champagne. But “I screwed the whole thing up” recalls Jax, who’d caught an earlier flight home before Matt could make dinner. “I didn’t understand. So he took the ring out, proposed, and then explained it to me. We cooked dinner together instead and just had a really nice night at home.”

The couple wanted to incorporate Matt’s love of history and their love of the outdoors into their wedding. “When Matt and I take vacations, it’s to the National Parks of America,” says Jax. “We just wanted something that spoke to that side of our lives.”  Their wedding planner connected them with The Farm at Pond Lily in Elizaville, about 30 miles northeast of Poughkeepsie, and the couple booked the venue immediately for an autumn celebration that would introduce their California friends to the Hudson Valley’s vibrant foliage. 

The couple skipped the traditional tiered cake in favor of seasonal cider doughnuts and a warming bonfire with a make-your-own s’mores bar. Below: Despite the rustic barn setting, Jax went for an elegant mix-and-match vibe with china, gold chargers, white tapers, and WPA-style postcards of the national parks. 

The couple wanted to integrate Matt‘s love of comic books and passion for history into the wedding. Their nieces and nephews, dressed as Marvel characters, walked down the aisle to the Avengers‘ theme song. In lieu of photo-booth props, guests received costume “history hats” in their welcome baskets, which they wore to the wedding.  

Jax put her own stamp on the décor (“It’s not a picnic; I didn’t want Mason jars,” she says) and opted for hints of gold, mix-and-match china patterns, and WPA-style postcards of the national parks as table numbers. Matt chose the menu of family-style comfort foods, including fried chicken, Montauk sea bass (to represent their Long Island roots), and sweet-potato tots. As a nod to Matt’s passion for history, they filled welcome baskets with costume hats, spanning eras from Ancient Egypt to Colonial America, and encouraged guests to bring them to the wedding for fun photo ops.  A bluegrass band they found in the New York subway played during the cocktail hour, and a friend, professional DJ Wait What, offered to do the reception music as a wedding gift. 

But the ceremony was the most memorable part of the evening. The couple entered to rock songs (Matt to Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child,” Jax to an instrumental version of “Enter Sandman” by Metallica), read famous love letters from history, and recited their own vows. “I thought I would remember the party and the dancing,” says Jax. “But the ceremony was great.”

To include their fathers, who’d passed away before the wedding, two chairs were reserved for them at the ceremony, with framed photos and the boutineers they would have worn. 

The Details: 

Photographer: Sean Kim of Sean Gallery, New York; www.seangallery.com Venue: The Farm at Pond Lily, Elizaville (518) 303-2488; www.pondlilyevents.com Planner & Event Design: Erin Crosby of Pickles & Pies; www.picklesandpies.com Invitations: Brightly Designed, San Diego, CA (609) 915-3728; www.brightlydesigned.com Band: Morgan O’Kane, Brooklyn; www.morganokanemusic.com DJ: Wait What; www.waitwhatmusic.com Caterer: Landhaus, Brooklyn; www.thelandhaus.com Dress: Pnina Tornai (www.pninatornai.com) purchased at Kleinfeld Bridal, New York (646) 633-4300; www.kleinfeldbridal.com Bridal Hair & Makeup: Kat of One On One Salon, Rhinebeck (845) 544-4136; www.oneononesalon.com