5 Best Places to Get Married in the Hudson Valley

Getting hitched in unique locations is all the rage with brides and grooms these days. From an elaborately designed theatrical tent to a snow-capped mountain top, here are five of the Valley’s most unusual wedding locales


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spiegeltentHardwood flooring, a tented ceiling, and mirrors galore make for an elegant reception inside Bard’s Spiegeltent

Photographs by Teresa Horgan

Best Place to Get Married in 2012: The Spiegeltent

Bard College seemed to be the ideal place for Adam Brown and Jessica Anzelone to hold their nuptials. After all, they met on the campus when Jess was an undergraduate (Adam was living in nearby Germantown) and they had gotten engaged in a particularly picturesque spot there on a snowy afternoon in 2008. “The campus has always been a really big part of our relationship,” says Adam. Still, the couple was surprised when the folks at Bard called them back and said, “We have an idea — we don’t know if you’ll go for it.”

Luckily, they did.

Bard officials wanted to try having a wedding at the Spiegeltent — the elaborate hand-hewn pavilion that is constructed each summer for Bard’s celebrated SummerScape performing arts festival. “We were their guinea pigs,” says Adam. “Which was really exciting.” There was one hitch, though — it was only available for one day that summer. “That left us just more than two months to plan our whole wedding,” says Jess.

“Also, it was sight unseen, which was a little scary. But we just went for it.”

Of course, it was a tad nerve-wracking when the Spiegeltent was still being constructed the day before their June 2008 ceremony, but they were soon captivated by the circular space. “The pictures didn’t do it justice,” says Jess. “It was so ornate.” Approximately 4,500 square feet, with a capacity of 250 people, the interior of the Spiegeltent, which comes each year from Belgium, features hardwood floors, stained glass windows, carved wood-and-mirror booths, a tented ceiling, and 2,000-plus mirrors. “We really didn’t need to decorate much at all,” says Jess.

spiegeltent wedding coupleNewlyweds Jessica Anzelone and Adam Brown pose on the campus grounds

The couple said the circular space created a warm atmosphere. “It’s like you’re really surrounded by all your loved ones,” says Jess. “There were three tables on the floor where we sat with our families and closest friends, but all around the edge of the tent were these small tables arranged in a really intimate way. People felt like they could really catch up with everyone. The rest of the floor was for dancing.”

Jess, who donned a Selia Yang gown, admits that she was initially nervous about using Chartwells, Bard’s on-campus catering service. “I went to school there and the food wasn’t so great,” she says. “But the food for the wedding was fantastic, and they went out of their way to make us happy.” A chocolate raspberry wedding cake was brought in from the Alternative Baker in Rosendale.

The 6 p.m. ceremony was held outdoors behind the Manor House, with views of both Robert Perless’s enormous rotating Stargon sculpture and the Catskill Mountains. “The contrast of the natural beauty juxtaposed with the [ultra-modern] Gehry [performing arts center] and the Spiegeltent was really interesting,” says Adam. “People kept telling us how much they enjoyed spending time in the Spiegeltent.”

The party continued late into the night, with a number of the wedding guests, including the bride and groom in full regalia, spilling into The Black Swan bar in Tivoli. The newlyweds spent the night in the Madalin Hotel. Nowadays, the pair, who live in Manhattan and have an infant son, get back to Bard “each season,” says Jess. And as for the Spiegeltent itself? “It’s an enchanting space; there is such good energy in there. And it was really fun to go back there the first time and to try to remember where all of our guests were sitting.” • 845-758-7914; www.bard.edu

Skip ahead:
» The Circa 1799 Barn, Ancramdale
» River Rose Cruises, Newburgh
» The Spiegeltent, Annandale-on-Hudson
» Hunter Mountain, Hunter
» The Castle on the Hudson, Tarrytown

» Return to Hudson Valley Weddings 2012


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