The Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire is a magical place. Nestled amid the tallest mountains in New England, this historic hotel delevers on exceptional mountain views and exceptional service. Need proof? Read Anna’s wedding story below and pay close attention to her need for a 100% gluten free menu! And AMW Studios captured all of the classic wedding details perfectly! Enjoy!
Anna + Nate
July 6, 2013
White Mountains of New Hampshire
From the Bride
From the moment we got engaged, Nate and I knew what we wanted for our wedding – we had no desire to be flashy, had no need to be on trend, and had no wish for any specific theme. What we did want was a wedding filled with an overpowering sense of love, family, warmth and beauty, and in the end, it’s exactly what we got!
As with most couples, the first major decision point was the venue.
We spent a few weekends touring some spots in New York, where most of our family is from, but everywhere we went seemed off.
Most were just typical ‘wedding factories’ with pre-defined cookie-cutter menus at tiered price ranges that came with generic centerpieces and a free Holiday Inn suite.
It just wasn’t us.
We are outdoorsy, creative, and love originality, nature, beauty and…well, great food. We wanted somewhere that really clicked for us, that felt magical, and that had a special meaning to us, not just some venue where everyone from our high school graduating class got married. We also wanted somewhere with jaw-dropping beauty. The more we thought about it, the more the White Mountains of New Hampshire pulled at our heartstrings. We had taken a road trip through those Mountains early in our relationship – one night, we pulled over on the side of the road at a stunning vantage point. We both got out of the car, bundled in our jackets (it was November!), and gazed up at the sky. We were both living in Brooklyn, New York at the time, and we never, ever saw stars that bright or beautiful back at home. And there we were – only four months ago we had been strangers, and through fate and a bit of help from Match.com, we were on this week-long road trip together, seeing the beauty of the world together, and it was just really…real. It felt amazing. It was such a special moment for us, a moment when we could actually feel the love grow between us.
In the end, we knew we had to get married in the White Mountains, and since the Omni Mount Washington is by far the most stunning location there, there was no question. There is something so striking about pulling off of the main road near the Hotel, making that turn up the hotel’s long winding driving, and seeing the magnificent white structure before you – it’s magical. And the hotel itself is filled with so much history and beauty, it is as far from cookie-cutter as you can get with wedding venues.
When it came to timing, we had to get married in the summer, when Nate had a break from his studies at law school. Looking through the calendar, I was drawn to July 6th because it fell over the 4th of July weekend. Since so many of our guests would be traveling quite far for our wedding, what better way to make it worth it than by offering them a chance to not only attend our wedding, but also make a little vacation out of it? The only problem was that July 6th was… Nate’s 29th birthday! He was a trooper about it though, and we can now joke that he’ll never, ever forget our anniversary (or me his birthday!)
Besides the “love, family, warmth and beauty” priorities we had for our wedding, food was critical!! Nate and I both eat gluten-free and fairly healthy, and we had always dreamed of having a wedding where we could eat anything we wanted!
The Omni Mt. Washington did not just deliver on this – they excelled.
Essentially, our entire wedding was gluten-free (even the cake, which was SO RIDICULOUSLY GOOD!). And it’s not that we could just eat the food, it was also some of the best we had ever had (and we’re from New York, where there is so pretty ridiculously amazing dining). It truly blew our minds. From crab cakes to the most delicious salmon and steak, to strawberry sorbet… mmm, I’m drooling just thinking about it!
And the fact that my parents, who are the world’s most critical diners, said it was amazing, truly proves that point. Our guests raved about it, and still do at every family function.
The Wedding Weekend
Our wedding ended up feeling like a four day-long reunion for family and friends, filled with more love, warmth and beauty than we could have ever imagined. Many attendees rented homes and condos in the area for the whole weekend, bringing together family and friends that normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to see one another. Throughout the weekend, people went hiking and explored the beauty of the White Mountains, which is exactly what Nate and I had hoped they would do – after all, we wanted them to see why it was that we had made them come so far for our wedding!
On the night before our wedding, we hosted an amazing rehearsal dinner – inviting all our wedding guests – at the Omni Mount Washington’s Sun Dining Room, which had the most spectacular views of the mountains. Though it was a full buffet dinner, we had no arranged seating and just had a host of tables set up around the room – people felt free to mingle, hopping from one table to another and catching up with family and friends. The entire evening was filled with laughter, hugs, love, and ridiculously good food! Our goal for this rehearsal dinner was to have both sides of our families, as well as our friends, meet, mingle and get to know one another, so that on our wedding day, everyone would be comfortable and already know one another – it worked like a charm!
Our wedding day was phenomenal – though it started out humid with a brief rain shower, in the end, the sun appeared and it was stunning. My favorite part of that day was most definitely the private ceremony during which Nate and I signed our ketubah. We invited only our closest family to the Omni Mt. Washington’s Gold Room, where we held two private ceremonies – the first was a traditional Polish blessing, led by my parents, and the second was the official ketubah signing, led by Rabbi Wolfman. It was a seamless and beautiful blend of cultures and traditions, and there was more love in that room than I have ever felt. Rabbi Wolfman added the most special touch – he had asked us to buy a special bottle of wine for this ceremony, but did not tell us what it was for. On that day, during the ketubah singing ceremony, he asked each person in the room to pour a bit of the wine into a carafe that Nate and I were holding, and in doing so, to give us their private blessing. Each member of our close family and our close friends did this, and we were left holding a carafe of wine that held each of their blessings. Nate and I each had a sip of that during the ceremony – so special.
The wedding reception was a blast – our family and friends all seemed like they had known each other for their whole lives. The dancing went on for hours (we made sure the DJ played both Polish and American songs), and we still hear people saying it was the best wedding they had ever attended. The recipe for that? Easy. Make the day about LOVE and FAMILY. It won’t fail!
The Special Touches
I was so, so excited to break out my Martha Stewart skills for my wedding! While there were some things I was happy to purchase, I was adamant about making the wedding feel as warm and personalized as possible! My favorite item was my cake topper, which I had made over the course of a few months using wood pegs, clay, paint and a whole host of other materials. It is comprised of three figurines on a wooden platform, one of me in my wedding gown, one of Nate is his police uniform (he used to be in the NYPD before law school), and one of our little dog, Samuel! It’s something I’ll treasure forever, because it’s so ‘us’, so original and handmade, and was made with a lot of love.
Another thing that is really special to me is our Ketubah. When we were planning our wedding and exploring our options, I was astonished at how expensive it is to buy a ketubah. Given this was supposed to be such a deep symbol of our love and commitment, I couldn’t imagine just picking out some templated text and ordering one over the internet. Nate and I collaborated and wrote our own ketubah text, highlighting what we valued most in our relationship and what we wanted for marriage and for the future. I then hand-crafted our ketubah – I used the most beautiful art paper I could find and learned some paper-cutting techniques to make it truly beautiful. Signing that ketubah before our wedding ceremony, in front of our close family, it meant the world to us, because it truly represented us.
My two sisters each received a craft project. Michele was tasked with creating a display that highlighted photographs from my family and from Nate’s – old photos of our parents, our own childhood photos, etc. Susan put together the hospitality baskets for the bathrooms, which were so cute and added a really personal touch. My mom and sisters also created gift bags for each guest that had little packets of Polish candy and little packets of Israeli candy, to symbolize both my background and Nate’s. Other things in the gift bag, like a travel guide to the White Mountains, tied it up perfectly!
Also, instead of a guest book, we had a large hurricane vase set up on a table outside of our reception. I printed stacks of cards on colorful card stock that read things like, “Where do you see us in ten years?” or “What is your favorite memory with us?” We had crayons, markers and stickers on the table to allow guests to decorate their responses. Nate and I read them on our honeymoon, and couldn’t stop laughing and crying. We have the best set of family and friends, seriously. Those will be SO fun to read in twenty years!
In Summary: If we had to do it all over again, we truly would not change a thing. Our wedding symbolized everything about what we want for our future together as a married couple – the closeness of family, the warmth of friends, the beauty of our surroundings, and… good food, always!
Mount Washington Wedding Vendors
Wedding Photography: AMW Studios | Wedding Planner: Sheila Costa at the Omni Mt. Washington Resort | Videographer: NH Images | Ceremony: Rabbi David Wolfman | Venue: Omni Mt. Washington Resort | Floral Design: Sara Severance of Ivy and Aster Floral Design | Wedding Cake: Pastry Chef at the Omni Mt. Washington Resort | Wedding Invitations: Pam Halfpap of Paper Pod Designs | Band: Rhett Price (for ceremony) and Matt Spofford of White Mt. Productions for reception | Wedding Dress: Justin Alexander purchased at Grandasia in Quincy, Mass. | Hair and Makeup: Omni Mt. Washington Resort Spa